Every year, more companies are moving toward a paperless office policy. Today, an estimated 17 percent of companies are already paperless, according to the Association for Information and Image Management. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of companies seeking to replace all paperless procedures grew from 9 to 15 percent.
But for real estate agents, whose work revolves around getting documents signed, going paperless can seem daunting. Here are some tips, techniques and tools to help your real estate business start making the move toward a paperless operation.
Start with the Right Equipment
In order to effectively manage a paperless real estate business, you’ll need a reliable mobile device. A device that fits the bill should have a quality camera allowing you to capture images of physical documents. It should also have a large enough screen for you and your clients to comfortably view documents, as well as a long battery life; that way, you don’t run out of juice in the middle of an important deal.
Another essential item is enterprise-grade security, which will ensure your clients’ vital documents remain confidential. A smartphone that fits these specifications is the LG G5, which features a 16 mega-pixel camera, along with a 5.3-inch quad HD screen. The LG smartphone also includes a battery guaranteed to stay charged throughout the day and security features that meet international standards for corporate environments.
Collecting and exchanging contact information is essential for Realtors, so if you’re going paperless, you’ll need a way to do it digitally. Open Home Pro is designed to help you achieve this by providing a digital platform for promoting your open house events and business on social media. The technology can also store customer and lead contact information. Plus, you can receive lists of hot leads looking to sell their home but don’t have an agent.
File management is another crucial piece of a paperless real estate business. A complete paperless file management system will require several tools. You’ll need a program for scanning documents, such as MDScan for Android or Scanner Pro for iOS. You will also need a PDF program for editing documents, such as Adobe Acrobat or PDF Expert.
To store documents, download a cloud storage service, like Dropbox. Additionally, to make sure your documents never get lost, you should use a cloud backup service. PCMag reviews some of today’s leading backup services, which include IDrive, CrashPlan and SOS Online Backup.
To close deals, you’ll need a document signing program like DocuSign, the exclusive provider of electronic signature services for the National Association of Realtors. DocuSign lets you capture signatures from anyone, no matter where you are using your device.
In addition to these components of a paperless real estate office, there are integrated packages that combine multiple features into a single paperless suite. These include Paperless Pipeline, Real Estate Paperless Solutions, SkySlope and DotLoop. These subscription-based services are priced based on how many transactions you conduct each month or how many agents you have working on your team.