Wednesday, July 31, 2013

National Association of Realtors

National Association of Realtors: The Digital Real Estate Transaction: Moving Beyond Maps
Date: 06/20/13
Jessica Lautz: Manager, Member and Consumer Research Service, National Association of Realtors
Marty Frame: President, Realtors Property Resource (RPR)

Lisa Mihilich: CEO, Ziplogix

Ken Moyle: Chief Legal Officer, Docusign

Glenn Shimkus: CEO and Founder, Cartavi

John Breyault: Vice-President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud, National Consumers League

Purpose: Living in a society that has almost completely gone digital, real estate is no different.  Real estate has followed suit and is increasingly focused on how they might improve efficiency in their field.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is getting more involved in digital policy and would like to show how real estate has shifted into this digital age. 

Information and Discussion

Use of the internet prior to selecting a house. According to Google, over the past four years, the number of Google searches for buying a home has increased 253%.  Using search engines or the internet in general, is now the leading way to find a home.  Prior to this year, the leading way was to find a house based on an open house or seeing a yard sign.  On average, people perform 11 searches prior to taking action.  Taking action can refer to contacting a real estate agent, visiting the home, getting pre-approved for a loan, etc. 78% of people visit at least, 3 sites prior to taking action, trying to see videos, photos, etc.  69% of people who take action search for the home using a local term, referring to a particular district, place, landmark, etc. in a city/town.  People are, increasingly, searching for their homes on their mobile devices, with the plurality of them (approximately 40%) doing so, while watching television.  Surprisingly, 28% of mobile real estate shoppers do so while standing in line.  Most people use the internet so that they can view videos or virtual tours about the community or see the whole house.  The thinking is that it’s easy to stage a room for a photography session.

Realtors Property Resource.  It was created by NAR for the purpose of providing realtors with the data they need;  it is only available to realtors and there is no cost member benefit.  The purposes of RPR are to provide a more efficient support for NAR by giving high quality property valuations on an easy website to use for realtors.

Ziplogix.  Ziplogix has been partnered with Docusign for 9 years and is also owned by NAR.  Over 600,000 realtors are currently signed up for this service and it is available in 48 states.  They provided a zip form of all of the forms that are needed for a real estate transaction.  They now provide mobile versions of their forms on a mobile web app. 

Docusign and Cartavi.  Docusign is adding 70,000 users/day and is growing 80%/year.  The purpose of Docusign is to allow users to send e-mail or electronic copies of forms, receipts, and other documents to allow other people to sign.  Doing so, will save countless sheets of paper.  Still today, there are 200 billion pages faxed in the United States.  They keep all documents secure and verify the right person is signing by using a Docusign id card; Facebook is often used for authentication.  Docusign recently acquired the company Cartavi.  Cartavi allows all participants in a real estate transaction to log in and be able to communicate in a secure forum.  With the help of Docusign, Cartavi has been able to get all participants to be able to sign all documents in one area.  On average, over 12 people from at least 10 different businesses participate in every real estate transaction.  The goal of Cartavi is to keep as much of real estate as they can, digital.  Having this secure forum, where everyone can sign and look at documents close to instantly, it saves turnaround time from all participants. 

Fun fact.  Three years ago, only 2% of American adults were using tablets.  That is now up to 29%. 

Policy.  The biggest issues in policy for the digital part of real estate has to do with privacy and data security.  There are not uniform standards across the federal government about data security and privacy.  Currently, the companies involved hold their standard up to the state with the toughest laws.  Ken Moyle would like to see a uniform standard across all states.  But he warns that it might not affect as many companies as you’d think, because Europe has very different laws than the United States.  A global uniform standard for data security and privacy is a pipe dream.  The main reason for that is that countries like the United States, Great Britain, India, and Canada have a very different role in government for their courts compared to other countries.    

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