I was taught by a wise mentor early in my sales career to serve the client based on his or her needs, goals, and expectations. If a potential client’s needs, goals, and expectations did not match with me, my values, or my business model, then I had a decision to make as to whether I could effectively serve that particular client or not.
It was my job to do the right thing— both for me AND for the client.
Two decades into real estate now, I am finding that today more and more the converse of this philosophy is true. Agents may not even ask the client what their needs, goals, and expectations are. Chasing the all mighty commission check, they attempt to serve any and all buyers and sellers despite their many obvious incompatibilities.
Unfortunately, this leaves the responsibility of compatibility entirely up to YOU, the consumer. Our goal here is to share with you a few things you should know when it comes to real estate and technology.
Let’s start with what it means 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.
Signing electronically can usually mean a couple of things.
- Typing your name into a designated field included in the form (received via email)
- Signing your name on a digital touchpad (laptop, netbook, smartphone, etc.)
Important: While paperless is a trend and more convenient for most agents, it is not a “requirement.” If you prefer the pen-and-paper method of doing business, you need to ask and make sure your agent is willing to adjust their system accordingly.
Communicating with my agent
Good agents know that the best method (and frequency) of communication is the one that best serves YOU, the client. Getting this particular arrangement agreed upon early in the relationship is paramount — for both you and your 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 around email, text messaging, and other modes of communication should be had as well, if that is your desired method of information delivery.
Many agents are still in the conversion process of going paperless and they are more than willing to use “more conventional” methods of getting signatures.
Some may be required, however, by their respective 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.
If after a quick tutorial, you aren’t comfortable with the electronic signature process, it’s “OK” to choose an agent who can better accommodate your preferences.
Checking your devices for compatibility
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.
My dad (self described “non-techy” and proud of it), has a computer, printer, smart phone, email address, and Wifi. He does not, however, have the faintest idea how they work or how to pull up attachments in his email.
When he decided to purchase a new home this past year using a reverse mortgage, the lender was located out of state, which meant everything was done via email — electronically. Needless to say, I was dad’s tech support in this situation. If you do not have a trusted advisor who can help you with troubleshooting potential technology issues, verify that your agent or their staff is capable, patient, and willing to personally walking you through the steps.
Phone versus email, text messaging or “chatting”
Options are the key. 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.
The bottom line…
It goes without saying that having conversations around this topic with your real estate agent early in the will, not only put your mind at ease regarding unfamiliar territory, but it will provide your agent with necessary information so that he or she can serve you more effectively throughout the home sale or purchase process.
If you are looking for real estate professionals who understand and appreciate the way YOU want to do business, give Mature Moves OKC call!
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