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From High Street to Cloud Street

In a moment of weakness, I just made an attempt to explain to a teenager what the ‘save’ icon in MS Word actually is. Explaining a three and a half inch floppy disk to a cloud native was demoralising. Inches were the first thing I had to explain, because my conduit generation still had non-decimal grandparents who mentioned shillings every now and then; but clearly that time has now passed as the imperial system of measurement has given way to kilometres and gigabytes entirely.

While the feedback of disgust at the concept of using about 10 of these floppy disks for an end of month back-up was unfathomable, it did get me thinking about the time when the now archaic floppy disk was going to be the end of paper; a goal which has been achieved in many industries… but not in property.

The property industry is clinging to paper and the idea of a High Street. Do you remember a time where the local High Street had a real estate agent, solicitor, bank, post office, butcher, baker and candlestick maker – diverse professionals and local friends who knew each other and did business by walking paper between their respective shops? No? Neither do I, because the pastoral concept of a local High Street predates even the floppy disk.

Suppliers and parties to a property transaction are spread across the city, across the country and across the world; some are exclusively online.

With a mandated digital transition in property transactions from July 2019, the utility of persisting with wet ink signing is futile and we must turn our attention to our readiness for digital business. With companies like InfoTrack offering eContract, electronic signature and paperless search capabilities all integrated with the PEXA online settlement platform, Australia is now experiencing completely paperless digital property exchange.

A recent industry survey commissioned by InfoTrack showed that whilst 50 per cent of real estate agents said they used eContracts and 45 per cent used electronic signing, just 16.67 per cent settled via the PEXA platform – suggesting many may not be up to speed for the July 2019 transition.

The future of the customer journey through the real estate exchange is a digital one, made using a digital vessel. The legislative framework established through the Electronic Transaction Acts throughout the Australian jurisdictions is the roadmap for the digital journey, a map that no longer has a High Street – all of its residents are living on Cloud Street.

If you are wanting to move from High Street to Cloud Street, InfoTrack are hosting a series of digital transaction ‘Gift of Time Roadshows’ in NSW and VIC in the coming months geared at helping real estate agents and conveyancers to understand, prepare for and make the most of the transition to digital. Simply register for a free Gift of Time Roadshow near you.

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Sarah Bell

With a background in research and investigations, Sarah Bell married into the real estate industry in 2009 and has found a passion for both the business and its people.