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Scribd: Youtube for Real Estate Disclosures

Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. ()

April 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Monday morning geekage:

Hat tip to the White African for alerting me to Scribd, which is essentially Youtube for documents.

The premise is that just as people love sharing video, they might love to share documents they’ve created: school papers, poems, academic treatises, scholarly research studies…

I was skeptical at first about any potential real estate application, but then it hit me: This might be the perfect platform for sharing real estate disclosures.

Currently, at least here in the Bay Area peninsula, about 70% of listings have the (formidable) disclosure documents hosted online, almost invariably by a title and escrow company. Getting these docs online is usually as simple as handing them over to your rep, who gets them scanned in and uploaded.

Downloading them, however, ranges from the frustrating to the incredibly frustrating. Some of the sites take forever, while others are just really slow. Most of the sites have incredibly bad interfaces.

With Scribd, you could simply upload the documents, mark them as private (so they’re not searchable on the site, nor crawlable by Google), then simply embed them in the appropriate part of your web site. Several advantages come to mind:

  • The downloads take place at Scribd, so they don’t count against your hosting provider’s bandwidth limits.
  • The Scribd flash-based reader is way cool, with zoom in and out, view full screen, print, and download options. Prospective buyers can read the documents before deciding if they actually want to download them.
  • It just looks cool!

One cool feature that may not have much in the way of real estate usefulness is the ability to get the documents read back to you in that rather annoying female monotone computer voice to which we’ve become accustomed. If you think disclosure documents are boring to read, try listening to them!

I’ll give Scribd a try on an upcoming listing and report back.

Geek out…

Tags: , , , Scribd
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Tags: Disclosures · Industry · Real estate · Scribd

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Erik // Apr 2, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Kevin, I was skeptical at first too. After trying out their service, I was blown away. Every time I looked closer I saw more useful detail features that made it even better… That’s the way to get people talking.

    I hadn’t thought of it as a real estate tool though, good idea.

  • 2 Tikhon // Apr 26, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Hey Kevin,

    Glad to hear you like scribd. If you have any thoughts about how scribd can do a better job for real estate disclosures, please let me know. I don’t know much about them, but I’d be really interested in learning more. Any thoughts on how we can get more people to think about putting disclosures on scribd? Thanks a lot,

    tikhon scribd.com

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