By Monique du Toit
For many, a property purchase is one of the biggest in their lifetime. Savvy consumers are demanding more transparency and real-time updates on the process. Property buyers also need more money available, immediately after a property is successfully registered and the funds become available, for distribution.
Currently, the transfer of a property is an outdated and cumbersome, paper-driven process and transfer of ownership and funds happens over weeks in a series of transactions. In an era of internet connected business and online banking, there is a massive need for property transactions to be digitised to streamline the process and ensure greater efficiency and transparency of the financial transactions.
Property Exchange of South Africa (PEXSA)
The website-based platform, a tool used by conveyancers to process payments through the banks, will help all stakeholders in a property deal. This platform is a step towards the digitisation of the property transaction and payment process.
The consumer is given payments advice and insight into every step of the transaction when buying and selling a property. This reduces the risk of errors, payment delays, and fraud. The deeds office is in the process of converting to a digital system, something the PEXSA platform is already designed for.
“PEXSA will pave the way for modernisation of payment transactions and transfers in the property sector space,” says Willie Stoman, CEO of PEXSA. “We can ensure an efficient, simultaneous, final and irrevocable transfer of ownership in exchange for payment in one click online, which is in the interests of the buyer, seller, agent, banks and conveyancers.”
A need for efficiency
There are horror stories of unintended errors made by lawyers and criminal cases of conveyancers who intentionally take advantage of the naivety of property buyers regarding the payment process. Last year, R161 million worth of claims were lodged with the Fidelity Fund due to error or misconduct during the conveyancing process.
The property market is significant: Over 285 000 South Africans sold their homes in 2016. The entire process was conducted via outdated paperwork based systems, and in many cases there were delays in the transfer of the properties and payment of the money owed to the various parties.
Many lawyers believe the conveyancing sector is in dire need of a modernised, secure and streamlined payment and settlement system. Renier Nel, of Nel Attorneys says: “Payment of proceeds at the end of a transaction is probably the most important and risky part and the process would be futile if payment and settlement are compromised.”