Save time by ditching paper-based agreements

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Australian real estate agents are leading the charge for property transactions to enter a modern era of online communications. Still, there’s much more to accomplish, says new research by DocuSign Australia*.

Despite technology having transformed many aspects of the real estate industry from online listings, mobile searches and virtual tours, 67% of agents surveyed said many processes are still manual and paper-based.

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 (64%) of agents surveyed find the process of exchanging agency agreements and other contracts stressful, with 68% attributing this to the amount of time it takes to finalise contracts and pressure from all involved to do so quickly.

Andrew Lutze, Director of real estate agency Cunninghams, 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.”

Other agents agree, with two thirds (66%) 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%) indicated that entrenched processes and behaviours are preventing a transition to digital systems.

“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,” said Asia Pacific Vice President of DocuSign Brad Newton.

“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%) said they have seen business growth of 30% 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%) and attracting (72%) other clients. Around half (47%) said they would use the time to research better ways to conduct business and 41% said they would invest the time in professional development.

“In a tech driven world, real estate professionals are becoming increasingly mobile,” said REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella. “By using modern technology, they can save valuable time and provide the client with time-saving solutions to offer a better service. It also demonstrates that real estate professionals are modern and competitive, and it can free their hands to grow their business and improve on service delivery.”

Adding value to clients is not the only benefit that comes from managing agreements online. 64% of survey respondents said this technology would give them more mobility and allow them to achieve a better work/life balance.

“eSignatures are the first step for real estate agents in creating more productive businesses. But completely digitising the way they are creating, signing, acting on and managing agreements takes it to the next level. Agencies who have adopted this modern System of Agreement tell us it significantly transforms the client experience, reduces human errors, increases security and allows for easier recall of the documents,” Newton added.

REIQ members and Realworks subscribers qualify for a 70% discount per user on the DocuSign Enterprise Edition. The offer ends ends on Friday, December 14. Contact DocuSign directly on 1800 255 982 and quote code “REIQ70” or click here for more information.

*These results are based on a 2018 survey of 80 real estate agents in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.