They say organization is the key to efficiency; easy enough to say if you’ve never worked in the real estate industry. It seems like clutter and massive paper trails are as much a part of the job description as house showings are. Being disorganized with your forms, receipts, business cards and other documents can not only cause you more stress, it can also make you significantly less productive.

A 2010 study polled 800 U.S. employees on the correlation between productivity and organization. It found that over $89 billion dollars are lost throughout U.S. businesses every year because of the time that employees waste searching for misplaced paperwork.

It clearly pays to invest in your organizational methods. Not being able to find a specific page in a client’s paperwork or forgetting to reply to an important email is detrimental to the speed at which you conduct business. And in the real estate industry, time is of the essence. Before you lose valuable time or even lose a valuable client, check out these tips to help you avoid stress and stay on top of your growing business.

 

  1. Digitally Organize Documents. Piles of documents on your desk don’t turn into the Eiffel Tower overnight. They start off as one or two papers and gradually grow, and before you know it you’re having to dig tunnels to reach your printer. With a cloud-based digital document organizer like Form Simplicity you can organize your documents by transaction name, file name, date or folder. Going paperless takes the hassle out of having physical bulky file cabinets. And because it’s cloud based, with the Ultimate Edition you never have to worry about running out of storage on your computer.
  2. Email or Fax Documents directly to the client’s Transaction. With Form Simplicity’s Professional and Ultimate Edition, your clients can Email or Fax their documents directly to the active transaction you have created for them. This serves two purposes: First, it keeps all transaction documents and correspondence neatly stored together in one location, so they are easy for you to find, and Second, the emails are saved for broker review and compliance.
  3. Manage your tasks. As your client base grows, so does your daily to-do list. With Form Simplicity, you can create tasks for your transactions, and you’ll receive emails reminding you of the tasks when their date is due.  For on the go management, try digital calendars like Google Calendar, or Folio, a Chrome extension. It can help you keep track of all the different tasks that come up while conducting business with all your clients. Manage your schedule digitally and never miss a task, appointment or call again.

 

For a real estate agent, paperwork, dates and emails build up quickly and can become astoundingly cluttered if you neglect to organize them. Start the decluttering process today and get peace of mind with Form Simplicity.

 

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Login to upgrade today and close all of your 2018 sales even faster with unlimited digital signatures and unlimited document storage.

Whether you’re helping someone buy or sell a home, the closing period of the real estate journey can be the most agonizing part of the entire process. It seems all the right stars have to align in order to have a smooth closing period, and after weeks of searching for the perfect home, the last thing you or your client want to hear is that there is a hiccup in the closing process.

Receiving an offer acceptance may seem like the end of the road; however, as real estate professionals know, the hard work and waiting has just begun. It takes an average of 50 days to close a home, and this period can become 60 days or longer if you neglect to actively keep track of all the moving parts.

 

The following are tips to help you effectively shorten the escrow period and seamlessly get your client into their dream home faster.

  1. Have the paperwork ready. With Form Simplicity you can group blank forms into packages, which can serve as templates for particular types of transactions. Residential Sale, for example. Create your packages ahead of time, so when your client is ready, all the forms you need are preselected and you can easily and quickly prepare their transactions.
  2. Ensure clients get pre-approved for loans. If you know the home-purchasing plan includes a mortgage from the start, make sure your client has their pre-approval letter before they begin their home search. This allows you and the home buyer to know how much the lender is willing to give, and can also uncover any issues that could potentially delay the escrow process down the line. In addition to giving home buyers a realistic target price, getting pre-approved for a loan can shave off as much as 7 days off the escrow period.
  3. Remind your clients to not jeopardize their credit. Remind them to steer clear of anything that will put their credit on the line if they want their closing process to be as smooth as possible. This includes quitting their job, applying for credit cards of any amount and acquiring other equally large purchases. Jeopardizing their credit could cause them to no longer qualify for their mortgage, leaving them scrambling to find another way to finance the home.
  4. Make the signing ceremony stress-free.  A frequent problem home buyers run into when they’re nearing their closing date is not having signed or initialed their documents in all the locations needed. The home closing process is riddled with dotted lines and missing just one can cause a setback in the already-lengthy closing time. Using eSignature services like Form Simplicity’s eSign can save you or your client a last-minute trip to get a missing signature or initial, helping you save as much as 25 percent on closing time. Form Simplicity’s eSign leads the clients field-by-field to ensure all fields are completed. The session won’t complete until the client has properly filled out the forms, so you don’t need to worry about incomplete documents. And with pre-templated forms, you won’t need to spend time dragging and dropping signature fields — they’ll be ready to be signed.

 

The escrow period is long enough without overlooked details sneaking up on you. Make sure you are ahead by digitally managing the documents.

 

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There are few things more stressful than the process of buying or selling a home. For most people, it’s the largest financial transaction they’ll ever make. And despite the rise of real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia, homebuyers and sellers are showing no signs of abandoning the practice of using agents to simplify the process.

In fact, the number of homebuyers and sellers who utilized a real estate agent maintained their historic highs in 2017, with 87 percent of homebuyers purchasing their homes through a real estate agent or broker, and 89 percent of home sellers working with an agent, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors.

While this is obviously great news for agents and brokers, you still have competition when it comes to securing clients and closing sales. The following are three of the best ways you can improve the client experience and increase your closing rate in 2018.

  • Anticipate your clients’ needs. From your initial contact all the way through to the end of the sale, your clients want to feel like they’re your only client. The most effective way to convey that they are your top priority is by ensuring that you are not only responsive to all of their communications, but that you are also anticipating their needs. This includes — especially for first-time homebuyers or sellers — thoroughly explaining every step of the process so they know what to expect. Keep in mind that providing a superior experience to your current clients can help you land even more clients in the future, as word-of-mouth recommendations are the most effective way to generate more business.

 

  • Offer value-added, time-saving benefits. Your clients want nothing more than for the home buying or selling process to be as seamless as possible. One of the ways to accomplish this is by going paperless with Form Simplicity. By utilizing Form Simplicity’s online forms and eSignatures, you can reduce the closing time by as much as 25 percent. And as more people increasingly relying on the ease of mobile technology, your clients will appreciate the ability to complete required paperwork on their own terms.

 

  • Advocate for your clients every step of the way. Your clients want to feel like they’re getting the best deal possible — and they’re relying on you to deliver. So, in addition to openly communicating, make sure that you’re explaining what you’re able to provide throughout every step of process — from negotiating the price and terms of the sale, to attending the inspection and negotiating any home inspection repair requests on their behalf.

 

While the home buying and selling process can be trying at times, there’s nothing better than the moment you’re able to hand over the keys to your client’s new home. And if you’ve built the right relationship throughout the process, odds are, you’ll have secured a client for life.

 

Don’t have the Ultimate Edition of Form Simplicity?

 

Login to upgrade today and close all of your 2018 sales even faster with unlimited digital signatures and unlimited document storage.

Old habits are hard to break. If you’re an agent or broker that still favors paper and ink, then you might have some misconceptions about this modern time-saving technology that has been holding you back. Once you understand the advantages of eSigning – what it can mean to you, your business and especially your customer experience – you’ll not only become a user, but also maybe even an advocate.

Benefits of digital signatures for agents and clients

Is there anything more frustrating to an agent than discovering a crucial document is missing a signature? Let’s face it: despite advances in technology over the last couple of decades, it seems we have more forms that need signing and more documents that require disclosure to clients. This means we need more signatures in more places. The risk of missing a signature has probably never been greater, and that’s where the number one benefit of eSigning shines:

Benefit #1: eSigning with digital signatures makes sure you never miss a signature again

No more scrambling to get that missing signature. With Form Simplicity from Florida Realtors® with eSign, the document can’t be finalized until every client digital signature and initial field is complete. That’s the cool thing about computers: they are smarter than humans when it comes to tasks like these and won’t let you make a mistake. It walks you through page-by-page to make sure you sign exactly whereDigital Signatures you need to and flags any missed signature before it ever lets you save or send a file.

And it’s hard enough trying to chase down all the documentation in a transaction to begin with, right? That’s another big benefit that eSigning gives agents: less chasing around town and a lot less time and expense sending out documents via mail and FedEx. No more stamps to stick or packages to drop off. That’s big benefit number two for eSigning:

Benefit #2: Digital signatures save agents and clients time and money

Ever work with clients that have crazy schedules that don’t match? Every day? Well, that’s another huge benefit to eSigning: not everyone has to be in the same room at the same time. And the convenience of signing remotely scores you brownie points with your clients. Often, they won’t have to even leave their office. You can email them documents for their signature to two separate emails because they are in two separate places, right? They can sign at two separate times and you will still have everything you need. That’s a huge third benefit:

Benefit #3: Remote digital signatures let your clients sign when they want, where they want

Clients can sign documents on their mobile phones, on a tablet or laptop on the go, or on their desktop computer at home – just about any place with an Internet connection.

Then there is the big fourth benefit for you, and that’s what protects you and reduces your liability: the terrific security of eSigning. It is just too easy to forge paper documents and signatures, but with eSigning, the security level is on par with what federal banks use for cyber security. There is a very tightly documented “digital chain of custody” so the documents – and you – are protected. They are protected to reveal if they have been tampered with. And for compliance purposes, they provide a clear audit trail so you and your client can see with every document who did what and when.

Because they are so well encrypted, they are as likely to be hacked as your safety deposit box is likely to be stolen from your bank’s vault. The safety and security surrounding eSigning has never been better. Knowing that they are not only in full compliance with the law and rules and regulations of their trade, but are doing a superb job of protecting their clients’ privacy and financial safety, should give every agent peace of mind.

Buying or selling a home is already one of the most stressful events in a person’s life.  By taking the worry out of losing signed documents and reducing the risk of potential nefarious activity, it should also put your client’s mind at ease. That’s big benefit number four:

Benefit #4: eSigning makes transactions safer and more secure

In the end, eSigning is more than just Earth-friendly: it makes transactions go faster, smoother and even safer. It saves you, the agent or broker, and your clients, time and money. And most importantly, it’s just a better way of doing business—and a digital pen will never ruin anyone’s shirt.

paperless real estate transaction management

Real estate agents and brokers know that having a paperless transaction management program is a must-have to remain competitive, compliant and become more productive. But there’s another huge benefit to a paperless real estate transaction that is often overlooked: it’s remarkably Earth-friendly.

Being more eco-friendly remains important to a vast majority of Americans. In fact, 79% of Americans “agree that they consider themselves an environmentally conscious person,” while only 6 percent strongly disagree, according to a Harris Poll conducted last year.

The impact of paper
Consider for a moment, the amount of paper the average real estate agent handles during a single typical transaction, from the marketing materials and often hardcopy of a CMA at a listing presentation, to the contract, addendums, title, appraisal and documents at the closing table, the stack of paper would likely be as thick as an old telephone book for a major city!

Now think about the fact that there are typically 5-6 million new and existing homes sales each year, and the fact that the typical sales transaction still provides multiple sets of paper documents for all the parties involved, and we are talking a huge negative impact on our environment.

Now according to experts, it takes a little more than half a tree to make 10 reams of 100 percent, non-recycled 20-lb. copier paper. One ream of 500 sheets of paper uses about 6 percent of a tree. The bottom line is that if every real estate agent went paperless, we could potentially save millions of trees each year.

But the positive impact on our environment is even greater when an agent and broker use paperless transaction management. That’s because the amount of energy savings also is huge. To produce one ton of paper, or about 400 reams, it takes more than 11,000 kilowatts of energy: that’s about the same amount of energy the average household uses in 10 months!  Continue reading

Form Simplicity Moving Deals and Moving Offers

Moving into a new home is always one of the most stressful times in one’s life. Home buyers have many decisions to make during the months leading up to buying a new home as well as the three months following the move. There are movers to hire, utility services to call, appliance pricing to do, and furniture selections to make. These are just a few of the multiple decisions facing home buyers as they look for moving offers along the way.

REALTORS® provide their clients with a bevy of expertise. They research properties, execute marketing plans, offer financing advice, the list goes on and on. However, when it comes to purchases needed for the new home itself, home buyers are often left to their own devices.

Moving Statistics
According to a 2016 New Mover Report, home buyers start their purchasing decisions, other than buying the home itself, up to three months prior to moving into their new home. For example, three months prior they will begin thinking about if they are going to purchase cable, or instead, if they should cut the cord completely. Ultimately, they end up making the decision one month prior to moving.

The top three sources, cited in the report, for new movers’ purchasing decisions come from 1) the vendor itself from driving around the neighborhood 2) friends and family referrals and 3) Internet searches. Nearly 71% of new movers made major purchasing decisions around the time of their move, with furniture topping the list as the most expensive purchase followed closely by appliances. Continue reading

Real Estate Management SoftwareMillions of real estate agents have already gone paperless by using a transaction management solution; today, brokers also can streamline many of their most essential business management processes digitally as well, if they adopt the right broker transaction management program.

One of the key drivers for deciding on which broker transaction management program a brokerage or MLS should select for their agents is a deep dive into what that transaction management solution does for brokers, as well as what it costs. That’s because there is a significant difference between offerings today in terms of the tools, costs, and benefits for brokers.

Built-in Broker Tools
Last year, Form Simplicity, one of the real estate industry’s most popular and advanced paperless transaction solutions – and created for Realtors by Realtors – added Broker Transaction Management features. From a single place inside Form Simplicity, brokers can manage, review, approve, track and store every agent’s transaction activity from beginning to end. While some transaction managements charge extra for these broker tools for the peace of mind they deliver, Form Simplicity integrates all these broker features at no extra cost.

For a broker, the benefits from these built-in features are big, especially when it comes to compliance. Form Simplicity Real Estate Management Software brokers tools helps reduce risk through a customizable, automated, paperless review process to help brokerages remain compliant. Moreover, brokers are operating in a collaborative environment, working digitally with each agent throughout the transaction process to ensure accuracy across the streamlined workflow. At their fingertips, brokers can see email and text correspondence for every transaction; that transparency gives brokers visibility into each agent’s transaction activity, and allows brokers to evaluate, comment on and approve all forms digitally submitted by their agents. Continue reading

Real estate consept : Businessman touching the screen about real estate

In Part Two of this two-part series that looks at how electronic signatures work inside a transaction management solution, Tricia Stamper of Florida Realtors shows what the signature experience looks like from a home buyer or seller’s point-of-view.

One of the most powerful ways to quickly engage a new client is to show them something that will “wow” them. Digital signing can have that “wow” factor, particularly with home buyers and sellers who are used to signing paper real estate documents. The fact is, the more experienced your client is with a standard, paper-filled real estate transaction, the more they are going to appreciate – and be delighted with – the digital signing process.

And that’s a big misnomer in real estate: that somehow, your clients have to be tech-savvy to want to sign documents digitally. The only real impediment is not technology. The real barrier is the resistance we all have to doing something that we have never done before: the fear of the unknown. But if you show your clients what the digital signing process is like, and explain the incredible benefits it provides for them, you will find that every one of your customers, no matter what age or level of experience with new technology. In fact, digital signing is no longer considered a nice feature to offer. It has become so pervasive that buyers and sellers are expecting their agents to make it available to them, and not just Millennials.

Let’s look at how digital signing works for the consumer using Form Simplicity, a leading transaction management program that is Realtor-created and supported. The move towards a paperless transaction with Form Simplicity helps unlock the chains that keep agents tied to their desktop computers by giving agents access to all their documents from anywhere with Internet connection, anytime. With eSign built-in, Form Simplicity demonstrably improves the customer signing experience. Digital signing reduces both the time to sign and the number of errors. It eliminates the 11th hour scramble to get a missing signature, an unpleasant experience that can frustrate you, your customer and be incredibly stressful. Continue reading

Businessman pressing contract on a digital screen, concept about agreement in business

In Part One of this two-part series in looking at how electronic signatures work inside a transaction management solution, Tricia Stamper of Florida Realtors shows what the experience looks like from an agent’s point of view. In Part Two, Stamper will show what the signature experience looks like from a clients’ point-of-view.

Going paperless is the fastest way for agents and brokers to improve their businesses, increase their profitability and give clients a better experience. Real estate is a mobile industry and agents are always on the go: in their home office, in their car, or meeting with clients at their home.

Today, by using a transaction management program such as Realtor-created and supported Form Simplicity, agents and brokers have the mobile tools to put contracts together anywhere. Agents are no longer chained to their desk and with Form Simplicity’s integration with eSign, electronic signatures can save every agent literally hours per transaction. That translates into increased profitability and productivity for agents.

Let’s first take a look at how easy and fast it is for an agent to use eSign technology, as shown inside Form Simplicity:

First, an agent can create an eSign session and quickly auto-populate their client information from the transaction contacts already inside Form Simplicity: (If the contact is not already in Form Simplicity, the agent can manually add them later in the process.)

esign1 Continue reading

florida realtors 100This week, Realtors throughout the Sunshine State will assemble in Orlando for a meeting that is literally 100 years in the making. “Celebration100” is the Florida Realtors® annual Convention & Trade Expo, taking place Aug. 24-28, 2016, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.

It’s going to be a convention for the ages, from a 100th Birthday Party celebration featuring America’s number one private party band “Party On The Moon,” to the General Session featuring Jay Leno, the 22-year host of “The Tonight Show,” who is considered one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time.

The schedule is jammed-packed with three days of courses, meetings, and educational sessions that will explore the hottest topics of the day. The complete schedule with times and locations is online here.

Meet Us at the Expo
You’ll find our Tech Helpline Internet Café onsite, where you can check email, get technical help from one of our experienced Tech Helpline analysts, or ask the Tech Helpline experts about Form Simplicity, MLSAdvantage, IDX or Florida Living Network.

At the Form Simplicity booth, we can demo the broker tools for you or answer any of your questions. For a little recreational fun, challenge one of our staff members to a foosball table or arcade game.

You’ll find both our Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline teams in the foyer in front of the Sebastian Ballroom where the Trade Expo is located.

Continue reading