It wasn’t so long ago that the settlement process for South Australian property transactions involved physical attendance to the Lands titles office on Grenfell Street in Adelaide. Sometimes there would be some playful banter between conveyancers and occasionally there would be a meaningful conversation with a long-time colleague but for the most part we would all stand around awkwardly in a cramped room and impatiently await those final moments of the process and for the settlement to be completed.
We would tightly clutch on to important paper work including mortgage discharge forms and transfers before submitting them to the LTO. After a long and excruciating wait in the queue, the transaction would be settled; much to the relief of both the vendors and buyers eagerly waiting for the next chapter in their lives to begin.
July 4 2016 marked the beginning of a four month transition period for Electronic Conveyancing that allows for a steady transition into the new process and we couldn’t be more excited about the future benefits to the industry.
Electronic conveyancing is an easier, more efficient and more streamlined process for both the client and their acting Conveyancer. It is going to save a lot of time, a lot of stress and a lot of paper.
A NEW ERA IN CONVEYANCING
The introduction of the Real Property (Electronic Conveyancing) Amendment Bill 2015, amending the Real Property Act 1886 (SA) in May is what has finally propelled the property industry into the 21st Century and allowed us to finally be able to settle transactions remotely.
For conveyancers it means less time waiting at the bank and less time standing around in heels which is frankly better for everyone here at Essential Conveyancing.
PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) is the platform that will soon be used nationwide for most property transactions. It was developed by software solutions company GlobalX and is hosted by Telstra.
PEXA is backed by the South Australian Government, the Law Society of South Australia, and the SA division of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Settlements will now be done online, with a direct and secure exchange of electronic documents between the acting conveyancers, the LTO and the banks.
Banks will process mortgages, discharges, transfers and refinances online and all transaction information and documentation will be uploaded to the platform and verified against land registry data. Final funds will be settled through the Reserve Bank.
All information regarding the transaction will be entered on the clients’ behalf by the conveyancer. The Conveyancer is then able to watch the status of the settlement in real time.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR CLIENTS?
There will be a few noticeable changes for clients however most will be fairly comprehensive and ultimately more convenient. As mentioned, the conveyancer will now have authority to sign transfers on behalf of the client, meaning they will also be responsible for gaining authorization from the client and verifying the clients’ identity and authority to participate in the transaction.
For buyers, electronic transactions also mean a faster turnaround for updating title ownership details, however the title will be digital only and you will no longer receive a duplicate Certificate of Title. This may come as disappointing news to many, considering a certificate of title is generally a nice piece of paper to own, however it will certainly improve the process for you should you sell in the future, and it is useful in combating the issue of property related fraud in Australia.
Vendors will be happy to know that they will receive funds right away as they will be settled through the reserve bank- meaning you don’t have to keep checking your online banking every half an hour for the following 3 days waiting for that cash to clear so you can pack up the family and buy that shack on Hamilton Island you just put an offer on.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS?
There isn’t a great deal that Agents need to concern themselves with in regards to the shift to electronic conveyancing. They get to carry on being their usual charismatic selves, making everyone’s dreams come true. There are a couple things the Australian Institute of Conveyancers has recommended agents take note of (and they have even prepared a little power point presentation outlining these changes)
In summary, all paperwork such as story sheets and contracts need to be submitted to the conveyancer as soon as possible, avoiding any delay in settlement. Banks will require registration of some transactions such as a notice of death prior to settlement, and initially some transactions may not be able to proceed electronically, such as land divisions.
During the transition period electronic transactions are entirely optional and up to the discretion of the acting conveyancer, however the new processes involved in both manual and electronic transactions will require an extra condition in contracts.
We believe these changes (albeit long overdue) are very positive for the South Australian property industry, especially for Conveyancers and their clients. At Essential Conveyancing we are certainly ready to implement the new process as soon as possible and looking forward seeing faster more efficient settlements in the near future.