In the field of conveyancing, third party marketers are not new. There are conveyancer locators, lead generators, competitive quoting services and Q&A forums to name a few. What is new is a third party marketer dictating the prices at which a conveyancer will provide conveyancing services. Even if there is more than one such service in existence, they are not at present being promoted as vigorously as the newly emerging service called Titlexchange.

Titlexchange sets the conveyancing fee and has a range of fixed cost packages available, starting from $545 for a ‘simple’ title transfer. There are also a variety of add-ons that can be seamlessly tacked onto the packages, including a contract of sale review and building contract review.

Gerard Healy, managing director of Titlexchange, said the existing conveyancing process was highly inefficient.

“The lack of standardisation and automation in the conveyancing process is a real problem. We want to automate and streamline the process for consumers, conveyancers and the various stakeholders to the transaction, whilst adding a layer of confidence and transparency to the process that doesn’t exist today. When it comes to fees, we’re seeing some conveyancers charging up to $2,000 for a simple conveyancing transaction; we’ve even seen them charging relative to the purchase price of the property.

“Similarly, there’s a lot of unnecessary overlap of work that consumes time, with conveyancers duplicating tasks and data collection already completed by mortgage brokers and real estate agents earlier in the property transaction process. This includes collecting consumer and property data, and performing identify verification checks.

“Titlexchange addresses all of these pain points. We do this by integrating with a variety of technology platforms and stakeholders in the broader property ecosystem and digitising what is now a manual process and paperwork heavy. Our marketplace technology then connects property buyers and sellers with conveyancers who meet our strict accreditation and ratings criteria. Everyone wins: consumers, conveyancers and the various stakeholders to the transaction.

“We’ve only just scratched the surface of making the conveyancing transaction as painless as possible for the consumer. Right now, no physical human interaction is necessary; consumers can initiate the process themselves, and connect with a local conveyancer digitally. They also get the benefit of highly competitive and completely transparent fixed fees, with the ability to add additional services only as needed. There are no hidden surprises and they have complete control and certainty over pricing,” said Mr Healy.

Partnerships with related marketplaces

Titlexchange has already partnered with various market-leading platforms and businesses who want to offer Titlexchange as a value-add service for their clients, and also to gain greater control over their property settlements.

HashChing, an online mortgage broker marketplace, recently launched a pilot of Titlexchange to its mortgage brokers in Victoria, and expects to roll it out for brokers nation-wide in the coming months. Titlexchange is also currently integrating its technology with eChoice and is in talks with various other mortgage broking, real estate and online lending platforms.

The HashChing and eChoice integrations alone result in more than 1,000 mortgage brokers activated on Titlexchange’s platform.

Cash flow and disbursement management

Legal Practice Intelligence asked a spokesperson for Titlexchange whether Mr Healy would like to comment on concerns about conveyancers not having enough margin and not being able to set their own prices? No comment on this was forthcoming. However, since that query was raised, Titlexchange is now promoting the cash flow benefits of its services to conveyancers.

Customers pay the conveyancing fees up-front into in an escrow account held under an AFSL license, and the money is released to the conveyancer progressively as they reach key milestones in the conveyancing transaction.

The innovative payments solution also aims to ensure conveyancers aren’t out of pocket when it comes to disbursements. Customers will be instantly notified via Titlexchange whenever a disbursement needs to be paid, such as a title search, and they can authorise payments directly.

“As well as easing the cash flow issues that have been long-suffered by conveyancers, Titlexchange automates parts of the conveyancing transaction, and facilitates the rest of the process by matching property buyers and sellers with a trusted local conveyancer,” said Mr Healy.

The unique payment technology improves consumer outcomes, too. Customers are often increasing their home loan amount when they buy a new house to accommodate the conveyancing fees. By paying the conveyancing fee up-front (as opposed to it being paid out of the settlement monies), consumers are able to save thousands of dollars on interest fees.

Titlexchange provides the following example and believes that its approach will encourage efficiency:

If the conveyancing fee was $1,500 (including disbursements), for example, this would incur $3,470 worth of interest over a 30-year loan at a 4 per cent interest rate.

This saving is in addition to the savings that Titlexchange customers are already experiencing through the competitive, fixed cost packages that start from $545 for a simple title transfer.

Further, with payments being released to conveyancers as they reach key milestones, conveyancers are motivated to complete the transaction as efficiently as possible.

“When taking into account the considerable benefits for both conveyancers and consumers, it’s clear that Titlexchange offers a compelling win-win solution for the key parties to a conveyancing transaction.

“The keen interest we’ve received from multiple brokerage and conveyancing firms indicates a strong appetite for Titlexchange’s offering.

“Moving forward, we’ll continue to evolve the service as we tackle more of the industry’s pain points and leverage next-gen technologies to streamline the conveyancing transaction further,” said Mr Healy.

Factors for its success

In late September, Titlexchange announced that is was “currently looking to raise capital in a private capital raise, and will be using the funds to build a national brand and continue developing its technology to further automate the conveyancing process.”

In a large and diverse property market there is always room for someone with a unique offering and value proposition. As well as raising capital, the expansion of Titlexchange will depend on the success of its marketing activities and the co-operation it achieves from conveyancers.

© 2017 Legal Practice Intelligence