The real estate market is changing. Although the basics remain the same, two parties still generally come together to buy and sell property, the tools we use to negotiate these transactions are changing at a rapid rate.

Gone are the days when the details of the potential transaction were a mystery. Now, a simple Google search can result in all sorts of information, from prices of comparable properties to rates with lenders.

Are these new tools helpful?

If used wisely, these tools can provide quality information to help guide negotiations. Not only that, the companies behind these tools report buyers and sellers alike are taking advantage of the benefits of these advances. Real estate website Zillow, for example, recently reported record level growth with revenue reportedly soaring from $365.3 million to $943.9 million.

What could go wrong?

Zillow and other similar tools can promote efficiency within the real estate market, bringing together sale and rental listings as well as providing a method to purchase homes and begin conversations with an affiliated lender. Although clearly a beneficial tool in real estate transactions, buyers and sellers alike are wise to tread carefully when it comes to the contracts that govern these transactions. A boilerplate one-size-fits all type of document may appear to save time and initial, upfront costs but could result in expensive, unforeseen consequences in the future. As a result, it is generally wise to have these documents either reviewed or drafted to your transaction to mitigate the risk of surprises in the future.