Big Changes Ahead for Conveyancers
This week we met with Linda Scalzi, Conveyancer with DW Fox Tucker Lawyers, to chat about her career, the challenges facing conveyancers and the new online conveyancing system scheduled to be introduced at the end of May. As property law specialists, conveyancers play a vital role in the industry, facilitating the transfer of property ownership. The introduction of the online conveyancing system called PEXA will be a driver of change for the profession, allowing conveyancers to process property transactions online for the first time. This will lead to faster processing times and greater certainty of successful, on-time settlements.
What impact will the new system have for conveyancers and their clients?
It's great news for our clients! They will have instant access to their money if they are selling and those that are buying will have immediate registration of their documents. At the moment, when we lodge documents at the Lands Titles Office (LTO), it can take up to 8 weeks to register them and if we bank funds for our clients who have sold, it can take 3 business days for the funds to clear.
For conveyancers it will mean less time lining up in bank queues at the LTO on settlement day. On a busy Friday we can sometimes be waiting in a queue to meet with a bank or their agent for over an hour! Hopefully it will also mean less time waiting on hold to banks to book settlement over the phone.
Whilst the new online system brings greater efficiencies for basic settlements, more complex property transactions will still need to be processed in person at the LTO. It’s difficult to know how many settlements will be processed online as all the parties involved must agree to settle online in order to be able to use PEXA. There will still be many changes to the industry though as all the documents and procedures will be affected regardless of whether we use electronic conveyancing or not. Our clients will also be surprised to discover that all Titles will now be paperless and there will be no more Certificates of Titles issued. It will be the biggest change in the industry since the inception of the Torrens Title system over 100 years ago.
What are the most challenging aspects to your job?
I think the biggest challenges for conveyancers are dealing with the banks and meeting tight deadlines. There are many steps involved in a transaction and a four week settlement can be a tight time frame if there are banks involved.
What do you most enjoy about being a conveyancer?
There’s a real satisfaction in seeing a settlement through to fruition and getting a positive result for my clients. You start off with your client calling you to tell you they have bought or sold a property then you go through all the steps to actually see it settle - exchanging money, exchanging documents and then calling your client at the end to say “congratulations.” At times there is an adrenaline rush to ensure that the settlement goes through on time, but I enjoy the buzz of the whole settlement process and being able to achieve a successful outcome for my client.
What do you think it takes to be a successful conveyancer?
Conveyancers need a broad range of skills to be successful. It helps to have a maths and legal orientated brain as we regularly deal with figures as well as contracts, clauses and special conditions. The documentation we produce must be ‘spot on’, requiring excellent attention to detail - if the documents aren’t correct, the LTO will reject them. Multi-tasking is also a useful skill to have as often we often manage multiple files at once.
Good communication and negotiation skills are also required as well as the ability to work well under pressure. We need to be able to negotiate with banks to resolve any issues and to establish and maintain good relationships with our clients.
Listening to Linda chat about her profession, it became crystal clear she enjoys her chosen career path and is modest about her talents (her colleagues describe her as a ‘gun’). She also mentioned some frustration at the lack of awareness of what conveyancers do and expressed a wish for the profile of her profession to be raised.
If you wish to find out more about the new online conveyancing system, visit the PEXA website.
For further information about becoming a qualified conveyancer, contact the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA Division).