A task force of residential real estate companies dedicated to making the fully digital housing transaction a reality has launched. The group, known as the Paperless Crusade, will include transaction software vendors, researchers, journalists and major brokerages working together across a broad range of informational, promotional and technological fronts to raise awareness of paperless transactions and improve the paperless customer experience.

The campaign, initiated by Inman News, will focus on information, promotion and technology cooperation.

“Traditional house closing is an unpleasant experience for customers. It depresses the willingness of customers to go back into the market,” said Bradley Inman, publisher of Inman News. “If we can close the U.S. wheat sale to China electronically, the time has certainly come when we can close a house sale electronically.”

Inman News will produce an ongoing series of special reports on paperless technology and processes.

The topic also will be a primary focus at the upcoming Real Estate Connect conference, Jan. 11-13, 2006, in New York City. There will be a Paperless Pavilion vendor showcase and a complete conference track on the topic, and Clareity Consulting will survey the market and produce the first complete picture of the state of paperless services today.

In addition, on Nov. 15, Inman News will unveil a Web site of paperless information and access at //www.inman.com/paperless/index.html. The site will serve as a central point where the entire residential community can turn to learn all they need about the state of digital transactions.

The initiative also will have a Paperless Leadership Council that will meet regularly to discuss standards, interoperability, new technologies and other issues essential to improving the ease of use and quality of customer experience with paperless transactions.

Initial council members include: Patrick Stone, longtime industry executive and vice chairman of Metrocities Mortgage; Travis Wright, CEO of Stewart Realty Solutions; Darcy Patch, senior vice president of marketing, Fidelity National Financial; Mark Lesswing, vice president, Center for Realtor Technology; Gregg Larson of Clareity Consulting and Mike Edelhart, CEO of Inman News. Others are expected to join in the weeks ahead.

Stewart Title, a leader in the real estate information industry, was the first company to commit to full participation in the initiative. The company’s paperless solutions including the SureClose transaction management platform and propriety eClosingRoom with eSignatures, are currently deployed in more than 800 Stewart locations, according to Travis Wright, CEO of Stewart Realty Solutions.

The eClosingRoom technology was developed by Silanis Technology and Stewart Title Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. SureClose is a product of Stewart Realty Solutions.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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