By: Paperless Pipeline
Real estate agents deal with mountains of paperwork for multiple clients, and it’s essential to be orderly to maximize efficiency. As such, your organization skills need to be flawless, but traditional methods of keeping physical real estate files can be challenging for any agent. However, as technology evolves, there are better methods that make file organization much easier. Here are some tips for organizing your real estate files.
Go Paperless; Use PDFs
The most helpful tip for organizing real estate files in 2021 is to go paperless. File cabinets and manila envelopes are things of the past, and embracing digital files is a necessary step to make file organization much simpler.
To begin transitioning to a paperless real estate office, you’ll need PDF software for your real estate files. A PDF is a portable document format that can present your real estate text and images just as well as printed documents can, and Adobe Acrobat is the industry standard for reading and editing PDFs. Consider subscribing for premium services so you can edit and organize your digital documents.
Going paperless also requires transaction management software. Transaction management software for real estate agents helps get deals done and also enables transparency between parties involved. Plus, such programs should also allow you to upload your PDFs directly or through third-party document storage software. (More on that below.)
As you may have noticed, digitizing your real estate processes is the primary method to organize your files in 2021. From managing important documents to using software for your referral marketing strategies, it’s worthwhile to use current methods to make your company more efficient.
Develop a Unique Filing System
Organize your digital real estate files with a file-naming system that works for your company. By establishing a standard template for your digital file names, you’ll be able to easily find what you’re looking for and place them in their appropriate location.
For instance, you could adopt a file template like [last name]_[first name]_[account number]_[general file description]_[yyyy/mm/dd]. In this scenario, your document’s file name would look like this: “Cole_Natalie_01950_invoice_20200609.” Then, every file associated with this client would have the same codes in the beginning, making them easy to find and arrange in their designated folder.
Moreover, this system also ensures that no file gets lost. That’s because any misplaced file will have a similar file name format, so you can simply move the misplaced file to its correct location. Meanwhile, as far as file locations, you can also assign number codes to your file folders to make them appear in numerical order instead of alphabetical order on your computer.
Of course, there is no universal rule to creating a filing and naming system for your real estate files and folders. Rather, the goal is to organize your files in a way that you understand and is easy for the rest of your team to adopt and follow.
Invest in Document Storage Software
Document storage software is necessary for your real estate company to manage files easily. Specifically, these systems allow you to store your real estate files in the cloud, thereby making them available wherever and whenever you need them. Essentially, document storage software takes saving files on a computer to the next level by making them available across multiple devices. And, because your files are stored in the cloud, you can access them with any device that can connect to the internet. Here are two useful document storage software options you could invest in to organize your real estate files:
- Google Drive: This file storage and synchronization service is Google’s answer to cloud storage. Google Drive is user-friendly and can integrate with other Google products, like Google Maps and Gmail. Plus, with this immediate access to other Google products, you can also optimize interactions and communications using only one service provider. All of your real estate files would be in the cloud, thereby making it easy for anyone on your team to access and share files as long as they have Google Drive installed on their devices. Finally, while Google Drive has 15GB of free storage, note that it is shared across other Google products, like Google Photos and Gmail.
- Dropbox: This file-hosting service is one of the most popular on the market with at least 500 million registered users. Dropbox is a standard cloud storage service allowing quick and secure file-sharing through the cloud. In addition, Dropbox users can save local device space by saving files directly in the cloud. Plus, Dropbox syncs well across devices with the software installed, making real estate files easily accessible whether you’re on desktop or mobile.
However, despite its flexibility and security, Dropbox may not be the most user-friendly software. Its business interface may be difficult to navigate and manage, especially with larger teams. Another downside may be its small amount of free storage: Dropbox only offers 2GB of free storage for users. It also has paid plans that offer up to 2TB of file storage.
Organizing your real estate files in 2021 requires adoption of paperless methods. Organizing digital files is much easier than organizing physical documents in filing cabinets. PDFs are the standard tools for digitizing your real estate files. You will need Adobe software to manage these PDFs.
With your real estate documents as PDF files, you can further improve your organization by giving them unique name codes so you can arrange them however you see fit. Relatedly, you can give your digital folders unique names to make them easier to identify.
Finally, you can keep these digital files in the cloud to make them easily accessible to anyone who needs them. Google Drive and Dropbox are popular cloud storage services. Cloud storage services automatically organize files by name, making a unique file naming system necessary for your real estate files.