Going Paperless, Making the Business Easier or a Way of Life?

By
Real Estate Agent with Long Realty West Valley

When we finally decide to take the plunge and go paperless, should we do it to make the Business Easier or should we just make it a Way of Life? I had decided to start going paperless, at first I thought it would Make My Business Easier, then I realized how many hoops I had to jump through to get started. The different programs that were needed to adequately be truly paperless.

The extra expenses that it put on my business to do it right. Believe me there is a Right and a Wrong way. I am still experimenting with it, and have found plenty of wrong ways, but also some right ways too. The question is where to start?

I started by getting an EFax number, this way the clients that can't scan or don't have a computer can fax me back documents that are already in the PDF format. Then I realized that when they scanned 8 or 10 different documents and i had to separate them I either had to print them and re-scan them separately  or buy software that allowed me to do it paperless. I bought Nitro Pro. I allows me to do "OH SO MUCH MORE" than just separating documents to redistribute and file(but that is for a different blog).

Then I realized that I was going to have all of these huge file, documents, videos, pictures, emails and general correspondence that I was going to have to save (before it was a paper file stored away). Now I had to buy an external hard drive or store all my files in the clouds (additional expense). I am sort of a safety nut, I have always backed up my back-ups so I have the external drive and store my file in the clouds. Yes there id free space, Google Drive, Drop Box, SurgarSync to name a few but that meant having files all over the place, so you have to pay for secure in the cloud storage,granted not that expensive but still an expense.

That being said and done, I had ways to keep my files safe, have them in pdf format, manipulate large files, get faxes directly to my paperless office and look at them whenever needed. I even stated using Google Docs to keep other file handy and transfer them to other agents. Then I started to use DocuSign which I am learning more about all the time. A great way to transfer documents to clients (that have computers) and get them to sign them CORRECTLY the first time. However not all financial institutions accept electronic signature ( they still want them wet). That is where some of the paper come in. that and the fact that many of my clients do not have or choose not to use computers. I deal a great deal with seniors, 70 years plus. Many do not want to be electronically stimulated and do not use computer, though quite a few do. So at this point I am looking for ways to be paperless with these clients, you say have them sign on your IPAD or TABLET! That is difficult to do if they are 2400 miles away and do not have one themselves. Some of my clients will not even fax!

I finally decided to Make Going Paperless a Way of Life but I still seem to go through more than a ream a month, go figure! But I guess it is better than 5 reams a month.

Comments (7)

C. Lloyd McKenzie
Living Albuquerque - Albuquerque, NM
Living Albuquerque

Excellent Post.  It  is definitely a challenge to get one's business totally paperless since you have no control over the solutions that others are doing.  The industry has to take a step in that direction to make it possible

Sep 28, 2012 05:00 PM
Carolyn Kolba
Serving Mentor, and all of Lake County, Ohio - Mentor, OH
Keller Williams Realty- Mentor, Ohio

Gene, I was all set to go paperless... and was going to write myself a note to remind me... but since I was being paperless, I could not find anything to write on.  Darn.

Sep 28, 2012 05:07 PM
Gene Fraleigh
Long Realty West Valley - Sun City West, AZ
West Valley Real Estate Consultant

C. Lloyd thank you for the comment. I totally agree with you! Until NAR and all of our local associations mandate the paperless transaction too may agents who write one or two deals a year will not invest in being paperless. We have to make the commitment and all of the financial institutions have to accept electronic signatures for it to work. This is not the future it is present, it is here now and here to stay.

Sep 28, 2012 05:53 PM
Gene Fraleigh
Long Realty West Valley - Sun City West, AZ
West Valley Real Estate Consultant

That is great Carolyn! We all have to have a sense of humor when it comes to this because most of the financial institutions that we have to deal with don't! They only think it is funny that we have to work twice as hard to make half the money.

Sep 28, 2012 06:02 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thanks for articulating the real challenges in going paperless. I'm curious to learn more about NitroPro. I did already get eFax.

Sep 28, 2012 06:19 PM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

This is my 2013 goal as I am cutting down on my paper purchases and offering owners to mail their net checks to their bank and send them PDF statements via e-mail...cuts down on postage also!

Sep 28, 2012 08:40 PM
Gene Fraleigh
Long Realty West Valley - Sun City West, AZ
West Valley Real Estate Consultant

Thank you Michelle. EFax is the place to start, get NitroPro or some other PDF manager. NitroPro allows you to extract sgnle documents from large ones to ditribute and so much more. There are others, some a great deal more expensive.

Sep 29, 2012 12:58 AM