In the last few years, we have seen a lot of twists and turning points in the real estate market. But in terms of technology adoption, the real estate market is still lagging. It won’t be wrong saying that the real estate market is still working in the same traditional way as 50 years ago. According to the NAR report, ~50% of buyers find their dream home through internet but still 89% of buyers using a real estate agent for completing the property transaction process.
But now I think the real estate market is ready for technology disruption. Before going to say XYZ technology or software can change the real estate market, we have to carefully identify the business processes that can be automated. Automation will significantly reduce the time and associated cost and keep you ahead in the fast-moving real estate market.
Why do real estate agents need technology?
Any given day of an agent is mostly spent completing administrative tasks including extracting, completing and submitting real estate documents, coordinate appointments meeting and open houses and updating their client database.
When we studied these processes more deeply, we identified that any property transaction process starts with extracting the related documents and history of the property. When I’m saying related documents meaning property assessment records, taxes rolls, mortgage documents, lines, deed documents, and the list goes on.
To understand the complexity and need for labor and resources, we performed a small study for retrieving process of original deed copies from the county officials.
Step 1: Counties Information
As the first step, we started with collecting the list of counties in the USA from Google and Wikipedia. We collected information of 3242 counties from 50 states. We found that only 82% of counties (2683 out of 3242) have official websites according to Wikipedia. Later on, we manually collected the details of officials from different departments including Assessor, Circuit Clerk, and Recorder Office.
Step 2: Deed Copy Retrieving Process
Does every county in the USA follow the same process?
To answer this question, we performed a small email campaign to understand the process of different counties in different states. For this campaign, we choose 242 counties from 6 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, and Colorado.
Approx 30% of counties (72 out of 242) official responded back and our findings are:
- Deed copy retrieval process depends on the initial information provided by the real estate agent.
- If a real estate agent has the only property address then he has to follow a two-way step process:
First, he has to collect the property card (Assessment of the property) from assessor office based on property address. 80% of Assessor Offices provide online service for collecting property card and rest 15% by email and 5% by in-person visit or phone call.
Second, an agent can collect the copy of the original deed document from Circuit Clerk and Recorder Office based on property card. 50% of Recorder Offices provide online service for purchasing deed copy and rest 30% by email and 20% by postal email and in-person.
Based on this exercise, we can easily state that data gathering is not a piece of cake for real estate agents. It involves a lot of manual work and time for searching the documents and retrieving the document copy from officials.
How does technology can help them?
Data gathering and analyzing are the main pain points in real estate transactions and these processes can be automated in fact should be automated. With a similar ideology, we at JTC are developing a platform (proof of concept) for real estate agents by which anyone can order/purchase official documents with a mouse click.
If you are interested to learn more about how we can help and our proof of concepts, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: Study data can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vPnjzkGiBcA3TY-TBZoqWTBXPTBDTqOUQitSFx1DvHM/edit#gid=2139617615