“There are so many ways that the computer and the Internet have changed the way we do business today in real estate brokerage. Even the processing of deposits with banks and the speed that accounts are credited saves us so much time and effort. But, we will continue to use more and more paper as we get more automatic,” Vanino added.
For Corey Thomas, manager of public relations for Century 21, technology has definitely reduced some of the paper from the transaction, but he reported there are several forms, contracts and public record processes that are still paper-based.
He also pointed out there are many seasoned real estate veterans and older clients who simply are not comfortable using computers—particularly for such major financial matters. “Some consumers ... just prefer to work with hard-copy documents,” he said. “In addition, I come from the school of thought that while I use as much technology as I can, I like to back my crucial documents up with actual hard copies, just in case my hard drive crashes or my computer network is temporarily unavailable.”
Roberson uses Web-enabled tools for various tasks, including working with listing referral organizations such as LendingTree. LendingTree is an online lending and realty services exchange that assists consumers with home loans, and matches them with certified and experienced local real estate agents.
“The listing inquiries are paperless. Internally, we would like to be able to move it around a little bit, but we don’t have a hard copy of an input form. This is where I see an NCR form can be helpful to make sure we get correct information into the computer,” he said. Missing or incorrect information prevents the data entry process that records the listing. “We need the completed forms. Getting consumers to provide all of the necessary information, and agents—who are mostly independent contractors—to do structured forms and reports is a difficult thing,” Roberson added.