What is a Settlement Statement?

What is a settlement statement?

A settlement statement, also known as a closing statement or settlement sheet, is a crucial document that provides a detailed breakdown of all the financial aspects involved in a property transaction. It outlines the various costs, fees, and adjustments that need to be made between the buyer and seller at the time of settlement.In essence, a settlement statement serves as a financial roadmap for the property transfer, ensuring that both parties clearly understand their financial obligations and entitlements. It's typically prepared by the conveyancer or solicitor handling the settlement process.

Key Components of a Settlement Statement

A typical settlement statement for a Melbourne property transaction will include the following key elements:

  1. Purchase price: The agreed-upon price of the property as stated in the contract of sale.
  2. Deposit: The amount paid by the buyer when the contract was signed.
  3. Balance due: The remaining amount the buyer needs to pay at settlement.
  4. Adjustments: Pro-rata calculations for various ongoing expenses such as council rates, water rates, and owners corporation fees.
  5. Stamp duty: The amount of land transfer duty payable to the State Revenue Office of Victoria.
  6. Mortgage discharge (for sellers): The amount required to pay off any existing mortgage on the property.
  7. Agent's commission: The fee payable to the real estate agent (usually by the seller).
  8. Legal fees: Conveyancing costs for both buyer and seller.
  9. Search fees: Costs associated with property and title searches.
  10. Registration fees: Charges for registering the transfer of title with Land Use Victoria.

The Importance of a Settlement Statement

Understanding the settlement statement is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Financial clarity: It provides a clear picture of exactly how much money will change hands at settlement, helping both parties prepare financially.
  2. Avoiding disputes: By itemising all costs and adjustments, it helps prevent misunderstandings or disagreements about financial obligations.
  3. Ensuring accuracy: It allows both parties to verify that all calculations are correct before finalising the transaction.
  4. Legal compliance: The settlement statement ensures that all necessary payments, such as stamp duty and registration fees, are accounted for and paid correctly.

How Settlement Statements Work in Melbourne

In Melbourne, as in the rest of Victoria, the settlement process typically follows these steps:

  1. Preparation: The buyer's and seller's conveyancers or solicitors prepare draft settlement statements based on the contract of sale and any additional agreed terms.
  2. Exchange: The draft statements are exchanged between the parties for review and agreement.
  3. Finalisation: Any discrepancies or issues are resolved, and the final settlement statements are prepared.
  4. Settlement day: The parties (or their representatives) meet to exchange documents and funds as outlined in the settlement statements.
  5. Post-settlement: The buyer's conveyancer ensures all necessary documents are lodged with Land Use Victoria to complete the transfer of ownership.

Adjustments in Settlement Statements

One of the most important aspects of a settlement statement is the adjustments section. This ensures that ongoing expenses related to the property are fairly apportioned between the buyer and seller based on the settlement date.Common adjustments in Melbourne property transactions include:

  • Council rates: These are usually paid quarterly or annually in advance.
  • Water rates: Including both fixed charges and usage.
  • Owners corporation fees: For apartments or units within managed complexes.
  • Land tax: If applicable, this is usually adjusted on a single holding basis.

For example, if the seller has paid council rates for the full year, but settlement occurs halfway through that year, the buyer would need to reimburse the seller for the portion of rates covering the period after settlement.

Special Considerations for Melbourne Properties

When dealing with settlement statements for Melbourne properties, there are a few local factors to keep in mind:

  1. Stamp duty concessions: First home buyers in Melbourne may be eligible for stamp duty concessions or exemptions, which should be reflected in the settlement statement.
  2. Foreign buyer surcharges: Non-resident buyers in Victoria are subject to additional stamp duty surcharges, which must be included in the settlement calculations.
  3. Off-the-plan purchases: For newly built or off-the-plan properties, there may be additional adjustments for things like developer incentives or rebates.
  4. GST: For new residential properties, GST may be payable and should be clearly stated in the settlement statement.

Tips for Reviewing Your Settlement Statement

When you receive your settlement statement, it's essential to review it carefully. Here are some tips:

  1. Check all figures against your contract of sale and any subsequent agreements.
  2. Verify that all adjustments have been calculated correctly based on the settlement date.
  3. Ensure that any special conditions from the contract (e.g., inclusion of furniture) are reflected in the statement.
  4. Double-check the final balance to ensure it matches your expectations.
  5. If anything is unclear or seems incorrect, don't hesitate to ask your conveyancer or solicitor for clarification.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When dealing with settlement statements, be aware of these common pitfalls:

  1. Overlooking small discrepancies: Even small errors can add up, so check every line item carefully.
  2. Misunderstanding adjustments: Make sure you understand how and why each adjustment has been calculated.
  3. Forgetting about last-minute changes: Ensure any agreed changes to the property or contract are reflected in the final statement.
  4. Not allowing enough time for review: Give yourself plenty of time to go through the statement thoroughly before settlement day.

The Role of Your Conveyancer

Your conveyancer plays a crucial role in preparing and explaining the settlement statement. They will:

  • Gather all necessary information from relevant parties (e.g., banks, real estate agents, councils).
  • Prepare the draft settlement statement.
  • Negotiate any discrepancies with the other party's representative.
  • Explain the statement to you in detail, ensuring you understand all aspects.
  • Make any necessary adjustments based on your feedback or changing circumstances.


A settlement statement is a vital document in any Melbourne property transaction, providing a clear and detailed account of the financial aspects of the sale. By understanding what goes into a settlement statement and how to review it properly, you can ensure a smooth and transparent property settlement process.If you're buying or selling property in Melbourne and need expert assistance with your settlement statement or any other aspect of the conveyancing process, don't hesitate to reach out to the experienced team at Pearson Chambers Conveyancing. We're here to guide you through every step of your property transaction, ensuring clarity, accuracy, and peace of mind. For more information and to take advantage of our free Section 32 contract review, contact Pearson Chambers Conveyancing today:

Phone: 03 9969 2405
Email: contact@pearsonchambers.com.au

Let us help make your Melbourne property journey a success!