10 Reasons to go Paperless

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Have you ever needed a document while on vacation? How about when you are out of the office or showing a house and your buyer wants to write and offer? You call the office and the office admin is too busy to send you the necessary documents. Or better yet, you are in the office and you can’t find the necessary documents to write an offer. If any of this sounds like YOU, then maybe it’s time to consider going paperless.

As a licensed real estate professional, former project manager, television producer, stay at home CEO” mom”, former legal assistant and secretary, I really understand what it’s like to make sure I have access to documents. I can remember having to copy documents and put them in the front of my suitcase, so I could have access to them when traveling. Ugh, who really wants to do that? If you’re not a paperless agent, it’s time to go paperless.

Today, I am managing broker owner of CarMarc Realty Group in West Chicago Illinois.  My goal was to open an office that was innovative with the latest technologies.  The agents in our office are paperless and in a constant mode of learning.  Going paperless isn’t an option.  When you work for CarMarc you must become a paperless agent.  The next gen agent wants this technology.  How about you?

10 Reasons to go paperless

1. Access your files from any Tablet, Smart Phone or PC

2. Sign Documents using your Tablet, Laptop or PC

3. Documents are always legible.

4. Share files with your affiliates, clients and office staff in one logical place—Your Virtual Filing Cabinet.

5. Easier to follow up with your buyers and sellers.

6. Email and split documents from the cloud.

7. Provides the ability to share your documents with an agent that’s helping you while you’re out of the office.

8. Write an offer from your car, in a restaurant, at the airport, just about anywhere.

9. Never lose a file again. Stop carrying that ugly bin in the trunk of your car.

10. Your Staff Will Love You!

If you aren’t paperless today, consider signing up for a paperless class with Docusign. If you’re an MRED agent, MRED will send an instructor to your office if you have 8 agents.

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10 Reasons Why REALTORS® Should Consider E-Signatures

Carrie’s Top 10 Reasons to Consider E-Signatures

  1. If you don’t embrace the new technology you may lose out on opportunities to list and sell—the difference between multiple offers and the only offer!
  2. Electronic Signatures are Legal in all 50 States.
  3. Choose a platform that has certification.  Proof of e-signature.
  4. Don’t force the technology on a non-tech savvy client.  Yep,  go back to the PEN!
  5. Be willing to educate your clients on the benefits of e-signatures. Great for the out of area client.
  6. E-Signatures provide the ability to go paperless and receive legible documents quickly.
  7. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac will accept e-Signatures.  However, if you start with e-Signatures you must use the same technology for the duration of the deal.  You cannot go back to a pen.  Choose wisely!
  8. Saves Time & Money. Think about the hours in the car and the amount of gas you purchase just to get signatures.
  9. As of today, HUD (HUD homes) doesn’t accept electronic signatures. Must use wet signatures.
  10. Yes, you can use electronic signatures on a short sale.  Work with the bank and ask if the bank will accept e-signatures.

Although I love being a paperless agent I recommend that agents also build quality relationships with clients.  You may need to have a face to face conversation, send an email, text and pick up the phone.  Using electronic signatures isn’t a reason to not maintain a relationship.

Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act

Illinois – Electronic Commerce Security Act

Washington – Electronic Authentication Act

New York – Electronic Signatures and Records Act

What is 411?

After a productive day of real estate and driving kids to their sport events my 11 year old son says, “What’s 411?”  I gave him a “look” as I smiled widely. All I could do was think about how we used 411 to find a business phone number, and friends number or an address when I was growing up.  It was the fastest way to get information without looking at the “yellow pages or white pages”.

I proceeded to explain to Jonathan that we would dial 411 to find a phone number for a business, a friend or just about anything.  The operator would say, “The number is………?”   He seemed to find that interesting, so I smiled again. I asked Jonathan what he would do to find information.  He said he would use his iPod or cell phone.  I asked again, “No, What do you use?”  He said, “the internet”. Then I said it again, “What internet browser do you use?” And he finally said it?  “I use Google”.

If our kids know to use Google to find what they want why are real estate agents refusing to jump into the 21st century?   It’s best said by Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”  Make a decision today to learn something new to change the effectiveness of your business.

I’m convinced I only need social media – Who needs email?

If you’re convinced you only need social media as a real estate agent you could be missing out on many other lead opportunities.  Don’t discount email and direct mail. Of course, I love social media.  It’s one of the best tools to keep in touch with friends, family, real time news, our favorite shops and so much more.   (I love DSW.com.)
Keep in mind your database is king.   If you don’t have one, shame on you.  If you aren’t updating and cleaning it up monthly, quarterly or at least annually you could be missing out on that one great real estate deal.  My database includes:
  • Name
  • Email address
  • Cell number
  • Address
  • Phone number – if they have one – I use Magic Jack at home believe it or not.
  • Which of the people on your list love you, like you and will most likely refer you?  This is key!!!  Track those people separately on your database.
With your database you can build your social media presence, mail to your sphere of influence, reach those that don’t use it or re-direct them to your real estate website to shop for their future home.   If you don’t have a database, start one.  You may have a list and not even know it.  If you’re a member of MRED, LLC and use Connect MLS you most likely have a list of past clients, friends, family and investors already in a list format.   It’s easy to print mailing address with this system and send an e-blast to your entire database in minutes.  Connect MLS also allows agents to import and export a list.
Remember email and direct mail help real estate professionals generate leads, create new referrals and direct a potential client to our social sites, blogs and websites.   So, if you’re convinced you only need social media to build your business, think again.  Manage your mailing lists and email list so you can build a successful real estate business using social media, websites and blogs.

5 Reasons Why Real Estate Agents Love Smart Phones and Tablets

The way a real estate agent does business is changing faster than ever.  Our clients expect more, want it faster and expect a quick response.   Smart Phones make business productive for the Tech Savvy Real Estate Agent.   Today’s agents have the ability to check the multiple listing service, respond to email and follow up quickly with their clients.   Agents also have the ability to manage transactions, sign documents and manage an extremely busy schedule.  Yes, all from a smart phone or tablet.

The top reasons a real estate agent loves a smart phone and table are:

1.   Manage clients and service partners – the agent of 20th century has the ability to store clients, a referral network, friends and family all on a smart phone.  With apps like CamCardHD an agent can upload business cards and store contact information that can be accessed from a smart phone and later viewed on a tablet or laptop.

2.   Access documents with ease  – accessing completed documents, templates or editable documents can all be saved in google drive, DropBox, the SkyDrive, instanet solutions, pdf expert, Cartavi, Evernote and more.  With these programs an agent can email and or fax if necessary.

3.   Manage appointments – Most internet based email systems allow agents to manage their appointments using their smart phone calendars.  Agents can sync their calendars with Google, Yahoo, Outlook, and more.  An easy way to make sure you never miss an appointment.   Their also apps agents can use to schedule tasks.   One app an agent might chose to use is the Errands To-Do-List.

4.   Social Media Marketing – From a smart any real estate can engage friends, clients, past clients and their networks using social media.   An agent can share helpful information quickly.  The goal of social media is to be social and be social quickly.   Social media can take up anyone’s time.   Make your post engage your network.   5 hours or less per week.

5.   Go Paperless – A smart phone makes it easy to go paperless.  Along with your iPad or droid tablet agents can show a home, fill out a contract, have the client sign, then present the offer to the listing agents without ever printing the document.    By going paperless you make it easy to find and store documents.   No need to print, handwrite, scan and copy.  Agents can get the job done all on their tablets.

FHA, e-signatures and What this Means for You!

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FHA is now allowing more documentation to accept electronic signatures.  Prior to January 30, 2014 FHA already allowed e-signatures on documents not required by lenders including our Real Estate contracts.   As of January 30th, 2014, “The new policy allows e-Signatures on origination, servicing, and loss mitigation documents, as well as FHA insurance claims, REO sales contracts and related addenda,” Per HUD.
FHA Commissioner Carol Galante states, “By extending our acceptance of electronic signatures on the majority of single family documents, we are bringing our requirements into alignment with common industry practices,” and “This extension will not only make it easier for lenders to work with FHA, it also allows for greater efficiency in the home-buying and loss mitigation process”.
So what does this mean for you?  The way we do business is changing daily.   Consider taking the necessary steps to learn how to sign documents electronically and the best tools to do so.  There are many products available.   Learn the products now before you are forced into a position where you will need to know how to sign a document electronically.