The transition to electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing) has been mandated by the New South Wales Government in the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (ECNL) implemented in NSW in the Electronic Conveyancing (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012.
Since 1 July 2018, lawyers are required to use eConveyancing for standalone caveats and transfers, mortgages, and discharges.
eConveyancing will replace many of the paper and manual processes traditionally involved in property transactions.
This is good news for most home buyers and sellers. It is estimated that the new system has produced a time saving on property transactions of up to 70 per cent, less room for human error and cost savings.
What is eConveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process involved in buying or selling property.
eConveyancing is the same process done electronically. This will mean that the traditional processes and paperwork in a manual conveyance are reduced, simplifying and modernising what can be a complex process. You will still need a lawyer to advise you on the legal aspects of your transaction and oversee the transfer process for you, but with significant time and costs savings.
Legal documents are prepared via a shared online platform, then electronically signed and lodged online with the NSW Lands Registry, instead of in person. Funds are paid and received electronically instead of via bank cheques. Therefore e-Conveyancing eliminates the need for a physical presence, be it to sign documents and/or at settlement.
A lawyer anywhere in New South Wales can easily represent a client buying or selling a property elsewhere in the State, without the additional cost of agency appointments.
Benefits of eConveyancing
As a seller of real property in New South Wales, the big advantage of eConveyancing is that you will get your money faster. Funds are paid and cleared into designated accounts instantly on settlement, whereas previously wait periods applied for cheques to be banked and cleared.
The big advantage for a buyer is that you will become the registered proprietor of the property you are buying sooner, providing significant peace of mind and instant protection of your ownership interest. In the manual world documents required to transfer ownership to you are typically not lodged for registration at the NSW Lands Registry for days or sometimes weeks after settlement. With e-Conveyancing it is instant, regardless of whether or not your property is subject to a mortgage. This also means Government authorities like the local Council and Water authority are advised of the change of ownership sooner.
Another major benefit to both sellers and buyers is time savings and less paperwork. Sending documents in the post to be signed increases the risk of delays to settlement. With electronic signing, there are less documents being posted. In order for Contracts to exchange, you must sign the Contract, and in order for settlement to occur, you must sign the Transfer. Electronic signing means you can exchange sooner and the Transfer is prepared and signed electronically. There is no need for printing, scanning and posting and there is no waiting for ‘original’ signed documents.
e-Conveyancing is tightly regulated. Processes are in place to verify the identity of the parties and allow parties to electronically sign documents securely.
For real estate agents, where your commission is required to be drawn from the sale proceeds rather than deducted from a deposit you already hold, they are transferred and appear as cleared funds in your account on the day of settlement.
How does eConveyancing work?
At this stage, the only electronic lodgement network operator (ELNO) operating in New South Wales is Property Exchange Australia (PEXA). PEXA was formed to deliver a national eConveyancing solution to the Australian property industry. For more information on PEXA and what they do visit their website www.pexa.com.au.
KS Law is a PEXA member.
The future of eConveyancing in New South Wales
By July 2019 in New South Wales, it will be mandatory to conduct all standard property transactions electronically.
 Sue Williams, NSW e-conveyancing system saving time and money for buyers, Domain 19 February 2018