Inman’s inaugural Connect Now event covered not only the poignant impact that COVID-19 has had on the industry but also the industry’s resiliency. Rather than pessimism, we listened to optimism. Still, with changes afoot, many were challenged to pivot their strategies and embrace digital transformation now, in order to be in a far better position later. You may feel this isn’t a new challenge at all. However, with uncertainties comes urgency.
A May 2020 NAR research survey found that 56 percent of buyers and 58 percent of sellers were comfortable with signing closing documents electronically for a real estate transaction. Furthermore, an Inman survey of readers and subscribers found that 60% are using digital closing tools more now than they did prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. With more growth in digitalization, the need to invest in proper transaction management software has never been greater.
Melissa Davis, Manager of Operations at Propertybase Back Office sat down to discuss how digital tools improve the transaction experience for everyone involved.
- COVID-19 has greatly impacted the ability for in-person interactions, can the transaction process adapt?Absolutely. Having the right software [like Propertybase Back Office] allows for the agents to follow a workflow and stay on target from a compliance perspective without the need for in-person collaboration between the broker or administration staff—so it’s completely contactless and paperless.
- Digitalization and end-to-end tools certainly aren’t new topics. What is holding the industry back from adoption?
Lack of adoption is usually a bandwidth issue. Many simply haven’t had time to slow down long enough to do the research and implement a solution. Dare I say the same holds true for the whole real estate industry. Unfortunately, in our experience, looking for a tech solution is an afterthought. What has happened has magnified the need to get more out of the digital tools readily available.
- What captures the attention of brokers when you speak about transaction management software?
Not all software is alike, but with Propertybase Back Office compliance management to reduce [brokerage] liability is obviously the biggest thing. A close second is purely the ability to stay organized. Lastly, for a newer or an established brokerage recruiting and retaining is always top of the list.I’ll add this. Traditionally organized brokerages may struggle to with their productivity and to create a sense of inclusion as society shifts towards an even more remote workforce. The adept broker understands that the new virtual way of life demands the right software to solidify brand loyalty and agent productivity.
- Would you agree that consumers are the driving force towards real estate’s digitalization?
Yes. The ability for an agent to share important due diligence dates, documents, eSignature, and transaction notes with a click of a button satisfies that consumer hunger for more. We also have a feature called Roundtable, which is a branded, collaborative experience between the agent and client/vendor for that particular transaction.Two things are achieved: 1. You solve the consumer’s want for satisfaction by involving them in the process from start to finish. 2. An agent’s professionalism and expertise just skyrockets. Today’s consumer uses technology daily, they expect their agents to, as well.
- Finally, where do you see the future of real estate heading?
It’s hard to believe, but as times change and the population matures, tech will be even more important than it is now. Consumers will want the ability to “self serve” as much as possible. I myself would prefer to be able to run comps, pull up better information, and learn about the neighborhood before I look at houses. This doesn’t mean an agent’s role will be diminished, but the old way of doing business may no longer apply. I’m optimistic agents can and will bring more to the table—especially during the transaction process.
Utilized by more than 200,000 users, Propertybase’s Back Office is the most widely adopted module within its real estate platform. In this time where agents and brokers alike are adapting to working remotely, the Back Office provides a virtual office, with intranet, compliance-driven transaction management, print marketing and other resources. Simplify your business while also creating a sense of place and providing a 360° view of day-to-day activities and updates. Could Propertybase Back Office help you?