In the digital age, millions of transactions take place online each day. It is now safer than ever to use a credit card to buy goods or services, as information is encrypted according to very high standards and guarantees are in place to cover you in the unlikely event that something should go wrong. Contracts are also signed using a process known as a "key signature," which identifies the IP address and provides elements of certainty. Yet things are a little more complicated in the world of house buying, and even though you can now settle such matters online, additional steps are required. What do you need to know about these steps?
Up until the last couple of years, you would have had to attend a specific location to meet with representatives of all parties before interest in a property could be transferred to you. This was known as "settlement" day and would typically take place in the office of a lawyer or conveyancer. Signatures would be exchanged and notification given to banks to transfer money before the title was transferred.
With electronic conveyancing, all of the actual work can be done online, but in this case, the document can only be signed by your conveyancer. This applies whether you are buying or selling and is felt to be the most efficient way of handling the matter.
Still, your conveyancer must take steps to "identify" you before they can act on your behalf. They will also be required to confirm that they have taken such steps in accordance with the rules laid down by the state registrar.
Thus, you will typically be required to identify yourself by using an official document like a passport or driver's licence. If you are local, then you can simply go into your conveyancer's office and do so quickly.
However, if you are not in the area and purchasing a property from afar, you may need to take additional steps. For example, you may have to go into a post office so that a recognised official can identify you as you sign your client authorisation form. If you're even further afield and overseas, you may be required to go into a consulate office to do the work there instead.
What to Do Next
Talk through the finer detail with your conveyancer if, for whatever reason, it's not easy for you to attend their office. They will give you the instructions so that you can complete your client authorisation form well in advance of the actual settlement date.