Name of office: Harcourts Judd White, Waverley, Victoria
Location: Waverley, Melbourne, Victoria.
Contact name: Dexter Prack
Judd White is Harcourts’ top sales office in Victoria and its No.5 franchise in Australia. The agency sells more than 350 properties each year and holds 1,600 properties under management. Its staff of 13 agents and their support teams have adopted Forms Live to streamline workflow and reduce costs. Forms Live was critical for Judd White in overcoming the challenges of five full months of COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
We spoke to Harcourts Judd White Director and Senior Auctioneer Dexter Prack, a 20-year veteran of real estate who introduced Forms Live with a clear idea of what he wanted the software to achieve – his dream of a paperless office for his agency.
When the pandemic hit and Melbourne descended into one of the world’s longest lockdowns, Judd White agents were incredibly busy selling and leasing properties. The city’s residential market was one of the most buoyant in Australia, and 18 transactions were being lined up, each one averaging $1.5 million. Once the lockdown took effect, Dexter knew his agents wouldn’t be able to visit clients, and they risked losing the business without a digital solution to sign contracts.
Judd White had already been struggling with a long-term challenge – hours of staff productivity were being wasted on generating and filing paperwork, complying with Victoria’s burdensome regulatory environment. Dexter recalls: “We had to maintain files and send physical copies of contracts to clients. Staff would have to scan six pages of a contract. It was so time-consuming. And, of course, some papers would get lost.”
The Strategy – The paperless office
Dexter says he’d always wanted to create a paperless office to increase administrative efficiency and give his colleagues more productive work. He knew he needed to find a digital forms solution that would integrate with the agency’s critical management tools – Agentbox and PropertyTree. From Dexter’s point of view, this was the “last piece in the technology puzzle”.
He discovered Forms Live by word of mouth, talking with another agent who’d explained how it had transformed their real estate business. Dexter says his colleague was a powerful and compelling advocate, and he came away from that conversation believing a solution was urgent. “I didn’t hesitate to contact Forms Live,” he recalls.
1. Training: critical to adoption
Introducing Forms Live was easy, says Dexter. A couple of more experienced colleagues wanted to stick with paper, but the majority embraced the Forms Live technology immediately. “Training on Forms Live was simple, easy and didn’t take more than 30 minutes,” he says. “Some technologies are challenging to implement. We’ve had some technology needing between six to 12 months to integrate into our business because of the complexity. Forms Live was also a big change - but it’s easy to use - so it didn’t take long.” And Dexter says he had been delighted there hadn’t been any expensive implementation roadblocks because of technology conflicts. “Now, no one uses the old paper forms.”
2. Reducing complexity: The six-step process that’s now two steps
Dexter says the adoption of Forms Live quickly reduced the complexity of running his business, and it smoothed out critical contract processes. “We don’t have any physical files. All the documents are saved as PDF files and stored in Agentbox. Our entire workflow has been streamlined.”
A six-step approach to legally secure a property for sale has been reduced to just two. Previously, his colleagues would have to use expensive, specialist paper pads containing contract authorities, which required an owner’s signature before an agent could sell a property. “Some of the agents would enter incorrect details or make a spelling error on a contract authority,” says Dexter. “They could use three authorities before everything was correct. It was frustrating for everyone.” He says he’s happy that adopting Forms Live means he no longer has to spend $60 on all those paper pads containing contract authorities.
Value of Forms Live to Harcourts Judd White, Melbourne
Dexter believes his office could have lost more than $20 million in sales during the pandemic if he had not been able to quickly integrate Forms Live into the workflow of the Judd White office. Instead, Forms Live had enabled his staff to win and retain the right to sell 18 properties in an incredibly challenging time. “One-million-per-cent, Forms Live has improved our business, increasing efficiency and reducing costs,” he says. “It definitely helped my business during five months of full lockdown. We could not have afforded to lose this business to other agents simply because we didn’t have the right technology.”
An unexpected bonus from Forms Live has been its impact on clients. “Some people are amazed we can do everything on the spot and in real-time,” he says. “I love being able to sign on the screen. It’s those little 1-percenters that impress clients.”
Last Piece of Advice
Forms Live has been a cornerstone in Dexter’s strategy to create a paperless office. “This is the way of the world,” he says, “and you’ve got to keep up with the times.”