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Using tech to automate legal documents in real estate

MAIN IMAGE: Antonie Goosen, principal and founder of Meridian Realty; Cecile Burger, Just Property, Kimberley

Danie Keet

Property practitioners not only haver to cope with wide ranging changes to their work environment ever since the new Act came into operation on 1 February this year but are also faced with the digitalisation of the industry.

Like many other online developments for property practitioners, a first for the South African property industry, an online offer to purchase (OTP) generator that automates the process and produces a customised digital document that fulfils all legal requirements have been designed. This was developed by Meridian Realty over the past six months and forms part of the larger Meridian Connect CRM System.

“Now agents can sit with their buyers when preparing an OTP,” says Antonie Goosen, principal and founder of Meridian Realty.

“Through the completion of several questions, all relevant particulars relating to the offer the buyer wants to make are captured in the system. Once all the required steps have been completed, the system automatically generates a customised Offer to Purchase. Only relevant clauses are included, and the Offer to Purchase will only be as long, or short, as required.”

The benefits of emerging tech for owners, developers and investors are obvious. Just think of the data that can be collected, analysed, and acted on when these technological advances are leveraged. Why you might wonder, aren’t real estate companies implementing DataOps to make sense of all the information that is now available for their clients?

A local property company that had focused on proptech, rode the Covid waves and came out stronger than ever. When lockdown started, Just Property’s agents sat down at their home computers, opened their dashboard, and got on with selling and renting properties across South Africa.

Cecile Burger of the Kimberley office used their proprietary tools and was able to pull together data insights and analysis and sell every unit in a complex to a single investor who had wanted to buy a completely different property. She is a young and upcoming agent at the start of her career.

“This specific buyer was initially interested in another property. Unfortunately, he was second in line, and the first offer got bond approval,” says Cecile.

This company is successfully leveraging DataOps (data preparation, reporting, and the interconnected nature of the data analytics team and information technology operations). Just Property integrates the best datasets and analytics programs to efficiently provide staff and clients with a clear overview of the real estate landscape – and a strategic edge in the business.

Reflecting on the new digitalised OTP Goosen said there is not any other system that is able to provide the same level of customisation. “Gone are the days of completing OTPs by hand and striking out unnecessary clauses. With this customer centric approach, clients are provided with a clean, perfectly drafted OTP as fulfilling their requirements.”

Goosen explains that the automated online OTP is part of the larger trend in the property industry to use property technology to empower estate agents.

“Research recently conducted by World Wide Worx, titled the ‘Digital Corporation in SA 2021’, points out that while digital transformation may have slowed, there is clear spend on ICT to lay the foundation for digital corporations of the future. The real estate industry needs to keep pace with the rest of corporate South Africa and to digitally transform the way they do business. One way is to adopt technology to streamline businesses using property portals, social media, CRM systems and automated processes like the OTP generator Meridian Realty have now developed.”

He said automated processes not only ensure agents are working in a disciplined way, but also ensure that they follow the correct processes.

“In this way they dedicate more time to what matters, providing exceptional service to clients and potential buyers,” concludes Goosen.

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