Last April, when real estate agent Carmelo "Mel" Oliveri found out New Jersey had changed a regulation to allow brokers to keep electronic records in place of paper ones, he put himself in gear. Two months after finding out about the change, he founded his own virtual and paperless brokerage, Paramus-based Property Hub Realtors.
"The technology is out there (for brokerages to become paperless). Unfortunately, it’s underutilized in the real estate world. Everyone says that’s the future of real estate, but the future is here," Oliveri said.
A middle-school teacher turned real estate investor, Oliveri started his career as a real estate agent in 2006 with Exit Realty, later moving to Coldwell Banker and then Re/Max. He had been at Re/Max Real Estate Limited in Oradell, N.J., for about a year when he got his broker’s license in June 2010.
Before launching his brokerage that same month, he had spent a year and a half researching how to start a business based almost entirely around the Web. Key to his approach was hiring a software developer to build a custom, Web-based transaction management system, at a cost of $150,000.