It is said, one tree falls for every 17 real estate transactions completed. There is no doubt there is a lot of paper shuffling related to the buying or selling of a home, particularly if financing is involved. Not to mention the number of miles driven by REALTORS and buyers alike, looking at homes for sale. I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of paper and gas to help my clients buy and sell their homes. Here are 5 quick ways to make the real estate adventure be more green.
1.) Make sure to utilize digital signatures on any documents possible. There are about 20 standard disclosures for buying or selling a home and most of these are simply acknowledging receipt. Software like DOCUSIGN.com allows you to sign the document by either clicking a mouse or signing with your finger on an IPAD.
2.) Instead of paper copies of everything you have signed, ask the agent or title officer for a CD or simply email the documents over email in an ADOBE PDF format. Most title and escrow offices are moving toward CD filing but still send paper files with the CD. Digital format filing saves space, ink toner, and reams of paper.
3.) For storage of your documents related to the home, utilizing online storage like DROPBOX.com or BOX.com. These services keep everything in the cloud and provide the ability to share document between your agent, your loan officer, and other family members. There are various services that allow secure document storage on line and this could be a way to move many of your basic house documents online. Home warranties, insurance policies, and transaction documents are all great candidates for online storage. You can always blacken out private information like social security numbers, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers before saving. This ideas saves boxes and is accessible from anywhere you have internet access.
4.) Since most of the house hunting process is completed online, creating the best photos and or video tours is extremely helpful in allowing potential buyers decide on whether to see the home or not. For the most part, buyers are looking for layout and “walk-through” video tours like HOUSELENS.com can be very beneficial. Make sure there are as many photos as possible for your home on line and make sure the photographer includes enough photos of the yard and neighborhood. GOOGLE EARTH has been a great tool for evaluating neighborhoods and reduces the potential need to drive by the home.
5.) My new favorite is EVERNOTE. This application is a perfect fit for real estate. I use to print reams of papers of MLS (Mutiple Listing Service) information sheets for my clients and myself on every house tour. I needed the paper to have access to agent comments and sales data and my clients needed them to write notes on what they liked and disliked. Now with EVERNOTE, I can simply email myself and/or my client the PDF or MLS link and pull it up on my IPAD or IPHONE. Evernote allows me to make recorded memos during my previews about features I want to point out to my clients. It allows me and my clients to make notes via ACROBAT or the TYPE ON PDF app. On Evernote, I can create notebooks with all the properties my clients and I have seen and share this notebook for us to keep on the history of our house hunting.
I am always looking for ways to improve my client’s experience during their home purchase or the selling of their home. If you have specific technology or apps you think are cool, please let me know! I am always interested in trying out the next idea! Contact me to share your ideas and any comments on how I can make real estate more green.