Firm calls on Queensland to modernise property settlement

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As part of the team that recently completed Queensland’s first paperless off-the-plan real-estate settlement, HopgoodGanim Lawyers is calling on the state to modernise

The firm worked with e-conveyancing provider PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) and is the first Queensland firm to use PEXA’s “off the plan” development platform. The transaction completed with property developer Lennium Group is also the first paperless real-estate settlement as a combined industry team, PEXA said.

Many real estate sales in the state are still completed using a 160-year-old manual method, which relies on exchanging paper documents and cheques. Australia is currently transitioning to have all property settlements be digitally conducted. Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia have announced deadlines to transition property exchange in their states.

HopgoodGanim is calling on the Queensland government to follow its peers’ moves and also announce a deadline.

“Queensland needs to keep pace with the rest of the country. If we don’t, our real estate sector may come off second-best. We’re calling on the government to drive the solution. Queensland has had electronic titles since the 1990s and online stamping for years,” said Martin Kingston, HopgoodGanim COO.

Kingston also said that innovation is a major draw for legal industry recruitment and an important part of staff retention.

“Law recruits don’t want to do ‘nickel and dime’ conveyancing for the rest of their career. I’ve been to the traditional crowded, noise-filled settlement rooms where some 50 plus conveyancing professionals can meet on a busy settlement day–calling out to find the agent acting for the purchaser or seller. It’s an intimidating environment with a flurry of paperwork exchanging hands, like a scene from the old share trading floors, which interestingly the ASX did away with twenty years ago. We are overdue for electronic settlements,” Kingston said.

Finalising property sales online can free team members to focus on the more rewarding parts of their roles, he said. The new PEXA technology also helps firms manage workflow across their entire real estate team and make sure they are achieving the right balance in the busy times, he said.

Kingston also said that online property settlement is positive for both developers and buyers, as clients are also tired of flaws of the paper-based system.

“At HopgoodGanim we know that a large share of the market is already deeply engaged with ecommerce. They’ve been banking online for decades and using a multitude of technology to manage their busy lives, including transaction specific apps. These clients expect ecommerce as part of their daily lives,” he said.

“Online settlement is a breakthrough for property developers, banks and law firms who manage high volume property transactions. Digital conveyancing improves productivity but removing time spent preparing and posting forms and automating titles office lodgements and banking,” he added.

Not to mention the cost benefits to firms and lawyers the new system will bring about, lawyers can predict when settlements will occur and seamlessly bank funds quickly on behalf of end customers.

 

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