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Death By Real Estate Offer Writing Software

Law_20When transactions really get messy, the representation offered by agents is superseded by that offered by the lawyers. We’re like the kids in the back, strapped into car seats and sucking on pacifiers while Mom and Dad sort out where we’re all going.

We aren’t lawyers. Brokers are pretty keen on explaining that to new agents. Don’t write contract clauses on the forms they beg, just fill in the blanks.

You mean like trained monkeys right?


I think that the entire writing up the contract aspect of the business could all but disappear completely within a few years. The proper people to write up binding legal contracts are lawyers, and agents only do it because we have been issued boiler plate “fill in the blanks” contract forms to use.

TurbotaxThe truth is that real estate contracts are no more complicated than personal income tax forms, and software like TurboTax etc handle them for about $50 and likely provide better expertise than the local boobs recently hired at H&R Block.

And make no mistake…

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That software will come with clauses to channel offered co-brokes towards the buyers closing costs etc if the buyer doesn’t have representation. And armed with offer writing software, some savvy buyers won’t see the value in having 2.5–3% of the purchase price of their home go to a buyer agent for something $50 of software can do.

Specially if the software package can do an online look up for local home inspectors, real estate lawyers, appraisers etc to provide the buyer with contact numbers and prices of services.

DalekNeed a showing agent? Note that I said showing agent, not buyer agent. Buyers could hire one for a set hourly fee and deny representation. (Would you show homes for $100 an hour? I dare say that’s a taxi service many agents wouldn’t mind providing.)

The software could even cross reference with online estimates of the homes value to check the buyer isn’t plonking down silly money on a shack.

When it comes to contracts and signing off on things at the closing. You know… making it all legal. The skilled labor is the lawyers, the unskilled labor is the real estate agents, and unskilled labor has a nasty way of become disintermediated these days.

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  1. Chris Lengquist

    January 16, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    LOL. Or were you being funny?

    Automate all you want. I used tax software until I got to the point that I realized my situation was too complex for a 3 question answer period.

    Sure, some real estate may be replaced by automation, internet, whatever. But if you want expertise, real expertise and experience, you are going to have to go old school and talk to a human being.

    I know, it’s a nightmare.

  2. Athol Kay

    January 17, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I am likely overstating the case to make a point, but I’ll stand by my thought that if all you bring to the table is “fill in the blanks” expertise, then that will likely be a trouble spot for you.

    CPA’s for example aren’t likely to be overly worried by TurboTax for example.

    That being said, once upon a time chess programs were said to be workable at best but would never hope to beat Grandmasters. They simply lack the expertise, creativity and flair of a real live human. Now they are a hair better than the World Champion.

    We live in a world where ER doctors are Googling symptoms for difficult cases. So I think the lines of expertise and software are starting to blur somewhat.

    Most agents for example, would be all but incapable of doing a formal CMA without their CMA software. Even then, the only thing that the software doesn’t do is select the comps in the CMA. I wonder if that step was left purposely unprogrammed.

  3. Benn Rosales

    January 17, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Athol,can you say it was google without question?

  4. Benn Rosales

    January 17, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    You know, I asked because about a year ago there was a face/face conversation I had with a DR where the DR basically said they were safe from disintermediation- I’m beginning to wonder if maybe that just is not the case. Sure, if you’re having surgery you’ll not want your mom cutting into your chest, but I would imagine this will be the first real impact on clinic use and cost of diagnosis.

    My parents were both in the medical field so I take a personal interest in this sort of stuff. thanks for the link…

  5. Athol Kay

    January 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I think being a doctor is currently one of the worst jobs in the whole country. The workload is extreme. I can see how different aspects of their job could be reduced eventually with technology. But I do agree that in essence “doctors” are basically safe. This after all is still fantasy.

    That being said, real estate is still behind the times compared to many other professions. There will eventually be a catch up though.

    Will the entire profession be disintermediated? No. Will some of what we do be disintermediated? Yes. Just gotta work out what real estate bits will and won’t get shafted.

  6. Glenn

    February 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Your post is something that real estate agents can truly be worried about and could occur. Someone pointed out how difficult it was at one point to use a tax software program. But for someone familiar with income taxes does not have a problem using it and knowing how to do the research and understand the terminology used within the IRS code.

    The example of the surgeon is an excellent example of a physician that has a higher level of training and something that can not be replaced by your “Mom”.

    We as real estate agents do in fact only fill in the blanks or add clauses that are pre-written by the attorneys, as suggested by real estate agents.

    IMHO – we as real estate agents have to raise our knowledge and analytical skills in order to continue to practice real estate. If we don’t change, we will go the way of the travel agents!

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