Conveyancers in New South Wales are increasingly embracing Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) online electronic settlement platform as the state continues to progress towards a digitised industry. With standalone transfers and caveats transitioning online in NSW as part of the 1 July compliance date, three NSW Licenced conveyancers who have already stepped into the digital future speak about their experiences with the online system’s capabilities.
With industry change comes initial structural adjustments, something Leah Stevens of Fox Stevens Conveyancing is sympathetic towards.
“When it comes to the banks, they’re trying to transfer from a paper process that has been ingrained in their systems to working electronically.”
“On the other hand, we’re a small business and we can adapt quickly. Obviously for a bank, there’s a lot of people to train and it’s not a quick change.”
While the staff at Fox Stevens are proficient PEXA users, many firms are still adapting. When it comes to working with peers fresh to the platform, Fox Stevens is more than happy to help.
“A solicitor in Sydney had only done one PEXA transaction. They were keen to have another go but didn’t have the confidence.”
“We just let them know that ‘We’re using it daily, we love it and we’re happy to hold your hand and guide you’. After the settlement went through, they sent us a chocolate bouquet as thanks.”
“People need to be more collaborative. We can get very competitive—we’re all in business! —but we just try to encourage others.”
Being able to settle electronically helps all parties, believes Claudia Hofstetter of Keith Hurst and Associates.
With Keith Hurst and Associates engaging in cross-border conveyancing, working digitally is particularly useful.
“The benefits are there, especially when it comes to settlements themselves. We don’t need to go out for settlements, they’re completed in around 20 minutes, funds are disbursed, and everyone is happy.”
“Provided there’s no issue, they settle exactly the same and clients are happy.”
Just like Fox Stevens, Keith Hurst and Associates will offer guidance to other firms to help them complete settlements.
“We had a firm doing their first PEXA transaction and they asked me what they needed to do.”
“They did it quite comfortably in the end with our help and the matter ran smoothly. Everybody needs to know that there’s support out there.”
With the conveyancing landscape undergoing change, Kaylene Widderick of On Call Conveyancing acknowledges that the progression towards a single operating system is still in the works.
“Working electronically is a more simplified process than the complicated, paper way, and we’ve needed to draw the paper settlement forward into the current digital market.”
“Currently, some settlements are in paper and some settlements are digital. That’s challenging in terms of the systems you use, moving between paper and electronic.”
But as e-Conveyancing in NSW continues to expand, Kaylene feels firms should be proactive in becoming digital-ready.
“The more people that engage, the easier it is. It’s a bit more transparent with the conversation tool there in the workspace.”
“Just like you need to be ready to renew your licence, you need to be ready for these changes that are going to come into our practices. “
“We’re in an area with a lot of change. I would encourage all conveyancers to move forward and engage now.”