Goolwa Conveyancing has been announced as a finalist in the national PEXA PropertyX Awards to be presented in Melbourne next month.
Owner and founder Michelle Lihou is particularly uplifted by the announcement as it has been a tough seven months since she received a major cancer diagnosis last year. Although she faces fortnightly treatment at Flinders Medical Centre, she has managed to keep her business operating largely unchanged, and is hopeful immunotherapy she is undertaking will keep the disease at bay.
In many respects Michelle, a foundation member of the Women in Business Regional Network, has been a pioneer in South Australian conveyancing in regional areas, being the first in the state to embrace electronic settlements.
“The Adelaide conveyancers are now just taking it on board. We have been leading the state in electronic settlements since the middle of last year and we’re up to nearly 400 now,” Michelle said.
The Property X award, in the Practitioner category, “aims to celebrate industry leaders … who spearhead transformation within the digital settlement landscape”.
Michelle says the new PEXA technology has revolutionised conveyancing and made life much easier for those in regional areas.
“Electronic settlements with PEXA began in July 2017, but it took me six months to realise the benefits for clients.
“Lining up for bank cheques, which take three days to clear, is so old fashioned,” she explains.
“I no longer have to pay a conveyancer in Adelaide to go to the settlements.
“The vendors get their funds within one to two hours, and registration takes two days rather than two weeks.”
Michelle has embraced the technology so much she was recognised as a “super user” last year and invited to attend a conference in Melbourne.
She has been encouraging and assisting other conveyancers to take on the technology, and is also an active contributor to the online community help for the platform.
As well as being involved with the technology side of conveyancing, Michelle also gives back to the industry by serving on the board of the Institute of Conveyancers and being part of the institute’s Professional Development Committee.
Michelle started Compass Conveyancing, now Goolwa Conveyancing, almost 20 years ago and today the business employs four people.
Her interest in property transactions is in her blood as she started her career supporting her father in his land broking business.
Goolwa Conveyancing boasts an extensive list of awards and accolades and Michelle encourages all businesses to take opportunities to nominate and be part of award assessment programs.
“It’s great for job and self-satisfaction,” Michelle said.
She said the process enabled her to reflect on where the business was at, how much had been achieved and to also think about its future.
“It’s a great chance to look at what we’ve done and to be proud of our achievements.”
The award winner will be announced at a presentation at Flemington Racecourse on May 22.