Save time by ditching paper-based agreements
11 December 2018
New research from DocuSign Australia says real estate agents are leading the charge for electronic communications in property transactions. But there is still more to accomplish.

Despite technology having transformed many aspects of the real estate industry, from online listings to mobile searches and virtual tours, 67 per cent of agents surveyed said many processes are still manual and paper-based.

In a technologically-charged business environment, manual paper-based processes represent inefficiencies that are frustrating at best and financially harmful at worst.

Technology increasing productivity

"66 per cent of those surveyed believe real estate agents should be embracing document automation
technology to be successful in today's market."


Just under two thirds (64%) of agents surveyed find the process of exchanging agency agreements and other contracts stressful, with 68 per cent attributing this stress to the time it takes to finalise contracts at the speed the client desires.

Director of Cunninghams, Andrew Lutze, says technology helps to overcome these challenges.

“Technology allows us to increase our productivity, streamline our processes and spend more time giving customers the personalised service they expect," he says.

Other agents agree, with two thirds (66%) of those surveyed saying they believe the industry should be embracing document management technology to be successful in today’s market. 

Despite this, almost half of respondents (48%) indicated that entrenched processes and behaviours are preventing a transition to digital systems.

Asia Pacific Vice President of DocuSign, Brad Newton, says while many agents are entrenched and over-reliant on manual processes, they industry is embracing the advantages of technology.

“The real estate industry is waking up to digitisation, with agents in a number of states moving to digital systems to manage agency agreements," he says.

“For real estate agents, this directly impacts their bottom line because time spent in the office chasing paperwork is time they’re unable to spend prospecting, listing and closing other deals to bring in more commission.”

Adopting innovations

Of those who have been quick to adopt esignature technology that allows them to manage agency agreements online, a quarter (26%) said they have seen business growth of 30 per cent or more after introducing it. 

Seven in 10 agents surveyed for the research said if they could complete agency, tenancy and leasing agreements faster they would spend their extra time servicing (79%) and attracting (72%) other clients. Around half (47%) said they would use the time to research better ways to conduct business and 41 per cent said they would invest the time in professional development.

“Agencies need to add value to property transactions,” says REINSW CEO, Tim McKibbin. “By using the right technology, they can offer speed of service, security and convenience. They can also demonstrate that their agency is forward-thinking and competitive, and agents can spend more time working on those parts of the sales process that need the personal touch.”

Adding value to clients is not the only benefit that comes from managing agreements online. 64 per cent of survey respondents said this technology would give them more mobility and allow them to achieve a better work/life balance.

“e-signatures are the first step for real estate agents in creating more productive businesses," says Newton. "But completely digitising the way they are creating, signing, acting on and managing agreements takes it to the next level.

"Agencies who have adopted this modern System of Agreement tell us it significantly transforms the client experience, reduces human errors, increases security and allows for easier recall of the documents.”

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*These results are based on a 2018 survey of 80 real estate agents in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.