Electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing) is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to leading digital innovation with the aim of minimising the manual process and paperwork associated with the settlement and lodgment of property transactions.
It is also in line with the commitment by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to the development of a national electronic conveyancing system.
(In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of real property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage or a lien.)
eConveyancing is a more efficient, accurate and secure way of conducing the settlement of a conveyancing transaction. It allows Solicitors, Conveyancers and financial institutions to enter a secure, online workspace where they can interact and transact together online.
A digital world
Within that digital environment, information can automatically feed in from the original source and can populate all documentation while the system cross-checks that information. Documents are created, signed and lodged within the online environment and parties complete all necessary steps to settle the transaction within that online environment.
In NSW we have been transitioning to eConveyancing with the NSW government setting a timeline for mandates which we are now over half way through. All mainstream property transfers must now be lodged electronically unless an exemption applies. If you are buying or selling a property it is more than likely that your transaction will need to occur electronically.
It’s a stressful time
Buying and selling property can be a stressful time. The settlement process for a property transaction was previously complex and relied on paper records as well as parties being physically present at transactions. These restraints created stress and delay. In NSW 28% of consumers indicated that the settlement process was stressful. An additional 17% of consumers experienced a delay in settlement. eConveyancing removes the need for attendance and allows for more efficient communication and sharing of data.
Is eConveyancing safe?
A platform for eConveyancing is known as an Electronic Lodgment Network and is supplied by an Electronic Lodgment Network Operator.
The leader and first approved Electronic Lodgment Network Operator is Property Exchange Australia Limited more commonly known as PEXA.
There are other Electronic Network Operators who are working through the approval and negotiation process including Sympli Australia Pty Ltd and Purcell Partners Pty Ltd.
PEXA is a secure online property exchange network that allows Solicitors and Conveyancers to electronically lodge Land Registry documents and complete the financial settlement of a property transaction. PEXA is an opportunity to perform transactions in a faster, safer and more efficient way. PEXA provides greater certainty of a successful settlement and ensures that the registration of the Transfer happens quickly.
Is It Risky?
While there will always be risks, whether operating in the traditional paper settlement or in eConveyancing, PEXA has gone to great lengths to minimise these risks.
There are a number of safeguards to protect the data, security and safety of eConveyancing. The increased incidence of identity theft and fraud requires Solicitors and Conveyancers participating in eConveyancing to verify the identity of the of persons claiming a right to deal in land. Steps taken to verify the client’s identity limits the impact of fraud and increases security.
Paperwork and postage increases the risk of errors and delays. Using the online property exchange network reduces the risk of manual errors, fraud and delayed settlement.
Within the digital environment your information can automatically feed in from the original source document and populate into all documentation while PEXA cross-checks the information.
Additionally, PEXA provides protection to sellers in the event of certain kinds of fraud. The PEXA Residential Seller Guarantee gives the seller the option to make a claim against PEXA, rather than seeking to recover the loss by an alternative means.
As a client you will not have access to PEXA directly. You will provide your Solicitor or Conveyancer with the authority to represent you online. This authorisation allows the Solicitor or Conveyancer to sign documents on your behalf, serve documents for registration and complete any financial requirements of the transaction.
The ability to complete property transactions online offers significant time and cost savings. As a client you have greater accessibility to conveyancing services as geographical constraints no longer exist.
PEXA has pre-populated documents and information which creates conformity amongst Solicitors and Conveyancers and a greater access to resources. PEXA will automatically lodge the documents with the Land Registry Services, exchange settlement funds electronically, pay stamp duty and other disbursements. This real-time lodgment and settlement allows for a faster completion of the conveyancing transaction.
PEXA is continually working to improve the involvement of the client in the property transaction. Recently, they have introduced the ‘PEXA Key’ a secure app for clients through which bank account details required for settlement can be exchanged. This removes the vulnerability and risks associated with email communications. The app also enables the client to track their settlement’s process.
Paton Hooke Lawyers & Conveyancers – PEXA Certified
Paton Hooke Lawyers & Conveyancers have a strong tradition and reputation in providing expert, cost effective and efficient services in all aspects of property law. We believe in innovation and have been early adaptors to new technology. We started completing electronic conveyancing transactions well before the mandates with our first eConveyancing transaction occurring in 2016.
We are PEXA certified and have successfully completed hundreds of eConveyancing transactions.
If you are buying or selling, put your matter in the hands of the professionals, call us today.