Multiple Listing Service firms, REALTOR® Associations, and real estate brokers understand the value of offering a transaction management solution.

 

As these organizations head into their annual budget and planning cycle, many will be taking a fresh look at their current transaction management solution. That’s because the transaction management landscape is rapidly changing.

 

More than one leading transaction management software provider has changed ownership in just the last year.

 

The transaction management landscape, as a result, is in flux. That makes now a good time to revisit your transaction management solution. You need to make sure that for the long term, your organization’s goals and objectives are aligned and not in potential conflict, because of new ownership.

 

Here are three reasons you may want to revisit your current transaction management solution:

 

Trust: At the foundation of any strong business relationship, especially one that delivers an essential service such as transaction management, you have to trust your partners. You want to make sure that you understand the company behind your transaction management solution.  What are their long-term goals? Are your business purposes aligned, or are there areas of potential conflict? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a firm that may be owned by a giant conglomerate? Has the company culture remained the same, or is it changing – and is that good or bad for you? Are you still dealing with the same people, or have they changed too? Consider all the things that may have changed when assessing your relationship today. These are essential questions to ask, as they can impact trust.

 

Support: We know from NAR research (“Real Estate in the Digital Age” report, 2018) that almost half of real estate agents and brokers (45%) don’t use a document management system. That creates both opportunities and challenges for the universal adoption of a transaction management solution. A transaction management system must provide more than a great interface. Just about all the major transaction management solutions today are pretty easy to use. But for many agents and brokers, using a transaction management system for the first time can be daunting. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. So, if there is not a bastion of support behind the rollout and ongoing use of your transaction management system, you could turn off many agents and brokers right upfront. Getting the back is even more difficult, superior support can mean all the difference in the world, from the rollout to being highly available – and accessible – to answer questions. If your transaction management solution does not come with a world-class customer support service and rollout team, your agents and brokers are missing out. Providing better customer support is what enables higher adoption of transaction management systems – and agent and broker satisfaction.

Transparency: We all know that in the software world, a free solution is rarely the best solution. Some transaction management solutions are built on this business model. Knowing upfront what the real costs will be is vital. Agents and brokers, like most of us, want to know the bottom line and not be fooled by thinking they will pay “X” when they end up paying “Y.” Or worse, adopt a free solution, only to find they need to pay to use the features they need. Transparency helps truly compare solutions when you look at a transaction management solution.

 

For example, we use a matrix at Form Simplicity to illustrate the benefit that our transaction management offerings provide, what’s included, and what is not. And transparency is more than just honest pricing and fully disclosing the features you get for what price. Transparency also includes how a firm provides customer service support, as well as sharing its goals and objectives to make sure you understand what you are buying.

 

Florida Realtors owns and operates the leading transaction management solution Form Simplicity, and the number one tech support service in real estate: Tech Helpline. Form Simplicity is the only transaction management solution created by Realtors, for Realtors, and is still owned by Realtors. We leverage our collective strengths in support and transaction management to serve Realtors throughout Florida and hundreds of thousands of agents across the U.S. better.

 

When you rethink your transaction management solution and consider the three factors of trust, support, and transparency, we think you’ll find Form Simplicity coming out on top.

 

Changes in the real estate industry appear to be reaching a breakneck speed at the moment. Almost every day, we are reading about a major acquisition of a real estate brokerage, MLS, or tech company. Change can be good or bad, but it always brings opportunity.

As a result, many MLSs, associations, and brokerages are having to re-think or re-shop the tech tools and software solutions bought from the company that was acquired. Firms are discovering that what they thought they purchased may not be the service they initially thought it was. It could be a culture change or something more significant: the motives of the acquiring company are incongruent with their own organization’s goals and objectives.

At Florida Realtors, we get it. Finding the right company to partner with today has never been more crucial in light of these acquisitions. When there are changes in ownership to essential software that helps agents and brokers run their businesses – such as their customer relationship management (CRM) or transaction management solution – it is time to reassess.

What do you do?

How do you select the right transaction management solution, for example, if you find yourself reconsidering what you have because of change?

At Florida Realtors, we own and operate Form Simplicity, used by more than a hundred thousand Realtors in Florida and hundreds of thousands of Realtors nationwide. Form Simplicity is a fantastic solution to help run a real estate business. Most importantly, it is now the only transaction management software solution that was created by Realtors for Realtors and is still owned by Realtors.

That provides significant value to an agent’s business because of how Form Simplicity is designed: with the Realtor in mind. Looking for the right transaction management solution isn’t just about features and benefits. When you compare the top five transaction management solutions side-by-side overall, you will see small differences.

How do you choose?

It comes down to how your members or agents and brokers adopt, embrace, and use a transaction management solution as a core function of their daily businesses. Gaining their trust is key. Partnering with Form Simplicity, owned by Florida Realtors, checks the trust box. They know that they are working with an organization that will always have their best interests at heart. Trust is essential to winning over and keeping agents and brokers happy today—and tomorrow.

Another critical factor in selecting the right transaction management solution is how well it can be integrated into your systems and deployed to your members or team. This is where Form Simplicity excels: talk to our customers about our rollout process and the personalized training we provide. We also have a seasoned team that excels at superior customer service. You will love our people and so will your agents and brokers.

Finally, buying any technology solution for the long run comes down to how excellent their tech support is. Fortunately for agents and brokers who use Form Simplicity, they are supported by the No. 1 tech support company in the real estate industry, Tech Helpline.

Will they be there when you need them?

Tech Helpline, like its sister service Form Simplicity, was created by Realtors for Realtors and remains owned by the Florida Realtors. No other tech support firm in real estate better understands how agents and brokers work. Tech Helpline also knows what they need in terms of kind, considerate, and thoughtful tech support.

Form Simplicity users get the best of the best: a US-based (Orlando) crew of top tech analysts offering support in both English and Spanish. Tech Helpline analysts have a combined 300+ years of tech support experience. They work with brokers and agents every day and make sure every question that comes in on a call or online is a positive and memorable experience for those reaching out for help.

The bottom line is every brokerage, MLS, and association today has many choices available for a transaction management solution. If you are reconsidering your decision—or making a selection for the first time—we ask that you look at Form Simplicity. It is the only industry provided solution that is owned and operated by Realtors for Realtors. Once you consider all the essential factors that can impact your business today and tomorrow, we are confident you’ll select Form Simplicity as your transaction management solution.

Did you realize that a dozen states allow or are testing a digital driver’s license? That’s right: no more fumbling in your purse or wallet to show your vital ID. It is digital, and all you need is your smartphone.

 

You don’t even need a paper passport at many ports of entry into the U.S. today with the Mobile Passport app. This is not a fad; it’s our future as experts predict that it’s just a matter of time that all IDs will be digitized.

 

The world is undergoing a digital transformation. Whether you like it or not, it’s a reality that for your business is worth embracing. Why? Because it will increase your productivity and that can be a big bump to your earnings, personal time, or both.

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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