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The Essentials of Getting Started with TransactionDesk
Monday, May 20, 2019 at 12:30 PM PDT Join us for an essentials overview: MLS integrations (how to access) Creating a transaction file Using integrated Authentisign for e-signatures Receiving signed documents back into the transaction file Manage client files online with our web-based services Register now!
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zipForm Plus: Power Up Your Business from Start to Finish (your NAR Member Benefit)
Monday, May 20, 2019 at 12:00 PM PDT Take what you know to the next level. This learning path will provide best practices in utilizing zipForm® for efficient, time-saving workflow processes. Introduce the Agent Dashboard and Guide Help features Explore the zipForm® Plus Platform- Navigation Bar- Transaction Summary Tabs and Launch Pads Create a basic Template Create a new Transaction- Pull in a Listing using MLS-Connect- Add Transaction Parties- Apply the newly created Template- Add outside Documents Organize forms and documents using zipVault® Register now!
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Fixing the Last Mile in the Real Estate Transaction
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[Best of 2017] Friday Freebie: Stay Organized with Listing and Closing Checklists
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in February and is #2 in our countdown. See #3 here. Want a way to go from listing contract to cashed commission check faster? As we say in the RE Technology offices, the key is to "plan your work, and work your plan." For agents, this means having a set game plan in place for completing the routine tasks that every listings requires—ordering photos, creating marketing materials, uploading to the MLS, etc.—and deadlines to follow. Many CRMS and transaction management programs offer activity checklists that agents can use to help set up and close a listing successfully. If your preferred solution doesn't offer checklists—or if the checklists leave something to be desired—today's Friday Freebie is for you! Free Listing and Closing Checklists for Agents Missing documents or incomplete tasks are the biggest factors in missed deadlines or slow-to-close deals. Checklists offer a detailed 'plan of attack' that tells agents exactly what to do and when. Brokermint, a back office and transaction management solution, is offering agent and brokers free listing and closing checklists they can use to close transactions faster. They cover crucial activities like: Listing checklist: Obtain signed disclosures, obtain lockbox authorization, submit market analysis and feedback to the seller, submit price reduction/MLS change form, etc. Closing checklist: Order preliminary title report, send contract to escrow, home inspection clearance, appraisal contingency removal, and more. After you download these FREE listing and closing checklists from Brokermint, you can customize them and use them with the solution of your choice. Download these checklists to get on the path to faster commissions today!
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The Secret to Client Satisfaction (and More Referrals)
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4 Ways to Supercharge Your Closing Activity Plans
It's the home stretch of the home-buying process. All the back and forth and hard work in the trenches has paid off and just a few John Hancocks stand in the way of all parties walking away happy. However, now isn't the time to take your eyes off the ball and start celebrating an early victory. Think of it as a marathon and you're in the last 100-meter sprint – and instead of mailing in the last little bit, it's important to stay focused right through to the finish line to make sure nothing catches up to you. You never want to let any details fall through the cracks – so supercharge your closing activity plan to cover all of your bases.
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How to Take Advantage of the RPR and zipLogix Integration
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Reesio Training
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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Keep Yourself Trending with the NEW zipForm® Mobile
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Friday Freebie: Stay Organized with Listing and Closing Checklists
Want a way to go from listing contract to cashed commission check faster? As we say in the RE Technology offices, the key is to "plan your work, and work your plan." For agents, this means having a set game plan in place for completing the routine tasks that every listings requires—ordering photos, creating marketing materials, uploading to the MLS, etc.—and deadlines to follow. Many CRMS and transaction management programs offer activity checklists that agents can use to help set up and close a listing successfully. If your preferred solution doesn't offer checklists—or if the checklists leave something to be desired—today's Friday Freebie is for you! Free Listing and Closing Checklists for Agents Missing documents or incomplete tasks are the biggest factors in missed deadlines or slow-to-close deals. Checklists offer a detailed 'plan of attack' that tells agents exactly what to do and when. Brokermint, a back office and transaction management solution, is offering agent and brokers free listing and closing checklists they can use to close transactions faster. They cover crucial activities like: Listing checklist: Obtain signed disclosures, obtain lockbox authorization, submit market analysis and feedback to the seller, submit price reduction/MLS change form, etc. Closing checklist: Order preliminary title report, send contract to escrow, home inspection clearance, appraisal contingency removal, and more. After you download these FREE listing and closing checklists from Brokermint, you can customize them and use them with the solution of your choice. Download these checklists to get on the path to faster commissions today!
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Going Green in 2017
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate: Broker Edition
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 at 1:00 PM PST This webinar will cover the basics of how to use DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate so you can get started and accelerate your business! Register now!
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The Power of Automation: Sync your transactions to QuickBooks
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Selecting the Right Document and Transaction Management Solution
Realtors no longer have to spend precious time making sure nobody missed a signature or driving across town to send an expensive FedEx package. Instead, significant productivity gains and expense reductions can be achieved by the use of electronic signatures for most transactions. While the benefits of going digital for document and transaction management are indisputable, Realtors need to be selective by asking some of the important questions listed in our Technology Guide before choosing a service provider. For instance, what security features does the document and transaction management provider offer? E-signature technology allows clients to easily complete purchase, sales, and financial documents from their computer or mobile device, but some companies are vague about exactly who can see or share the documents. Clients share highly sensitive personal and financial information and it is the Realtor's duty to ensure document security. The best electronic document and transaction services employ an encryption technology such as Secure Socket Layers (SSL) to prevent any unauthorized individuals or malicious third party services from accessing the information. In addition, the document and transaction management service provider should ensure that documents are tamper-proof through signature validation. For real estate transactions, it is important that documents are marked with time-stamped audit trails showing identity of individuals who accessed the documents and which device they used. Some companies also offer two-factor authentication that either probes the client to answer a secret question or texts a code to their mobile phone, which can further safeguard document access. Should an agent ever face a legal question, the proof of access timelines can protect the validity of the signatures.
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Tired of manually managing transactions? (10/26)
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Digital Transformation: Learn how leading brokers are going fully digital from lead to close. (10/25)
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT The real estate world is changing, and the future will feature transactions that are 100% digital from lead to close. Real estate leaders will discuss the importance of embracing the future by going fully digital with key integrations such as qualified lead generation, transaction management, closing the deal, and everything in between. Register now!
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How Digital Signatures Will Speed Up Your Business
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Reesio Training (9/14)
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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zipForm Plus Timely Tips and Tricks (9/14)
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate: Broker Edition (9/7)
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 at 1:00 PM PDT This webinar will cover the basics of how to use DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate so you can get started and accelerate your business! Register now!
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How to take your Office Paperless! The 'Qualifying' Broker Dashboard, Document Review and TransactionDesk (9/6)
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Tired of manually managing transactions? (8/31)
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Our weekly 15-minute webinar covers all the basic functions of the Brokermint system, starting with document upload, task management to more advanced functions like e-signature, pdf split-merge and Google Calendar. How to use Checklists that provide consistency for all users. Create Custom Fields – it's your business – make it personal. Set automatic Reminders for the items that matter most. Tasks – allow the system to prompt you for the necessary items needed to complete a file. No thinking, just doing! Register now!
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Learn Simple Paperless Transaction Processes with zipForm® Plus (8/29)
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Go behind the scenes with Reesio! (8/25)
Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT As the market remains hot and agent production numbers continue to skyrocket, staying in bounds with each and every transaction can get tricky. That's where digital transaction management becomes paramount. As Reesio's co-founder, Mark Thomas has spent years perfecting the closing platform, including creating seamless integrations for Top Producer®, zipForm® and even your MLS. In this webinar, Mark will cover Reesio's: Responsive, compliant templates and workflows Deal room collaboration tools Best-in- class e-signature integrations Integrations with Top Producer, zipForm® and your MLS Register now!
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Transaction Management made easy: NAR & zipLogix New Member Benefit (8/22)
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TransactionDesk Essentials (8/15)
Monday, August 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Join us for an essentials overview: MLS Integrations (how to access) Creating a Transaction File Using integrated Authentisign for e-signatures Receiving signed documents back into the transaction file Manage client files online with our web-based services. Register now!
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AuthentiSign and the Counter Offer (8/3)
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Reesio Training (8/16)
Wednesday, August 16, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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Learn simple Paperless Transaction processes with zipForm® Plus (8/15)
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate: Broker Edition (8/3)
Wednesday, August 3 2016 at 1:00 PM PDT This webinar will cover the basics of how to use DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate so you can get started and accelerate your business! Register now!
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate (7/20)
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Reesio Training (7/20)
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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How to take your Office Paperless! The 'Qualifying' Broker Dashboard, Document Review and TransactionDesk (7/8)
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate: Broker Edition (7/6)
Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at 1:00 PM PDT This webinar will cover the basics of how to use DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate so you can get started and accelerate your business! Register now!
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Transaction Management made easy: NAR & zipLogix New Member Benefit (7/5)
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Advanced Authentisign for e-Signing and a Paperless Transaction File (6/30)
Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT Learn more about Instanet's 'Advanced Features' such as in depth coverage of Mark-Up Tools, Checkboxes / Radio Buttons and Step 4, the design step. Signing Participants: In-Person, In-line signers and 'Private Email.' Also, bring your questions! We will want user feedback and interest as well.We will highlight the signing participants steps to access and accept the prepared contract packet. Authentisign is e-Sign and UETA compliant as well as FHA Approved! We look forward to 'seeing' you there! Register now!
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate (6/15)
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TransactionDesk Essentials (6/16)
Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 11:30 AM PDT Join us for an essentials overview: MLS Integrations (how to access) Creating a Transaction File Using integrated Authentisign for e-signatures Receiving signed documents back into the transaction file Manage client files online with our web-based services. Register now!
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zipForm® Plus and Paperless Transactions (6/15)
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Reesio Training (6/15)
Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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Instanet Advanced: Faster Files with Form Templates, Documents in the Cloud (6/13)
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Reesio Training (6/8)
Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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TransactionDesk Essentials (6/1)
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2016 NAR & zipLogix® New Member Benefit: zipTMS™ (5/31)
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT In 2016, National Association of REALTORS® and zipLogix™ offer REALTORS zipTMS™ as a nationwide benefit. Each member will have access to technology that has been shaped from over 20 years of industry expertise and feedback from REALTORS® across the nation. See how zipTMS™ Transaction Management System allows you to optimize workflow offering a comprehensive set of tools that provide the essential online workplace for real estate professionals. Features of zipTMS™ include: Managing transactions with task checklists; Create checklist templates; Adjust the task view with calendar or list mode; zipForm® Plus notifications for tasks; Transaction history records all tasks and more! Register now!
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TransactionDesk Essentials (5/19)
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Reesio Training (5/18)
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar is a full-length demo of our entire product. You will walk away from the demo feeling trained and knowledgeable on all of our great features. Webinars are 1 hour long, and we'll be able to answer all of your questions during it. During the webinar, you will learn how to: Create transactions in Reesio Create and add compliance and workflow templates including creating and assigning tasks Manage your documents including uploading, sharing, editing, and eSignatures and more! Register now!
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Top 5 Secret DocuSign Mobile Features That You Don’t Know About
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Behind a REALTORS® Digital Life: Musings from my Mobile
What REALTOR® wouldn't want to do away with paper? The beauty of being a real estate professional is engaging with clients. It's personal: you're making their dreams into a reality. Part of that reality is making sure the process leading up to home ownership is as streamlined as possible. That's where digital platforms come into play. Just as caffeine unleashes energy, digital platforms, like DocuSign's Digital Transaction Management (DTM), unleashes pure simplicity. It's only natural: when you dump paper in favor of digitized contracts, you gain speed, efficiency and peace of mind. I remember when I was an active REALTOR®. Our team of twelve relied on digital platforms, like DocuSign, to help us crack smiles on our clients' faces. If anyone has gone through the traditional process of buying a home, they'll delight in knowing they can DocuSign their way to a dream home within moments, and even on their mobile device if they so choose. Tap, tap, tap...the keys to the house are yours. Sure, the thought of digitally managing the process might raise a few eyebrows with the older generations, but note to all electronic signature providers: Keep It Simple! I cannot stress this enough in order to welcome all generations to enjoying the digital advantage.
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Introducing DocuSign for REALTORS® PLUS
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Document and Transaction Management 101
Document management and transaction management represent two distinctly different product categories. However, some companies have chosen to offer solutions that combine the two categories into a single solution. Thus, we are discussing them together here. Borrowing from our previous article on this very subject, here's a quick review of these product categories. Document management technology is intended to help real estate professionals manage documents with functions that support: digitally storing documents, sharing documents with other interested parties, organizing documents, tracking the status of documents, and (in some instances) electronically signing documents. Transaction management products are intended to help real estate professionals manage a transaction through functions such as: contact management, a calendar tool, some degree of document management, and a wide variety of other features. It provides a collaborative space for working with all the parties to a transaction through tasks (for instance ordering home inspection, coordinating mortgage, etc.). Forms management is also often a component of products that fall into this category. Choosing the Right Tool If you're in the market for a document or transaction management platform, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: What is offered by my broker, MLS or Association? Your broker may work with a Transaction Coordinator and you'll want to be using the same solution they're using – it will make things easier for you and for them. The more people that use the same solution, the more effective it can be.
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The Plus Side of Auto-Populating Forms (and the pitfalls!)
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The Biggest Marketing Mistakes (and how to avoid them!)
Spotted on MarketingCharts.com: The biggest mistakes companies make with their consumers. Scanning the article and the chart, I couldn't help wondering how many real estate agents were making these mistakes. And then I had an epiphany – most of these mistakes could be avoided quite simply, by leveraging the right technology. The Problems You should definitely read the Marketing Charts article. But here are the mistakes that really stood out to me: Responding to enquiries too slowly Receiving information that is inaccurately targeted Treating you with a one-size-fits-all approach Receiving little to no communication Inaccurately tailored communication
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7 Tools For Working With Clients Remotely
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When Systems Integrate, Agents Win
When we talk about the benefits of our transaction management solution, EZ Coordinator, we often give integrations top billing. Why? Because we can't overemphasize the benefits to agents and brokers. Benefits of Integration When we talk about the benefits of integrating technology solutions, there are two factors that are strongest in my mind: Data Entry. Who actually enjoys data entry? Not me and probably not you. When an agent is working on several different technology platforms with the same information and those platforms don't "talk" to one another, it requires the agent to enter the same information separately into each platform. This leaves room for errors or inconsistencies and wastes a considerable amount of time. Jumping Around. When an agent is constantly jumping between a variety of technology tools, problems abound. First, it's just annoying. Am I right? I mean, you're on a Web-based tool but then you have to open a desktop application or maybe a mobile app – pretty soon, you feel like you're juggling with about seven balls in the air. But beyond the irritation factor, there's the time lost. It takes time to open a new desktop application or cloud-based tool. It takes time to enter your username and password. It takes time to look back-and-forth between all the platforms you have open at once.
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Friday Freebie: EZ Coordinator
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New Features Added to zipForm® Plus
zipForm® has always been a powerful solution, if sometimes overwhelming to use. That all changed last year, though, when zipLogix released an overhaul that made their flagship product much more user friendly. Dubbed zipForm® Plus, the updated program featured a more attractive and intuitive user interface than its predecessor, zipForm® 6. Thankfully, zipLogix is frequently issuing updates to the new program, calling it "a vital part of the promise we made when zipForm Plus was released." Last month, zipLogix release two major updates to the program that further streamline the user experience. Here's a quick overview: Embedded eSignatures Users no longer need to switch to their eSignature program when it comes time to sign a document. Signature solutions are now completely embedded, meaning that users can send documents, modify signatures, add documents, and check signature status without leaving zipForm® Plus. The entire process is now contained within the program's interface.
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Friday Freebie: Transaction Management from Reesio
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Friday Freebie: Realty Commander
Last month, we took our readers on a visual tour of transaction management platform Realty Commander. Though we covered most of the solution's features in depth, I don't think we put enough emphasis on just how user-friendly this program is. After all, however helpful an article and screenshots may be, nothing beats real, hands-on experience. Fortunately, Realty Commander offers a two week trial so agent and brokers can try it for themselves--at no charge. Free 14-day Trial of Realty Commander Realty Commander lives up to its tag line of "Automate. Track. Succeed." Color-coded calendars, built-in task lists, daily email reminders, integrated email with tracking, and more all work together to ensure your business runs smoothly. As we mentioned last month, Commander handles the varying needs of different file types with ease. For example, buyer files require things like showings and financing information, but listings need HOA and expiration dates. The program handily accommodates both. Commander also offers solid short sale features, like a HUD editor and a short sale package generator. Other notable features include: Customizable Task Management Paperless Document Management Smart Drag-and-Drop Calendar Lender Forms Library Client / Guest Access Login Showings Manager for Buyers and Listings Multi-User Access Levels for Teams or Brokers Broker Document Approval Guest Access Document Upload Click here to sign up for Realty Commander's free trial!
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Product Review: Form Simplicity
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Introducing Realty Commander
There's a wide variety of transaction management software on the market today. And it's no wonder--using a great solution is probably the easiest way agents can save themselves time and hassle, and better communicate with their clients. The key is finding the product that works best for you. Today, we'd like to introduce you to a transaction management solution that should be on the radar of any agent or broker. Realty Commander covers all the necessities of a solid transaction management platform--document sharing, task manager, calendars--but it's the extras that differentiate it. The solution excels in handling multiple different file types, like a buyer, regular listing or short sale. Other notable features include: Customizable File Flow Integrated Quick Search Daily E-Mail Reminders Task Management Paperless Document Management Smart Drag-and-Drop Calendar E-Mail Integration with Smart Tracking Lender Forms Library Short sale package builder HUD Editor Client / Guest Access Login Showings Manager for Buyers and Listings Multi-User Access Levels for Teams or Brokers
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Introducing Realty Commander
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Product Review: Form Simplicity
There is a world of solutions available to agents and brokers. It's no surprise, though--real estate is one of the largest sectors of our economy, and many technology companies have recognized our industry for the opportunity that it offers. While there are plenty of solutions offered by industry "outsiders," a smaller number are created by professionals with hands-on real estate experience. Today, we're going to introduce you to one such solution. Form Simplicity is a transaction management solution created by a professional real estate organization, Florida Realtors®. Its ongoing development is, in part, shaped by a panel of REALTOR® members who ensure that the program stays in step with what agents and brokers need to be successful. A Closer Look True to its name, Form Simplicity is simple. Right from the home page, users will notice its pared down interface that offers only what agents need to work fast.
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Product Review: zipForm® Plus
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Cartavi Adds Gusto to Version 3.3
Since being acquired by DocuSign, Cartavi has been working away at developing the golden triangle of the real estate document management echo system: Forms, Signature, and Storage. Better yet, they focus on making it happen on mobile first. Before this new release, signing a document was kind of clunky. You had to open your document in DocuSign, add signatures, sign it, then pull the completed document back into Cartavi. Now, you can sign any document right inside of Cartavi using DocuSign Ink. They took a complicated workflow and narrowed it down. When you look at a document today in Cartavi, just hit the 'Sign It' button. Then the menu items for managing names and signatures appears. Drag them where they go on the document, and sign it. New Integrations You may know that Cartavi is among the few document management companies to have acquired the license to integrate zipForms from zipLogix into their platform. The new signature workflow is going to make working with zipForms even easier.
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The Cloud is for Collaboration
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This Tuesday: Learn How to Increase Productivity and Save Time
Our October webinar series continues this Tuesday! Join us to hear Cartavi's tips for getting more done in less time. You'll learn how to optimize your productivity and provide a hassle-free experience for your clients. (Brokers, did you miss last week's webinar? Click here watch the recording.) Our Cartavi webinars have always been popular, but we're especially excited about this one. It's our first web event together since Cartavi was acquired by DocuSign in May. We'll learn more about this deeper integration and Cartavi's most recent development--version 3.0! Don't miss the live demo of 3.0 by Cartavi CEO Glenn Shimkus! He'll show us its new responsive design and time saving enhancements, including: Dashboard – View the status of your transactions, documents and parties Inbound Email Update – Email documents directly into a Transaction Room Email Conversion – Save Email messages to PDF documents which are stored with your transactions Document Previews – View full previews of your documents with Transaction Rooms on the web Updated Transaction Monitoring – Monitor the status of your eSignature envelopes in real-time from your smartphone Bulk Actions for Documents - Email, delete and move/copy multiple docs from your smartphone Map View – View your transactions by Geo-location smartphones Multiple View Options – View your transactions in multiple ways, as a List, Grid or by Geo-location Join us Tuesday, October 15 at 1pm EDT/10am PDT to learn more!
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Checklist: Are You Using These Tools for Customer Service?
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Where are Your Tech Pain Points?
Real estate technology is all about "pain points." We recently heard this perspective from David Lester, Founder and CEO of Sequent Systems, and we asked him to talk a bit more about it. "Discomfort is a great motivator," David explains. "In that way, it serves an important purpose. In our industry, one of the common pain points seems to be managing the many documents associated with a transaction. Some people may be great at developing their own systems for staying organized, but most of us need help in that area. Technology is developed to address these pain points and help make business easier and more profitable for REALTORS®." But what if I have a lot of pain points? Most real estate professionals we know have a variety of factors that slow them down. We asked David what real estate professionals should do if they've got more than a single pain point. "Well," he says, "you're right; it's usually not as simple as a single source of frustration. That's why you often see people working with 10 different tools to address 10 different problems. Which, of course, creates a whole new world of pain. You've got people trying to remember which tool does what, forgetting 10 different usernames and passwords, and wasting a lot of time on redundant data entry. That's why I think the industry is moving toward integrated solutions."
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Choosing a Document and Transaction Management Solution
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zipLogix to Preview Next Generation of zipForm at NAR Midyear
NAR Midyear is almost here, and REALTORS® across the nation are packing their bags and finalizing their schedules. Some of you may be planning to just hit the trade show floor and explore, while others are using tech tools like NAR's Midyear Mobile App or Online Planner to figure out what booths and events to attend. Whatever your approach, we recommend visiting zipLogix® at booth 1900. zipLogix® was the pioneer of forms management in real estate and they continue to bring cutting edge innovation to each upgrade of their system. This year, they are highlighting progress made to improve usability, store and manage documents, and improve forms automation. Nearly every real estate professional is familiar with their flagship product, zipForm®, and this year the company will be previewing the next generation of zipForm® at the trade expo. Dubbed zipForm® Plus, this updated version takes all the functionality that users are accustomed to and wraps it in a new, more attractive package. It's more than just attractive, though. zipForm® is a powerhouse of a solution--sometimes to an intimidating degree. We're excited to see zipLogix® adapting to the larger tech sphere's movement towards clean aesthetics that Apple started years ago. After all, a well-designed interface is more than just pleasing to the eye. When form meets functionality in an intentional way, the entire user experience is transformed.
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Friday Freebie: EZ Coordinator
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8 Resources for Saving 'Green' this Earth Day
It's Earth Day--but we're not going to talk about saving the environment by going green today. While there are many virtues to reducing your paper and energy use, we know that you've probably heard all about that already. Instead, we're going to talk about saving green. When you think about it, caring for your finances and caring for the planet are not that different. In the end, it all comes down to responsible resource management. What resources are you conserving by going paperless? Money, certainly, but also time and effort. In the spirit of helping you conserve the resources that are most important to you (whatever they may be!), we've rounded up some of our favorite articles and calculators to help you navigate the world of going paperless. Exploring Expenses We get it. The printing, the faxing, the copying--it's all familiar and maybe even comforting, especially if you've been doing it for years. If you're reluctant to switch to a paperless real estate practice, perhaps some cold, hard facts and figures will make you reconsider. Just how much is all the printing, faxing, and copying costing you? See The Hidden Cost of Paper Transactions to learn more. Still not convinced? These two 'paperless' calculators can give you a more personalized look at how much money you're throwing away each year: Paperless Savings Calculator - This tool from Instanet factors in things like printing costs, storage costs, and staff time to give you a detailed idea of how much money you spend in a year on paper related expenses. Green Marketing 'ROI' Calculator - If you still focus on direct mail instead in favor of online marketing, this calculator from eMerge lets you know how much you could save by turning your focus to digital channels instead.
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Spring Clean Your Business Processes
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Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
Our CEO, Victor Lund, is always saying it: "Plan your work and work your plan." And he's usually saying it when he's trying to motivate our team to do the things we don't want to do. He's a smart guy; he knows that it's easy to remember the things you enjoy but conveniently easy to forget the things you dislike. Technology Can Help What are the things most real estate agents don't enjoy? Cold calling is a good example. It's essential for your business, but it's the last thing you want to do. So you put it off . . . to your own detriment. Instead of continuing this pattern with cold calls and the other tasks you dread, it might be time to find ways to keep yourself on track. Technology can help; here are a few suggestions: CRMs Invest in a CRM. Customer Relationship Management tools organize contacts and automate some of the tasks for keeping in touch with those contacts. In fact, some CRMs offer pre-programmed activity plans with calendar reminders. Read more about CRMs Find a CRM Transaction Management Many transaction management tools also include a calendar to remind you about important tasks. These tend to be transaction-specific (linked to a certain listing), rather than related to general business development (like cold calling), but they can be helpful in reminding you to check-in on whether or not documents have been signed, etc. Read more about Transaction Management Find a Transaction Management tool
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"The Cloud" 101
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Follow the Leader - Stewart Morris, Jr.
Stewart Information Services Corporation is truly a powerhouse, offering a wide range of products and services serving the entire globe. Even during the challenging market conditions of the recent past (and present), Stewart has managed to thrive. One of the people who was previously responsible for this success is Stewart Morris, Jr. On the heels of the announcement that he was appointed to the American Land Title Association (ALTA) Board of Governors, we sat down with Mr. Morris to learn more about his strategies, philosophies, and predictions.   RE Technology: What did you do to help your company weather the storm of the down market?   Stewart Morris, Jr.: This was a dramatic, protracted downturn. It has been a character-builder, to say the least, for many people. My strategy for being successful in this environment can be boiled down to two key points:   Cutting expenses. We reduced our affiliate office network and our overall headcount by about 50% in order to achieve a reduction in expenses. At the same time, we were consolidating our back-office services in order to be more efficient. Building sales. We created a Sales Council to look at every market we were in, highlight the major markets, and focus on growing our number of customers, as well as the revenue from our customers. We worked on growing business that would thrive in the new market conditions; Stewart Lender Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Title, is a central component of this. In this way, while one side of our business was shrinking, another side was growing nicely.
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Friday Freebie: Merge
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Product Review: myFirstAm
In October of 2011, First American Title Insurance Company officially announced the launch of myFirstAm™, its Web portal designed to facilitate a smooth residential transaction by allowing real estate professionals to create and track title insurance and escrow orders. This week, First American invited us to take a closer look at the portal. Here are some of the highlights from our "test drive:" What is myFirstAm™? For those of you who aren't familiar with myFirstAm™, you can check out the press release about the launch. myFirstAm simplifies the closing process by allowing real estate professionals to stay on top of every detail of their transaction. myFirstAm helps registered users track many of the key milestones related to completing a First American title insurance or escrow order. By using myFirstAm, users can: Receive status updates and reports, as well as share these updates with clients or colleagues Keep informed of order status by viewing order history anytime Create new orders online Calculate estimated fees Access property data from public records* It can help real estate professionals support their clients much more effectively by providing updates on each key order milestone, along with their supporting documentation, if any, from First American Title. Armed with this information, an agent or broker can get ahead of the process and let their clients know what documents are coming to them next. They can explain the purpose of each document and explain any anomalies they might expect BEFORE the client gets upset or worried about the implications of an exception noted on a document. The tool isn't intended strictly for real estate professionals, either. Other parties involved in the transaction, such as attorneys, may also use it. Although myFirstAm is currently not optimized for mobile, First American Title is in the process of rolling out a mobile application and mobile-optimized version of the myFirstAm.com site. *Fees may apply. Not available in the state of Texas and where prohibited by law
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Product Review: Instanet Solutions Suite
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Document Management vs. Transaction Management
When I first started writing about real estate technology, I was absolutely stumped by the difference between document management and transaction management. The two seemed inexorably muddled. What I've found is that many agents are similarly confused. So I'm going to attempt to provide some rough definitions here. Transaction Management: technology intended to help real estate professionals manage a transaction through functions such as: contact management, a calendar tool, some degree of document management, and a wide variety of other features. Document Management: technology intended to help real estate professionals manage documents with functions that support: digitally storing documents, sharing documents with other interested parties, organizing documents, tracking the status of documents, and (in some instances) electronically signing documents. Chatting with some of the experts in each area helped me to nail down the differences between the two categories – however, it also made clear that there is often considerable overlap between products that label themselves as one or the other. Each technology company has their own unique perspective on this issue, so I thought I'd share some of these voices here. Cartavi – Document Management The creators of Cartavi see a very distinct difference between transaction management and document management – and made a very conscious decision in focusing solely on document management. "When we set out, our initial thought was to build a tool to help agents manage transactions," says Glenn Shimkus, Co-Founder and CEO of Cartavi. "Documents were a part of that, of course, but just one piece of the puzzle. However, as we began talking to more agents, we kept hearing very consistent feedback: 'I already have a solution I like for my contacts, calendars, etc. Where I really need help is with documents – managing and sharing them (with everyone involved, not just other REALTORS®).' "This is the Age of the App and most agents actually prefer an 'a lá carte' approach to the tools they use. They choose the apps and software that work for them – and are not likely to adopt a product that replaces all of the solutions they currently use. However, the missing piece for most seemed to be document management. That's where we decided we could really meet an unmet need." After creating a streamlined solution for document management, Cartavi decided to add integration with DocuSign for digital signatures. "Our integration with DocuSign allows us to provide a more comprehensive platform for document management," Glenn explains. "Agents now have a tool that enables them to manage, share, fax and electronically sign the documents that drive a transaction."
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Product Review: Cartavi and DocuSign Integration
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Knowledge is Power
As a real estate agent or broker, you know how busy your day can get— you’re never sitting still. Even though you’re always on-the-go, an integral part of offering homebuyers and sellers the best experience possible is the ability to draw from convenient, comprehensive sources of information.  Let’s take a look at a few of these more in depth. 1) Comprehensive information about a property. If you have all the key information about a property, your homebuyer clients will be able to make a more informed choice. Think of it this way – when you purchase a car, you want to see a vehicle history report.  Before you hire an employee, you may want to do a background check. Today, homebuyers want to do as much research—or more— for what will be one of the most important purchases of their lives. As you already know, your homebuyer clients often find the following property information helpful: Prior sale amounts Property tax information Complete square footage Ownership status Additions/improvements
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Looking Forward with Austin Allison
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Are You Meeting Your Goals for 2011?
June is officially here, marking the middle of the year. It's time to start asking yourself if you've accomplished, or set the wheels in motion to accomplish, the goals set early in the year. For many Realtors®, that goal was to ditch traditional real estate practices and adopt the right technology solution to make their business interactive. The end of 2010 promised the future of real estate as more people were adopting smartphones and tablets – meaning Realtors® would quickly need to adopt a solution to meet prospective home buyer and seller demand.
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Want to Keep Your Gen Y Clients Satisfied?
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Track My File
Track My File is currently marketed directly to real estate companies and they emphasize that what you get with Track My File is more than the product. They stress the importance of learning how to integrate transaction management processes into the business culture and their ability to help companies do this. The Document Management and Transaction Manager Product are combined. They pride themselves on offering a user-friendly system that all agents can use. Track My File is easy to navigate though the interface appears a bit dated. The Track My File team schedules a one-time consultation with new clients to get to know them, the processes they currently have in place and the way they work. Then they create custom software tailored to both the currently office requirements and workflow. This tailored, consultative approach sets Track My File apart from the competition in this regard where most vendors expect the client to adapt to their system.
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Settlement Room by Emphasys
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