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Why “incredibly time-saving and cool” isn’t enough to change Ronald the Realtor’s business practices

October 22nd, 2006 · 2 Comments

I was working late in the office the other night and ran into a friend and colleague who was in the classic Realtor time-crunch. Ronald the Realtor — not this person’s real name — was in the process of writing up a contract, after which he had to

  1. Drive to wife-half-of-client-couple and get her signatures
  2. Come back to the office
  3. Fax contract to husband-half-of-client-couple (who was travelling) to get his signatures
  4. Wait for the contract to come back via fax
  5. Double check it for accuracy

To me, this looked like a classic test case for using electronic signatures, which would have transformed this 2 hour (at least) ordeal into a fairly easy 30 minute process, not to mention looking incredibly cool.

I wondered why Ronald wasn’t using e-signatures, since he’s a pretty successful, tech-savvy, smart individual who — to boot — had recently attended my e-signature training session.

Here’s my explanation: Of the three types of Realtors, electronic signatures don’t yet offer enough value for two of them, and for the third type, it’s a question of getting over the learning and comfort curve.

The three types of Realtors (at least for the purpose of this discussion) are:

  1. Low-volume
  2. High-volume
  3. Medium-volume

Low-volume Realtors might do four or five deals in a year, so saving time is not something they tend to be concerned about. High-volume Realtors tend to have one or more assistants, and saving them effort is usually not a high priority. It’s the third type of Realtor — medium-volume ones — for whom, I believe, e-signatures currently offer the most benefit.

Why aren’t they adopting it more quickly? Ironically, I think it’s largely because they’re just too busy to take the time to learn something new — and I’ll be the first to admit that the first couple of deals you do using e-signatures may well take you more time than the traditional method. Kind of an unfortunate Catch-22 for those folks.

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Tags: Electronic signatures · Real estate · Technology

A realtor’s job is never done

September 28th, 2006 · 2 Comments

So here I am in King’s Beach, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, ostensibly on vacation. I’ll be spending some time today getting an offer ready to submit tomorrow. Fortunately, technology makes this pretty straightforward and painless… Thanks to the good folks at the Java Hut for providing some great coffee, a little table to work on, and funky, inspiring tunes (including, for a while, some classic Fela tunes)… ..and thanks to the neighboring restaurant, Steamers, for inadvertently providing me with Wifi access… …add in the help of my Lenovo X41 Tablet PC, our local real estate forms provider, an e-fax system, and, of course, my e-signature provider… …and it all comes together pretty effortlessly, even getting the 125 pages of disclosures ready for signature… Turns out the seller of the property on which I’m submitting an offer is a meticulous record-keeper. I know this dates me, but was there really a time when tradespeople charged only $10 an hour?

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Tags: Electronic signatures · Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Technology