If you've ever bought a home, you know it can be quite tedious. You've done your research, looked at two dozen properties, got a feel for the one you like. But now you need to wait (and wait) before the transaction is finally completed.

There are a few different reasons for this – getting approval for a mortgage can take up to a few weeks, additional underwriting is sometimes required, and sometimes people want to have the home professionally inspected before they move in.

This means the entire process can take from 30 to 60 days, though in some cases it could take even longer. Plus the actual research that you or a real estate agent needs to do, which takes about 3 to 6 weeks on average.

And who's paying for all that time? You are – and maybe you're just thinking of the fees you end up paying (which includes paying for employees to work however many hours), but you're also paying in terms of lost productivity on your part. All those extra hours spent in the home-buying process could be put to better use, whether at work – making money instead of spending it – or at play.

Speed Up Real Estate Transactions, Save Money

Reducing the roadblocks and making real estate transactions more efficient would save us time and money. That's true for personal home buying, but it's an even bigger issue in commercial real estate – a $15 trillion per year industry that's in desperate need of some modernization.

Commercial real estate transactions are plagued by all the above problems, but also many more. And one of their biggest impediments is the property boundary survey. Not every home buyer decides to get a property survey beforehand (most should, though many don't), but they're par for the course when it comes to commercial deals.

The premier real estate property survey is called the ALTA Land Survey, and it features strict guidelines and requirements that make it the most detailed and useful survey commonly available. It's the go-to standard for commercial real estate.

Surveys like this provide all sorts of information. Where are the boundaries, and where are the water, gas, and other utility lines? Is there water nearby? What's the situation with driveways and roads, including your neighbors? Is there a cemetery in your backyard? All things that you'll want to know.

The problem is that ALTA Surveys are notoriously time-consuming. You need a certified property surveyor to travel to the location, explore the area, review the title, and plot the survey before it can actually be done. The title review alone can take up to 2 or 3 weeks, and this means the entire transaction might end up taking 3 months or more.

So what can be done?

Streamline the Real Estate Transaction Process

There are many opportunities to make real estate transactions more efficient. Property surveys are a great place to start, because they're a labor-intensive task that could be automated in various ways.

That's why the Land Survey Automation Challenge is offering a total of $100,000 for the best solutions to this problem. They see a future of automated ALTA surveys, living up to the same stellar reputation but coming in at a fraction of the cost and time.

It's time for a real breakthrough technology to emerge: the challenge requires a solution that will be able to perform an automated ALTA land survey in only 15 hours. That includes on-site fieldwork, a detailed map of the property, and any other relevant information about the property. Right now, drones look like they'll play a key part in the solution, being able to fly about and capture photos all on their own.

It's an ambitious goal, one that will require a near-complete overhaul of the ALTA survey process. But the William Warren Group (the funders of the challenge) know it can be done.

And they aren't the only ones who have recognized this problem and are trying to do something about it. The FinTech startup Raisal has approached this issue from a different angle, developing a platform that efficiently connects people in need of a loan with lenders. Their marketplace simplifies the commercial mortgage process, providing an easy way to find lenders, negotiate, and get your funds.

Making the real estate transaction process more efficient will be good for almost everyone (except for the people who profit on this time-suck, of course). Are you the difference-maker we're looking for? Head on over to the Land Survey Automation Challenge to learn all about it, get signed up, and go down in history as the innovator who took this headache out of real estate!