- What is PEXA?
- What are Client Authorisations and Verification of identity?
- Benefits of PEXA and E-Conveyancing
- Can you act for yourself in a Conveyancing transaction?
Increasing technological updates are driving change in all areas of life. In conveyancing in New South Wales especially we have seen this change in a drastic way. The industry has adapted to the needs and expectations people have in a modern society such as greater efficiency, fewer errors, more transparency, and of course fewer delays. This can be seen by the introduction and domination of e-conveyancing.
The term e-Conveyancing is used to describe the facilitation of a conveyancing transaction where the whole process has taken place electronically. In New South Wales we do this on a platform called PEXA which stands for Property Exchange Australia Limited (PEXA).
What is PEXA?
PEXA or Property Exchange Australia is Australia’s online property exchange network. It gives assistance to all users of the platform including lawyers, conveyancers, and lending institutions to be able to lodge documents with Land Registry Services (LRS) and to facilitate a financial settlement all in one electronic workspace.
PEXA is used to refer to both the company providing the platform and also the platform itself. PEXA is the only platform of its kind currently operating in Australia. The Australian Government started the initiative and PEXA has been the most important step in the move to e-conveyancing. PEXA is the way of the future, and the property industry is definitely moving towards a 100% digital future. We have already just last year seen the abolition of paper certificates of title.
There are many different types of dealings that can be completed entirely through the electronic platform such as:
- Mortgages and discharge of mortgages;
- Caveats and withdrawal of caveats;
- Encumbrances and discharge of encumbrances;
- Priority Notices;
- Transmission Direct to Beneficiary;
- Leases; and
- Financial settlements.
Client Authorisations/ Verification of identity
One thing you may notice with a conveyancing transaction when you use the services of a lawyer or conveyancer is that you will be asked to sign a form called a client authorisation. This document is a prescribed form in Schedule 4 of the MPR. This is you expressly authorising the signing and lodgement of documents and all things necessary to complete the transaction on your behalf.
Along with the client, authorisation is a process called verification of identity or VOI. Schedule 8 of the MPR contains the standard of a VOI necessary. This means that your lawyer/conveyancer has taken reasonable steps to ensure the identity of the client. Essentially, we verify your identification documents to a certain standard. A lawyer or conveyancer can undertake a VOI or there are also a number of companies who can undertake this process.
Benefits of PEXA and E-Conveyancing
- With the use of PEXA there are greater assurances and protections for all parties involved with the instant registration of dealings removing a large number of delays.
- Reduction of risks associated with the use of cheques and also fees that are associated with this process.
- Removal of time and costs associated with physical attendance at settlements.
- The ability of payout figures to be done early with agreements on figures being received well in advance of settlement.
- The immediate distribution of funds. Funds are cleared into bank accounts facilitated for by PEXA within 4-24 hours and sometimes even less.
- Real-time lodgement. The entire process takes around 30 minutes through the platform.
- The ability to reschedule settlement more easily.
- PEXA provides checks and verification pre-lodgement, reducing the risk of a failed settlement.
- Greater certainty.
- Documents are signed by the Solicitor/Conveyancer on behalf of the client means less physical attendance and a more streamlined process.
- Electronic settlements also reduce the amount of paperwork associated with a conveyancing transaction.
- PEXA charges per transaction therefore where the settlement does not take place no fees are charged by the platform.
Can I act for myself, or do I have to use a conveyancer/ lawyer?
Technically and legally, there is no requirement to engage the services of a lawyer or a conveyancer to act in a transfer of ownership for the property. However, this is something many people do not do every day. There are also generally substantial sums of money involved in the process. It is important to remember that conveyancing is a legal process with a lot of risks involved.
The Contract of Sale itself is a complex document that can contain special conditions and clauses that not everyone understands. There can be extreme consequences and implications when mistakes are made, and incorrect action is taken.
Both lawyers and conveyancers are legally entitled to do conveyancing on your behalf and are experienced and qualified professionals who act on your behalf to reach the best possible outcome for you. They ensure all your legal obligations are met and that there is no exploitation of your interests. They also ensure that settlement of your matter happens in a cost-effective and efficient manner. All of this is done whilst avoiding mistakes, delays and costs and expenses that are not expected. Licenced lawyers and conveyancers also have effective insurance policies in case something was to go wrong.
It is easy to look at a conveyancing transaction and see it as a relatively simple and easy process. However, in dealing with these matters everyday as lawyers and conveyancers we are trained to look for things that an untrained and inexperienced person will likely never know to look for. There are many things that are involved in the process such as examining the contract of sale or preparing the document, getting the appropriate searches and certificates, completing stamping, checking property compliance, lodging documents, and completing financial settlement.
So, whilst it is possible, and it may be tempting to skip the costs associated with engaging the services of a lawyer or conveyancer there are also many risks that can be avoided by an extensive knowledge of the industry and law surrounding conveyancing.
This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.