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Are remote transactions really the wave of the future?

I just got back from a conference that had a few sessions on the management of remote transactions.  You know. The kind where you really never see your client in person.

You first met this client as an Internet lead coming from your website or maybe someone contacted you because you are the social media maven for you little piece of the earth.  It turns out this client is far away or just a busy little beaver and really doesn’t have the time to meet and look at houses so he logs into your IDX and picks out a few, you go and take digital photos, you send the offer for electronic signature….

You get the idea.

Is This Really The Profile for the Next Generation Real Estate Transaction?

I’ve been hearing all around the new Gen Y or Z or whatever are really very busy people and don’t want to be your friend anyway.  They have a need (buy or sell a  house) and they want to get it done in the most efficient way possible. Yet, I always here “it’s about the relationship”.  Which is it?

More and more “cloud based” transaction providers are starting to stick their hand in the air to say, “Pick me!  Pick me.”  Promises of multiple, redundant servers and super secure digital signatures and secure password-only access by transaction partners are de rigeur.

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I can;t help but feel that all of this stuff is the new shiny object that enterprising entrepreneurs are foisting upon the real estate profession in order to separate Realtors from their money.  As in ” a fool and his money are…”.

I could be wrong.  I have worked with a few clients that were across the country and some that were overseas. All this cool stuff would be helpful there.

I’m not sure, though.  Maybe it’s me.  But a lot of the clients I work with like to talk face-to-face about this type of decision.

Are you a “remote, cloud based Realtor”?

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Written By

“Loves sunrise walks on the beach, quaint B & Bs, former Barbie® boyfriend..." Ken is a sole practitioner and Realtor Extraordinaire in the beautiful MD Suburbs of DC. When he's not spouting off on Agent Genius he holds court from his home office in Glenn Dale, MD or the office for RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, MD...and always on the MD Suburbs of DC Blog



  1. Benn Rosales

    May 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Based on what we’ve seen at ActiveRain this week, I’m going to say that people maybe should be versed at doing both. A really good example is we needed a phone number and had always counted on a certain page on AR, for three days we could not access that phone number – in a transaction, that won’t be an acceptable excuse when you have time sensitive needs or documents you cannot access – oh the chaos that could be…

    So let’s say relationships… a hardcopy and a laptop in that order…

  2. Vicki

    May 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I have worked with out-of-state sellers to take care of listing and selling their home, and have never met them in person. Obviously, these were not their primary residences at the time of sale, and the emotional issues weren’t part of the process.

    I’m currently working with a long-distance buyer, but we have met in person, and he will spend the time to come view and investigate the house before he removes his contingencies. I did spend quite a bit of time measuring the house and marking up a copy of the floorplan, along with making a flip video, and taking a lot of digital still photos to send him. I’m also using electronic signing as it saves lots of time and paper, as well as keeping a time-and-date record of every part of the contract. (I use Docusign, which is very affordable at less than $200/year)

    I’m not sure that there is any kind of “cloud computing” that could make this easier for me!

  3. BawldGuy

    May 3, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Ken — I’ve not met 95% of my clients in person since the start of ’04.

    I avoid ‘the cloud’ like the plague, which is how I personally characterize it. The top IT guys I know do the same. Those who set themselves up to be dependent upon the cloud, will live to regret it, IMHO.

  4. Joe Loomer

    May 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Ken, I’ve represented sellers and buyers I never meet for years – mainly by targetting absentee owners through public tax records (sellers), and through extensive networking and social media efforts with my existing sphere – a good percentage of whom are military (buyers) with limited time off to come and see homes in person. Since the “Shift” – the sight-unseen buyers have been fewer, and those that do are either past clients or investors we’ve worked before who trust our judgement in property recommendations.

    Guess I’m saying it’s already happening – quite commonly – but I believe belly-to-belly is still more common and will be for some time.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. Teresa Boardman

    May 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Each year I work with 3 or 4 sellers that I never meet in person. Typically they have relocated but still own properties in st. Paul, MN
    There is not any business reason for us to ever meet.

  6. Candice A Donofrio

    May 4, 2010 at 1:12 am

    I think the future is more about ‘high touch’ than ‘high tech’ so it’s important to be ready to service clients on their comfort level. In the clouds or on terra firma.
    I’ve had clients I’ve never ‘seen’ but ‘know’ well and v/v. Used Docusign since its inception (2002-3?) and will go into a house with investor on cell, describe and MMS photos so they can decide–then e- the docs. Some clients want to meet face/face and that is always doable. But if they are far away (I service a resort area) they need not travel to transact.
    Otherwise, we’ll drive to their home or the property or wherever, fax, email or Skype.
    We’re snailing docs right now to a client who has NO electronics but the granddaughter found us via her IPhone.
    Many tiers to our business and it’s important to stay able to pick the one that works best.

  7. Ruthmarie Hicks

    May 4, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I’m working with a client that way right now. They moved before they decided to sell their home in NY. Being way out in AZ – coming east to meet with me made no sense. I’ve been working with them via email/phone/text. As we become more and more paperless – that’s the way its going to go.

  8. Joe Dallorso

    May 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I regularly work with out of state sellers who need to sell a home here in Florida left to them by a relative. I’ve done so many seller sides where I never met my client that I’ve lost count.

    I also did 2 buyer sides last year where the client picked out a house online & made an offer sight unseen. Both came down for the home inspection though. Interesting that this wasn’t a hip gen x too busy at his computer job but 2 older couples looking to retire to Florida. So much for stereo types.

  9. Fred Franks

    February 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I am a Realtor also, and I do a lot of business over the internet. The best tool out for remote signing is appfiles!!!

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