Ashley Dane — Regional Director of Technology, RE/MAX of Michigan — remembers in 2015 when she first rolled out dotloop and the concept of digital signatures to a group of Michigan-based agents.
“Many laughed and said, ‘Absolutely not. I love the experience of sitting across the kitchen table with my client as they sign the listing agreement.’”
“Now we laugh when I ask if any would give up their digital signatures today,” says Dane. “None of the agents who have since adopted digital signatures or cloud storage say they would ever go back.”
The COVID pandemic fast-tracked agent adoption of real estate technology in a big way. From video calls and 3D showings to mobile transactions and digital earnest money deposits, many of these processes are here to stay.
But what is the ultimate goal of transaction management technology today? Is it about a faster transaction – that is, the total time it takes to complete the transaction? Or, is it about automation that can result in less touch and more efficiency for the agent, broker and consumer at every interval in the transaction?
From time-saving Zoom calls replacing an in-person meeting to integrated, open API transaction management software, today’s real estate technology is increasingly breaking down the physical barriers to help deliver the ultimate consumer experience.
Still, as an industry, it’s up to the agent and broker to better anticipate consumers’ wants and needs and deliver on those expectations proactively before they ask.
“We need to provide things to people before they ask for them,” Dane says. “The consumer will decide what they want. We have to think five steps ahead. If I can see the future and what changes are going to happen in 90 days, a year or three years — if I can move our ship for our brand in advance — then we will be better able to meet that demand.”
Many of these consumers’ expectations revolve around a technology-enabled transaction that involves less touch and more efficiency.
“Agents and brokers should all be students of American consumerism. We want things to be easy and seamless and information to come to us,” Dane says.
“If we can provide the consumer with the technology that gives them the information before they’re seeking it, then their interpretation of our brand and our business and our industry will be significantly higher,” she says.
The Dotloop Earnnest integration gives your clients a faster and safer way to submit earnest money.
Real estate professionals also need to view agents – in addition to buyers and sellers – as the consumer. Finding the optimum intersection between automation and efficiencies, Dane says, will play a key role not only in end-consumer satisfaction but also improved agent adoption.
“We can give our agents tools, but the more they have to touch, the more drop-off we have in getting them to the next step,” she says.
From acquiring leads to the ways in which agents communicate with buyers and sellers, there are literally “hundreds of touchpoints” where consumerism demands things be made easier, Dane notes.
In a recent Inman Connect Now panel hosted by dotloop, Dane noted that we shouldn’t necessarily measure transaction success by the number of days it takes to complete the transaction, but more importantly, by the number of minutes and hours that each party in the transaction has to physically engage with the process to get it to the finish line.
“So much is bound by physical boundaries, but if you can give the agent back the time to do two transactions in the time it used to take them to do just one,” she says, “that’s a huge advancement.”
In many cases, agents don’t need to be physically present, such as when signing documents or making an earnest money deposit.
“If the pandemic taught us anything,” Dane says, “in many cases, those are artificial barriers. If you are physically touching something, there is probably a better way to do it.”
Half a million active agents and over 10,000 Brokerages and Teams close more deals faster using dotloop, the leading real estate transaction management software for top agents, teams and brokers.