Now Queensland Settlements Can Be Done Online
After you exchange contracts with a buyer, settlement remains the very last step in the sales process. The settlement process is discussed in our educational guide called What You Really Need to Know About Selling Your Property — available to access and download for free by subscribing to our website. Settlement is only finalised once a meeting occurs, whereby settlement agents for both buyer and vendor, finances lenders and a land registry representative meet in person and exchange all the necessary legal documents. This process has remained unchanged for 160 years. Well, until now.
This year Queensland and New South Wales introduced a secure, online platform called The Property Exchange Australia (PEXA), which enables settlement to be finalised online, rather than in person. Under the PEXA platform, which is supported by both the New South Wales and Queensland governments, conveyancers and lawyers are able to electronically lodge land registry documents and complete financial settlement, which involves the transfer of funds from source accounts via the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Digital Settlement Ensures Property Exchange Occurs On Time
Although digitising the settlement process probably won’t negate settlement day — that is, the actual day that the keys are released to the buyer and the vendor vacates the property — it will ensure that this occurs in a more timely fashion. The way property settlement works now, there can be significant delays as the conveyancers, finance lenders and land registry representatives review all of the documents to ensure they’ve been completed and are accurate. By digitising this process, all parties are able to upload the necessary documents in advance and the PEXA platform will trigger lodgement and settlement at the specified time and date.
The PEXA system also has direct access to Land Registry data, which speeds the process up further and eliminates the potential for error; the platform’s pre-lodgement verification system also ensures that all participating parties have entered accurate, matching information before proceeding to settlement, again reducing the risk of delayed or failed settlement.
Digital Property Settlement Coming to other States and Territories
From August this year, Authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADIs) and practitioners acting on their behalf in Victoria will be able to lodge stand-alone discharges of mortgages online, marking a critical move on behalf of the Victorian Government in the transition toward a completely online settlement process.
The move to digitise property settlement is part of a series of reforms instituted by Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG), the nation’s peak intergovernmental forum, developed to bring property settlement, as well as the legal, conveyancing and banking industries further into the digital economy. Other states are expected to transition to similar arrangements in the near future.
Selling in NSW or QLD?
If you’re selling your home and you live in New South Wales or Queensland, your conveyancer or solicitor may be able to lodge and finalise settlement for your property online. Make sure to discuss whether your settlement will be lodged and finalised online when you meet with potential conveyancers, and be sure to discuss what this will mean for you on settlement day.
To learn more about selling property in Australia, including the settlement process and how it works, subscribe to our website and you’ll receive access to our free educational guide to selling property in Australia, called What You Really Need to Know About Selling Your Property. Alternatively, to read more news and insights on the property market, continue to read our blog.
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