Two Gold Coast law firms share their first online property transaction experience, predicting an avalanche of legal practitioners subscribing
Ramsden Lawyers and Gold Coast City Solicitors recently completed the Gold Coast’s first online transaction. Both want to integrate a paperless system into their practices within the next year.
Acting for the buyer, Max Williams, (MW) lawyer with Ramsden Lawyers extols the virtues of transacting online as he shares bank horror moments and paints a future with some firms having two pricing sets – one for electronic transactions and one for sticking with paper processes.
As well as sharing his account of an overjoyed seller who had prompt access to his property sale funds, Gold Coast City Solicitors’ Principal, Sanju Modi (SM) also reveals why he believes other lawyers will join PEXA.
Well done for taking the plunge with your first PEXA transaction – why did you go online?
MW: It’s the future of conveyancing as documents are registered quickly. We hear horror stories of banks holding onto transfer documents after settlement for sometimes up to six months. This particularly affects our clients looking to refinance. Plus property sellers can access funds really quickly.
SM: We believe in embracing technology and using the latest software to keep up with progress.
We were initially a bit reluctant. It was a case of fear of the unknown. But once we went through the training with PEXA Direct Specialist, Patrick Styles, we found the platform user-friendly and simple. There weren’t too many tabs or functions to confuse people. It’s not like using an iPhone for the first time where there are many small things that could confuse some people. Just from one training session we were able to navigate the system. It seemed really logical. With our knowledge of how settlement works we quickly knew what to look for.
Do your clients really care if you settle their property online?
SM: Our selling client was wrapped. He’d just landed from New Zealand and had the money straight away. If we’d done it the old way the client would have had to have waited for the cheque to be banked and three days for it to clear.
What’s holding the industry back from going digital?
MW: Some lawyers are hesitant to adopt change. They are reluctant to get on board and wait for others to do the hard yards. But now there’s a proven way of doing this. A new way. Queensland came to online property transactions a bit later than the other states so we might have some law firms that are still hesitant to use the network even though they’re registered.
SM: The minute people see others are on it the PEXA network will grow exponentially. People follow other people. I imagine that there will be an avalanche of legal practitioners subscribing when they see that others have moved to this new technology.
What does the future hold for QLD lawyers?
MW: In the future I can’t see how conveyancing firms are going to thrive without PEXA.
What other future enhancements will law firms be looking for?
MW: At the moment, PEXA is in some respects a bit restrictive with the types of properties and transactions you can complete. However, in the future – and this might be very soon - I could see PEXA’s platform opening up to manage work relating to all land titles transactions as the Land Titles Offices are now very much on board. Queensland is also due to adopt the verification of identity (VOI) requirements that PEXA has in place. Victoria and NSW have already embraced these changes. When a VOI is required to be undertaken across the board, firms will find that it’s very straightforward to use the PEXA network.
When will you go fully online?
SM: We want to do it sooner rather than later - but both sides need to be on. We also want more training. Our first transaction was a fantastic result. I want to be up and running by the second half of this year.
Can you foresee when paper processes will become prohibitively expensive for legal firms?
MW: Some firms will have two sets of prices – cheaper for electronic and more expensive for paper. The real estate agents acting for the buying and selling public will quickly realise this and start referring buyers and sellers to firms that are online with PEXA. This will happen sooner than we think. That’s why we’re talking about econveyancing at our firm. We want to be ahead of the pack.