The changing property settlement process - triSearch

The changing property settlement process

The manual process

As a conveyancer, I was recently reflecting on the way that the property settlement process has transitioned from a manual face-to-face transaction to the now Electronic Lodgment Network Operators (ELNO) world that we live in.

I know that there were many in the legal industry who didn’t believe that the PEXA way of doing settlements would have the immediate impact and success that it has enjoyed in such a brief period.

The thought of going from a settlement room where the various parties in the transaction would engage in handover of Titles, Discharge of Mortgage, Transfer, cheques and stamp duty processing, to an online settlement room, seemed a bit “pie in the sky” for many to believe in.

Manual settlements were seen as the only way to safely transact and achieve a favourable result for all parties, and they had been done manually for as long as anyone could remember; why change the process? However, manual settlements did have their faults.

Many failed on the nominated settlement day due to several problems, such as the Transfer not being signed correctly, cheques drawn incorrectly, stamp duty payment issues, Land Tax clearance issues, so perhaps there was a more efficient and cost-effective way of completing the property settlement process.

The electronic process

A new electronic settlement process started in 2017 with the onset of ELNOs such as PEXA and Sympli, plus the support of numerous mandates from various Government bodies.

The previous manual settlement process has now all but disappeared and is a fleeting memory for many in the legal industry who formerly engaged in these transactions.

No more sweaty afternoons in packed settlement rooms, where everyone was desperately trying to squeeze numerous transactions through while their clients waited anxiously with their removalist crew in the hope that the matter would settle without issue on the nominated day.

Nowadays, in the ELNO world, provided the background processing is started with reasonable leeway, all parties involved have plenty of time for engagement and processing and the online settlement tends to flow through seamlessly at the designated time.

Many transactions settle within 10-20 minutes of their start time, which, compared to the previous manual transaction, provides a faster, more efficient settlement timeframe.

Within the ELNO, all documents are electronically signed off and stamp duty is completed prior to settlement, so once the online settlement has started, it is basically a matter of transferring funds to the nominated accounts and then sending the documents for registration to the relevant Land Titles Office in the state that you are transacting in. Once a “Ready Status” is achieved within an ELNO, very rarely does an electronic settlement fail.

SettleIT – The easy way to settle

SettleIT is used as an information link between ELNOs and lawyers and conveyancers for all online settlement and lodgment work.

Just as settlement agents were used in the old manual settlement world, the SettleIT team effectively become settlement agents in the electronic world, freeing up lawyers and conveyancers from numerous administrative tasks if they had taken on an ELNO workspace.

The solution provides a simple booking system with links to VOI (Verification of Identity) and CAF (Client Authorisation Form) completions, ability to upload essential documents, followed by a simple series of approval transactions relating to documentation and settlement figures.

The platform also provides a secure environment whereby the client can login and enter nominated account details for numerous funds allocations.

Purchasers are also able to securely deposit funds to our trust account if required on settlement. The SettleIT team allocates a job to a designated File Handler and that staff member becomes the point of contact for the life cycle of the transaction.

There is even a private messaging tool which becomes a secure information exchange vehicle between the client and the File Handler.

About the author

David Johansson is a Licensed Conveyancer for SettleIT. With decades of experience in conveyancing, he has lived and experienced the transition from a manual property settlement, to electronic processes, embracing the technological trends and process efficiencies.

This article was written by SettleIT, powered by InfoTrack.

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