Online Conveyancing – Is it right for you?
Will you get better value for money, and a better service, from an online conveyancing solicitor? In the past, your options have been limited by your location. This is no longer the case. When you’re thinking about who to use for your property transaction, you should consider using an online conveyancing solicitor.
Almost anything can be done online nowadays, and using an online conveyancing solicitor offers you convenience, without sacrificing quality of service, or any of the consumer protections available when you use a lawyer. An online solicitor can meet with you anywhere, reducing your need to allocate time in your schedule to attend at an office. Meetings are carried out online at your convenience.
Online Conveyancing – How it Works
There are a number of interactions you should expect with your lawyer. The reality is, you are just as likely to get them online as you are in person. We pride ourselves on being approachable and open with our clients. We achieve this in a number of ways.
How We Meet
We are able to meet by telephone or videoconference. This is an easy process, you just click on a link and meet us in our online ‘meeting room’. We can meet from multiple different locations, so you and your partner can meet us in your lunch break at work, during or after work hours. If you need to meet us at 8pm after the kids have gone to bed, that’s fine. You just fire up the computer at home, and there’s no need to arrange babysitting.
If you would prefer not to meet by video, or want to get onto us a bit faster, just call or email us.
How We Deal with Other Parties
Electronic conveyancing is mandatory in New South Wales, meaning whether you deal with a solicitor in person or online, they are doing their job the same way. We are PEXA certified, and are well acquainted with the online conveyancing process. The representative of each party to a conveyance meets and communicates through the online portal, completing the required documents inside the online ‘workspace’.
Using this online platform means the process is completed faster. As the seller you no longer have to wait to receive a cheque and bank it, settlement monies are deposited directly into your nominated account (by the way, you provide your bank details through an encrypted process, and we verify those details with you to protect from fraud).
As the buyer, your rights are protected. A final check of the property is completed within 24hrs of the sale, to ensure there have been no dealings on that property between when you exchanged contracts and settlement. After settlement, the property is transferred into your name faster than was the case with paper settlement.
How You Sign - Meeting the Legal Requirements
You might wonder how you can sign documents without coming to our office. The law recognises signatures in electronic form, and has done for some time. We use an online document signing platform that records the date, time, and IP address at which you and the other party sign, giving the required traceability to ensure that the courts will recognise the agreement as genuine and complete.
When buying or selling property we are required to verify your identity. This is done online also using facial recognition technology. If you don’t like the idea of that, you can always have your identity verified at your local post office.
How We Keep You Up To Date
We pride ourselves on making sure you know what is happening with your conveyance throughout the whole process. Our lines of communication are always open. You will have access to an app to track the progress of your settlement, and we are available to you by email, telephone, or videoconference should you have any questions.
Consumer Protections and Solicitors
There has long been a perception in the public that lawyers are not to be trusted, and there are a lot of jokes around:
A lawyer dies and goes to Heaven.
“There must be some mistake,” the lawyer argues. “I’m too young to die. I’m only 55.” “Fifty-five?” says Saint Peter. “No, according to our calculations, you’re 82.” “How’d you get that?” the lawyer asks.
St. Peter replies: “We added up your time sheets.”
In reality is most people seem to trust their own lawyer. This is as a result of Australia’s strict ethical practice rules. Where those rules fail, there is a comprehensive safety net for anyone who has been taken advantage of by a solicitor.
The first question you might ask in any situation is whether or not you are dealing with a real Lawyer. The identity of a lawyer can be easily confirmed by contacting the Law Society in the relevant state. In New South Wales, you can look on the Law Society website. Once you are certain your lawyer holds a current practicing certificate (a license to practice), you can be comfortable knowing you are protected by strict legal and ethical compliance rules. Should your solicitor fail to act in accordance with those rules, a number of remedies are available to you. Ultimately, the solicitor can have their practicing certificate revoked, and they might face further professional censure or criminal penalties where professional misconduct is found.
If you believe your lawyer has failed to properly protect your interests, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Legal Services Commissioner. Attached to each invoice you receive from a lawyer is an explanation of the complaints procedure.
When buying or selling property, you might be concerned what will happen with your money. Lawyers must follow strict rules when dealing with your money. Our trust account is audited yearly. If a Lawyer was to misappropriate your funds in their trust account, your money would be recoverable by you from the legal practitioners fidelity fund, and the Lawyer would face penalties, lose their ability to practice, and may be imprisoned.
We are participants in the professional standards scheme, meaning that our systems and processes must be of a certain standard, and are auditable. We are also insured, holding professional indemnity insurance, which includes coverage in the case of cyber fraud.
In Australia whether you use the solicitor up the street, or access one online, you can be assured that you will be afforded powerful consumer protections.
Online Connveyancing Solicitors - Providing a Modern Legal Service
There is little a local conveyancing solicitor can do that an online solicitor cannot. The same cannot be said in the reverse. The biggest difference might be flexibility of service. We at Zingler Legal are committed to providing a flexible service to our customers. If you are work full time and cannot meet during regular office hours, this is no problem. We are happy to fire up a computer at whatever time suits you, and have that important conversation.
We hope this article serves to answer some questions you might have about the online conveyancing process, and would be happy to discuss any of these matters with you. Feel free to contact us by clicking here, or call us on (02) 6695 2034.