“The software package comes personalized when it’s purchased,” continued White. “The agents have all the forms loaded on their laptops and they are [customized] with their specific information, and in accord[ance] to the laws in their state[s]. An individual office may provide a few locally specific forms, but by and large, all the contracts and disclosures are created in WINForms by each individual agent.”
Roger Nordin, relocation director for a California-based Century 21 office, also uses WINForms to populate documents such as disclosures and listing forms, but noted they must then be printed out for signatures and additional processing. “You’re still dealing with paperwork and a lot of filing cabinets containing hard copies. The documentation is never-ending. In fact, the California Association of Realtors just issued another mandatory, 12-page legal form that requires original signatures,” he added.
Steve Roberson has owned a Century 21 franchise for the past 14 years. From his vantage point, a paperless society is not in the foreseeable future. “We have approximately 16 disclosures in a typical real estate transaction. Our files are 1" to 3" thick when ... complete[d],” he explained. “Every year, one or more disclosures are added by the attorneys. In a few years, the files will be 4" to 5" thick.”
Roberson acknowledged the online WINForms system makes writing up offers easier and quicker, but doesn’t eliminate the need to make several copies for buyers’ and sellers’ signatures. The plethora of forms can be just as confusing for the agent.
Conrad Vanino, Jr., president, broker owner of Century 21 Park Road, Wyomissing, Pa., has been in the real estate brokerage business since 1965, and agreed that despite computers, paper usage has increased. “One recent change that I believe will be really meaningful is the file storage system in which we download all documents of a file onto a CD after the file is closed. We maintain file rooms filled with thousands of old files, which is a waste of prime space,” he said. Under the new system, the company will be able to backup its network by storing thousands of files in one filing cabinet, and the company providing the software also maintains a backup of the information for several years.