Elite AgentOPINION

Smoothing the path to settlement through eConveyancing

From searching for the perfect property to bidding at auction and ultimately negotiating and settling, purchasing and selling their home is a stressful and complicated process for most buyers and sellers. And, despite a property’s booming sold sticker, the purchasing process often continues long after the auction hammer has slammed.

Real estate agents are the public face of the property purchasing process. From welcoming prospective buyers to the open house at the beginning of the process through to the auction itself, real estate agents offer reassurance and guidance to buyers and sellers alike as they attempt to navigate one of the most important purchase decisions of their lives.

To better understand and empathise with clients, real estate agents must intimately understand the technicalities of the property process from start to finish. Agents need to be fully aware of how easily hiccups can occur and how these can ultimately affect settlement and moving-in times. Often the chief culprit is human error in the conveyancing process.

Traditionally, conveyancing – the legal preparation of documents for the transfer of property – is a laborious, paper-based system which can take up to 30 days to complete. It is unnecessarily complex, relies on paper records and insists on the physical presence of all parties at the final transaction.

Paper-based conveyancing can lead to numerous delays for buyers and sellers, including a lag in financial approval/settlement, manual processing errors and late submissions. It is inefficient, time-consuming and a system unfit for purpose in this the digital era.

According to a recent PwC Digital Property report, 25 per cent of paper-based settlements were delayed, with many customers suffering a significant financial hit and higher than normal stress levels.

Of those who experienced delays due to paper conveyancing:

  • One in four had travelled to another location in anticipation of completing settlement
  • One in four suffered from financial implications or issues as a result of the delay
  • Almost one in five experienced delivery problems
  • One in five had to source alternative accommodation

However, there is another way – electronic conveyancing.

eConveyancing minimises the manual processes and paperwork associated with property settlement by enabling lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions to transact together online via an online property exchange such as PEXA (Property Exchange Australia).

Within the PEXA digital environment, information can automatically feed in from original sources and populate all documentation while the system cross-checks everything. Materials are created, signed and lodged within the online environment, and parties complete all necessary steps to settle the transaction within PEXA.

It is a vastly more efficient, accurate and secure way of conducting the settlement and lodgment stages of a conveyancing transaction.

With the property industry ripe for major disruption – primarily due to a perceived lack of transparency and usability – the establishment and roll-out of eConveyancing in Australia is potentially game-changing for buyers, sellers and the entire property industry.

As consumer needs, wants and expectations continue to rise, the implementation and adoption of a fully transparent, easy to use and ultra-efficient eConveyancing platform is absolutely fundamental to the future health of the Australian property industry.

Any system which provides an infinitely smoother and more reliable solution for the end user should be welcomed with open arms. After all, progress is impossible without change.

Benefits of eConveyancing 

  • Fast: ability to settle multiple properties using an online property exchange
  • Safe: digital integration with Land Registries to lodge instruments and exchange of funds via the RBA
  • Efficient: no need to attend settlement – vendor’s proceeds disbursed electronically as cleared funds

Advantages for sellers 

  • Greater certainty: online document checks bring greater certainty of successful on-time settlement
  • Faster processing: online settlement allows sale proceeds to be processed as cleared funds more quickly
  • Convenience: no need for sellers to physically obtain and sign paper transfer documents

Advantages for buyers 

  • On-time settlement: greater certainty settlement will occur as scheduled
  • Peace of mind: once settled, ownership is transferred instantly
  • No more bank cheques: online transaction saves time and money.

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Mike Cameron

A finance industry executive with more than 25 years’ experience, Mike specialises in delivering transformational change outcomes. In his current role, he is responsible for boosting the growth of PEXA’s national e-conveyancing solution and driving adoption by banks, lawyers and conveyancers.