Three Useful Tech Tools for Realtors

Older couple and Realtor looking at a laptop.

A great way to instill confidence in a home buyer is by having a firm grasp on the latest tools and technology related to all the legal, financial and logistical components of handling a sale. When a client sees that their agent has some time- and money-saving tricks up their sleeve, it makes them feel like they’ve got a true winner on their side looking out for them. It may also help them make a buying decision without worrying about the legitimacy of the advice they’re receiving.

There’s an overload of apps and software out there aimed at the real estate world, but talks with veteran agents helped NewHomeSource Professional single out a few smartphone apps that can be right at your fingertips, just waiting to help make that next sale happen.

1. Zoccam
In a world where just about everything moves and happens digitally, it can be maddening that many transactions involved in home purchases revolve around the physical transfer of paper checks. Solving that hassle was what motivated the founders of Zoccam, a smartphone app that eliminates the need to pick up and drive earnest money checks and associated contracts to the banks managing escrow accounts. This cuts precious hours and a whole lot of hassle out of the buying process.

Zoccam is available on iOS and Android devices and requires a Realtor’s license number to create a secure account to ensure authenticity. When a purchase is initiated and the buyer has their earnest money check ready for escrow, they can use their mobile phone to send a photo of the front and back of the check to their agent. From there the agent selects from their pre-loaded roster of title companies, and the recipient receives bank-level-encrypted images and other important pieces of information to confirm the purchase and keep the transaction moving toward closing.

Agents love Zoccam because of the time it saves and the ease it brings buyers and sellers who are already juggling myriad financial decisions and worries associated with their sale. It also speeds up the buying process without the risks associated with a wire transfer, where so-called “middle man” attacks can cause a buyer’s funds to vanish into cyberspace.

2. DocuSign
Chances are you’ve already run into DocuSign in any number of online transactions conducted in recent years, since this tool has become a worldwide leader of authentic and 100 percent valid document e-signatures. This tool is appealing form anyone in the real estate game who wants to cut out the time, hassle, and material waste associated with printing, mailing and faxing contracts back and forth.

But where DocuSign delivers even better value is with its memberships that give users access to its Transaction Room platform, which provides users with robust and easy document management capabilities. Agents who use the envelopes functionality can batch and send the same group of documents to all parties, or set up special groupings, access permissions and routing so that everyone gets the paperwork they’re expecting and manage transactions as needed. It might be the best option out there to streamline the contract flow between buyer, seller, agents, broker, inspector, appraiser, mortgage company, title company, making DocuSign valuable as a top-level CRM when it comes to adding efficiency to the purchase process.

3. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator
After more than a year or two in the game, many agents become so well-versed in mortgage math that they can calculate a buyer’s monthly payments on the fly. They can share numbers for how fast buyers will be able to chip away at their principal and other figures that are important considerations in a home purchase.

Buyers, especially first-timers, are not as sophisticated. And that’s why there’s so much value in having an app like Karl’s Mortgage Calculator that can take a few simple input values – purchase price, down payment, interest rate and loan term — and instantly show the user their monthly payment, carrying costs and other valuable data.

The real appeal for Karl’s Loan Calculator is that it takes a process that could take up eight or more tabs on an Excel document and shrinks it down into an intuitive and easy-to-navigate package of data. That can help demystify what can be an overwhelming or intimidating process for the buyer, and boosts their confidence to move forward with a purchase by knowing exactly what they’re financially getting into, down to the last penny.

About the author 

Chad Swiatecki

Chad Swiatecki is a business journalist with 20 years of experience covering real estate, health care, advertising, marketing, and entertainment. He is a Michigan native and Michigan State University graduate who relocated to Austin from his home state of Michigan in 2008.

His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, the Austin Business Journal, New York Daily News, Texas Monthly, Austin American-Statesman, and many other regional and national outlets. Swiatecki spent eight years as a daily newspaper reporter in Flint, Michigan prior to moving into business and entertainment journalism.

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