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Property Q&A: What to expect between contract sign and settlement

So you’ve purchased an off the plan property. What’s next?

At The Hopkins Group, we make it our job to ensure the transition from signing a contract of sale through to settlement of your property is a smooth process.

However while we guide our clients through each consideration, if you’re a first time investor you might not know what to expect from the process or what questions to ask. Luckily, we have you covered with some common questions you may want answered.

How long is the time period between contract sign and settlement?

While this will vary slightly between properties, depending how far into construction you’ve purchased, typically clients purchasing off the plan property from us can expect a time-frame of between 12 – 18 months between signing the contract and settlement.

What communication can I expect during this time?

During this time you will receive a number of communication touch points from us. These include:

Progress Reports

On a quarterly basis we will provide you with construction updates from the developers. These often include a brief description of progress made onsite, photos and an updated anticipated completion date.

These reports will be communicated to you via email, or occasionally by post.

Pre-settlement meeting

Approximately three months prior to settlement we will contact you to inform you of your upcoming settlement and arrange a pre-settlement meeting with all relevant advisers at The Hopkins Group.

During this meeting, we will:

  • discuss your pre-settlement inspection,
  • discuss finance arrangements
  • advise on the kinds of insurance to take out on the property,
  • discuss the leasing and management of the property, and
  • review the cash flow of the new property as it sits with your current financial circumstances and tax position.

Any questions you might have regarding the settlement of your property will be answered at this meeting.

If you chose to utilise our property management services, we will also send you the appropriate paperwork to complete including a key collection authority after this meeting.

How do I go about granting valuer access?

Your bank may require a valuation to be completed on the property prior to final approval of the loan. We will communicate the access details to you and your lenders, as they become available, so this can be arranged as soon as the apartment is ready.

What does the pre-settlement inspection involve?

The pre-settlement inspection is the exciting moment you get to walk through your investment property for the first time. But you won’t be alone at this inspection – we’ll be walking right behind you with a magnifying glass making sure all is in order.

In the event we find any defects, we report these to the builders who rectify these issues either prior to settlement or within a timely manner post settlement (as contracted). If you are engaging our property management services, we will also take advertising photos at this inspection.

It’s also worth noting that not all of our clients attend the pre-settlement inspection in person, as they may be interstate or unavailable to attend due to other commitments. But that’s okay! A member of our team will always attend on your behalf to ensure the property is finished to the level expected and to take photos, where necessary.

What happens if I want to use The Hopkins Group for the leasing and ongoing management of my investment property?

Leasing paperwork will be sent to you a month prior to settlement. If you would like to use our services and ensure the timely leasing of your property, it is important to return all documents promptly and accurately.

Assuming you have completed a leasing and managing authority with us, we will usually begin to advertise your property for lease 14 days prior to settlement.

How do I go about arranging window furnishings?

As part of our negotiated benefits, window furnishings are usually provided by the vendor. However this isn’t always possible; in situations where window furnishings are not supplied, we will source quotes and provide them to you for your consideration and approval. It is important to pay for and order these before settlement, to ensure they are installed prior to any tenants moving in.

What triggers a call for settlement?

To settle a property, the vendor must provide a

  • Certificate of Occupancy, and
  • Registered Title

Once these two documents have been provided to you, you will then have the time period set out in the contract to settle the property (usually 14 days).

What happens at settlement?

Your lawyer will attend with the vendor’s lawyer; there is no need for you to attend.

The lawyers will coordinate with the bank and calculate the amount required and have the funds ready to be distributed to the relevant parties.

You will be notified once settlement has been completed.

How do I collect keys?

Once settlement has been completed, our property management team will collect the keys on your behalf, provided you have signed and returned a key collection authority to us.

If we will be managing your property, we will keep these keys to provide to your tenants; otherwise, the keys will be available for you to collect from our office once they are available.

How do I obtain a depreciation schedule?

Usually provided by the developer, this is distributed within 90 days of settlement via email. If this has not been negotiated, we can provide a referral to obtain this report, on request.

Once you have this report, you will need to pass it onto your accountant to ensure you receive maximum tax benefits from your investment property.

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider once you’ve purchased an off the plan property. But don’t let this daunt you! With expert advice from The Hopkins Group, you can feel confident that we will provide you with the relevant information at each step of the process, to help you feel in control. If you have any other questions not answered in this blog, please feel free to reach out and contact one of our advisers today.

Looking for property? Speak with one of our property investment advisers about our current recommended properties and find a property that’s right for you.

The dangers of a desk-bound lunch

Have you ever eaten lunch at your desk? If so, you’re not alone. I know I’m guilty of it; at work, I’m a regular desk-bound diner.

It’s not because I want to show my boss that I’m a hard worker – I just want to be as productive as possible during my work day.  For most of us with busy days and hectic schedules, eating lunch at our desks seems like the easiest solution. But we should really change that mind set!

As it turns out, eating your lunch at your desk isn’t all that good for you; and there are a few good reasons backing that up, including hidden health dangers. Let’s find out what these are.

Your desk is gross

Be warned, you may not even want to touch your keyboard – let alone eat near it – once you read this fact.

Dr Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of environmental microbiology at Arizona discovered that “desk top surfaces, computer keyboards, mouse and telephone receivers are more contaminated than a restroom toilet seats”. The research found that the keyboard alone is 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet bowl!

With this in mind, it’s best to keep your food well away from your desk, so you’re less likely to transfer germs from the keyboard to your lunch.  It also helps to keep your workspace clean.

You’ll be more productive and better at your job

When you’ve got a lot to do, a quick sandwich at your desk may seem like a good idea. But if you’re considering multitasking, think again!

There’s only so much you can do in a day. Taking a break is a great opportunity to let your mind wander, which can lead to new ideas, spark inspiration and potentially provide solutions to problems that were bothering you while your mind was active.

As the Fast Company writes, “even if we think we’re awesome at multitasking, we’re actually terrible at it.  Because quality work is deep work, and deep work is free of distraction. Sandwich included”.

Stress, sore joints and long term health risks

It’s important to move around every now and then to get your blood pumping and oxygen flowing.

When you eat lunch at your desk you’ll stay seated longer, and sitting for a long period of time can lead to problems like:

  • tension in your muscles and sore joints, leading to leg disorders
  • weakness in your hip and core muscles, leading to back pain
  • increased risk of heart disease
  • high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and
  • increased stress levels.

Distracted eating leads to sneaky weight gain

In order to enjoy your food, you need to pay attention to what you are eating. Otherwise, your body and brain don’t properly process the amount of food you are consuming; as a result you take in more calories than you need.  A sure-fire way to stack on the kilos!

Furthermore, don’t expect peace when you’re eating at your desk; unless you have a “go away” or “do not disturb” sign on your desk, your colleagues will assume that you’re working and may pepper your lunch with questions, help and problems to deal with. Hardly an enjoyable experience, is it?

You’ll build better work relationships with colleagues

Relationships at work are important.  You should learn how to build and maintain a healthy connection with those around you in order to enhance your job satisfaction.

That doesn’t mean that you have to eat lunch with your colleagues every day, know everything about them, or make them your best friends. But it doesn’t hurt to make the effort every now and then!

If you go out to lunch with your work colleagues occasionally, you might improve your rapport with them, which may lead to a more enjoyable work environment.

You can catch up and accomplish personal tasks

If you’re the type to eat lunch at your desk to save time, you’re probably looking for more hours in your week to get through your life admin as well. So why not use your lunch break to catch up on those personal tasks that you usually don’t get a chance to do because you’re so busy with work and family obligations? These tasks could be things like:

  • Catching up with friends that work nearby
  • Scheduling a meeting with an adviser from The Hopkins Group to take care of your financial future (and maybe even free up some more time by getting them to take care of things like your tax return, find the best home loan rate, manage your investment property, or just generally help you sort out a strategy to manage your overall financial wellbeing)

By now, you should be convinced that stepping away from your desk at lunch break is definitely worth it. It is full of benefits not only for your health, but your quality of work too; so we should all take full advantage of having a break.

Do you have any suggestions for how to spend your lunch break, or reasons why taking a break is important? Let us know over on our Facebook page.


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The Hopkins Group

Street Address

Level 23, 500 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Postal Address

GPO Box 4347, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Office Hours

8:30am - 5:00pmMonday - Friday (after hours by appointment)
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