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Each month AR runs numerous contests as a way for our members to engage in activities
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These state pages or hyper-local pages provide content directly related to a specific geographical location.
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I'm already getting inquiries asking for more details of how I actually implemented these steps. These specific tips you can use to save yourself time, money as well as be more environmentally friendly. In terms of bottom-line, in 2008 I spent over $5,000 on printing costs (paper, toner, printer drums, etc). In 2009 I cut this by about $2,000 while more than doubling my transaction volume. I am spending more on workflow tools but nowhere near the amount that I've offset in printing costs - in today's constant battle to improve the bottom-line I am quite happy with these results.
Opt for PDF. This step is probably the easiest and most no-brainer change that I've made in my little office which cuts out surplus paper. My default printer is to create a pdf output of whatever document I'm 'printing' in my office. I generate a ton of different items from my system such as MLS reports, title reports, market analyses, comparable market reports, etc. Much of this was stuff that needed to 'go in the file' to memorialize my real estate transaction. So I was generating a pile of paper to go in a paper file to (hopefully!) never see the light of day after the transaction was done. Today, I review it on screen and save it into a transaction folder right on my system where I can just grab it onto a thumb drive at the end of the transaction.
Use Digital Signatures. I am a huge - HUGE - fan of DocuSign. This week I participated in a webinar where company executives shared the results of their March 2010 Executive Customer Conference and showed us some of the improvements in the works for their products - and they are very actively educating the mortgage community about the security of electronic signatures. One great improvement will be an available link right on the electronically signed document that you can use to see the full document certification - very powerful improvement. They will also be allowing a fax-back feature as well as an attach document feature which will also provide much greater usability to the system. DocuSign has also partnered with the NAR to bring some key advantages for us into the product lineup as well as a special pricing plan. If you are having any trouble figuring out how to use the DocuSign, they offer a FREE weekly 'Jump Start' interactive webinar that you can attend as many times as you would like. Once you have the basics down, you should focus on how to create 'templates' so that you only have to modify a few bits of information when creating a transaction for signature.
Share and Store Documents Electronically. My workflow with my buyer clients starts with opening an account for them in ListingBook which allows me to electronically 'discuss' properties with my clients. The tool allows them to search on pretty much whatever they're interested in and then we collaborate on individual properties with notes. Once we've completed a buyer tour then I set up a transaction in zipforms using California Association of REALTOR® transaction templates. When the contract is completed in ZipForms I then publish them to DocuSign. When the documents are fully signed in DocuSign I download only my system and then either email to the listing agent or if required to be faxed I send via eFax software. DocuSign is adding some features about sharing signed documents which should eliminate some of the steps in this part of my process. I'm also still in process of trying to fully implement relay® Transaction Management into my workflow which is really only to coordinate workflow once we are in a contract. To date I've just used simple file folders on my shared drive to keep everything together for one transaction. My naming system in the file folder uses the following theme: PropertyAddress - ClientName - DocumentName - WhoSigned. On the listing side, I handle all incoming offers by either email or inbound eFax which creates an email from the inbound offer. I can then handle the rest of the paperwork via DocuSign for the seller to sign (or upload into Equator or Res.Net for bank-listings) and then into relay.
Reuse Handouts. Many of us, and especially our clients, want to fully understand what they're signing whether it is on paper or on a computer screen. When I sign in person with someone I have my one-sentence description for each section of the contract and I also point out where they will be finding specific information (closing cost credits, mortgage information, etc.). I find that some of my clients want to print the document out to read it to understand it. What I've done to help is I use a laminated copy of a sample contract and I've highlighted different sections. On the opposing page I have more descriptive comments and arrows so that the client knows what to expect to see on the contract. When I'm all done with the transaction I ask for the laminated copy back so that I can provide to the next client.
Today I'm not 'fully paperless' nor do I ever expect that I will be. But I am achieving fast turn-around times, less gas, less paper & toner costs, less physical storage requirements and higher customer satisfaction for my transactions. YOU can too!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.