Editor’s note: The following essay is a response by a real estate brokerage office owner to the question: "What technology trends will change the industry in the future?" Inman News posed this question and others as a part of the Inman News Roadmap to Recovery project. Click here to find out how you can participate.
By KEVIN KRAVCAK
In the near future, 100 percent of all documentation needed to purchase or sell a home will be filled out online using electronic-signature capabilities. Everything — including your mortgage application, mortgage commitments, promissory notes, mortgages, deeds, title commitments, title insurance, agreements of sale, HUD-1 forms, etc., will be paperless.
The demand for this will increase as the world goes "green" and consumers better understand how going paperless will help our environment and cut operational costs. It’s comparable to clean energy, in the fact it is currently more expensive to initially implement but over the long term it will save you money and help protect our environment. Every party involved, from the buyer and seller to the businesses who provide real estate services, will expect this paperless technology as the norm.
Being paperless will also make it easier to access and share the files with every party involved, virtually eliminating fraud, lost paperwork, or untimely settlement mishaps because everyone will have access to and can follow the process.
Line newspaper ads and print real estate magazines will no longer be necessary. The numbers already show they do not provide a better return on investment than online advertising. If it does not attract buyers, then it is worthless.
If your argument is that agents will still use print publications for name-brand recognition and to appease sellers, I have a newsflash: There are also more effective and efficient ways of accomplishing those goals.
Sellers are quickly coming to realize that print ads do not help them sell their house any more than an open house does. They don’t look for their new house in print ads themselves, so why would they expect a potential buyer for their house to do so? This trend will only grow stronger as future generations become cradle-to-grave technology "junkies."
The consumer of the future will not look for a home in print ads, will not have landline phones, and will not want to waste their valuable time driving from house to house or spend hours upon hours in an office filling out various forms of confusing paperwork. They will get their news and information via RSS or live video streaming on their mini mobile computers (imagine the iPhone on steroids). They will demand seamless, paperless and more interactive technology-based services that they can monitor with the click of a button.
I haven’t had a landline phone or a newspaper subscription in over five years; I guess that makes me a tech junkie. Soon we will all be technology junkies, and I say, "The sooner the better!"
Kevin Kravcak is owner of Envirian of Bucks County, a brokerage in Langhorne, Pa.
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