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Buying and selling WA property 'could cost more' if mandatory e-conveyancing introduced

09 November 2017
It may soon cost more to buy and sell property in Western Australia, as the McGowan Government pushes to mandate electronic lodgement of documents for transactions.
The decision means traditional paper-based property transfers are set to be replaced by an electronic conveyancing (e-conveyancing) system, with currently just one available in Australia.
While Planning Minister Rita Saffioti denied consumers would necessarily be slugged with an increased cost, some conveyancing firms are warning sellers and buyers could be stung because of the change.
Conveyancing business owner Debbie Crawford said there were widespread concerns about the move to e-conveyancing.
"We believe at the moment that the impact is an increase in cost; the average sale and purchase from people who are buying and selling would be about $300 for both transactions, so yes an increase in costs with little benefits," she said.
She said it was unrealistic for the Government to think conveyancers would cut their own fees and just absorb the new e-conveyancing fee rather than passing them on to customers.
Under the e-conveyancing process, there is an additional charge expected to be about $220, which would be split between the buyer and seller.
Ms Crawford said while industry was not against e-conveyancing, most felt its introduction should not be rushed and questioned the Government's motives behind the push.
"We are just worried about the reasons about why it's being forced upon us and we think it's financial [benefit for the Government] more than for the benefit of the consumer," she said.
Ms Saffioti said the change was about simplifying and modernising the conveyancing system, and its implementation had been delayed because of the concerns raised by industry.
"The feedback I've got is that there won't be a cost increase on consumers but again we want to work to make sure that everyone benefits from this reform," she said.
She said the previous Barnett government had put WA on the path to e-conveyancing and the move was part of an intergovernmental agreement.
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