If you have not bought or sold a home in a number of years or maybe decades, it is likely there are a few new trends in real estate you should know about when you interview real estate agents.
One trend now common among many real estate brokerage firms is called the practice of “going paperless.” This can be a bit scary for some people, especially senior adults who are not accustomed to using computers and tablets in their personal or professional lives.
If you have any reservations about the paperless process, you should talk with your agent about any concerns. Here is some basic information about the paperless process and some key questions to ask your real estate agent.
How your agent handles your questions may just help you determine if they are the right agent for you!
What does it mean to go paperless?
Going paperless simply means that instead of printing out every contract, form or disclosure for your signature, you may be asked to sign certain documents electronically.
- Typing your name into a designated field included in a form (received via email) or,
- Signing your name on a digital touchpad (laptop or tablet).
If you have never used this type of technology, it can seem a little unusual. This is why it’s important to educate yourself to help mitigate potential delays, avoid unnecessary frustration, and preventing surprises down the road.
Here are 5 questions you should ask before you choose an agent.
1. How do you typically communicate with your clients?
Good agents know that the best method of communication (phone, email, text, instant messaging) is the one that best serves the client, so agreeing upon the method is important — for both you and the agent.
If you want to communicate strictly by phone, be sure that you and your agent agree on the protocols for leaving and returning messages, hours of availability, and which phone numbers are best for certain times of day. Similar discussion about email and text messaging, should be had as well, if that is your desired method of information delivery.
2. What method(s) do you use for getting client signatures?
The goal here is to understand your options. Many agents are still in the conversion process of going paperless and they are more than willing to use “old school” methods of getting signatures.
Some may be required by their brokerage firms to utilize only paperless systems. If this is the case, ask the agent to show you examples of the types of things that may be asked of you during the course of working together.
3. Can you assess my computer to insure it is compatible with the systems you use?
Even if you are completely prepared to enter the paperless world with no reservations whatsoever, it can only be done if you have the right equipment. Before agreeing to a paperless process, ask the agent to do a “test run” using a non-official/non-binding document on your system to insure its functionality.
4. Will you provide technical support if I need some help?
If you do not have a trusted advisor who can help you with troubleshooting potential technology issues, make sure your agent or their staff is capable, patient, and willing to personally walking you through the steps.
Are you flexible if I choose to use phone and paper over electronic communication and documentation?
While some agents are extremely flexible in how they deliver their services, others may be married to a very specific process or style. Insure the agent you are considering is willing and able to do what is right for you, based on your comfort level, knowledge, and ability.
It is very important to have the conversation with your real estate professional about their paperless processes and communication methods.
Not only will doing so put your mind at ease regarding unfamiliar territory, but it may also provide your agent with necessary information so he or she can serve you more effectively.
If you have any questions about real estate please give me a call to get further information and help.