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September 06, 2007

Are paper files & walk-in real estate offices obsolete?

Recafe_1995 Twelve years ago, The Real Estate Cafe was founded as a walk-in, internet-based, housing information center -- to our knowledge, the first in the country (see story below.)  Over the next five years, 1995-2000, we amassed a mountain of paper files, some in the 1,200 square foot body of the cafe and more in the basement.   

Even though The Real Estate Cafe has operated virtually in recent years, we continue to amass mountains of paper.  About 20 boxes of paper, mostly marketing materials from recent real estate conventions and newspaper articles, are ready to sorted, filed, or tossed today.  Approximately 50 files boxes are already in deep storage.  While we rarely access paper documents in "active" file cabinets, we constantly update digital files on The Real Estate Cafe's intranet.

So our question is three-fold:

1.  Is paper filing obsolete?

2.  Are walk-in real estate offices obsolete?

3.  If real estate brokerages reorganized to operate virtually, would savings be passed onto real estate consumers, both buyers and sellers, in the form of lower commissions, rebates, or fee-for-service business models like The Real Estate Cafe?

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Buying A La Carte
Bill Wendel's Latest Venture, The Real Estate Cafe, Aims To Be The Buyer's 'guardian Angel'

Source: Boston Globe | Date: Sep 10, 1995 | By: Mary Sit, Globe Staff

...Called The Real Estate Cafe, it is a self-service information...[reducing] costs by having consumers do some of the work themselves.

Bill Wendel | 09:07 AM in Change Agents, Commission Reform, Fee-for-service, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Writing tools | Permalink

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