Digitizing real estate transactions for customers and for the environment

It is widely acknowledged that the real estate is ripe to adopt technology in what has become normalized and mainstream in the rest of our lives. While the industry is complex from a regulatory, economic and financial perspective – what are the ways we can make simple but high impact movements towards a modernized and sustainable home transaction experience?

Idea number 1: Stop requiring original, witnessed, wet signatures on printed paper agreement.

I learned very early in my professional career, if it is important, measure it.

In Canada:

· In 2018 there were approximately 550,000 home real estate transactions

Buyer paper:

  • Assignment of Credit
  • Letters of Guarantee
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Land Titles
  • Assignment of Credit
  • Real Property Report
  • … to name a few.


Seller Paper

  • Preliminary Title Report
  • Mandatory Disclosures
  • Pre-Inspection Report
  • Transfer Disclosure Statement
  • Purchase Agreement
  • … there are more.

·The total package on the buy and sell side adds up to approximately 120 pages per transaction

Paper Impact

This means in Canada we print approximately 66,000,000 pages or at 8,333 pages per tree to cutting down 7,900 trees per year.This also translates to 178 metric tonnes of C02 per year that is no longer being absorbed by trees required for this same paper.


In order to sign these agreements, let’s assume both the buyer and the seller drive an average of 10KM round trip to each of their bank and their lawyer (76% of Canadians live within this distance of the Core where the majority of these institutions reside):

·Grams of C02 Per KM: 205

·4 X 10KM Trips: 40KM

·Number of transactions: 550,000

·Metric Tonnes of CO2: 4,510 per year in Canada

·Tree Loss Plus Driving Metric Tonnes of C02: 4,688 per year

Digital Impact

In the event this same transaction was fully digital, you would have an email sent and returned by buyer and seller to their respective bank and lawyers to finalize contracts:

·Total number of emails: 8

·Grams of C02 Per Email (assuming non-renewable resources): 20

·Transactions: 550,000

·Metric Tonnes of C02: 88 per year

The global leaders in networks and computing are moving towards fully renewable energy by 2020 which will help continue reduce this footprint with the ultimate goal of 0.

Net Difference

In the meantime, not only is it more convenient and efficient for buyers and sellers of real estate but you save 7,900 Canadian trees per year and 98.2% of your C02 footprint.

It is as simple as having our provincial governments and Banks accept digital agreements and authorizations as they do in other countries and numerous other industries.

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