How to Cram 8 Days into a 7-Day Week

By
Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114
http://actvra.in/FpP

Going digital is like adding an extra day to my week.

However, it's not possible to wave a magic wand and instantly go from "buried in paper" to "paperless."  Let me tell you how I've done it.

I ran into a former client in the grocery store a few months ago and impulsively asked this stay-at-home mom if she'd like a part-time job helping to digitize my paper files.  She accepted my offer and, since then, she has worked in my office for two hours every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  Now, six months later, real estate files no longer overflow my desk and file cabinets. 

Go Paperless

Here is my recipe for going digital:

  1. Create digital folders in Dropbox for Sales, Listings, and Rentals.
  2. Create sub-folders for each case within the appropriate digital folder, including separate sub-folders within Listings for listing and sale documents.
  3. Go through the client folders in my email account and save attachments to the appropriate Dropbox folder (and ultimately a CD).  I save documents by date (2012.07.20), street name, brief description.
  4. Go through corresponding paper folders on top of my desk, in file drawers and in boxes under my desk to identify duplicates of the saved attachments... and discard them.
  5. Scan and save in Dropbox all remaining documents from the paper folders, and discard paper documents.
  6. Back up Dropbox folders to CD, and give current clients a copy of the CD at closing.
  7. Create digital folders in Dropbox for Forms, Business Expenses, Monthly Market Statistics, Mailing Lists, and General Inf ormation; 
  8. Scan and save blank forms, receipts, etc. in appropriate digital folder and discard paper documents.

 

It's not easy to let go of that paper... after all, someone might need one of those receipts or documents in the future. The truth is that it wasn't easy to find anything in the mounds of paper that previously filled my office.  Now I can use my iPad, mobile phone, or any computer to access my digital files - anywhere, any time!

Having a part-time assistant take responsibility for this project was the key to success.  The expense to me has been minimal, but the payoff is huge. The truth is that any time you delegate some of your workload, you can add their time to your week.

If you want to go digital, but you're having a hard time getting started, think about people you know who might help.  It really will empower you to cram eight days into a seven-day week!

 

P.S.  Check your state requirements to determine if "originals" of real estate contracts and other paperwork must be saved.  If so, consider submitting those originals to your office.  Let the broker store the paper!

Posted by

Margaret Woda, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Military Residential Specialist (MilRES®)
(410) 451-6245    mwoda@mris.com

Margaret Woda

 

Search for homes and explore the pages of MargaretWoda.com at your own pace and convenience for more information about homes, communities, and the home buying or selling process in Maryland.

 

Information contained in this blog post is reliable on the date of publication, but it is subject to change without notice.

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Topic:
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Comments 11 New Comment

Rainmaker
78,816
Heidi Kelley
Getting you where you need to be.
Keller Williams Realty Newport, East Bay Rhode Island

Thank you Margaret.  As an real estate agent of almost 1 year I am finally accumulating massive amounts of papers, folders etc.  I have recently started using Dropbox and I'm lucky enough to have caught onto this digital file saver early on.  I try and embrace technology especially if it saves time and money.

July 24, 2012 01:39 PM
Rainmaker
179,517
Tatyana Makarov
Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

I know, I know, Margaret... It is a lot of extra work..

I use Dropbox. That wolks good for now.

July 24, 2012 04:16 PM
Ambassador
874,661
Margaret Woda
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114

Heidi - You ARE lucky!  When I think of all the paper accumulated over a 40-year career...  Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of paper, but it helps to eliminate all the duplication - especially after closing.

Tatyana - Huge help, isnt' it?  But don't forget to back up to a flash drive or CD, just in case they ever go down and your case files are lost.

July 25, 2012 05:05 AM
Rainmaker
939,764
Kathy Clulow
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage

Margret - Your title drew me in as Barrie has always said people think we work 24/7 with some trying for the 25 hour or the eighth day.  .....  I keep poking around at going virtual but I am still stuck in the paper world for now ..... hiring some one to do sounds like it would be a good solution.

July 25, 2012 11:22 AM
Ambassador
874,661
Margaret Woda
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114

Kathy - Every hour that someone else works on our behalf is an extra hour in our week.  'Wish I could afford more!

July 26, 2012 05:06 AM
Ambassador
874,661

Margaret Woda

Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
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Additional Information

Real Estate and community information for home buyers and sellers, military transferees, and rookie agents in the greater Crofton area, including Annapolis, Bowie, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Joint Base Andrews, Millersville, Odenton, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Margaret Woda