Settling on settlement day when selling

Settlement day is the date the buyer pays the remaining money for the property sale and they receive the keys to the property.

Summary of important things to know
  • A number of things need to happen in a certain order on settlement day between your lawyer or conveyancer, the buyer’s lawyer or conveyancer and your bank or lending company (if you have a mortgage).

  • It is a good idea to move out of the property before settlement day if possible. If you plan to move out on the day and there are any delays to the property being vacant, you can risk having to pay compensation to the buyer.

  • Settlement is managed by your lawyer or conveyancer, and there isn’t anything for you to do if all the documents have been signed a few days earlier. Your lawyer or conveyancer will register the change of ownership to the buyer.

  • You must deliver all keys (including garage door remotes and security alarm codes) to your agent or lawyer or conveyancer, whichever has been previously agreed, as soon as possible on settlement day for the buyer to collect when settlement is complete.

  • This page provides some general information, but may not cover everything you need to know. Your lawyer or conveyancer will be able to give you advice on your settlement.

IMAGE: Welcoming

What happens on settlement day?

A number of things need to happen on settlement day. Your lawyer or conveyancer will manage most of them for you.

  • Your lawyer or conveyancer will receive the remainder of the property purchase money from the buyer’s lawyer or conveyancer.
  • Your lawyer or conveyancer will create electronic documents through the online Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) system, which are sent to the buyer’s lawyer or conveyancer. The buyer’s lawyer or conveyancer completes these documents electronically, confirming the details of who the title is transferring to and any mortgage being registered on the title. This information is then stored on the official register of titles held by LINZ.
  • When this has happened, the buyer can collect the keys from your lawyer or conveyancer or from your agent. You must give the buyer all of the keys to the property, including any window locks, remote controls to the garage and security alarm codes.
  • Your lawyer or conveyancer will also notify the local council about the sale.

Property settlement is like a chain, and any broken links in the chain may lead to delays. If you are settling on a new home on the same day or if the buyer is selling a home, the chain is longer.

Moving out

Whether you move out on settlement day or a few days before, the property must be left tidy with no rubbish or belongings left behind. Check the sale and purchase agreement for any special conditions about cleaning the property before settlement.

It’s a good idea to leave the property in the condition you’d like it to be if you were moving in for the first time.

You might like to leave the new owners a welcome note with information about:

  • rubbish days
  • any services providers you’ve used regularly such as, garden maintenance
  • the names of interior and exterior paint colours
  • the neighbours’ names
  • any special history about the property
  • your forwarding address for any mail.

Don’t forget to drop off all keys, garage door remotes and security alarm details to your lawyer or conveyancer or agent to give to the buyer.

[PDF, 359 KB]

Download the settlement day checklist [PDF, 359 KB].

Getting help if things go wrong

Most settlements run smoothly, but things can go wrong on the day. Your lawyer or conveyancer is the first person to call if there are issues. They will be able to answer your questions and guide you.

Delays in the process can be stressful, especially if you are moving out on settlement day. We recommend planning to move out of your property at least a day before settlement if that is possible.

Read more about getting help if things go wrong here.

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