Property deals done digitally – Lisa Dowie

Property deals done digitally – Lisa Dowie

The name PEXA means Property Exchange Australia. It’s Australia’s online property exchange network. It assists lawyers, conveyancers, and financial institutions to lodge documents with land registries and complete financial settlements electronically. We find out more about PEXA and what’s happening online with conveyancing as we catch up with Lisa Dowie.


Kevin:  I want to talk about PEXA now. The name PEXA means Property Exchange Australia. It’s Australia’s online property exchange network. It assists lawyers, conveyancers, and financial institutions to lodge documents with land registries and complete financial settlements electronically. PEXA was formed in 2010 as an initiative to deliver a single national e-conveyancing solution to the Australian property industry.

Let’s find out a little bit more about PEXA and what’s happening online with conveyancing. Lisa Dowie, who is PEXA’s Chief Customer Officer, joins me.

Lisa, good morning and welcome to the show.

Lisa:  Good morning, Kevin. Thanks for having me.

Kevin:  The shift to e-conveyancing, you guys have been around for getting pretty close to a decade now. How is it progressing? Is there more confidence in the marketplace about it?

Lisa:  There certainly is. Yes, we’re really starting to see the momentum shift towards e-conveyancing. Some of the numbers, I think, are quite telling. We’ve now processed over one million transactions on the platform, so I think that gives people a bit of a sense of the scale and the reliability of the platform.

We have more than 6000 legal and conveyancing firms registered as PEXA members, so again, that really is a large chunk of the market that are now actively on the platform. And about 90% of all refinances are completed on PEXA too, so that really is starting to show that the shift is definitely moving from paper to electronic transactions.

Kevin:  Is this largely being driven by the banks, or are you finding that the solicitors are behind it?

Lisa:  No, it’s definitely a whole of industry shift because the very nature of the transactions being that it involves banks, lawyers, and conveyancers, and also land registry and state revenue offices, those particular transactions really do demand that the whole network works together to make this shift. And that’s really what PEXA has been driving for the last few years.

Kevin:  What’s the difference? I know that e-conveyancing is online, but what’s the basic, core difference between e-conveyancing and the traditional manual process?

Lisa:  It all comes down to really what happens at settlement. Rather than traditionally in the paper world, on the day of settlement, you would have lawyers, conveyancers, and bank representatives meeting up in settlement rooms across Australia.

They would get together and bring all of their documentation together on that very day, having not seen it before, and then they would hand over bank checks and swap documents and then take those back to their bank or a land registry, for them to be lodged and then eventually processed.

What PEXA does, it does all of that activity online now. And you get to see a lot more of the preparation, so you get to see a lot more transparency in the lead-up, so any differences or anomalies can be worked out during that process and then once the day of settlement hits, nobody actually has to attend and the file will complete online.

Kevin:  I can understand how it’s a major benefit for solicitors, conveyancers, and financial institutions but the average consumer very rarely attends a settlement anyway. They probably really wouldn’t notice much of a difference, would they?

Lisa:  It depends. For a vendor, they will definitely notice that they would get their funds a lot quicker, so they don’t have to wait for bank checks to clear. And for the purchaser, it’s a great sense of surety in that their name is registered on title within minutes, whereas in the past, that could be a lot longer. They’re the main benefits for our buyers and sellers.

Kevin:  Is this just the start of digitizing the property sector, Lisa, or is this the major part of it?

Lisa:  It’s the major part if you think about your moms and dads buying property, but I think when you look at the whole industry, it’s definitely changing from right at the very beginning of the process from when you first list your property. I know contracts of sale are definitely moving to the digital space, and now settlement is another part of that.

The next part people are thinking about is what happens post- settlement and what could be more digitized in that space? You hear about drones and getting robots to move your furniture into your house. Who knows what the future looks like further down the track?

Kevin:  Even though, Lisa, PEXA has been around since 2010, as I said at the outset, it is still relatively new technology. What are you learning? Are you having to adapt it at all?

Lisa:  Yes, definitely. The really good thing is now that we do have so many firms registered and using the platform, we really are getting an opportunity to hear from the users themselves about what they would like to see on the platform.

More and more, we hear that lawyers and conveyancers want to be able to do more on PEXA. They want to be able to do every single transaction type. So, we definitely have a plan to 100% digital for property transactions. That is our initiative that we’re driving, and it was really the original purpose of PEXA to be a national platform and 100% digital.

So, getting feedback from our members and even small things – they would like to see the button in a different place, to be able to do different sorts of functionality – is really a benefit now that we’re tapping into, listening to our members and prescribing changes into the platform based on their feedback.

Kevin:  Just go to the website would be a good start, wouldn’t it? That would tell you a lot about it and maybe give some feedback from that area, Lisa.

Lisa:  Definitely, yes, our website. And we also have an e-conveyancing community. I’m sure if your listeners were to Google “e-conveyancing community PEXA,” that would come up. And that’s where all our members actually are live on there chatting to each other about their PEXA experience in sharing our ideas, asking each other questions, so yes, there’s a wealth of information on there also.

Kevin:  Lisa, thanks so much for your time. The website is Talk to you again soon, Lisa. Thank you.

Lisa:  Great. Thank you, Kevin.

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