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A shift to paperless transactions

Electronic conveyancing set to come on-line at Commins Hendriks

By Tracy Dawson – Senior Conveyancer, Commercial & Property Law

30 June 2016

New electronic platforms are opening the door to paperless conveyancing transactions, and Commins Hendriks’ commercial and residential conveyancing clients are set to benefit from the move.

On 9 June 2016, a Sydney based property solicitor finalised an apartment sale in which every part of the transaction, from contract exchange to settlement, was carried out electronically – no paper changing hands.

Commins Hendriks is embracing the change, putting in place the systems which will allow the firm to conduct paperless property transactions.

We’ve signed up to the Property Exchange Australia platform (PEXA), which enables Land Registries, financial institutions and conveyancers to conduct online property exchanges – removing the need for each party to physically attend settlement. It also reduces the amount of time it can take to organise a settlement. Rather than spending time on the telephone with the banks, checking that all parties involved have the necessary documents and signatures etc., the PEXA platform keeps us all up-to-date in “real time” on the process.

This all benefits our clients, whether they’re purchasers or vendors. On settlement, purchasers will have the documents registered into their names more quickly, while vendors will receive settlement proceeds as cleared funds into their bank accounts on the same day.

The e-conveyancing move is being driven by government legislation and key industry stakeholders, with the four major banks, Macquarie Capital, and  the New South Wales (NSW), Victorian, Queensland, and Western Australian governments are among the owners of the PEXA platform.

The firm is introducing Infotrack’s electronic contract, title search and exchange technology across its offices in Wagga Wagga, Coolamon, Junee, Henty, Tumut and Ganmain.

Currently, when we receive a sale advice notice from the real estate agent, we draw up a contract for that sale. This may take us a number of days to complete as we have to carry out title and other searches (i.e.   building and plumbing records), put the contract together, print the document and send it out or email it out to the appropriate parties, get it signed and returned to the office.

With Infotrack, we can get instructions, carry out the searches, create the contract and send it out all electronically to the major stakeholders – the purchaser, the vendor, the real estate agent, and the other party’s legal representatives.

We’re also using Australia Post’s Verification of Identity service, which effectively opens us up to do work for anyone purchasing property in NSW.

Commins Hendriks Chief Executive Phillip McIntosh says the next step for the firm is engaging with the new 2016 electronic contract and having the ability to use the Sign-2-Exchange option through Infotrack.

“The whole process can be done in a secure environment. It can be done incredibly quickly and incredibly efficiently and that is a bonus to the vendor or purchaser, and to real estate agents,” Mr McIntosh said.

“We’re aiming to be able to offer a paperless transaction by the second half of this year. We’re excited about how close we are to achieving this goal.”

For more details and assistance, please contact us on 1800 643 779.