Another state gains access to online property exchanges

Agents and consumers in four Australian states have now been connected to the country’s emerging electronic conveyancing network.

Sunshine Coast firm ByTheRules Conveyancing set another milestone for the PEXA network in late December when it conducted Queensland’s first online property exchange.

Online property transfers debuted in NSW in November 2014, followed by Victoria in January 2015 and Western Australia in June 2015.

PEXA, the agency that is overseeing the roll-out of a national network, said it has signed all four major banks and that 2,500 legal and conveyancing firms are either active or joining.

Under the PEXA system, properties are exchanged via a secure platform, with final funds settling through the Reserve Bank of Australia. E-conveyancing removes the need to use cheques and attend settlements in person.

ByTheRules client services director Maggie Keene said Queensland’s first online property exchange was conducted on behalf of a Bali-based vendor.

“Both the buyer and seller that we acted for were excited about being part of something new that’s easy and stress-free for them,” she said.

“The selling client wanted the funds to be quickly paid into their Australian account. They loved the online process. It reassured them that although they were separated by distance there would be no delays.

“Going online also reduces stress. Of course paper transactions still work; it’s just that they often take much longer because they’re more prone to mistakes or delays."

PEXA chief executive Marcus Price told REB last year that agents will get paid a lot sooner under the new system and will be able to provide more transparency to their clients.

“I think online property transfers will become as common as internet banking,” he said.

“We can even see online real estate agents doing online auctions, and they’ll be back-ending the settlement process as part of their solution.”

[Related: How the market will look in 2020]

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