Property 101: Acceptance of digital signatures – the final piece of the digital conveyancing puzzle

Property 101: Acceptance of digital signatures – the final piece of the digital conveyancing puzzle
Property 101: Acceptance of digital signatures – the final piece of the digital conveyancing puzzle

The acceptance of digital signatures on contracts is the final barrier in offering a streamlined online service for property buyers and sellers according to lawlab.

Lawlab partners with real estate groups, finance aggregators and brokers to deliver their highly-rated conveyancing services through the secure online collaboration platform Rundl.

In February this year Rundl and Docusign announced a partnership to bring the contract signing and exchange process completely online.

The result is that deals can be signed and exchanged online within minutes, no paperwork, no driving contracts between solicitors.

This forms an integral part of lawlab’s user friendly, digitally-driven experience that steps all parties through the time consuming and stressful conveyancing process.

Ian Perkins, managing director of lawlab said more than 25,000 transactions have been delivered over the past four years.

"But what is preventing us from fully streamlining the service was the acceptance of digital signatures," he said.

"We have been waiting for the industry to catch up.

"Now we are starting to see more industry players accept this technology.”

Digital signatures are legally valid and have been used for many years to sign documents in all types of industries.

It is relatively new for real estate contracts to be signed electronically and by introducing this as standard practice lawlab are leading the way in making the contract exchange process easier and more convenient for buyers and sellers.

Tifanie Milton, a recent home seller from Queensland said, signing the contract was so much easier using lawlab.

"I was waiting in the lounge to board a flight when I got a message from lawlab that my sale contract terms had been agreed and the contract was ready to sign," she said.

"Within minutes, I received a link to the contract by email and was able to sign it digitally using DocuSign on my laptop.

"The contract was automatically forwarded to the buyer for them to countersign digitally and on getting off the plane I was informed the contract had been exchanged.

New player to the Australian market Purplebricks chose lawlab as their preferred conveyancing partner.

How it works

1. The seller or real estate agent submits an electronic request to lawlab to contact the seller through the Rundl platform.

2. A lawlab legal adviser contacts the seller within 2 business hours and starts the contract preparation and conveyancing process.

3. The contract of sale and any associated documents are issued within 48 hours (can vary depending on local council) and are uploaded to Rundl which notifies the real estate agent and seller.

4. Once a buyer is ready to sign lawlab will set up the signing sequence and issue a link to the documents for signing by all parties.

5. By following the prompts, the seller is first to sign the contract documents digitally.

6. Signing is easy and secure and can be done using the default stylised font of the signer’s name. Other ways to sign are by using a mouse/stylus pen or by uploading a digital signature.

7. No witnessing is required and lawlab contracts include a special condition acknowledging this.

8. The signed contract documents are then automatically forwarded to the buyer. The buyer’s lawyer also receives a copy of the contract documents so the buyer can contact their lawyer if they have any questions.

9. Once the buyer has countersigned the contract documents, the contract is exchanged and all the parties receive a full copy of the exchanged contract.

DocuSign produces a report for every contract showing who, where and when the contract was signed.

This report can be used as evidence if there is any question about who has signed the contract.

Conveyancing Digital Signature

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