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Face it. It can be frustrating dealing with a gigantic pdf file, especially if you are trying to quickly close a real estate transaction deal. It can take forever to download, upload….and emailing it, well, forget it. If you find yourself in this situation, limited due to your massively-sized pdf, then read on so that you never find yourself in this discouraging situation again. Compressing a pdf file is easy to do and will make the file much more manageable for both you and your real estate client.

First, let’s review pdf file sizes. Generally, unless you want to use the file for a high quality print job (think fancy 4-color brochure or glossy trade show booth graphic), or if contains several graphics, such as a PowerPoint deck containing captivating graphics, pdf files should be 1 MB or less. Any pdf file above 1 MB, which is considered a large file, that is mostly text should be compressed to a smaller size. Compressing the file will make it easier to send back and forth via email as well as save on storage space. Therefore, most pdf real estate transactions files should be 1 MB or less.

When viewing documents on a PC in Microsoft Windows, the “Details” view selection shows how Windows categorizes document sizes. Simply select the small arrow next to “Size” to see:

  • Small (10 – 100 KB)
  • Medium (100 KB – 1 MB)
  • Large (1 MB – 16 MB)
  • Huge (16 MB – 128 MB)

To check the size of your saved file in Windows, either go to the Properties selection under File or select CTRL-D. View the File Size and refer to the chart above to see what category your file size falls into. If it is above 1 MB, then we recommend that you compress the file (we promise…just a few quick and easy steps below). You should aim to have a small or medium file size for your real estate transaction.

Huge File ImageBefore we start compressing files, let’s review why pdf files may grow to become so large, especially if they don’t contain any images or just have a few images. You may wonder why your once 150 KB file has now become a 6 MB file after getting it back from your client!

As a real estate agent and broker, you have clients who prefer varying methods for signing their real estate contracts. They may love to use Form Simplicity’s eSign for convenience, or they may feel more comfortable writing their signature by hand and using a scanner to send their signed forms back to you. For those who use eSign, there should not be any challenges with large pdf file sizes since forms programmed in Form Simplicity are automatically compressed to save on storage space and file byte size. However, if any of the forms have been emailed to a client, printed, then scanned, you may run into file size trouble.

Culprit # 1: Scanners automatically scan at 300 DPI, which is the minimum DPI for a printed image after it is scanned. However, for a PDF, the DPI should be 72. A document with 300 DPI will make a PDF much, much larger.

Culprit #2: Scanning in color. This will increase the size of a pdf. Scans for text documents or real estate contracts should be scanned in black and white.

Let’s get to the solution. How do we compress these ginormous files?
Do you have Adobe Acrobat  DC (Document Cloud) – formerly Acrobat Pro? If not, skip this, and scroll down to the next paragraph. Acrobat DC is an enhanced and paid version of the free Acrobat Reader. If you have Acrobat DC, then it’s simple to reduce your pdf’s size. Open your file in Adobe DC and under “File” select “Save as Other”. Then select “Reduced Size PDF”. Keep it as “Retain Existing” then select “OK”. On the test documents we used, it reduced the file size by 50%. This method compressed a 2 MB file with a lot of images to 1 MB.

I don’t have Adobe Acrobat DC, now what?
If you do not have Adobe DC or you used Adobe DC and want to compress the file even further, then you can visit a free, online pdf software service. There are several available for free on the Internet, but ilovepdf.com and smallpdf.com are two that we have used that work well. Once you visit one of these sites, choose the “Compress File” option and simply drop and drag your file. Within seconds, the site will download a much smaller, compressed pdf file. We uploaded a whopping, huge 47 MB file and a few seconds later, using a high speed Internet connection, the site automatically compressed it then downloaded a 28 KB file!!!!! The quality visually appeared the same.

Not only will the 28 KB be easier to email, but it will save on storage space, whether you are using Form Simplicity Professional or Ultimate storage account, or on your network or removable storage device at your brokerage office. Lastly, your clients will be thankful that they are working with a real estate transaction file that they can quickly upload, download, email or save themselves. But even more so, they will appreciate their efficient real estate professional, helping them to make their home buying or home selling experience as smooth as possible.