Cheating, on Paper - My 'Paper-less Challenge'

By
Real Estate Agent with Fort Collins Realtor @ C3 Real Estate Solutions

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin EaterI’m a big fat cheater.

There, I said it.

I’m entering a contest for creating a business plan to go paperless and (*looks around nervously*)… I’m totally cheating.

You see, I’m already paperless.

However, I put a lot of time and effort into creating this plan and am pretty excited to have the opportunity to share it.  Without further ado, here is my dastardly scheme to thwart the Real Estate tree-gobbling gremlins:

The Rules

1)  Paper copies are allowed only for marketing pieces (color brochures, etc) and created either as needed or with a minimum inventory.

2)  Incoming paper scanned or trashed immediately.

3)  All outgoing documents are emailed or efaxed direct from my computer.

Critical Tools

1) Adobe Acrobat. With the adobe system I can modify PDF documents to my hearts content, add my signature (digitally encrypted scanned signature made into a GIF image) and save all revisions.

2) CutePDF. When I print, I print to PDF.  There is almost never a reason to have a paper copy and CutePDF is a free and lightweight option for printing everything digitally for archiving or emailing.

3) Docusign. Clients review and sign documents digitally.  This allows the document to be created, ratified, processed and archived without leaving its digital state.

4) Google Docs, Dropbox and Syncplicity. These three robust tools allow me to automatically backup all of my documents ‘to the cloud’ (and to my home computer for that matter).  Now that I have everything in digital format it’s important to protect the integrity of those documents.

5) PlanetRE. We process all of our transactions online and it makes life so much simpler.  Simply upload everything on your ‘checklist’, add any final notes or additional files and finalize the file.  Its easy to archive and safer than the old rusty filing cabinet could ever be!

6) BC Reader (or other BizCard app). Scans any business cards and throws them into my database.  Quick, easy and effortless!

Dee Goes PaperlessMaking the Change

Now to deal with the baggage of deals past.  I set aside chunks of time to tackle ‘chunks’ of my filing cabinet until it was done.  As it was scanning, I sorted the ‘trash’ pile into a shred or recycle pile.

It took some time and the creation of a well-organized file system but the results have been outstanding.  Less clutter in my world means less clutter in my brain and it’s very handy to have everything at hand no matter where I am in the world.

Best wishes to all of your paper-less endeavors. You can do it!

"This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain & Kodak Paper-less Challenge contest.  I have the chance to win the high speed KODAK SCANMATE i1120 Scanner, great for helping real estate professionals reduce their stacks of paper by scanning contracts, photos and business cards in seconds."

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Licenced in the State of Colorado and serving Fort Collins and the surrounding communities.


 

Comments (11)

Donna Sheppard
Southern Homes of the Carolinas - Concord, NC

What a great plan Dee!  That is part of my bs. plan this year as well!  Thanks for all the great tips!

Feb 03, 2011 08:43 AM
Jennifer Prestwich
Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster - Henderson, CO
Madison & Co Properties

Right on, Dee!  As a recovering grad student (in literature, no less), it is very difficult for me to break free from paper.  I am going to bookmark this for reference- neat tools.  

Feb 03, 2011 09:01 AM
Dee Bundy
Fort Collins Realtor @ C3 Real Estate Solutions - Fort Collins, CO
Helping You Make Colorado "Home"

Hi Donna - Thanks for reading and good luck with the transition!

Hey Jennifer! I too love paper in literature, just not in my office!  I'll never be a nook or kindle girl as I'd miss the feel of paper too much. I hope the list helps if you decide to make the change (at least at the office).

Feb 03, 2011 11:05 AM
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Wow, Dee, that is ambitious! I have not gotten nearly that techy yet... I'm sure my time is coming!

Feb 03, 2011 01:14 PM
Maureen Fukumoto
Help-U-Sell Realty Pro - Mililani, HI
Maureen

I'm fairly paperless also but I am planning to buy a tablet computer because I miss the tactile of physically writing a note. 

Feb 03, 2011 08:19 PM
Dee Bundy
Fort Collins Realtor @ C3 Real Estate Solutions - Fort Collins, CO
Helping You Make Colorado "Home"

Good Morning Don!  It just sounds techy but the key is making it automatic so that I don't have to think about it.  So far, its working very well.

Hi Maureen!  I've had an iPad on my 'want list' for a year now and have a full plan for implementing it and making it earn its keep!  I think it's a very important tool in going paperless but just can't quiiiiite stretch the budget to justify it yet.  Maybe next month!

Feb 04, 2011 04:58 AM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Just stopping by to invite you to the 2nd Annual ActiveRain Super Bowl Party. Hope you’ll come and bring some friends!

Feb 06, 2011 11:36 AM
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Dee,

I am jealous! What a wonderful system you have created.  I know that had to take some considerable time. Kudos!

Lisa

Feb 07, 2011 02:38 AM
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

wow... I want to do that too, but for now, I am trying to just be paperless from this point on... but going back to deals past.. OMG... not sure I could do that.. 21 years creates a LOT of paper!!! I will have to check out cutepdf and docusign.. someone just today told me about docusign... ( must be a sign, HA)

Feb 08, 2011 01:06 PM
Dee Bundy
Fort Collins Realtor @ C3 Real Estate Solutions - Fort Collins, CO
Helping You Make Colorado "Home"

Hi Sheila!  Thanks for stopping by.  I'd imagine that 21 years would be quite the backlog, so take it slow.  You are wise to try to implement from present to future to build a good, strong system for yourself before even thinking of tackling the past.  Best of luck to you in the transition! (You Can Do It! :)

Hi Lisa - I'm not sure how your comment sneaked past me but thanks for the kudos!

Feb 10, 2011 04:09 AM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Hi Dee, I'm virtually in favor of all things virtual.  Thanks for sharing.  I picked up a couple of tidbits.

Brian L. Sirota, Esq., Broker/Attorney, BriStar Realty, Orange County, California

Feb 11, 2011 12:24 PM