A national electronic conveyancing system (Property Exchange Australia "PEXA") has been rolled out throughout Australia to streamline the settlement process and to provide buyers and sellers with the same technological advances available to them through tools such as internet banking.
What is E-Conveyancing?
E-Conveyancing is the process of settling residential property transactions electronically. E-Conveyancing will also allow lawyers to prepare and lodge documents electronically with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
The current practice of conveyancing is completed in a paper dependent environment. Each party or their legal representative attends settlement and exchanges paper transfer documents and bank cheques. E-Conveyancing will remove the need for this exchange making settlements paperless and cashless.
Your lawyer can now complete your settlement online on your behalf. The PEXA system will instruct the buyer’s bank to move the settlement monies through the Reserve Bank and then into the seller’s bank or other bank accounts as directed. The PEXA system will also lodge the relevant documents with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
In order to allow for E-Conveyancing, new residential Contracts were introduced:-
- The 11th Edition Contract for Houses & Residential Land; and
- The 7th Edition Contract for Residential Lots in a Community Title Scheme.
The new Contracts allow for the payment of the balance of the purchase price to be transferred electronically whereas the previous versions could not accommodate this.
Your lawyer will be able to assist you in drafting the correct Contract of Sale and ensuring that this will be provided to the buyers or sellers in a timely manner.
What will take place outside of E-Conveyancing?
E-Conveyancing will not take away from the importance of relying on professionals to assist with your property transaction.
Your lawyer will be able to prepare your Contract of Sale and ensure the Contract is executed correctly. You should discuss with your lawyer if your settlement will take place by E-Conveyancing. E-Conveyancing is not mandatory and the parties can elect whichever system is more suitable to their needs as both the buyer and seller will need to agree to use E-Conveyancing.
Self-acting buyers and sellers do not have access to E-Conveyancing and will need to engage a lawyer to act on their behalf to complete their conveyance whether they are selling or buying. Your lawyer will need to provide you with legal advice on your transaction, complete the necessary searches and calculate any settlement adjustments for rates, water and/or body corporate levies.
Your lawyer can also assist you to apply for any concessions regarding Stamp Duty which you may be eligible for.
The Purpose of E-Conveyancing
It is envisaged that E-Conveyancing will allow more transparency and reduce errors that can sometimes occur in the settlement process.
The Department of Natural Resources and Mines, banks and lawyers should be able to complete the settlement process more efficiently in part by removing the need to physically attend settlement. The necessary funds and documents will need to be loaded into the system prior to the settlement date allowing sufficient time for any errors to be dealt with prior to the time of settlement. Documents will be lodged almost immediately with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. The settlement monies will be distributed immediately.
It is currently estimated that throughout Australia one in three consumers find property settlements stressful with this increasing to one in two where the settlement is delayed. The E-Conveyancing systems aim to reduce consumer stress and increase their satisfaction with the settlement process. Lawyers will use E-Conveyancing to provide more satisfactory and time efficient results for their clients.
The E-Conveyancing system is still considered a new system in Queensland and the traditional means of conveyancing is still widely used. Time will tell whether this system meets all of its goals.
Please do not hesitate to contact Rapid Conveyancing on (07) 4755 9150 if you require assistance with your conveyancing matter.
Revised 8 July 2016
This document offers general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice under any circumstance. Please contact your solicitor for clarification on any areas.