The “iPad for Real Estate” idea has always appealed to me but I must confess that I just never worked out an integrated system that allowed me to throw away my pen and fax machine.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to host a webinar with Krisstina Wise, creator of the first paperless real estate office (as far as I know).
Here’s the link to the webinar.
I thought that I would pen some thoughts about the future of real estate and the digital office.
Real Estate Search
Everyone with an iPad can search for real estate from their iPad. All the large real estate portals offer an iPad app so this one is a no-brainer. Just as the public uses an iPad to search for real estate, a real estate pro can use an iPad to do local market research, find comparable listings and keep up with local market news. Check!
One of the core features of my real estate business is the listing presentation. This is the part of the sales process when I’m sitting in a potential seller’s home and am pitching them as to why they should list with me. I could pull out the old paper marketing brochure or dazzle them with my high tech multi media presentation.
My iPad is basically just a computer so it is really easy to turn it into a listing presentation tool. All I need is a digital version of my listing presentation (check), PowerPoint or EverNote (check) and preferable an internet connection (owner’s or wi fi – check).
The obvious advantage is that it is light and portable. I can do the same thing on my laptop but honestly a laptop no longer has any “wow” factor.
If I want to be really cool I can bring two iPads to the presentation and let my prospect hold their own shiny toy.
Now things start to get tricky.
I’ve just wowed my sellers and they can’t believe that they got so lucky that I agreed to help them sell their home. Time to pull out the paperwork.
No problem, I’ve got the paperwork loaded up on my iPad. I have a document editing app for WordPress (check) and / or my document provider has an editable commission approved document, a document viewer (check) and way to edit the document on the fly (check).
I curse my local real estate commission for creating this mountain of paperwork but I have everything under control and we labor through all the listing and disclosure details. It’s a bit awkward for my client to read digital documents but I’m a pro so I guide them through the process.
Then disaster strikes. They want to read it over. What do I do? I can email them the digital copy, print out a copy with the portable printer I keep in my car or even lend them the second iPad.
Fortunately smarter heads prevail and they change their mind and decide to sign the paperwork now and hire me as their listing agent. Time to pull out the ceremonial Mont Blanc fountain pen. But wait a minute, we need to do this digitally so I need to get a digital signature.
Again no problem. I can get the digital signature by getting the client to type in their name and initial each page. My forms are all editable so getting them to add name and initials is no problem. But is this kind of digital signature legal? And what does my local MLS and real estate association think about it?
Just to be safe I get the client to use a stylus to “hand write” their initials and signature. I need a stylus and I need a document reader that allows me to hand write on the document.
Or I can get the client to hand write their initials and signature on a special app, capture their signature into a digital image like a jpeg and then insert the signature image into the document.
Yikes, this is getting complicated. Fortunately I use Docusign and they’ve thought this out for me and made it easy to add an electronic signature.
We sign all the documents and now I need to create a number of copies for my files, office files and for my client. I email a copy to my client and to my office manager. They can print them if they want. It wasn’t that easy compiling all the documents and disclosures into one file so I was forced to get creative and host the files on the Cloud. Again Docusign to the rescue.
But wait a minute – I think my real estate commission requires that I keep a copy of all files for 4 years. Does that mean a hard copy? And don’t I need to keep them at my registered office? I don’t want to make a mistake with this as my local Real Estate commission is not sympathetic to technical rule violations. I think I’ll make a hard copy just in case.
Marketing the Listing
I jump right into creating the marketing material for my listing. The iPad camera and wide angle, fish eye and panoramic accessories work brilliantly so I get 30 great pictures. I edit them on my iPad using a photo editing app (check).
I connect everything to my social media accounts (check).
I upload the listing details into the local MLS (check). My keyboard is a bit clunky so it takes longer to type all the details on my iPad. Maybe this is something I should do from my laptop even though I can do it from my iPad.
There are no significant issues marketing the listing from my iPad.
Accepting an Offer
Fantastic. I get a full price cash offer with no conditions within 23 seconds of listing the home on the MLS. Not a personal record but I’m nevertheless pleased.
The offer is faxed to my office and the digital file is forwarded to my iPad through my email account. I read the offer and forward it by email to my client. They accept the offer and sign it electronically. Or do they? Do they have the right software on their desktop or do I need to meet with them and have them sign the offer on my iPad?
I’ll stop this story right there. The purpose of the story was to demonstrate just how much goes into converting your real estate business into a paperless office and running everything from your iPad. You need a great deal of fancy tools and apps to make it all happen.
But it is the future of real estate.
So if you haven’t yet seen how Krisstina Wise does it then sign up for her iPad for Real Estate webinar or watch the replay by clicking here.