Paperless in a Paper Centric Biz Part II: 5 Parts to Paperless Primacy

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Elevations Real Estate, LLC www.BuyFortCollinsHomes.com
http://actvra.in/HHr

Paperless in a Paper Centric Biz Part II:  5 Parts to Paperless Primacy

So what have I done to go paperless?  Here are the five things that have really made a huge productivity difference for me and hopefully reduced my carbon footprint:  1. Having a desktop scanner; 2.  Running a dual monitor set-up; 3.  My iPad; 4.  Using electronic storage solutions; 5.  Using Docusign in as many ways as we can imagine.

As I mentioned in one of my other blog posts about paper hoarding, one of the best solutions is to have a desktop scanner at your workstation (Click Here to read more).  The second action that has saved loads of paper is a dual monitor set-up.  I use a laptop as my primary computer and have a larger desktop monitor that I connect to my laptop when working.  I use the “extend desktop” graphics feature and can view multiple documents on both my laptop screen and the monitor (most laptops have this auxiliary video card already built-in).   paperless desktopI know this doesn’t seem like a paper-saving strategy.  However, for me, it has been both a paper-saver and a time-saver.  Having a working document up on one screen and a reference document open in another eliminates the need to print the reference document.  From a productivity standpoint I use Outlook and can have my dashboard with calendar and tasks and emails on one screen while my MLS search interface is up on the other screen.

The third item that continues to move me toward complete freedom from paper is my iPad.  I’m a chronic note taker – whether on a pre-listing appointment, at a conference, or a buyer interview, I use my iPad as the formerly ubiquitous REALTOR clipboard.  I take notes, take photos, record video all on this device.  I don’t print floor plans and elevations – I ask for the docs electronically and present them on the iPad where you can zoom, pan, and see even more of the document than if it were on a static sheet of glossy 65# cover stock.  I LOVE the Notability for iPad app.  It allows you to hand write or type notes as well as append and highlight pdf documents.  You can clip photos to your notes and email notes you’ve taken to other folks.  It isn’t a free app but the cost is so nominal compared to the value – definitely something to check out.

Fourth on the list is electronic storage.  Whether it is DropBox, iCloud, Google Drive or just an external hard drive (and some combination of the above) being paperless can’t truly be achieved unless you have some sort of well structured and redundantly backed up electronic storage solution.  I’ve not used Carbonite but they have a pretty aggressive ad campaign going right now and probably worth checking out.  That product isn’t just a storage facility but a back up for your entire computer.

Finally, no transaction can even come close to being paperless without a simple solution for clients and colleagues to affix their legitimate signatures to binding documents and contracts.  DocuSign has been our e-signature vendor of choice for over a year now and we LOVE it.  It is versatile, well-supported, and accepted by more and more institutions each month.  I look forward to the conservatreeday when the title company simply hands everyone an iPad and we all just use DocuSign Ink to ratify the closing docs and the closer hits a button and electronic copies of the executed documents fly off to all the parties who need them and every closing can save a minimum of 500 sheets of paper. 

According to the website Conservatree.com, a case of paper requires .6 trees.  For every 20 paperless closings that’s 1.2 trees.  For a modest sized title outfit doing 900 closings a year, they could either save 54 trees or (even more importantly) reduce the amount of energy expended to produce the paper and reduce our dependence on foreign oil as well as C02 emissions.

For some back story on my relationship with paper, check out part 1 of this blog series http://actvra.in/HHq

 

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Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Bob Crane 09/15/2012 08:59 PM
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Rainmaker
1,267,591
Edward & Celia Maddox
Century 21 Arizona Foothills - Gilbert, AZ
EXPERIENCE & INTEGRITY - WE TAKE THE HIGH ROAD

We have less paper, but a lot more data to view.  At least we are saving some trees.

Sep 13, 2012 12:18 AM #1
Ambassador
2,361,459
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Chris - Those are all excellent solutions for going paperless. We've been putting off the scanner for a while, but it's coming soon, and we have adopted the other four suggestions already - the all make a lot of sense and simplify as well as save resources.

Sep 13, 2012 12:32 AM #2
Rainer
29,906
Anthea Adair
Anthea Adair | Sierra Rock Realty Group | DRE#01919179 - Granite Bay, CA

I've been paperless for a few years now and it gets easier and faster (for those of you who love hard copy files).  Great tips, Chris!

Sep 13, 2012 01:11 AM #3
Rainmaker
97,436
Chris Hardy
Elevations Real Estate, LLC www.BuyFortCollinsHomes.com - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Real Estate

Ed, Dick, Anthea - Thanks so much for your comments!  It is certainly an ongoing process.  Seems like the biggest challenge is to get other people from giving me more paper!  : )

Sep 13, 2012 01:16 AM #4
Ambassador
2,734,025
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Your steps to be paperless sounds much like my own, but I haven't really commited to DropBox yet.  Need to do that in 2013.

Sep 13, 2012 02:16 AM #5
Rainmaker
97,436
Chris Hardy
Elevations Real Estate, LLC www.BuyFortCollinsHomes.com - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Real Estate

Chris Ann - I can always count on you for reading my blogs and offering comments - I really appreciate it.  Now, I best get on the stick and return the favor!!

Sep 13, 2012 02:06 PM #6
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Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks Chris, great tips to not only reduce dependency on paper, but more importantly great tips and tools to increase productivity.

Thanks for sharing these tips, I will share them too!

Sep 15, 2012 08:59 PM #7
Rainmaker
2,383,830
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

Clouds are becoming more and more a part of our paperless effort....and our Distressed sellers who send lengthy documents as well..great tips !

Sep 15, 2012 09:08 PM #8
Rainmaker
97,436
Chris Hardy
Elevations Real Estate, LLC www.BuyFortCollinsHomes.com - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Real Estate

Bob - thanks again!  Just saw your post at Part I.

Sally & David- yeah, those bank addenda are HUGE (so are CC&Rs).  Thanks for the comments!

Sep 15, 2012 11:43 PM #9
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Debbie Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Hi Chris, Dick Greenberg is singing your praises and said we will see a lot more of you in ActiveRain when the cats gets herded in. I am looking forward to it.

Jan 28, 2013 05:32 AM #10
Rainmaker
97,436
Chris Hardy
Elevations Real Estate, LLC www.BuyFortCollinsHomes.com - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Real Estate

Thanks, Debbie.  I appreciate your encouragement!

Feb 07, 2013 06:21 AM #11
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Chris Hardy

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