While more than one-third (33 per cent) of Australian conveyancers and lawyers believe the traditional six-week settlement period is too long given that eContracts, eSigning and eSettlement have fast-tracked the purchasing process, 39 per cent want to stick with the traditional timeframe, according to a national survey into settlement sentiment released by InfoTrack.
In fact, almost half of all survey respondents (48 per cent) think a three to four- week settlement period is more realistic in the digital age.
Similarly, while 52 per cent of respondents would choose to migrate to a fully online conveyancing and settlement process, 39 per cent would prefer a mix of an online and offline process. Only 9 per cent did not want to use an online system at all.
InfoTrack chief executive, John Ahern, did not find the results surprising. “We know there are pockets of resistance to innovative technologies reshaping the conveyancing sector, so we believe that it is critical that clients have the option to settle manually or online for as long as it takes for them to feel comfortable transitioning to a fully digital process.
“The reality is online conveyancing is the way of the future and at InfoTrack we are committed to assisting conveyancing professionals adopt and adapt to their online future, but at their own pace, which is why we retain and support our manual settlements arm to give all our clients’ peace of mind,” Mr. Ahern added.
There were many concerns about migrating to a fully online system with the greatest concern being the risk of an internet/system shut down (80 per cent), followed by a loss of control (28 per cent), the potential cost of setting up or maintaining a new system (26 per cent), impacts on their relationships with business partners (20 per cent) and being unsure of how it would work (11 per cent) where respondents could choose more than one answer.
However, over half (54 per cent) say these concerns would not stop them using a fully online system.
Continuing the industry division, 38 per cent of respondents felt a national online settlement system gives a mortgage provider an edge in its highly competitive sector but 25 per cent says it doesn’t and 37 per cent were undecided.
And asked whether the Sydney and Melbourne markets are starting to cool, 39 per cent agreed while 25 per cent disagreed and 36 per cent were unsure. So, it looks like the jury is out on all counts.