'GOUGING': This Australian startup is on a mission to end 'ridiculous' conveyancing fees

Titlexchange’s Mark McCoach and Gerard Healy.
(Source: supplied)

Australia’s obsession with real estate is set to turn into a lucrative opportunity for a Melbourne startup, which is taking advantage of the imminent digitisation of the conveyancing industry.

Titlexchange is an online service that matches up property buyers and vendors to conveyancers and automates much of the paperwork required in the engagement process.

The matchmaking and conveyancing are offered together at a fixed price with packages starting from $545 for a “simple title transfer”, which is much lower than what many conveyancers charge in the physical world.

The startup’s managing director Gerard Healy told Business Insider that there’s no actual reason why — for exactly the same amount of work — some conveyancers would charge just $500 and others demand as much as $2000.

“We’ve heard examples, particularly in the west, conveyancers charging relative to the purchase price of a house, which is completely ridiculous. It’s just an example of gouging.”

The centuries-old practice of transferring ownership of real estate is being forcibly pushed into the digital world, with the state governments starting to mandate electronic execution of conveyancing.

The highest profile beneficiary of this reform is Melbourne-headquartered software firm PEXA, which digitises the settlement end of the conveyancing process. PEXA was formed in 2010 with investments from both the public and private sector and in June pulled off the largest capital raising in Australian tech this year — attracting $64.7 million.

While that’s happening, Healy said Titlexchange would seek to automate the other end of the procedure with its matchmaking platform for buyers, vendors and conveyancers.

In the middle, organisations like the state revenue offices and land title offices are all in the midst of digitising their procedures to complete the digitisation of the industry.

To sell its services, Titlexchange is partnering with mortgage brokers, for the simple reason that home buyers usually seek finance before legal assistance.

In July, mortgage broker marketplace startup HashChing integrated Titlechange into its platform, while this month saw the start of a similar relationship with eChoice. The two deals have seen Titlechange services offered through more than 1000 mortgage brokers.

After being bootstrapped by founders Healy, Rhett Simonds and Mark McCoach, the startup is currently seeking to raise further capital to expand nationally.

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