Before the digital age, real estate professionals had to keep reams of paper for every transaction; your file cabinet and your brief case were bulging with floorplans, price lists, disclosures, listing sheets, contracts, addenda and the like. Sometimes you even carried all that stuff in your car, in case you had to reference something while you were out.
But times have changed. Here are five ways you can use your computer or a web-enabled smartphone to access your documents while you’re on the go.
- Save Them to a Thumb Drive. Portable thumb drives (sometimes called flash drives or USB sticks) have taken the place of diskettes and can store thousands of pages of documents. Save a copy of important documents to your thumb drive and then clip the drive to your key chain, your belt loop or your purse strap. When you’re out and about and you need a document, you can plug that drive into any computer and access whatever you need.
- Store Them in “The Cloud”. Web services like Google Docs lets you store documents on Google’s servers. Store Microsoft Word files, Excel files or pdf documents to Google Docs and arrange them in folders there for easy reference. Once stored, you can access your documents anywhere you have access to the Internet. If you can get to Google, you can get to your documents on Google Docs, where you can read them, edit them, share them, or print them.
- E-mail Them to Yourself. If you only have a few documents to keep track of, a simple solution is to send yourself an e-mail with the documents attached. When you need a document, you only have to logon to your e-mail and find the message you’ve sent yourself with the document attached. And if someone else needs to see a document you’ve e-mailed to yourself, it’s easy to forward that e-mail to them.
- Fax Them to Yourself. If you use a service like MyFax or eFax, items faxed to you go directly to your e-mail inbox. You can fax to yourself all of the documents for a given transaction. Those documents will show up as messages in your e-mail inbox, where you can save them in folders and access them as needed.
- Upload Them to a Private Blog. Most blog hosting sites will allow you to create a private blog that can only be accessed by the people you choose. You can create a private blog for each transaction and upload the documents you’ll need for easy reference. Then you can give access to specific people (e.g., the loan officer, your client, your client’s attorney) so they don’t have to contact you each time they need a document.
The nice part about these strategies is they not only help you stay organized, but they also allow you to minimize the use of paper and protect the environment.