Real Estate Technology News Analysis

Mike Antoniak is a freelance journalist, who writes frequently on technology.


Digital Real Estate
All on One Disk

Software publisher sells state-of-the-art Adobe™ Acrobat fillable contracts and forms on a CD-ROM.


Mike's next column March 1.

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Ever find yourself fumbling through your briefcase or car for a contract, only to be embarrassed you haven't brought it along?

If you have—or fear such an experience—you may want to check out Digital Contracts 4.0, a comprehensive collection of real estate contracts and forms just launched on CD-ROM by software publisher ProForce Corp.

"We're putting more than 400 different contracts on one CD-ROM," explains ProForce president Steven Smith. Included are forms and contracts for purchases, closings, financing, commercial property, disclosures, HUD, listings, leases, property management, rentals, valuation and appraisal, title, settlement, and VA loans.

"Ninety percent of these contracts bridge the gap between states, because there's no difference in the type of contracts required for things like commercial, title, settlement, HUD or VA loans," notes Smith. "But where there are differences in the requirements, particularly in residential contracts, we've included versions for each state. Customized forms, which may be required for submission to local MLS boards, can be developed as needed."

Each was drafted based on content in legal encyclopedias and law books and submitted to a Minneapolis law firm for review and approval. A search engine and help menus are included in the software as aids for selecting the appropriate documents.

Do 'instant contracts' mean, less work for the lawyers? It could, but at least not initially. Michael Thiel, deputy counsel for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

All contracts and forms were created as Adobe PDF (portable document format) files to retain the integrity of the original documents. To view or print a PDF file, use the software application Adobe Acrobat, which is included on the disk. Theoretically, PDFs should be usable on any operating platform.

Within each contract and form, ProForce has created fields where users enter information specific to a contract, like names, addresses, and pricing.

Smith says the documents are ready to accommodate digital signatures when the U.S. Congress approves their use in contracts. In addition, contracts can be personalized with company logos or information on the individual agent.

ProForce sells the set for $199, and will market updated sets every two years for an additional $99.

"The typical real estate professional probably spends a couple of hundred dollars a year for paper documents," sums up Smith. "Here's a way they can cut those costs dramatically, have all the contracts they need at their disposal, and print laser-sharp legal documents, with their logo, whenever they need them."

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