Real estate transactions bring together information from diverse sources: the buyer, the seller, inspectors, tax agencies and more. Compiling all of this information onto the HUD 1 settlement sheet and other documents used to take hours but the modern, automated real estate office or real estate law practice doesn’t have to do things manually.
Early HUD settlement statement software products were standalone packages. Each agent or attorney had a computer and kept case files on the hard drive. While this made it easy to complete documentation, sharing information with other professionals, even someone at the next desk, was complicated. Business used a system IT professionals informally call “sneakernet”: copying files to a disk and walking it over to someone else.
As businesses started to install networks, everyone was connected to file servers. HUD preparation software was still installed on each computer but could access files in a central location so Bill the real estate agent and John the accountant and Sally the attorney were all looking at the same files. When Wi-Fi hit the scene, removing the need for clumsy cabling, networking became commonplace. It’s rare to find an office with two or more computers that aren’t connected to each other.
The latest information technology revolution is cloud software. Cloud-based real estate settlement software centralizes not only the information but the software itself. Any authorized computer, even tablets, can use the software and access client data. However the servers aren’t the real estate office servers; they are the servers of the software company themselves. Agents and attorneys can generate documents from anywhere: the office, their homes, coffee shops, libraries or anywhere else they are comfortable working.
Cloud-based software offers an unprecedented level of flexibility to today’s real estate businesses. That flexibility translates to faster closing, fewer errors and greater profits.