“We knew we were building something big, but we didn’t know how big,” says Allen Alishahi, referring to the past year of growth his company has seen. Last year, ShelterZoom—the four-year-old startup Alishahi co-founded after his 30-year career as a Staten Island, New York, broker—launched a digitally secure platform called DocuWalk. This full suite of tools gives agents a way to manage the real estate process all the way from the initial offer to the final signature. Building on the success of DocuWalk, ShelterZoom recently released a new app within the platform called 1REport that was formally unveiled at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this past November.
“We saw agents using DocuWalk once their clients had come onboard, but we knew they needed a way to get more leads and own the leads they had worked hard to earn,” says Alishahi. “The ‘handshake culture’ that is so fundamental to our business needed to transition to the digital world. With 1REport, I think we’ve found a way to make that happen.”
The process begins with a QR code feature that lets agents claim this piece of digital “real estate” so that they own the leads that come through their portal. While most other QR providers collect and store the contact information of leads so they can later sell them to other agents, ShelterZoom’s QR code will only send the information to the owner of the QR code.
“We don’t store the information from incoming leads, so we couldn’t share them with anyone even if we suddenly decided we wanted to,” explains Chao Cheng-Shorland, co-founder of ShelterZoom. “Potential clients know right away that they are interacting with the right contact for the property. Agents can interact instantly with any lead that comes in, whether it’s a simple ‘hello’ or the beginning of a longer conversation.”
Every QR code comes with a URL that directs people to the same 1REport so agents can share the link in an email, text message, Tweet, newsletter or other online communication when a QR code isn’t needed. Agents have the option of sharing the QR code publicly or privately, such as when they have high-profile clients who request their privacy be protected.
Bigger Pipeline Through Targeted Marketing
The QR code is just the beginning. Once a user scans the code, they are taken to a 1REport document—a digital home that provides agents an easy way to target their marketing for both sellers and buyers. Every 1REport document offers agents the option to include a vast set of information about a property in a way that is simple for clients to navigate without being overwhelmed. Beyond the usual requirements of square footage, beds and baths, agents can include attachments for everything from property surveys to utility bills. There is also ample space for agents to showcase their neighborhood expertise, success stories, the rest of their team, their brokerage’s long-standing role in the community or anything else that helps clients get the full picture of both the agent and the property.
“It starts with winning more listing presentations by being able to show sellers how easy it is to customize the marketing,” says Alishahi. “Sellers see right away how your marketing will reach buyers who are the best fit for the property—and therefore, more likely to garner a higher sales price.”
Since 1REport exists within the DocuWalk platform, it is a smooth transition to move a client from the marketing power of 1REport to the transaction management features of the full platform, all included in the same price package. Agents can keep all the paperwork for the transaction in one place, from offer to purchase all the way through to the secure digital signatures on the final contract. Every account in DocuWalk comes with unlimited blockchain signatures, just one of the security and privacy features built into the platform.
Digital Privacy and Security
This all takes place on a blockchain platform, making it one of the most secure places to transact today. Luckily for agents, they don’t have to do anything extra to make blockchain happen. It takes place quietly in the background while they use the platform. With the increase of hacking and other online scams, real estate professionals need to continually be on the lookout for ways to protect themselves and their clients.
“Blockchain is going to be the basic standard for security in just a few years’ time,” says Cheng-Shorland. “Even though it first gained traction with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the same technology can be applied to any area of digital security. Real estate has the opportunity to be ahead of the curve before too much damage control needs to take place.”
Privacy is also paramount within the system, not just outside it. There are a greater number of permission levels than most other document management systems, so agents have more control over how much another party can alter a document or contract. Once it’s time to sign a contract, neither party is able to add their signature until both sides of the contract are identical.
ShelterZoom has added another layer of protection through something it calls a Document Token™. The concept of a document token is similar to how any electronic financial transaction is assigned a long string of numbers—or a “token”—that is a unique ID for that transaction. ShelterZoom has applied this idea to keeping documents safe by assigning a similar string of unique numbers to each document created on its system. This “document token” makes it easier to protect and track a document as it moves through the lifecycle of a transaction.
1REport—and everything else in the platform—is designed to happen in parallel with how agents and brokers already carry out business.
“Even before the pandemic, there have been too many ways the role of the real estate agent is eroding,” continues Alishahi. “This gives agents more ways to do what they already know works, without taking up too much of their time. We want real estate agents to have a complete arsenal at their fingertips so they can meet the changing demands of our industry without missing a beat.”
For more information, please visit https://shelterzoom.com/one-report.
Caysey Welton is RISMedia’s content director. Email him your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.