Andrea Tucker of Tucker Real Estate on the NSW South Coast has been in the real estate industry for more than 18 years and says the adoption of new technology has transformed her business.
Ms Tucker uses Lawlab software to track the progress of each of her sales in real-time. The transparency also extends to her clients.
“There’s often criticism placed on agents through a perception that we wipe our hands clean once a sale is locked in,” she said.
“It’s been so valuable for clients to be able to have a 'behind the scenes' look into what we do. When clients are privy to this insight they see the money they spend is well worth it – matching the effort from our side as agents."
She added: “Before partnering with Lawlab, if we had an external buyer, by the time we set contracts up for them, got them signed and posted in the mail, two weeks may have passed.
“That’s a lot of time to not know for sure whether a sale has been made, and on many occasions this left us wide open to gazumping.”
Being a regional agency means the platform has become a critical tool in Tucker Real Estate’s operations. Hours away from any major capital city, they needed a solution to speed up the conveyancing process.
“We can say we’ve got a buyer in the city – a minimum three-hour drive away for us – and they respond with ‘let’s sign the contracts today’,” Ms Tucker said.
She added that keeping the clients involved in every step of the process has added value to the service she provides.
Clients no longer have to follow up to check on the status of sales. In turn, agents aren’t chasing conveyancers asking for an update.
“It’s saving us hours and hours each week,” Ms Tucker said.
Australia-based Rundl recently partnered with DocuSign, a US-based company that provides electronic signature technology for the exchange of contracts and signed documents.
The new deal comes as the EY Digital Australia: State of the Nation 2015-16 survey of 1,500 Australians found 38 per cent would rather conduct their transactions over the internet than by phone or face-to-face.
Rundl founder Graeme Perkins said the integration of DocuSign technology into the Rundl platform would allow users to complete more of their transactions securely online.
“DocuSign’s simple and trusted e-signing experience fits perfectly with our method of collaborative workflow,” Mr Perkins said. “Signing a document is confirmation of a shared activity and together we plan to make it a seamless part of the Rundl collaboration."
Mr Perkins said the traditional model of corporate communication silos was unproductive and out of step with customer expectations concerning the new open and collaborative way of doing business.
“The advent of Rundl signals the demise of the ‘customer portal’ as the predominant mode of interacting online with service providers. Portals provide some basic administrative tasks, but fail to deliver truly meaningful connections between professionals and their customers,” he said.
“People are used to connecting through networks like Facebook and Twitter in their private lives and Rundl brings that same sophistication from social media relationships to business and professional service delivery.”
Rundl aims to roll out DocuSign functionality to its growing user base of more than 5,000 in the first half of 2016 under the transactional partnership and initial order of 5,000 signatures.
“The feedback we’re getting from the Rundl network of professional users, from mortgage brokers and medical practitioners to real estate agents, accountants and lawyers, is that they want to streamline and simplify their customers’ journeys as much as possible,” Perkins said.
“Integrating DocuSign with Rundl enables us to position the document signing experience within the context of a Rundl transaction rather than directing users elsewhere to authorise documents.”
According to managing director of Lawlab Ian Perkins, the service provides real-time updates and helps smooth communication hurdles.
“The service includes access to an online platform which buyers, sellers, agents, brokers and lenders use to post and track updates during the sale and settlement process.
“It eliminates the need for agents to spend valuable sales time chasing information, while also removing delays caused by lost emails, voice mails and meetings,” said Mr Perkins.
The platform allows any party involved with the current deal to log in and see the progress in real time, as well as inform other parties if anything is required of them.
According to Mr Perkins, the service is being embraced by agents, who have lauded its fast response times.
Buyer's agent Rich Harvey tested the program from a buyer’s point of view and said he enjoyed the ease of use.
“Lawlab’s service is convenient for time-poor investors and homebuyers,” he said. “Being able to post comments and see the next steps online removes the need for office visits and time-consuming calling and emailing.
“Lawlab removes what I now know are unnecessary delays and streamlines the process, which has resulted in a much easier and less stressful experience for my clients.”
To ensure its service continues to provide maximum support and benefit for agents, Lawlab is currently preparing to provide e-settlements using the PEXA system.
The company has also launched a Chinese service, which importantly in the current market, is ensuring agents and their Chinese-speaking clients are well supported.