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2012 Preview: The 7 Biggest Trends in Real Estate Technology


  1. The Adoption of eSignatures. The federal ESIGN law was enacted in 2000, but REALTOR® adoption of eSignings was the biggest technology trend coming into 2012. Much like life before the ATM, SmartPhones and laptops, we may look back at the inconvenience of running all over town for traditional signatures as a thing of the past. Now FHA-approved and ESIGN-compliant, eSignatures will become mainstream. Authentisign reached the 150,000-REALTOR® mark by the start of 2012, thanks in part to enterprise relationships with MLSs and REALTOR® Associations offering it as a member-benefit. And 2012 looks even stronger.
  2. The rise of the iPad and other Tablet Devices. Surely one of the most innovative technology products since personal computers and cell phones, iPad sales likely surpassed the 50 million mark by the beginning of 2012. More and more agents are using the iPad in their listing presentations and using them while showing homes. Instanet was the very first forms company to come out with online forms that work on the iPad and other tablet devices.
  3. QR Codes. There’s a lot of talk about QR Codes, and more and more real estate offices are including them on business cards, print ads and yard signs, but the adoption by home buyers is still very low. Unlike Asia and Europe where QR codes are popular, North Americans have been slow to adapt to this new technology. New product launches in 2012 using QR codes to automate the forms, document management and electronic signing process are coming.
  4. Language Diversity. If all real estate is local, shouldn’t real estate software reflect the language preferences? Real estate services companies have been slow to adopt language-specific software to their business. But if you’re selling in a predominantly Hispanic area, wouldn’t it be nice to have software options for Spanish? Instanet Forms rolled out fully translated Spanish and French software that is now available to its subscribers in 2012.
  5. The Bundling of Real Estate Technology Services as a Member-Benefit. Bringing members improved technology tools as a bundled member-benefit not only puts high-value services in the hands of members, but it also allows Associations & MLSs to offer more services for less.
  6. Covering the Audit Trail Through Technology. As real estate technology improves, so should the ability to “red flag” missing items at the end of a real estate transaction. Powerful Broker Document Verification & Compliance Tools help to identify the missing parts that could prove troublesome in the event of a real estate audit. The use of Broker Compliance Tools integrated with their forms and document management system has increased substantially at the start of 2012.
  7. Seamless Integration Between Technology Tools is Improving. Yes, there are a lot of individual technology tools that improve productivity. The challenge in 2012 is to seamlessly integrate these items in a way that saved the user time. One area within online forms was repetitively placing eSigning blocks each time a new transaction was ready to be signed. By 2012, Instanet completely “templatized” all of the real estate forms making the agent’s job easier by just assigning buyers and sellers names once to all of the appropriate pre-positioned blocks.

As we continue through 2015, many of these trends will continue, and there will be certainly new ones to watch. We’ll keep you posted on the latest real estate trends.


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