Australian real estate agents are leading the charge for property transactions to enter a modern era of online communications.
But according to one firm, there’s still much more to accomplish.
Despite technology having transformed many aspects of the real estate industry from online listings, mobile searches and virtual tours, 67 per cent of agents surveyed said many processes are still manual and paper-based.
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At a time when speed and efficiency is everything to both businesses and consumers, entrenched paper processes for agreements in real estate are frustrating at best and behind the times at worst.
Around two thirds of agents surveyed find the process of exchanging agency agreements and other contracts stressful, with 68 per cent attributing this to the amount of time it takes to finalise contracts and pressure from all involved to do so quickly.
Cunninghams real estate agency director Andrew Lutze said technology helps to overcome these challenges,
“Technology allows us to increase our productivity, streamline our processes and spend more time giving customers the personalised service they expect,” he said.
Other agents agree, with two thirds (66 per cent) of those surveyed saying they believe the industry should be embracing document management technology to be successful in today’s market.
Despite this, almost half of respondents (48 per cent) indicated that entrenched processes and behaviours are preventing a transition to digital systems.
Brad Newton, Asia Pacific Vice President of DocuSign, said, “The real estate industry is waking up to digitisation, with agents in a number of states moving to digital systems to manage agency agreements. However for many, agreements remain paper-based and overly reliant on manual processes.
“For real estate agents this directly impacts their bottom line because time spent in the office chasing paperwork is time they’re unable to spend prospecting, listing and closing other deals to bring in more commission.”
Of those who have been quick to adopt e-signature technology that allows them to manage agency agreements online, a quarter (26 per cent) said they have seen business growth of 30 per cent or more after introducing it.
Seven in 10 agents surveyed for the research said if they could complete agency, tenancy and leasing agreements faster they would spend the freed up time servicing (79 per cent) and attracting (72 per cent) other clients. Around half (47 per cent) said they would use the time to research better ways to conduct business and 41 per cent said they would invest the time in professional development.
“Agencies need to add value to property transactions,” CEO of REINSW Tim McKibbin said.
“By using the right technology, they can offer speed of service, security and convenience. They can also demonstrate that their agency is forward-thinking and competitive, and agents can spend more time working on those parts of the sales process that need the personal touch.”
Adding value to clients is not the only benefit that comes from managing agreements online. 64 per cent of survey respondents said this technology would give them more mobility and allow them to achieve a better work/life balance.
● These results are based on a 2018 survey of 80 real estate agents in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.