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Jim Valentine: Real estate and technology

Jim Valentine

Real estate technology has come a long way since we marveled at the new NCR paper, No Carbon Required. It replaced the need of putting a piece of carbon paper between your original and the copy you were making when you wanted to make a duplicate of your contract or letter for the file. Of course that went in to your typewriter to prepare. Most successful offices and agents had the IBM Selectric at $1,000 a copy.

Roll forward 40 years to 2020 and the changes are amazing. No more typewriters, everything is on the computer and most are on laptops that are exceptionally mobile. Access to the lockboxes aren’t with a key or key/combination means, rather all have an app on their smartphone. Punch in a code and the phone talks to the box to open. Once opened the box talks to the mainframe which then sends an email to the Listing Agent telling them who went in the home and when. All within seconds.

Smartphones have themselves changed our business dramatically. There are programs that provide an aerial view of where you are with boundary lines, topo programs that help with orientation on large acreage in mountainous areas, elevation programs that tell you how high you are at a spot, programs that give you background and ownership information of a property, and homes for sale or that have sold in an area and their prices.

Agents used to have map books to help navigate when showing property. Today the smartphones, and even the new automobiles, have map programs that allow the agent to enter an address and have it direct them to the property. When setting up a tour the MLS program offers a mapping service that plats the homes on a map for the agent so they can see the logical order to set them up in. Most local communities offer GIS mapping services that provide accurate zoning, floodzone, aerial, zoning overlays, and much more information.

Many Northern Nevada buyers and sellers live out of the area. Contracts today are often transferred via email and signed with one of the secured digital signing services/programs, i.e.- Authentisign, DocuSign, etc. You can review and sign documents on your computer, or smartphone (again in the palm of your hand), which makes long distance transactions easy. All documents today can be digitally signed except for things that have to be notarized, i.e., the deed transferring the property, a Deed of Trust which secures your loan, etc.

Communication has also changed dramatically. While we call them smartphones, and phones they are, most communication today between agents, escrow officers, lenders, buyers and sellers is done by texting and emailing. This is not only efficient, but it leaves a “paper” trail of the communication for future reference. It allows for communication when otherwise we would be “off the air”, i.e., sitting in a class, showing property, etc. One can see what is needed and respond quickly and discreetly to keep things moving without having it intrude in your present activity.

Our Advice: It is absolutely amazing how much information is readily available literally in the palm of our hands these days. It not only makes for quicker service by agents, it allows them to be much more thorough in their efforts on your behalf. It is up to you to make sure that they do their job and find the information that you should have. It is available to them and they should convey that which is necessary, and of interest, to you.

With all of the whizbang technology available to us the art is for the Agent to keep the business personal, to make sure you don’t lose touch with one another as people. The machines help, but it is the people that operate them that make the world go round. It is still a people business.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com