Sunday, December 19, 2010

Going Paperless in Real Estate

 As an ecoBroker and Realtor  in San Luis Obispo I can be burdened by the cost of printing. The amount of paperwork needed to document and move a property through escrow can be surprising. It's not uncommon to print out over 200 pieces of paper for  one transaction. I began to think for a way I could move through a transaction and minimize my use of paper. My personal challenge is to go paperless. These are the steps I'm taking.

Choose a PDF format
My computer's default printer is now set to save a PDF format document on my hard drive. Using this option makes me think twice about whether I need to print a hard copy or if a saved PDF image on the computer is appropriate. it's also eliminated the "oops" fact of printing something I didn't mean to print.

Use Digital Signatures
Using electronic signatures for my transactions is one of the greatest thing I have ever done. I'm saving paper, toner, gas and time on each transaction.  My clients love it because it's easier and quicker to sign the documents. I don't have to worry about printing the initial document and copies to my clients are automatic.

Reuse Handouts
By creating a printout and laminating a sample transaction, which covered the purchase price, financing arrangement, closing costs, and any addenda that clients can use when they're reviewing the transaction on-screen. This will encourage them not to print a copy, as they can see the sample transaction in the laminated format. I'll even provide notes on the sample so that they can know what to look for when reviewing their transactions online. When we are done with the transaction.  I'll ask for the laminated copy back so I can provide it to the next client.

Store Documents Electronically
Transaction management software provides a single storage place for all documents that are needed for any transaction.  The benefit is the ability to generate a single CD at the transaction's completion, which can become my agent file. A second CD can be provided to clients for their records. A much better approach because no one ever looks at the mounds of closing documents after the transaction anyways.

No More Flyer Boxes
I'm going for a paperless marketing approach for my listed properties. There are numerous tools available to allow customers to get information via website, text, and phone from directly in front of a property. Using these tools will allow me to do a better job at capturing prospects' contact information and will ensure that there is never an empty flyer box at any of my listings. My clients will love knowing that potential buyers can get all the information they could possibly want, day or night, based on signage in the font yard.

I can feel good about structuring my business to go paperless, save some time, money and trees while doing it. Our digital age makes it so much easier to do this. Now everyone can use these resources to their advantage.

Traci Ferguson

1 comment:

  1. I HATE paperwork!!! These are very good ideas. All of your tips sound great and I will trying to implement as many of them in my business as well.
    Thanks Traci!