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"Stefan Swanepoel Interview 2000"

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Stefan Swanepoel Photo
12/1/00 Interview with Stefan Swanepoel

RealtyU Group
8 Argonaut, Suite 100
Also Viejo, CA 92656

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The Focus of iProperty and 9keys

  1. The companies strive to offer the real estate industry and consumers a complete home solution, both online and offline, by integrating old ways of doing business through traditional systems with Internet strategies.
  2. Their aim is to streamline the entire real estate process across all real estate specialties and services-from pre-transaction tasks through the post-transaction period of property ownership.
Integration Challenges

  1. iProperty has inherited legacy systems that have been in place for 20-30 years with the acquisition of older companies; legacy systems still work for the job they were intended to do, but they don't connect/communicate with anything else.
  2. Transaction management systems are newly developed strategies that track transactions from beginning to end and allow the steps to flow smoothly, much like UPS and FedEx facilitate the delivery process of a package.
  3. The steps in the real estate process-including listing, viewing, contracting, mortgage application, inspection, etc.-are done without connection, leaving the consumer to deal with a range of people and no one place to check the status of the transaction.
  4. iProperty acts like a traffic cop to manage and report on the flow of the transaction; after data is entered into a central database, the system controls the flow of information so that only what is necessary is accessed for a particular function; confidentiality of the consumer is protected.
  5. The consumer has total access to information about his own transaction, can check the status of any step at any time and can print what he needs.
  6. The Realtor, the professional closest to the consumer, remains at the heart of the information flow; the transaction management system does not change the existing process, it just automates it.
  7. Transaction management cements the relationship of the client with agent and broker; the brokerage company provides continuity for a client who returns in ten years to find the agent gone.
Competition in Transaction Management

  1. Competition in this arena comes from 28 technology providers, who break into two main categories: mass-market, agent-driven players and customized, broker-centric players.
  2. The first group is rolling out a standardized, national platform that creates a minimum standard for the industry; leaders are HomeStore and the NAR's eRealtor and Microsoft's Realty Desktop.
  3. The second group aims to exceed minimum standards in delivering more unique products for brokers who want a competitive edge; the leaders are iProperty with "Chorus" and RealtyPlus Online's "CloseYourDeal."
How to Benefit from Dot-com Initiatives

  1. Swanepoel's new book, Real Estate Confronts the E-Consumer, surveys the real estate and mortgage vertical space online and distills the 75 most promising and practical sites for Realtors to use-several in each of 21 categories.
  2. The recommendations in the book save real estate practitioners from being overwhelmed by too many online choices. [Check the Society Bookstore at]
E-Real Estate's "Killer App"

  1. The killer application for the Internet is the use of email; its equivalent in the real estate industry will be the achievement of the seamless integration of all transaction-related systems into one.
  2. Despite the advances in transaction management, there are still gaps; agents must still rely on separate software to handle isolated functions, e.g., Top Producer as a contact manager and Lightening for MLS.
  3. Transaction management will reach maturity and become a killer application when it gets control of the entire transaction.
Digital Signatures

  1. Since the new federal law in June 2000 recognized the legality of e-signatures, about half the states have already enacted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act; signatures that get shipped electronically can now be accepted.
  2. The race is on to create the most effective encryption technology to clarify and guarantee that signatures transferred are correct and have not been tampered with.
Favorite Sources for E-Transaction Software

  1. iProperty has the best transaction management software; BidTrack allows property offers to be handled online; eOriginal processes and validates e-signatures.
  2. 9keys and Homelink offer post-transactional services; 9keys has over 300 vendors for online home-related shopping.
  3. eCommission acts as a funding company for agents awaiting commission payments.
Outlook in Three Years

Buying and selling real estate will become a pleasant experience for the consumer as the Internet continues to connect more pieces of the transaction, making it more efficient, cheaper, faster, more understandable and less stressful.

Contact Information for Stefan Swanepoel:

(v) (949) 349-9394
(f) (949) 349-9392

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Microsoft's Realty Desktop