A shift to electronic settlements – frequently asked questions

From 3 August 2020, paper settlements are history, as we move into the new world of mandated electronic settlements!

It might sound like South Australia is a bit behind the times with moving to this online method of settlements, but in fact we’re only the fourth state in Australia to make the change.

While eConveyancing has been possible since 2016, the COVID-19 pandemic really helped speed up the process of making it mandatory.

Previously, the settlement process would culminate in a meeting at the Land Services SA Settlements Room, that was often crowded with over 100 people (particularly on Fridays!). Here conveyancers would meet their colleagues to finalise property settlements between the purchaser and the vendor, and this could take anywhere from two minutes to several hours.

When the pandemic hit and Land Services SA was forced to close their Settlements Room, the number of electronic settlements lodged almost doubled, and it became clear that eConveyancing was the way to go from here on out. Fast forward to August, and eConveyancing is now mandatory.

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about eConveyancing.

How does eConveyancing help the purchaser?

Using an Electronic Lodgment Network Operator (ELNO), conveyancers are able to complete transfers and settlements in real-time, no longer needing to wait for bank cheques or funds to clear. This means on settlement date, we can schedule the settlement first thing in the morning, so you can collect your keys and get into your new home sooner!  Also registration of the transfer is completed much faster, now within a couple of days rather than a few weeks.

How does eConveyancing benefit the seller?

If you’ve sold your home, for you it means you won’t need to wait the three days for the funds to arrive in your account, instead they will appear almost instantly as they are deposited into your account as ‘cleared funds’.

Is eConveyancing safe?

eConveyancing is completely safe, and here at Eastern Conveyancing we undertake our electronic settlements using PEXA – one of two electronic platforms available for electronic property transactions in South Australia. PEXA operates under the Australian Registrars’ National Electronic Conveyancing Council Regulatory Framework, and other industry safeguards to ensure your information is kept safe include the Participation Agreement, Verification of Identity and Digital Certificates.

What steps are involved in an electronic settlement?

Using an electronic workspace, we follow the steps below to complete an electronic settlement:

  1. The required documents, such as transfer, mortgage and release of mortgage documents are prepared and signed electronically by relevant parties.
  2. The balance of the purchase money and its disbursement are agreed, then uploaded to the workspace.
  3. The documents to be lodged are checked by the Lands Titles Office prior to settlement.
  4. At the scheduled time and date, provided all the documents are in order, the balance of the purchase money is paid and proceeds of settlement are disbursed.
  5. The relevant documents as mentioned in step 1 are lodged for registration electronically.

For further information on the electronic settlement process, please contact us on 08 7226 8033.