“E-conveyancing” refers to a conveyancing transaction where lawyers have elected to settle electronically, from computer desktop to desktop through the electronic platform provided by Property Exchange Australia Limited (PEXA).
It is now available in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
We love it at Amity, and here is why.
In a traditional conveyance where the seller has a mortgage and the buyer is taking out a mortgage to buy the property, a quick summary of the lead up to settlement is as follows:
- a transfer document is prepared and then circulated for signing by both the seller and buyer;
- the buyer pays stamp duty and the buyer’s lawyer arranges for the transfer to be stamped;
- the seller’s bank prepares and then signs mortgage release documents;
- the buyer’s bank arranges bank cheques for the agreed settlement amounts and prepares new mortgage documents for signing by the buyer and their guarantors;
- agents for the buyer, the seller, the buyer’s bank and the seller’s bank (i.e. a cast of thousands) then physically meet in a room, check the transfer documents, mortgage release documents, new mortgage documents and cheques are correct, then exchange those and agree settlement has occurred; and
- following settlement, the buyer’s bank collects the stamped transfer and mortgage release documents and then arranges for those to be lodged at the titles office with the new mortgage documents.
Fast forward to an E-Conveyance
The modern age of e-conveyancing is upon us and most of the above is no longer necessary. No more paper transfer or release documents, no requirement for buyers and sellers to sign transfer documents (their lawyers sign digitally), no need for bank cheques, no need to stamp a hard copy transfer document and no need for all parties to physically meet in a room to swap documents for cheques.
Utilising the PEXA Platform the buyer’s lawyer, the seller’s lawyer and representatives for the ingoing and outgoing bank each:
- log onto a secure electronic portal reserved for the settlement from their desktop;
- prepare and digitally sign the transfer, release and mortgage documents;
- enter in the appropriate information, figures and bank accounts (i.e. the same information which would be recorded in the paper transfer and release documents and the settlement statement); and
- follow a series of certifications to confirm they are satisfied.
When the last person has logged on and confirmed agreement with the information in the online portal, settlement occurs, the necessary information is electronically sent to the titles office and the settlement funds, registration fees and stamp duty (if not already paid) are electronically transferred to the appropriate accounts.
No more documents getting lost in the post, no more waiting for someone to descend a mountain to sign something, no more chasing bank officers to hurry up and arrange for someone in the bank to get documents prepared, signed and delivered to where they need to be for settlement. The platform creates a space where all participants can communicate thus removing the reliance on archaic processes.
E-Conveyancing is rapidly evolving
Around the country e-Conveyancing is rapidly becoming the norm. With Victoria and Western Australia having already implemented compliance dates in 2018, and NSW following in July 2019 the conveyancing landscape is rapidly evolving. Currently in QLD, it is voluntary to participate in an e-conveyance and all participants must agree.
e-conveyancing is only available to the banks, buyers and sellers who engage lawyers (in QLD) signed up to use e-conveyancing. Thus ensuring that only the appropriate professionals are accessing the platform.
We openly embrace e-conveyancing, and we are hoping that the uptake in QLD continues to gain momentum.
It is more efficient, it saves trees, it saves the cost of four agents attending a physical settlement, settlement funds are cleared and transferred electronically, meaning faster access to sale proceeds – no more clearance days on bank cheques, the buyers interest is registered on title faster than in paper, and further reduces the risk of title documents being lost after settlement.
We are encouraging our clients to authorise us to use e-conveyancing for their property transactions.
If you have any queries about e-conveyancing and how it works, please don’t hesitate to contact us.