Digital Signatures in Conveyancing and How Digital is Changing the Industry

March 25, 2018
Hand holding tablet with digital signature next to cup of coffee

Digital Signatures in Conveyancing and How Digital is Changing the Industry

Technology has transformed countless industries and workplaces, changing everything from how we communicate to how we manage data and information. Real estate is one industry that is seeing this change more recently and it’s one that many welcome, particularly when it comes to managing the legal paperwork after the transfer of property.

Property transactions are often tedious and stressful, feeling as though they draw-out over weeks or even months from finding the property to undertaking the conveyancing process. The truth is that buying or selling property is complex, involving distinct stages with meticulous procedures that must be followed by all parties.

Sometimes this can’t be helped. But other times, technology can simplify the process. The rise of e-conveyancing and digital signatures in particular, are eliminating delays caused by lost paperwork and time spent waiting for signatories.

The Traditional Conveyancing Process

Conveyancing when buying or selling property has always involved the following steps:

  • Entering into a contract of the sale of property or land
  • Payment and the exchange of necessary documents
  • Registering the transfer of property with the relevant authorities

Until recently, all this involved a significant amount of paperwork, from the pile of documents to be signed to the cheques that had be written to make a payment. Not only did this delay the process but it often led to additional costs.

An Introduction to Digital Signatures

Today, digital signatures play a big role in conveyancing and are a great time saver. But many people are still confused about what they are. Digital signatures look nothing like your traditional written signature. They are an electronic stamp that is inserted into a document, displaying the name of the person who ‘signed’ it.

This helps create a quicker, easier and cheaper settlement process. It also does away with the need to meet in person to complete the settlement, saving a lot of hassle, especially if you are separated by long distances and may have to incur additional travel and accommodation costs.

How Does Digital Signing Work?

Digital signatures work by using a digital certificate to electronically sign documents. This involves using public key cryptographic technology to secure information that passes from one computer to another over a network. It’s reliable and secure but simple to use.

Digital certificates are usually stored on an encrypted USB token. This USB is inserted into a computer when a document needs to be signed. Then you simply click ‘sign’, enter your unique pin, and the digital signature is added to the document. Conveyancers do this on behalf of their clients after they’ve signed the client authorisation forms.

This kind of technology is being used in major banks and financial institutions today and will soon be mandatory for conveyancing services in Victoria. By 1 August 2019, all property settlements must be lodged electronically.

Need Conveyancing Services in Victoria?

If you need assistance with property conveyancing in Melbourne or property law advice in Victoria, talk to the experienced team at Just Conveyancing. Contact us online or call us on (03) 8580 2276 today.

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