How the Real Estate Industry Could Destroy the World


I’ve done some thinking research into what happened to the dinosaurs. How did such a powerful and broad range of species become extinct? Was it a crater slamming into the Earth? Or a volcano eruption that blacked out the skies?

No, it was neither- but something far worse and much, much more dramatic…

And today we are facing the beginning of a similar fate and it is being brought on by the real estate industry!

I attended a couple of closings this week at title companies different from the one I am used to using and I noticed, well, actually remembered, how thick every file is when we are done closing a transaction. The title company has a file of paper about an inch and a half thick, the client gets a copy of all of that so theirs is the same, the agent has a file that might be a half inch thick and the broker has a file that is the same. Then the mortgage company has their file, and the inspection company prints a freaking book report for the buyer, and the appraiser does their report.

Now factor in the “Just Listed” cards and “Just Sold” cards, the home warranty postcards and all the print marketing that it took to get and sell the listing.

Now, figure the gas it took to drive buyers around, the oil and other lubricants, liquids and air conditioning “goo” from every car.

There are millions of homes sold every year- Think of the carbon footprint we, as an industry, are leaving because of our work.


We all need to do our part to pressure title companies to give copies of the transaction via email, lenders to allow digital signatures on everything, and encourage buyers to do as much home searching online as possible.

If we continue, we will kill all of our trees and all of the atmosphere resulting in extreme weather and lack of oxygen which will kill us all dead. Completely, all the way dead. And not a quick, painless death, but our skin will melt away slowly and we will become ill with disease and vomit and bleed from our eyes and it will be horribly painful.

Sure, someone could make a documentary about it all and probably make a lot of money but they would be dead too so they won’t be able to enjoy it.

And now you know- that is how the dinosaurs died. The plant-eaters ate all the trees and had no more to eat so they died and then the carnivores had to eat each other and their cars were putting out exhaust and burning the gas and it killed the atmosphere and they all died.

I know because I was there…


Let’s all do our part to print a little less, give copies of documents in emails, and drive less by providing good virtual tours and just encourage each other to think about our carbon footprint as an industry.


4 thoughts on “How the Real Estate Industry Could Destroy the World

  1. As an owner of a title company I feel your pain. We have tried for years to get people to accept electronic images instead of paper copies. Some lenders require us to give paper copies of the closing package to a borrower when in actuality you could limit the paper copies to the HUD-1, TIL and Right of Rescission.

    Sales are usually even worse because of the ignorance of some Realtors. They have mis-read (or have not read ) our Real Estate Commission rules. The most egregious practice is when the Realtor (Seller’s or Buyer’s) require that we give the potential buyer (and at time the seller) a paper copy of all the covenants and conditions (and including bylaws and current budgets of each Homeower’s Association.) These documents can easily run to well over a hundred pages. When we asked the Realtors if we can just give a link to an electronic copy (which could be downloaded and saved on the buyer’s computer) we are ALWAYS told no because an electronic copy is not as convenient as a hard copy. When i finally get really p.o.ed with this I will sometimes ask the buyer at the closing table if he/she has any questions about those documents just to get the person to say in front of the Realtor that they haven’t read the docs and (and if I’m lucky, to say that they don’t care about these documents as there is nothing they can do about them but to reject the sale or accept them.)

    I do find that commercial transactions are the exception and we have gotten some clients because we are so thorough in scanning and posting for their view all documents.

    As a title company, except in rare cases, all original documents in our office are scanned and shredded within a month (primarily for better security of client data – 1003 forms, etc. contain lots of information that I really wish I didn’t have to retain.)

    I hope you have success in educating those in the sales/re-fi loop as to the advantages of this being done with electronic images.

  2. Great outline of what the impact of an entire industry has…just being aware of the problems and what you can do (individually) to help is a great start in the right direction.

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