Real estate trade groups are jumping into the transaction management business as they jockey to keep control of the point of sale and offer a simpler way for their members and the public to close a home transaction. The paperless home sale is the goal.

The latest announcement comes from First American Residential Group Inc, which has signed an exclusive agreement to provide Transaction Manager, an online transaction management platform, to Real Estate Business Resources (REBR), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kansas Association of Realtors.

The first of its kind with a trade group, the agreement enables the entire KAR membership to use a common platform to manage transaction checklists and documents, as well as order products and services.

First American’s Transaction Manager provides an integrated set of tools for Realtor through all phases of the real estate transaction, from listing to closing.

“First American offers a solution that is open and neutral, and serves the Realtor population well,” said Karen France, vice president of REBR. “We recognize the importance to our members’ profitability to adopt transaction management. We also realize the benefits of providing a common platform to our members to enable cooperative efforts on each transaction. Transaction Manager meets this need with one-time sign-up, state and local vendor directories and easy accessibility, offered in one convenient platform for both our 9,378 members and our vendors.”

Big companies, trade groups and entrepreneurs are once again investing in technology platforms, back-end systems and software to automate the home sale.

The National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, Mortgage Bankers Association and title insurance industry have taken significant steps in the last year to adopt technology systems that streamline real estate transactions and slim the amount of paper involved.

Title, closing and mortgage companies and individual realty agents have picked up the pace on adoption. Technology companies are feverishly launching new products to replace old paper ways. The mortgage and real estate industries are making progress on establishing technology standards with groups such as MISMO (Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization) and RETS (Real Estate Technology Standards), so that more parts integrate together smoothly.

First American offers one of the most mature transaction management platforms on the market, which was launched in 1999 and acquired by First American Residential Group in 2001. Kelly Pantis, vice president of marketing for First American Residential Group, said flexibility is key for transaction management technologies. First American offers transaction management and electronic document technologies for the title, escrow, mortgage and real estate brokerage and MLS sectors, and “each segment feels like it was built from them and around them,” Pantis said. “It’s all very configurable.”

Pantis said that modern transaction management systems have integrated more and more technologies, so that the very nature of transaction management platforms may become obsolete once all of the various electronic systems become seamless. “The more systems we can connect with then the less anybody actually uses the system,” she said.

***

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