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Unleashing the power of internet technology on real estate transactions

This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

We’re wired Realtors, and we always have been. The very first thing I did as a Realtor was to set up a web site to attract clients. We made money on the internet from the very beginning.

Since then, we’ve adopted every new idea that’s come around, along with inventing quite a few of our own. We publish a national real estate weblog — BloodhoundBlog.com — to help other wired Realtors come to grips with technology.

Because I’m working with a lot of buyers right now — and because buying a home has become such an ordeal — I’ve been working to make my technogeek status even more robust. Good enough is not good enough any longer. If I want for my clients to get the home of their dreams, my offers have to be first, fastest and best.

To that end, I just bought a new Apple MacBook Pro, and I’ve been outfitting it with the software I need to do contracts from anywhere, in the fastest possible time.

The Arizona Association of Realtors gives us all a program called ZipForms as part of our dues. In the abstract, ZipForms makes filling out forms fast and painless. It falls somewhat short of that ideal in reality, but it will do for now.

But ZipForms integrates with a web-based service called DocuSign, which permits me to capture signatures on-line, in the form of e-signatures.

So I can whip out a purchase contract in ZipForms while standing in the kitchen of the house we’re buying. Mrs. Buyer might be at her mom’s house in Albuquerque, while Mr. Buyer is in New York on business.

No matter. I can set up DocuSign for each buyer to sign the contract in sequence, then have it come back to me for my own signature, then forward the whole package to the listing agent. We can literally do the whole job in a half-hour or less — a big improvement over printing and faxing and running documents around to get signatures.

There are more new technologies we’re playing with. I’ll talk about some others next week.

 
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Or: Steal this book: I’ve written over 200 of these real estate columns. They are consistently one of the most popular features on our blogs. Many of them are dated and/or entirely Phoenixocentric. But many others are timeless and generic. If you want to use any of my columns on your weblog or web site, feel free. Three rules: Don’t change my text, credit me as the author and give me a link back to http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/ with appropriate anchor text. Something like this, perhaps:

<a href="http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/" target="_blank">
Phoenix Realtor Greg Swann</a> suggested I share this with you:

Am I link-baiting? You bet. The quid pro quo is free content for your site that pulls eyeballs and excites interest.

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  • 8 comments

    8 Comments so far

    1. Sam Ingersoll August 22nd, 2009 1:20 pm

      Great post Greg!

      To earn more business than the next guy, Realtors have to be better – or different.

      They can be (a) better/more experienced, (b) more likable, or (c) provide faster response/service.

      Becoming more efficient in doing…is the extra key, that can not only help folks earn more money, but do so more easily.

      The problem for many agents is that even little things, like buying and setting up ZipForms or Docusign or perfecting their PPC campaigns, or even adding tags to their posts – is just so unfamiliar to them, that they never do it.

      Referring to the recent post about REBAR events, then, it’s why I’m in favor not of conferences that aren’t about (a) networking or (b) learning new ideas – but rather (c) bootcamp style events where agents can – with the help from people who get technology – bang out very specific tasks.

      For example, writing auto-responder copy, shooting videos, doing internal SEO of their websites, working with a copywriter to layout their Books….all this would be more important in my mind…than learning about and discussing new ideas that most agents won’t have time to get around to doing.

    2. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2009 1:52 pm

      > For example, writing auto-responder copy, shooting videos, doing internal SEO of their websites, working with a copywriter to layout their Books….all this would be more important in my mind…than learning about and discussing new ideas that most agents won’t have time to get around to doing.

      Now you understand BloodhoundBlog Unchained. I could care less about F2F or IRL. I don’t hate that stuff, but I’m much more interested in improving my mind and perfecting my praxis. If I’m not at one end or the other of a firehose, I’m wasting my time — and I don’t waste my time.

      My take on REBarCamp, having been to one and having heard about too many: They’re becoming yet another battlefront in the Vendorslut Counter-Revolution: An opportunity to milk a captive audience of very scared, very bovine Realtors out of every last penny they have, in exchange for useless crap that would never pass muster here.

    3. Sam Ingersoll August 22nd, 2009 2:09 pm

      I was laughing my ass off at a “Twitter 101″ discussion at the one in Philadelphia.

      “But what’s it for?” mooo’d the Bovine.

      “This is the future, you’ve gotta do it,” said the Twitter Queen, who by her moniker and own admission spent hours on Twitter and Facebook.

      “Uh,” said my somewhat savvy friend, “How much business did you do from all your Twittering last year?”

      “3 transactions,” sheepishly admitted The Queen.

      “Mooooooooo,” said the herd, as it grew restless.

      “Hey cows!” hollered me, “Write or paste some good content, Get a good IDX search site, run some ads on Google, and follow up fast with folks…and you’ll be just fine.”

      I don’t mind the Bovines so much. It’s the sleezy weasels that bother me. If it doesn’t make sense to the Herd, sometimes it’s because it just won’t work for most of them.

      P.S. “VendorSlut.” I love it.

    4. Ryan Hartman August 22nd, 2009 4:46 pm

      Hey Sam… good to see you around here.
      Sorry to be sorry to say, but your thing on Listingpress was by far the highlight of rebar philly for me.

      I had to leave early when one of the other experts told the crowd to never ever use annotations on youtube embeds because “they’re tacky.” I straight made my living off of those things the first part of this year and choked back puke as I implored the crowd to disregard.

      Bovine?” That’s some funny shit! Made my day. Looking forward to running into you again…

    5. Ashlee August 22nd, 2009 7:35 pm

      We have the same thing here in TX, with zip form and the docusign. I absolutely love it! Contracts come back readable and it saves so much time!

    6. Nick Gioia August 22nd, 2009 8:45 pm

      I am trying to get this application set-up for our agents at this time. However, we use MBIA forms and the intigration with docusign is well not at the level I would expect. Over the next 12 months every agent on our team will be assigned a dell mini with listing Power point presentations and the ability to write contracts and sign listing from anyware. This technology will greatly improve our customer service and enhance our business. As in most placed Baltimore has several agents who are not willing to accept change and fight it as every turn. So our transition will be painful.

    7. Mika August 23rd, 2009 7:58 am

      In my opinion, the sheer complexity of selling and buying homes is keeping the present system largely intact. Home buying as a do-it-yourself and click-here job is still largely in the realm of fiction. Nowadays, very few real estate sales take place solely between a seller and buyer. So yes, internet still important rules in real estate investment for decades to come.

    8. Joe Meagher September 2nd, 2009 7:56 pm

      Have you thought of using something like: http://www.workitems.net to track the contract to close process for these transactions? You can enter all the important dates for your transactions and everyone can easily see exactly whats left before the contract is closed.