Real estate in Australia is on the cusp of a new era, with technology transforming almost every element of the industry. Think online listings, mobile searches, virtual tours and more. Yet one critical process remains unchanged and it’s holding real estate agents back.
New research by DocuSign Australia, which is detailed in our new eBook: The Secret to More Time and Efficiency, found that two thirds (67%) of real estate agents still use manual and paper-based processes in sealing property and rental deals. It’s slowing them down, and is a cause of frustration for both the agents and their customers.
Entrenched processes holding them back
The real estate industry is steeped in tradition. Yes, there are disruptors out there today who are shaking things up with smart apps for buying and selling. Yet, on the whole, the agency model is founded on entrenched processes. One need only think of the reams of paper and ‘sign here’ sticky notes that get couriered and posted between agents, buyers and sellers to get an appreciation of how slow and all-consuming these processes can be.
Concerningly, our research found that almost half of respondents (48%) indicated that entrenched processes and behaviours are preventing a transition to digital systems. That is, they are ‘stuck in the old way’.
That’s not to say that the industry isn’t ripe for change. Two thirds (66%) of those surveyed believe the industry should be embracing document management technology to be successful in today’s market. And, slowly but surely, the real estate industry is waking up to digitisation, with agents in a number of states moving to digital systems to manage agency agreements.
For example, in November 2018, the NSW Government voted to include e-signatures in conveyancing legislation, simplifying and accelerating the process for everyone from conveyancers to buyers and vendors.
The future of real estate transactions
Using manual, paper-based processes to finalise contracts takes time and is a major source of stress for real estate agents. So, what’s the answer? The modern System of Agreement, which digitises the collective process of preparing, signing, acting on and managing real estate agreements. It gives agents more time to do the things that matter – like prospecting, listing and closing other deals.
According to the research, 7 in 10 agents said that 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.
Beyond these tangible business benefits, the adoption of digital Systems of Agreement would also improve agents’ working lives, with 64% of survey respondents saying that the technology would give them more mobility and allow them to achieve a better work/life balance. This is gold in the high-stress, high-stakes world of real estate.
Strong results for early adopters
Of those real estate agencies who have already adopted e-signature technology to manage agency agreements online, a quarter (26%) said they have seen business growth of 30% or more after introducing it.
Since implementing a digital contract management system, Harris Real Estate in South Australia has gone from 180 to 300 sales a year. Co-owner Tom Hector puts it down to having much more time to spend with customers, saying, “The increased speed at which we’re getting contracts back is a game changer.”