Why Real Estate Agents Should Ditch Paper-Based Processes
Originally posted @ yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au
Australian real estate agents may be leading the charge in ushering property transactions into the era of online communications, but there’s still a lot to be done, according to a recent survey conducted by DocuSign Australia.
Although technology have transformed many aspects of the real estate agency, such as online listing and virtual tours, 67% of agents surveyed said a number of processes remain manual and paper-based.
At a time when speed and efficiency rule for both businesses and consumers, entrenched paper processes for real estate agreements are clearly behind the times and are causing frustration. The report revealed that 64% of agents find that exchanging agency agreements and other contracts cause stress, with 68% blaming this to the amount of time it takes to finalise contracts and the pressure coming from all involved to do so quickly. Among the respondents, 66% believe that the industry should embrace document management technology in order to attain success in today’s market.
The report is based on a 2018 survey of 80 real estate agents in New South Wales, and in South and Western Australia.
In an interview with Your Investment Property magazine, DocuSign Asia Pacific vice president Brad Newton said that real estate is one of Australia’s oldest business sectors, and one of the industries with the most red tape. The report showed that 48% of respondents pointed entrenched processes and behaviours prevent transition to digital systems.
“There are some practices that were cobbled together over time and became entrenched, while others have been hard to shift due to legalities. Some of those legal barriers no longer exist, but there is still a hangover of myths about what can and can’t legally be done digitally,” Newton said.
According to him, real estate is also an industry with professionals from a wide range of age groups. While new entrants feel very comfortable with technology, some people from older generations take on an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude.
Surveyed agents revealed that transitioning to a digital system after working with manual processes for so long is one of the biggest barriers to adoption. However, those who had made the switch are pleased with their decision once they understand the benefits new systems can deliver.
According to Newton, brokers can help real estate agents understand the need to move to digital-based systems, such as online listings, mobile searches, and virtual tours, by showing the benefits these systems have on broking businesses and how those benefits can apply to real estate partners.
“It's not just about the benefits it brings to their own day-to-day processes. It's also about enabling modern and efficient transactions with their customers, and the ability to connect everyone involved in the transaction — from brokers, to agents, to conveyancing lawyers and more — to provide greater visibility of the process from beginning to end,” Newton said.
“These technologies allow brokers to provide modern, efficient and seamless service to their clients. Digital touch points at each stage of the real estate experience are an expectation of consumers.”
Newton added that although the real estate industry may have been slow in some areas, it is evolving, and will continue to evolve. And there will come a time when those who refuse to get on board will not only be left behind, but also be overcome by competitors that are more efficient with their time and costs.
“When it comes to document management, it’s important to not look at individual technologies alone, but to integrate them to create a completely digital system of agreement. This will connect document management from beginning at document creation, to signing, acting on, and finally managing the storage of the document at the end,” Newton said.