Christina T. Allen
Real Estate Broker
408.234.3306 Mobile
Signature Realty
20440 Town Center Lane, 4D1
Cupertino, CA 95014
408.253.5151   FAX

Christina Allen 





Los Gatos Weekly-Times

October 13, 2004  Los Gatos, California Since 1881

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Real estate forms, contracts a mouse click away

By Jean Newton

Realtors have jumped on the technology bandwagon in increasing numbers, and those who are proficient in using technology in real estate transactions have an advantage when it comes to dealing with tech-savvy consumers.

A recent survey tracking the current trends in technology use revealed that on average, nearly one in four real estate transactions is generated from the Internet. The survey, released at Tech Tuesday at the California Realtor Expo in Santa Clara last week, tracked behavioral changes in Realtors' use of technology as well as adoption rates of hardware, software and Internet connectivity.

"Realtors continue to be more technologically savvy than their counterparts in years past and have integrated numerous technological tools into their day-to-day businesses as well as in real estate transactions," said California Association of Realtors President Ann Pettijohn. "Use of the Internet and Internet marketing has increased, as Realtors respond to meeting the needs of today's tech-savvy home buyers and sellers."

At Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, a 3,000-member trade association representing Realtors from Menlo Park to Los Gatos, technology is a key focus. In addition to providing online forms to Realtors through the association's subsidiary, Advanced Real Estate Solutions, the group has added a growing number of tech firms to its roster of affiliate members, which provide services to the real estate industry. The association also has an active technology committee chaired by Zita Macy, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker.

"The direction of the technology committee is to help our Realtor members become aware of the many options technology has to offer. Because our members have different levels of interest and style, there is a wide range of use and demand for training," said Macy. "As we understand the interest and how beneficial different technologies can be, we try to offer training and/or direct our members to appropriate resources."

For attorney and broker/owner Christina Allen of Signature Realty in Cupertino, the efficiencies technology provides to benefit the client make a definite difference in the level of service provided.

"Clients receive the most benefit when their Realtors are proficient with technology. By using basic tools like e-mail with attachments, links to helpful websites, and spreadsheets, a Realtor can better highlight a property's strengths or limitations," Allen said.

Although some buyers and sellers assume that technology replaces experience, Allen believes experience cannot be replaced.

"However, years of experience without a proficiency in using today's basic technology tools may limit a Realtor's ability to highlight a property for a client. Today's buyers and sellers are technology-dependent and appreciate Realtors who have a good command of technology. Buyers and sellers benefit most when their Realtors have good real estate industry experience and are proficient with technology," Allen said.

One of the technology efficiencies that Allen appreciates most is the ability to deliver detailed information from contracts in a timely manner by having clients review them online.

"Contracts written on computers mean that Realtors can quickly access the contract or its related forms to make changes and to quickly deliver them to the buyer, seller and the other Realtor," Allen said. "The forms can be used locally or uploaded online. Clients can receive contracts by e-mail instead of by fax. By sending the contract by e-mail, the buyers and sellers have more privacy and can receive the contract at work without sacrificing the private nature of their business."

Having forms and contracts available on line saves time for all parties involved, especially in a hot real estate market where Realtors often need to act quickly.

"A few times when I needed to modify material terms of the contract and the buyers and sellers wanted things done immediately, I was able to get online, modify the contract and print it out on the spot instead of having to drive to the Association or go back to the office or car to get new forms. Everyone signed and the deal was sealed," Allen said.

Using computerized contracts not only saves time because Realtors don't have to write and rewrite recurring information, but also, Allen thinks, it reduces errors.

"Computerized contracts can be used to avoid errors, such as mathematical errors when agents enter prices as well as down-payment and loan amounts, because the form does the calculation. The most obvious benefit is that a typewritten form means that everyone can read all the terms of the contractand this eliminates the problem of not knowing the terms of the contract because it is not legible," Allen said.

Today's Realtors serve as facilitators to coordinate the entire transaction, so Allen believes the use of technology helps her do her job more effectively.

Copyright SVCN, LLC.




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