Antoniak is a freelance journalist, who writes frequently on technology.
All on One Disk
Software publisher sells state-of-the-art Adobe Acrobat
fillable contracts and forms on a CD-ROM.
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BY MICHAEL ANTONIAK
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
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."