What To Expect From A Bluestone Settlement
Settlement is exciting for brokers and their customers, but it can also come with a lot of stress. Learn more about the process here.
The time from unconditional approval to settlement can be as exciting as it can be stressful. While the hardest part is getting the approval, the tail end of the loan process is when everything comes to a head. As your Settlements Officer works to get those last t’s crossed and i’s dotted, it can become particularly nerve-racking if days go by with no apparent progress.
To give you a sense of what goes on behind the scenes while you and your customers wait, we’ve sat down with Anthony Franulovic, one of our Settlements Officers, to walk you through a typical settlements scenario, answer common questions that come up at this stage, and give you some useful ways you can help us get your borrowers’ loans settled quicker.
Your settlement officer’s role
Anthony is one of a number of Settlement Officers working at Bluestone. Their job is to guide unconditional offers through to settlement. When a deal reaches unconditional approval, it gets passed to the settlements team, who will assign it to one of their officers.
Your Settlements Officer’s role is to coordinate between the various parties involved to achieve a settlement, ensuring timelines are adhered to, and to keep you and your customers abreast of new developments. In general, each settlement will be handled by the same person from start to finish, but to make sure there’s no service gaps in case of unexpected absences, the team makes sure to stay abreast of each other’s loans.
The settlement process
The first thing our Settlements Officers do when receiving an unconditionally approved deal is send instructions to our solicitors to issue the loan documents. Bluestone does not have internal solicitors, but partners with First Mortgage Services (FMS) and MSA National to complete all our settlements. Generally, the completed documents will be sent to the borrowers via Express Post within 2 business days. Alternately, if you are dealing with a tight deadline you or the borrowers can opt to pick the documents up at our solicitors’ offices across Australia.
Approximately one week after we send the loan documents, a Bluestone customer service representative will call each borrower on the loan to verbally confirm the information of the loan and answer any outstanding questions the borrowers may have. The settlement can’t go ahead without these calls having been completed, so make sure you tell your borrowers to expect and to answer these calls.
If we haven’t heard back from you with the completed loan documents after one week, your Settlements Officer will follow up to see if you’ve got any questions or issues we can help with to get the documents finalised. Most of the documents just require straightforward information – personal and bank details, signatures and acknowledgements.
At this point we’ll also need proof that any pre-settlement conditions attached to your loan have been met. This might include things like confirmation that independent legal or financial advice has been sought, a certificate of currency for your home insurance or change of name documents if the name on the title is no longer accurate due to marriage or divorce. Once you return the documents, our solicitor will check everything is in order. If the solicitor notices anything missing, they will reach out directly to you or the borrowers.
Once the loan documents are finalised and the pre-settlement call has been completed, settlement is ready for booking.
The booking process is slightly different depending on whether the loan is for a purchase or refinance, and whether it is completed online via the Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) or via the traditional paper route. Most settlements are completed via PEXA these days, and all Australian states and territories are in the process of moving all settlement types online.
PEXA Settlement Setup
Once a PEXA settlement is ready for booking, our solicitor will create a digital workspace and invite all other relevant parties. These other parties are usually outgoing banks, meaning the lenders whose loans will be paid off with your new Bluestone loan.
The best and fastest scenario here is that the current owner of the property owns it outright, as that means there is no outgoing lender. In that case, we just need to see the clear original certificate of title before moving on to booking the settlement.
A straightforward purchase or refinance is where the current owner still holds a mortgage and there is only one outgoing lender – either your client’s previous lender or the seller’s. It gets more complicated when consolidating debt, as each debt account holder will need to be brought to the table to arrange for payout.
This is a stage of settlement where delays sometimes can occur, because Bluestone is entirely reliant on external parties before being able to book the settlement. Some of the larger lenders have internal work processes and service level agreements in place that might make it difficult to get them to the table as quickly as we’d like.
Your Settlements Officer will be following up by phone and email with all other parties continuously until we’re ready to book, to keep you up to speed on what’s going on and let you know if and how you or your clients can help to move things along quicker.
Paper Settlement Setup
A paper settlement is different to a PEXA one only in the sense that all parties will need to be in the same physical location to complete the settlement. So instead of setting up a virtual workspace, our solicitor will get on the phone to set up a meeting with the other parties to complete the settlement. It goes without saying that this can be even trickier than getting everyone in the same digital location, so again – please bear with our team while we get everything ready to go.
Completing the Settlement
Once everyone is at the table, the Settlements Officer will book in the settlement. For a home purchase, the settlement date must be on the date of purchase. A refinance is more flexible, and can usually occur at everyone’s earliest convenience.
One day before the settlement, our solicitor will confirm final payout figures with each outgoing bank, and Bluestone will fund the loan. Finally, on settlement day, all outgoing banks will receive their funds and the settlement has been completed.
Our settlements team work hard to make your settlement as smooth as possible and keep you up to speed at every step of the way. If you have any questions or feedback about the work they do please feel free to reach out to them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 8115 5045, or get in touch with your BDM.