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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