At Real Estate Connect San Francisco last week, we held a session dubbed "How Millennials Shop for Homes." The panel included three 30-something homebuyers: Greg Pasquali, Brittany Ashlock and Martin Ringlein. This articulate threesome was determined to be homeowners, though they were each a tad cynical about the risk and the woes of homebuying.

One thread throughout the discussion was their desire for digital documents and an easier transaction.

At Real Estate Connect San Francisco last week, we held a session dubbed "How Millennials Shop for Homes." The panel included three 30-something homebuyers: Greg Pasquali, Brittany Ashlock and Martin Ringlein. This articulate threesome was determined to be homeowners, though they were each a tad cynical about the risk and the woes of homebuying.

One thread throughout the discussion was their desire for digital documents and an easier transaction.

For 15 years, Inman News has been preaching the importance of automating the transaction with digital documents and an easier transaction process. While there are signs that the process is improving, this panel was a reminder of how arcane the transaction still is.

Many of the woes can be blamed on government requirements and unruly documentation that bureaucratic rules require. As Ringlein said, "I didn’t even read the documents." That seems like a practical response to the ridiculous requirements put on homebuyers and sellers in the process.

But it is also an unfortunate outcome.

Pasquali thought it absurd that he had to submit a letter confirming that the driver’s license he submitted was really his and the forms he just signed were really his signature. The absurdity of this requirement is anyone who would commit fraud by signing someone else’s name would be willing to do it again with this inane requirement.

Most of the documentation foisted on homebuyers and sellers is the result of an overreaction to bad behavior by lenders, builders, Realtors and scam artists during the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s and the subprime loan fiasco in the last decade.

But another problem is the number of Realtors who do not use digital documents.

The industry needs to use its clout to remove some absurd regulatory requirements and to automate the transaction with easy-to-use digital documents.

This year’s Inman Innovator Award went to DotLoop CEO Austin Allison.

This is our small of way of saying: Come on, gang, let’s automate the transaction now and get rid of unnecessary documents. It is hurting consumers, housing markets and the industry.

Bradley Inman is the founder and publisher of Inman News.

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