Let’s be honest. The real estate industry is one of the most paper-intensive industries around. If you’re a real estate agent, you’re probably all too familiar with the feeling of being buried in contracts, disclosures, legal forms and agreements. But it doesn't have to be that way. Real estate agents across the country are going paperless or reducing their paper waste, and you can too. The journey to becoming a paperless real estate office isn’t easy, but the benefits are definitely worth it:
- Faster contract execution
- More convenient transactions
- Less time spent filing and retrieving documents
- Less money spent on printing and mailing documents
But before you start, you need to have the technologies to make the transition as smooth as possible. Here are the top three tools you’ll need:
Finding a digital signature product is key to getting rid of paper waste. Real estate agents rely on signatures for a lot of transactions, and using handwritten signatures has stopped many agents from going completely paperless. The good news is that digital signature technology has advanced leaps and bounds in the past few years. Not only is the technology even more secure than traditional ink signatures, it’s also a lot easier to use. With this technology, you can get documents signed on any computer or device with an Internet connection.
But don’t be fooled into thinking every online signature service is secure. There’s a difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures that you should be aware of before choosing an electronic signature vendor.
Smart phones and tablets are great resources for real estate agents wanting to go paperless. Not only do productivity apps reduce waste, many of them are more versatile than their paper counterparts. A calendar app doesn’t just record your meetings, but it also sends you alerts when you have a meeting coming up. A business card app doesn’t just hold your business cards, but it also adds them to your phone’s address book. These days the possibilities are pretty much endless. What paper process do you need to replace? Odds are, there’s an app for that.
You may think that scanning old documents is an unnecessary step in helping your real estate office go digital. After all, can’t you just keep storing those old documents in your dusty filing cabinets? While scanning old documents might not be an immediate need, you should make it a long-term goal to scan all of your paper documents. Storing old documents is a drain on resources that many real estate agents don’t address. Did you know:
- Storing and managing paper records can cost 50 to 75 times more than electronic records
- The expenses associated with maintaining the records in a standard filling cabinet have been estimated at $2,000 each year
With the help of these three technologies, you can reduce the paper waste at your real estate office.