Seven Cloud Tools for Kodak's Printing on the Go Challenge

By
Real Estate Agent with Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty

Like almost everyone in the real estate business, I spend my time in many different locations. I start and end the day in my home office, but on any given day I might work out of either of two company offices equipped with desktop computers for agents to use. I also end up using my smartphone for occasional correspondence and limited web searching. With so many different work locations it can get chaotic to track files that are kept on just one local desktop. As a result, I have been using a Google Docs account to store information that I may need from any given location.

I have also made it a point to adopt every web-based real estate service that can provide me with access to my information from any computer. There are many key services that I rely on. For me, key web based (cloud based) must-haves include (in no specific order):

  1. ZipForm. I can't imagine creating contract documents any other way. This is a service provided by my California Association of Realtors and it has to rank as one of their most useful services.
  2. DocuSign. I am a true believer in the idea of electronic signatures and DocuSign leaves the competitors in the dust. This isn't just a product plug. In the dozen or more transactions I have managed with DocuSign, not a single end user had a problem figuring out how to sign their documents. Ever.
  3. RealBird. Gabe and Zoltan are both great guys to work with and they have built a highly useful tool to manage listings, create single property web sites, syndicate listings, and create clean code to use with Craisgslist.org. Realbird.com is where I go first with a new listing. I pay an annual fee to get their full range of services which for me includes a very active REO web site using their tools.
  4. Gmail. My filing system would drive highly organized people crazy, but I keep everything. Unread newsletters, family mail, transaction information, and more. I use gmail's "label" feature to index transaction files and make them easier to find, but the raw search power in Gmail let's me dig up anything I'm looking for in a few seconds. I figure the time I save by not obsessing about dragging things into folders adds up fast.
  5. Google Docs. It's not nearly as powerful as Microsoft Office, and I still have to turn to Excel for some of my charting and large data analysis needs. However, for correspondence, quick presentations and simple spreadsheets it lets me keep all my data in one place.
  6. Picnik. A simple but powerful graphics program that lets me do a lot of basic image editing from anywhere. This is one of the cloud based programs that I'm happy to upgrade to the Pro version to get access to more power. Just as I still have to occasionally use Excel, I still use Photoshop and ImageReady when I'm sitting in my home office.
  7. Picasa is a powerful image management tool that I use to keep all of my property photos organized. It is desktop based, but has a powerful companion site in the cloud. Picasaweb is a great way to share files, create slide shows, and handle the distribution of images to people who don't want an email with umpteen megabytes of images attached. 
The list seems easy to write about today, but it's the distillation of many years of experimenting that started when my laptop died and I realized I was very tired of dragging around a heavy computer bag every day. Remember, this is pre Ipad and MacBook Air. There were no light laptops. 
 
My Cloud Printing Story

I had arranged to meet clients passing through town at a local hotel. There was a nice office facility for guests, so I figured I woud have no problem printing out their contract documents at the hotel. I was running late, so I left home with my laptop...the one that died.  Because I wasn't savvy enough to have backup with me and thumb drives were still a novelty, I ended up looking very unprofessional and failed to get the signatures I needed that day. Today, in that same situation I could have opened ZipForm to generate a new copy to print in any remote office. I could have used GoogleDocs to retrieve files that I had stored in the cloud. I could even have used DocuSign to generate electronically signable documents to be printed and shipped to the title company after signing.
 
The cloud has made it much easier to work and print from anywhere as long as you remember that you are responsible for either creating or uploading anything you will need. An empy cloud storage device is high tech but it's still empty.
 


This blog post is for the Kodak and ActiveRain 'Printing on the Go' Challenge. You have a chance to win some great prizes from Kodak 

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Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Groups:
Almost Anything Goes
It's a Geek Thing
Tags:
kodak challenge
cloud
picnik
realbird

Comments 11 New Comment

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Rainmaker
370,020
Kerry Lucasse
Your Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant
eXp Realty - Nest Atlanta Team

Great post!  I'm using everything but Real Bird.  I've been hearing more about it lately, so I definitely need to give it a try!

October 10, 2011 11:48 PM
Rainmaker
265,088
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty

Kerry  - RealBird will give you some very nice tools to work with. 

October 11, 2011 01:44 AM
Ambassador
669,494
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522

Dave, still learning about this Kodak cloud printing and appreciate your input.  You use some powerhouse apps too!  RealBird is one I won't be without!  Thanks for sharing...

Good luck in the contest!
Pamela 

October 11, 2011 03:02 PM
Rainmaker
265,088
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty

Pamela - thanks for the feedback. I think all of us are still learning. At least we are if we want to still be in this business next year.

 

October 11, 2011 03:13 PM
Rainmaker
238,291
Gene Allen
Realtor Hampton Roads Real Estate
Resh Realty Group

Lots of neat stuff out there now.  Just need to learn to learn it.

October 18, 2011 02:24 PM
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Dave Roberts

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Additional Information

Real estate and green building information for Sonoma County California with an emphasis on Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Forestville, Guerneville, Graton, and the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley. and Alexander Valley.I write a lot about REO property, fixers, luxury estate homes, and vineyard property. I love to analyze sales trends.