Digital Signatures | The changing landscape of real estate.

Digital Signatures | The changing landscape of real estate.

Is the real estate landscaping changing? The answer is yes, and Australia’s largest conveyancing provider is leading the charge.

A common trope in the modern world is the ‘uber of something’, noting the successes of the ridesharing platform, and how it can be emulated in many other industries in the modern world. We’ve seen mass changes in the finance world, with the growing emergence of ‘FinTech’ platforms, designed to make it easier for an everyday individual to invest and conduct financial business.

lawlab, who are Australia’s largest national consumer residential conveyancing provider, have announced a major step for the real estate industry, with the growing acceptance of digital signatures for real estate contracts. Digital signatures are considered legally valid, and have been utilised in many industries for a large number of years, and yet in the real estate world, the archaic usage of signing a physical document remains the status quo.

lawlab Managing Director Ian Perkins says that this is slowly changing, with more and more players in the industry starting to accept the technology.

“We have been waiting for the industry to catch up.” Perkins says.

lawlab is a progressive organisation, utilising platforms such as their own Rundl, to provide a user-friendly, digitally-driven experience designed to cut out the pain of the time consuming and stressful contract process in Real Estate. Non-digital signatures, are an impediment to this concept. Recently, Rundl and Docusign announced a partnership that brings the entire contract signing and exchange process completely online.

What does this mean however for the average punter? Not a lot on face value, but the potential for enormous change in the industry is huge. lawlab, Rundl and the Docusign partnership could be more construed as a disruptor (or the ‘uber of’) the law and conveyancing industry. The potential for change in real estate however, is enormous.

As the industry continues to be hit with wave after wave of change, real estate tends to react to change in a different manner. We only have to look at the technology shift in the 90s with the advent of online marketing streams such as RealEstate.com.au and Domain.com.au, and the effects of McGrath Estate Agents on the greater market in the same time period. Change did not happen incrementally, it was a mass build up of pressure from these providers, and John McGrath, and then the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The push of creative and fancy marketing, and online advertising seemed largely futile, until a point where the floodgates opened, and the modern operation of real estate and marketing took shape. Real Estate has been put under immense scrutiny, from training of its operators, to the industry and its ethics, the next ‘uber’ is regarded as inevitable. With all this pressure, what will be the straw?

With Digital Signatures, implemented by lawlab, their immense reach could provide the last straw, and as the consumer reacts to the ease of access to the process, and a more streamlined approach, that will have a flow-on effect to the rest of the industry.

“Signing the contract was so much easier using lawlab. I was waiting in the lounge to board a flight when I got a message from lawlab that my sale contract terms had been agreed and the contract was ready to sign. Within minutes, I received a link to the contract by email and was able to sign it digitally using DocuSign on my laptop.” said Tifanie Milton, who had recently sold a home in Queensland, “The contract was automatically forwarded to the buyer for them to countersign digitally and on getting off the plane I was informed the contract had been exchanged. If it hadn’t been for the DocuSign system used by lawlab, the contract exchange process could have taken days to happen in my situation instead of in a just few hours.”

Each day, a new tech option comes out that will apparently be the next ‘uber’ of real estate. It’s almost become a tired phrase, almost meaningless, as many seem to fizzle out. But with the changes and acceptance of digital signatures from lawlab, Rundl, and Docusign, the effects are simple. It is ease of access. The process becomes simplistic, easy, as Tifanie Milton says, the process took a matter of hours, rather than a few days.

And when consumers are exposed to a brand new convenience, that changes the process entirely, backed by one of the largest conveyancing networks in the country, we know that mass change is on the horizon, and it will only benefit the buyers in the marketplace.

Author

Michael Turner is a Property Development and Analytics Specialist operating in Sydney's Growth Centres and corridors. He is a Director of YPI, along with several roles at property development firms and agencies. He can often be heard on various radio mediums talking about Football and Property. You can find him on Twitter @mturnerypi or email him directly at m.turner@youngpropertyinvestor.com

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