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.

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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

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

peaceofmind

We rely on technology in real estate today more than ever. But it seems we often take it for granted. Until we read the headlines, that is, and are reminded that with powerful technology comes the need for caution, care and responsibility in order to protect our clients and our own livelihood.

Did you know that nearly 30,000 websites are infected with malware every day? Target got hacked, and 70 million customers were affected. Over the last five years, 27 million Americans have faced identity theft. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to the FBI, as Cyber Crime has become commonplace and it’s growing.

In fact, the FBI now has specially trained “cyber squads” at its headquarters and in each of its 56 field offices nationwide. They have even established new “Cyber Action Teams” that at a moment’s notice will travel to just about anywhere in the world to assist with computer intrusion cases.

That’s why, when dealing with one of the most important financial decisions someone will make in a lifetime – buying a home – every piece of software that touches confidential information must be truly secure. It’s why we built superior-level security into Form Simplicity, one of the most popular Transaction Management tools for real estate agents and brokers, created by Realtors and for Realtors and owned by Florida Realtors®.

Going paperless and reducing risk
Agents need a key go-to technology to help digitize their workflow, and that is what Form Simplicity does. Transaction management software, for the novice, simply takes parts of an agent or broker’s job that are seen as time-consuming and often repetitive, and makes them much easier. Continue reading

 

Why Customer Service is Key

When you think of exceptional customer service companies, brands such as Apple, Amazon and Nordstrom immediately come to mind for most people. It’s interesting that companies that are the best in their category are often known for having the best customer service. They also typically have the best products, processes or services, but it is the customer service component that resonates with most of their remarkably loyal fans and followers. Their customers often rave about their experiences, becoming unpaid company evangelists.

For Form Simplicity, Brenda Ghibaudi is one of its biggest champions. When you ask the Florida 1st Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, located in South Florida, about the support she receives, she will tell you that Form Simplicity ranks beyond triple-A: “I would rate them, compared to any other customer service or tech support, a quadruple A,” she says.

It is the little things that add up to big benefits for Brenda, she explains. “They are welcoming when you call — and they call me by my first name when they answer the phone. And they treat you great, regardless if you are tech savvy or not real techie at all; they are like chameleons in which they adjust to the level of the person who is calling in,” she adds. Brenda also loves the fact that she can spend a Sunday at home, and if she’s catching up on work and has a problem with a form, auto populating for example, she knows help is only a phone call away. “Being available seven days a week saves me a lot of time,” she adds. Continue reading

real estate transaction software
Brokerages have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a Transaction Management solution, but for the most part, what they often end up with is something that is identical to what their competitors have down the street. It’s as if brokerages are trapped in a Henry Ford world: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” Ford used to tease his sales team.

Trouble is, we live in a world where you can go online and customize your car, from the color of your bumpers, to the look of your taillights. So why can’t you customize your Transaction Management software so that the look and feel of the software is your brand and not the same one your competition uses?

Well, with Form Simplicity, you can, because that’s what brokerages tell us they want.

Importance of Brand
A survey of top real estate executives nationwide said that among “competitive differentiators,” brand was ranked in the top 3 items along with marketing tools and technology and agent productivity. The Thought Leader Survey from marketing firm Imprev also found that brand outranks the leads a brokerage generates for their agents and the company’s culture as a competitive differentiator.

That’s why Form Simplicity offers a level of customization that we believe is unique among leading real estate transaction and forms management choices. Brokers want the look and feel of the tools that they provide agents to reflect their brand. Brand consistency is paramount at leading brokerages and Form Simplicity does not believe that just consumer-facing products should reflect a brokerage’s brand. That’s because a brokerage has two audiences to serve: consumers and their agents. Providing a brand experience to one’s agents is arguably just as important as providing one to consumers. Brand consistency should be for all, not just some.
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Real Estate Transaction SoftwareThe Golden Rule – that one should treat others as one would like to be treated – is a maxim that appears in some form in nearly almost every religion or ethical tradition. But if you have ever been stuck on a technical support call gone bad, you might be convinced that this concept is completely absent in many technical support circles. What’s even worse is when you discover the software that has failed you doesn’t even offer a phone number for tech support and relegates you to send an email or fill out an online form for help!

Our quality support is one topic our competitors probably wish we didn’t talk about when it comes to Form Simplicity, one of the real estate industry’s most popular and advanced paperless real estate transaction management solutions. We don’t just have an edge when it comes to the customer care and support for Form Simplicity, we have created a chasm between our Transaction Management competitors and us.

If you are a real estate brokerage firm, MLS or Association weighing your options when it comes to selecting the right Transaction Management solution, be certain that at the top of your checklist is “Customer Care and Support.” Here’s why. Continue reading

broker risk managementLast fall, Form Simplicity added Broker Transaction Management as a standard feature at no additional cost to customers.

The reason this is significant is that perhaps no task is more mundane – yet more important – than the compliance issues that brokerage management faces. Broker Transaction Management creates a single place for real estate broker-owners to manage, review, approve, track and store every agent’s transaction activity from beginning to end.

It was also the motivation behind deploying these features without any additional costs to Form Simplicity customers because this need is universal: Every brokerage must deal with compliance issues every day. Broker transaction management tools shouldn’t be something you have to pay for separately; it should be a standard feature within every transaction management system.

Risk management
Reducing risk through compliance is a key role for real estate management. These new broker tools reduce risk through a customizable, automated, paperless review process that helps safeguard brokerage transactions to remain compliant.

First, brokers can collaborate with their agents throughout the transaction review process to ensure accuracy across a streamlined workflow. Second, these tools also offer office transparency: brokers track email and text correspondence for every transaction. This not only gives brokers visibility into each agent’s transaction activity, it also allows brokers to evaluate, comment on and approve all forms digitally submitted by their agents. Continue reading

 

In line with our mission to constantly improve the transaction workflow for real estate agents nationwide, Form Simplicity is delighted to announce a recent upgrade of the broker transaction management process within the Broker View settings. The layout has been revamped and updated to include a simple and easier-to-understand process for submitting files for review, a customizable checklist for brokers, and better tracking of agents’ and brokers’ communications throughout the transaction review to ensure compliance and legal procedures are followed.

Within the new upgrade, brokers have the ability to create a customizable checklist for their agents to follow when submitting transactions for review. The list features multiple components of a transaction, such as a residential lease or HOA agreement and does not allow the agent to submit the transaction for review until all required documents have been uploaded. As the agent uploads signed parts of the contract into Form Simplicity, the contract changes color depending on the status, such as red for required, yellow for added and purple for additional files. Once the contract has all necessary files uploaded, and the agent has completed all desired notes to their broker, the contract is submitted and under review once the broker opens the file. Continue reading