The History Of Digital Conveyancing

The history of digital conveyancing and what it means for you today

If you’ve had anything to do with buying or selling real estate in the past ten years or so, then you’d probably know that conveyancing has had a bit of a makeover. Thanks to digital innovations, conveyancing is now far less ‘painful’, less laborious, less time-consuming and, dare we say it, less intimidating.

In the old days, conveyancing was awfully clunky and involved a lot of actual hardcopy paperwork. In fact, it was that way for about 150 years. Clients (buyers and sellers) had to spend time visiting their respective solicitors’ offices, property searches were carried out in person and tons of phone calls and faxes – eek, remember faxes?! – went back and forth!

Finally, on settlement day, two sets of lawyers and reps from at least one bank, sometimes both, would turn up at a settlement office to exchange the relevant documents and bank cheques.

To think that it all had to be completed within 30 days really makes your head spin! Add to that the extra issue that in Queensland, if the settlement wasn’t completed on or by the due date, a lawsuit could arise!

Thank goodness digital conveyancing arrived on the scene, like a superhero who’s come to save the day … and time, money, and frustration.

What is digital conveyancing?

Also known as eConveyancing, digital conveyancing uses the internet to process property settlement transactions. Documentation and searches are managed online through secure portals and even payment is made electronically.

The 10-year history of digital conveyancing

Way back in 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) identified the need for a smarter, more efficient and more streamlined way of doing conveyancing business, one that would represent a “truly national property exchange”. The internet was then in full swing and could make endless possibilities a reality. Not only that, businesses and the general public had become more comfortable with doing what they needed online.

In 2010, COAG established an entity called the National Electronic Conveyancing System (NECS), a nationwide electronic platform for the country’s property industry. Before long, NECS was rebranded as Property Exchange Australia (PEXA). 

PEXA had the full backing of the state governments and the country’s big banks so with all these major players on board, there was no going back!

What’s so great about PEXA for property buyers and sellers?

Just for starters, property transactors don’t have to spend any of their valuable time in their solicitors’ or conveyancers’ offices.

Over the five decades in which we handled conveyancing for our clients in our former identity, we learned that vendors and buyers often felt intimidated by the ‘legalese’ aspect of the transaction. They told us and/or showed us that their emotions ranged from bored and bothered to nervous and apprehensive. Having to attend the office and see the documentation in action is a step they wished they could do without … and now they can.

With PEXA, your conveyancer sets up an electronic workspace on PEXA for that specific property’s transaction and everything is done via digital collaboration. The banks (or other lenders), real estate agents, solicitors/conveyancers and relevant government authorities all do their part through the PEXA electronic workspace. Not only that, but these stakeholders can all access the shared information. This keeps everything fully transparent and everyone knows who’s responsible for what.

One of the most brilliant things PEXA facilitates is quicker access to property sale proceeds. For vendors, that means getting paid sooner and for buyers, it can mean earlier access to the property. What’s not to love?

So, PEXA really is the ‘superhero of conveyancing’?

Yes! PEXA makes everything so much easier, but no less compliant whatsoever. If anything, full compliance is now easier to achieve.

PEXA is now the preferred way to perform conveyancing and in fact, it’s actually mandatory in most states of Australia!

At the time of writing, PEXA has transacted over $2 trillion worth of property value, with more than 11 million transactions completed. It’s actually a world-first initiative that’s been awarded for its outstanding innovation and the impact it’s had on the industry.

But is PEXA safe and secure?

Ever heard the expression, “safe as houses”? That’s PEXA because it’s 100% committed to maintaining world-class security standards. Signing documents digitally and processing payments electronically are as safe and secure as they are convenient, simple and time-saving.

Colwell Conveyancing Group is part of the PEXA Member Advisory Council for Queensland

The PEXA Member Advisory Council is a collection of leadership groups that advocate for Australia’s property transaction practitioners and help to advance PEXA’s development.

Colwell Conveyancing Group is proud to be a part of the Queensland division. We live and breathe digital conveyancing and appreciate being able to play such a significant role in informing and supporting PEXA initiatives.

At the time of writing, digital conveyancing is not yet mandatory in Queensland (but it’s expected to happen in January 2023). Even so, we’re a 100% digital conveyancing firm and we’re completely across all the compliance, operational and security requirements.

If you have any questions about PEXA, digital conveyancing or how we can help finalise your property transaction with ease and confidence, get in touch! We’ll know just how to help you.

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