E-conveyancing: risks and rewards

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08/12/2023

E-conveyancing refers to property transactions that are settled electronically, and as of February 20 this year, they’re compulsory in Queensland.

Mandatory e-conveyancing aims to ensure property transactions are completed quickly and consistently, and it also brings Queensland into line with New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia, which have had e-conveyancing for some time.

Property settlements are completed using a platform provided by Property Exchange Australia Limited (PEXA). It’s an electronic workspace where several things will take place including:

     

      • registry instruments are prepared and electronically signed (transfer, mortgage, discharge/release of mortgage)

      • duty may be paid as a settlement disbursement

      • the balance of the purchase money and its disbursement are agreed 

      • the documents to be lodged for registration are checked at the Land Titles Office

      • at the agreed settlement date and time, the balance of purchase money is paid, and the proceeds of settlement are disbursed; and

      • the relevant registry instruments are electronically lodged for registration 

    The benefits to e-conveyancing are clear:

       

        • Cost effectiveness – avoids extra costs for hiring settlement agents, arranging for cheques, and paying for postage

        • Time efficiency – lodgement takes place in a matter of minutes and funds are transferred within a few hours instead of having to wait days for cheques to clear

        • Greater security – less chance of human error 

      However, not every system is perfect, and there are some risks associated with e-conveyancing, including:

         

          • Cyber security
            Following recent high profile hacking incidents in Australia this year, including Optus and Telstra, a big concern for e-conveyancing is cyber security. There have been incidents where several scammers hacked into emails between conveyancers and sellers, amending account details to redirect settlement funds without the buyers being aware. The potential for cybercrime highlights the need for those using PEXA to be vigilant, and to avoid placing undue reliance on the PEXA platform as a one-stop-shop for possessing all the correct details to be used at settlement.

          • Competition
            Currently, PEXA is Australia’s only serious provider of electronic conveyancing services, and there’s been criticism from some quarters about the lack of competition in the market. An alternate platform is in the process of entering the market, but it remains new and untested.

        Despite these risks, there are many benefits to e-conveyancing. 

        Here at GLG Legal, we take cyber security very seriously, and we will work to ensure all your property transactions are safe. Our property experts are trained in every aspect of e-conveyancing, and we will make the process quick and easy for you. 

        Make an appointment with our office by calling (07) 3161 9555 today.

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