Is online the way to go for property settlements?

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It’s probably something that most property buyers would know, but a report from PwC Australia has confirmed that buying or selling a house can be a stressful experience. 

The report, commissioned by Property Exchange Australia (PEXA), revealed that one in three people are stressed during the process and one in five people experience a delay with their settlement, with the median delay being seven days. 

According to PEXA, a public and privately owned online property transaction platform that was first developed as Council of Australian Government initiative, the stress and delays are caused by Australia’s antiquated settlement process. 

“We live in a digital era where consumers are already searching to buy properties online. So it’s not good enough that many Australian consumers are bearing the emotional and financial toll that comes with buying and selling homes because the final steps of conveyancing fail in some way,” PEXA chief executive officer Marcus Price said. 

“Australia-wide the industry must go online; it’s an inevitable progression to bring buyers and sellers the same technology advances that transformed internet banking and buying and selling goods.”

While PEXA won’t be fully functional until 2018, it is live in live in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia and nearly 25,000 transactions have been carried out via the platform since 2010. 

The PwC report also claims that the settlement process would be cheaper if it was moved on line; consumers could save a collective $88 million, businesses could save $67 million and government $13 million by
2018, with fees and charges likely to decrease and efficiency likely to increase.

While PEXA believes online is the way to go for settlements, Rocket Property Group general manager Lindy Lear is more sceptical. 

“I’m very much a relationship person and I think especially for new buyers and investors it’s important to have somebody to guide you and that you can ask questions of,” Lear said. 

“For experienced investors I could see it being a positive, for somebody who knows what they’re doing it could be a great way to make the settlement process more efficient and get things done sooner.”

For Lear, the best way for anybody buying or selling a property to avoid stress or delays would be to work with a team of professionals who know what they’re doing. 

“The best thing I could recommend is to surround yourself with a team good team of trusted advisers who you know will do the work for you, that’s the best way to make the experience less stressful.”
 

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