My normal posts and articles are about tips and tricks and a lot of how-to’s. This is great and many people follow my blog for that reason, however sometimes it’s good to take another perspective. I typically right about things based on questions that I get from people about how to do things and this is no exception. When I tell people that “I am a paperless REALTOR®”, they look at me a little funny with skepticism in their eyes so I felt it was time to explain what that really means.
First, I have to tell you that becoming a paperless agent was a choice that had to be made. I’m sure many agents still have the very first file they ever closed XX years ago and I am no exception! I still have in my garage the first real estate transaction I ever closed in 1998, which my family is not overly thrilled about. They look at me and say “Do you really need that?” or “When was the last time you used that?” I get it and so I had to move forward and in my case that was “paperless”. You see if I have the paper, I will want to keep it, store it and not throw it away and THAT is not an option any more!
Here is how it works from a listing side where I represent the seller. I may give the seller a printed listing presentation, if they want one to keep but mine is always on my iPad. When it comes time to list the house, I send all of the documents through dotloop, provided they have an email address. I will be perfectly honest, I don’t work as well with clients that do not have email, but I can. The client can sign, print and view the documents for 7 years online. If they request me to print things, I will! When they receive offers, that also comes via dotloop and is presented to the client with full explanation. This does not mean I send them an email and say “here you go”, but I TALK to my clients and explain what I sent and walk them through each part of a document.
Buyer sides of the transaction tend to accumulate more paper than the seller’s side. This is because you are showing them listings and looking at homes. I have cut that out as well. I always meet with a new buyer and present them with a “Buyer Packet” of information, yes in paper format in a binder. Once we meet and I review this within about an hour and a half, I tell them “this is all the paper you will receive from me unless you request more.” Most people are fine with that and the ones that do want paper, I print it for them. I have a buyer sign an agreement with a pen, also known as “wet sign” and then I scan the copies of hand written items and email them to myself. I also end the appointment with “I will send you a digital version (via dotloop) of the same documents you have already signed so you get an opportunity to experience e-signing and online documents.” Most clients think it is cool and can’t wait to try it. Even when we are looking at homes, I print my MLS sheets to PDF and load them on my iPad via dropbox. I can still write on, highlight and organize them in any way I want. The difference is I don’t have lots of useless papers later, it’s a simple “delete” to get rid of them.
Any papers I am given like a termite report at an inspection or a copy of the receipt of earnest money, I simply scan into the computer and load it into my dotloop file as a PDF. The ONLY paper I keep are checks because until they accept wired funds for earnest money, I will have to have at least 1 thing. I keep them in a safe place (with my iPad which also features a GPS for tracking). The originals of some things get given to others like the closing company or the client. If no one needs the originals, they are shredded. Even the people that I work with regularly, like my title/closing officer knows I don’t want paper. She has stopped making copies for me at closing and just scans and emails them to me! I love it, less mess and fuss.
Now when you hear me say, “I’m a paperless REALTOR®”, know that I mean every word of that. Don’t drown in your paperwork, it’s time to convert to PeopleWork in the digital age. Dotloop is the major tool I use in order to make that happen in my business. Look for more tips next time and until then, try going paperless, it’s can be a freeing experience!
I can be reached at Carolynt@kw.com, by phone or text at 918-951-9020 or visit my website at http://www.SearchTulsaHouses.com. For technology training or consulting assistance visit http://www.iCarolyn.com.