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The Settlement Process

settlement process for buying an apartment

People are always on the move, and as the city absorbs new apartments and owners and tenants move into new buildings, I wanted to visit what can be expected when it comes to the final stage of a purchase. It’s a very exciting time, and it should be, but after many years of being involved in the move-in process for a new apartment building, I wanted to discuss how the process usually runs and what can typically be expected.

Communication And Pre-Settlement

Communication from exchange to settlement is essential and helps purchasers understand how the development is progressing, what they can expect next and how they need to prepare.

For owners and the project team it’s hard not to be excited about the completion of a new development as owners come together to form a bright and vibrant community. Understanding that settling and moving-in can be a busy time, the project team will work to help the transition, the settlement and make the move-in as enjoyable as possible.

Some things that should be considered as settlement approaches are:

  1. Finalise your finance – You need to ensure your finance needs to be in place in the lead up to settlement.

  2. Speak to your solicitor – Buyers need to liaise with their solicitor in the lead up to settlement and confirm anything else that is required.

  3. Pre-settlement inspection- Your sales team will be in contact to arrange your pre-settlement inspection. This is important, and developers will have a solid way to administer these inspections. It is standard for a representative of the sales team, the developer and sometimes the builder, to be in attendance to answer any questions or queries.

  4. Property Management – if you’re an investor it’s also the ideal time to firm up the property management and leasing plans for your apartment, so that you can secure a tenant and have an income stream in place close to the settlement date, again there are many highly experienced Property Managers to help in this important process.

  5. Collecting your keys – Upon confirmation of your settlement, the project team will arrange a time for you to collect your keys and owner’s manual. This manual will help familiarize you with the apartment features and facilities.

  6. Moving In – Whilst each developer does things a little differently, for most new projects a move-in Concierge Service to assist in making every owner’s move-in as hassle-free as possible. Once as a buyer you have been advised of your settlement date, it is best to contact The Concierge Service who will then book in your (or your tenants) move-in date and often confirm details of a dedicated Facilities Manager who will assist you with booking in a suitable time for your move-in. It’s worth keeping in mind that there are always other purchasers moving in around the same time; and sometimes there can be a big number 50-100 or more, so the logistics require care and a professional team.

  7. After moving in – Should you have any questions in relation to your new building and the way it is managed it’s suggested that you contact your Strata Manager, who would have now been appointed.  It’s also very wise to have read in detail the by-laws for your new building.

For an experienced buyer, I appreciate that some of my points will be very familiar, however if you’re a first time buyer hopefully this explains what you can expect when settling your off the plan apartment.

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Peter Chittenden

Managing Director, NSW | Residential


My professional knowhow stems from an extensive career in Residential property development, project marketing, site acquisition and property valuation.

I rejoined Colliers International 11 years ago as Managing Director, and since then I have worked to grow my team and our Residential division by more than 300%.

Across the country we have successfully launched and sold over 100 Residential projects, and we have played an instrumental role in every aspect of these successes for our clients.

I have built a team that offers the complete end to end service for our clients and customers alike, from the site aquisition right through to the sale and settlement of every last apartment. 

My 30+ years of experience in real estate, and genuine passion for property has seen me involved across numerous key industry bodies and groups, as well as the establishment of my own thought leading blog, with over 4000 followers from within the industry. 

Prior to my time at Colliers International, I held the position of National Sales and Marketing Manager for Stockland Apartments. During his time I launched and managed a national portfolio of major projects and led a large national sales and marketing team. Prior to this, I started and ran my own successful project marketing company, Realm Project Marketing, for three years specialising in large land estates, housing and apartment projects predominantly in NSW, providing a high level of service that extended beyond the traditional sales appointment.

In my earlier role at Colliers International I was the National Director, Residential Land Marketing, where I established a highly successful division which led to the appointment of our business to project market several major estates in Sydney and Melbourne, which commenced long lasting relationships that our business still maintains today. 

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