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Forms at Your Fingertips/Users/adamp/Desktop/May Mag Images/TechYou

Kevin Pribell was working with a young couple anxious to make an offer on a well-priced four-bedroom Winter Park house. Proud parents of a newborn, they had their hearts set on raising a family in the 1920s-era bungalow, but the seller knew he had a prize in this market when other buyers showed some interest. So, Pribell knew he had to act fast.

In the past, when Pribell would draw up a contract, he had one choice: find a blank form, stick it in the typewriter and hope he didn’t make any typos. Ninety percent of the time he’d have to tear it up and start over. But that headache ended a year ago, when his assistant introduced him to TransactionDesk™, a free tool offered to members of the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). Now he simply logs in to FAR’s member Web site, floridarealtors.org, clicks on “Tools and Support,” and then scrolls down the list until he finds and clicks on “Forms Online Gold.” There, he retrieves everything he needs to prepare the contract.

“I accessed the FAR/BAR ‘As Is’ Contract for Sale and Purchase,” says Pribell, broker-owner of ACRES Inc. in Orlando. “And I found the lead-based paint disclosure—necessary for homes built before 1978—and filled out everything right on the screen. It was a big time-saver. I printed out all the forms and had my clients sign them, and then I hand delivered them to the seller.” After a little negotiation, Pribell says, the contract was accepted. “Because of the speed with which we were able to prepare and submit an offer, the couple was able to purchase the home for $67,500 less than appraised value,” he says. “They were very pleased.”

And, Pribell notes, there is no charge for the use of TransactionDesk over and above the dues he pays to his local Board. 

Here are some other advantages that Pribell gains from Forms Online Gold:

1. Variety of Forms
“There is a plethora of different forms offered at Forms Online Gold,” says Pribell, who is also board certified as a real estate lawyer and has been appointed special magistrate to the value adjustment boards in both Orange and Volusia counties. “You will find every form imaginable and some that many people have never seen before, even including short sale addenda and sinkhole disclosures.”

2. Easy Revisions
Occasionally, a form will need to be revised at some point during negotiation or before closing. “You can save any document to access in the future at will,” says Pribell. “This is most beneficial when I have to revisit a document to make changes. I can do so without having to reinvent the wheel, and the forms can be reprinted within a matter of seconds.”

One time, Pribell needed to make a change to a condominium association disclosure, so he logged in to TransactionDesk, went to Forms Online Gold and found the Comprehensive Rider to the FAR/BAR Contract for Sale and Purchase form. To make the required changes, he simply clicked on the field he wanted to amend and typed in the new information. “You’re only limited by the speed of your printer,” he says, adding that his business operates much more efficiently since he has started using this free FAR tool. “When my assistant is out, contract preparation challenges like these can be tackled easily. The whole thing has been relatively error free for me.”

3. E-Mail Forms
When Pribell e-mails a form to any party to a transaction, he can decide to make edits available to the recipient or create a read-only document. For example, he recently generated a proposed contract for a colleague who was representing a buyer of a commercial property in Duval County. Because Pribell is a real estate professional and an attorney, he was able to prepare the contract for his colleague and e-mail it to him so that he could make his own revisions.

To send a form as a read-only PDF, he simply sends the form as a link in the e-mail message. “That lets you lock it so the other person can only read it,” he says. “There could be a situation where I’m working with another lawyer who’s not a real estate lawyer, or I’m asked to prepare a contract for another lawyer and I basically prepare it as a draft subject to the revisions of the other lawyer. In the case of a board-certified tax lawyer with whom I work closely, I feel very comfortable with letting him make changes to the forms as needed.”

4. Send Faxed Forms
For those situations where a party to a transaction prefers a faxed copy of a form, Pribell can fill out the form and then fax it in its entirety. “Forms Online Gold offers the U.S. Postal Service postmark, the AuthentiFax signing service and an Internet faxing add-on,” he says.

5. Peace of Mind
“When a new form comes out, I imagine that immediately it would be incorporated into the document menu in Forms Online Gold,” says Pribell. “And it’s comforting to know that the forms provided are updated regularly by FAR and kept current with statutory changes, so you don’t have to worry about compliance issues.”

“Any agent with Internet access, e-mail and a laserjet printer is assured to benefit greatly from TransactionDesk,” Pribell concludes. “It’s a brilliant and efficient use of technology. Visit the FAR Web site and try it.”
TransactionDesk is powered by Real Estate Industry Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of FAR.

This column, designed to offer examples of how salespeople and brokers are using technology in their offices, won first place in the 2006 Best Column category from the Florida Magazine Association. The column is for general information only. Opinions expressed here don’t necessarily reflect an endorsement of the views by Florida Realtor magazine or the Florida Association of REALTORS®  (FAR).