Buying and Selling a home is listed as one of the most stressful events in life. It is stressful for sellers, needing to have regular home opens, constant cleaning and tidying of the property to ensure it is spotless, heartbreak over receiving ridiculous offers, and the list goes on.
Buying a property can also be stressful… finding the right home, sifting through an array of mortgage deals to find the right loan, a huge amount of paperwork with legal jargon and so on. It’s enough to give anyone a headache!
Once you have sold your property, or have put in an offer on that perfect home, what’s next? Unfortunately for you, it includes a complicated process with more paperwork from a settlement agent.
I have been in the settlement industry for over 16 years, and in that time I have settled well over five thousand properties. I can honestly say that there is more and more paperwork required to accurately complete a settlement transaction. It can be very daunting receiving all these documents from a settlement agent, as there is so much to read and sign!
So what does a settlement agent do? A settlement agent’s job is to basically prepare all the relevant documents to finalise the purchase/sale of the property . It also includes a significant amount of following up, and following up and following up… Yes you get my drift, we have to follow constantly to ensure everything is signed and completed correctly. We have to follow up to make sure clients received our documents, as well as follow up again if the client hasn’t returned the documents.
When I opened my business earlier this year, I really thought hard about what I could do to simplify the settlement process for home owners. I realised that I spent the majority of my time on the phone, following up clients and documents.
How could I change this? What could I offer to make this easier for my clients?
In considering this, my vision was to offer a service reduces the risk of settlement delays, and simplifies the whole process. People these days lead very busy lives and work very long hours to be able to afford to own a home of their own. Asking each client to come to my office to sign documents was not going to work. The solution was therefore to offer a mobile service, where I would go meet my clients to get all the necessary documents signed.
This is a little unheard of in the settlement industry. How could I fathom the additional time to go out and see clients and do everything else that needed to be done?
My days are varied. Some days I start early to see clients in the morning, while some days I finish late in order to see clients that work a traditional 9 – 5 job. I have even been out on Saturdays having documents signed.
I can say that I have received fantastic feedback with this new approach. Some of the benefits I have experienced in providing a mobile service include:
I am no longer chasing up documents, as I have it all done in one easy appointment.
I have had zero delayed settlements caused by documents being signed late (or being signed incorrectly), or not arriving in the mail.
I have met all but 2 of my clients in person. These 2 clients (located in Boome and Queensland respectively) received a ‘traditional’ settlement service via mail.
All my clients have commented how easy the process was .
I am able to identify my clients during our meeting, to complete the required verification of identity process, which is required by the Department of Commerce and Landgate. (This saves the client the need to go to Australia Post, saving them $39 per person!)
Clients are less stressed as they have met me in person and they feel comfortable knowing that I am personally taking them through the settlement process.