Kerry Melcher, former Arizona Regional MLS chair, shares top business tools for paperless real estate

When clients ask for e-signature product by name, that's a brand that shouldn't be ignored

In October 2012, I talked with Kerry Melcher about becoming a paperless agent and embracing that lifestyle. With the new year here, I thought I’d catch up with Kerry to see what’s changed.

Q: What have you been up to since we last talked?

A: In October I finished serving as the chairman of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service board of directors. My daughter turned nine and my son turned six, and I’ve had a great year in real estate.

Cloud storage image via Shutterstock.

Q: We were all about paperless when we talked last October. Tell me how your paperless life has evolved/grown since then. 

A: It’s still a paperless world for me; this year I went back and bought DocuSign. I hadn’t always been a fan of the platform, but I have found that consumers have a comfort level with the brand and I’ve found it to be an easier platform than it was in the past. I also reinstalled a printer at my house, as my kids now have to print things for school. I swear I still haven’t printed from that printer myself.

Q: Are you still using your iDevices as your favorite go-to tools in both your personal and work life? 

A: I am still using my iStuff, but about a month ago I became the proud owner of Google Glass, and so, for a very brief time, I tried out an Android phone (HTC One) because you can do more with Glass with an Android phone. Anyway, it was short-lived. I could write a lot about my seven long days with an Android, but I can sum it up with this: Android’s noisy, way too noisy.

A few other annoyances:  You can have the same operating system as another phone but not be able to have the same applications as other Androids. I see why Androids are great but the former tinkerer in me no longer has an interest in tinkering with a phone. I don’t even jail-break my iPhones anymore. Much can be said about Google Glass, too.

Q: Any new toys you have your eye on?

A: I’m looking at a couple of transporters for cloud access and backup, in addition to Carbonite. We’ve gotten to a place where we all have so much media on our phones, tablets and computers that I don’t want to store the media on my devices at all. I’m doing a consulting gig for a couple of families and a small local business trying to solve their cloud issues, and it’s exposing all of my own. I couldn’t wait for Christmas and bought myself a second Nest — who knew a thermostat could make someone so happy?

Q: Any other big or new transitions you’ve had to face? Any big developments in your work flow?

A: I had a big revelation about my business in the last 60 days as I’ve been reviewing my year. I was really amazed by how much referral business I had sent out over the year, and I have been really happy with how happy my clients are that I referred.

I’ve niched myself into a small market, which I love, but I also think I want to spend a lot more time doing referral work. I’ve always loved being a Realtor and I’ve spent my entire life around them, and now in my volunteer capacity I know more and more great agents across the country (and out of the country). I think my business will change some this year as I focus more and more on headhunting/matchmaking for buyers and sellers around the country and here at home.

Q: How do your clients seem to be grasping the “paperless” lifestyle? Better? worse? Any big “aha” moments with them?   

A: The biggest aha moment was really for me when I had a client ask for DocuSign by name. The brand has an identity that I couldn’t ignore, and I went back and became a user again immediately.

Q: You mentioned the apps that were at the top of your list last time. What are the ones that really stick with you now and make your process work most efficiently?

A: They are:

  • zipForm: ZipLogix has improved its product line with zipForm Plus, and I no longer have to do any cussing about Java-related updates, which pleases me immensely.
  • Sign-N-Send: This is still a great, simple, easy application that clients and I both love.
  • Dropbox and Evernote: The search capabilities of Evernote make that an ideal paperless place to live. I am behind in my Dropbox file maintenance, and that’s not something I like to do. Who likes filing?
  • Genius Scan: I’m using this more than JotNot Pro since the last update.
I find myself wanting to simplify and I’m not spending as much time seeking out applications that I haven’t yet needed, but still … I can get distracted by a shiny bauble/app/squirrel.

I’m playing around with Cinch, Klout’s new Q-and-A platform.

Cinch from Klout

Cinch from Klout

Q: What big trends will we see for the real estate industry as far as technology and social media go? What do you think will be the key things for agents going into 2014? 

fitbit products image via

Fitbit products image via

A: Wearable technology is coming, not just Google Glass (though if you are a developer you should definitely be looking through Glass) but simpler technology like Fitbit and Up; I can see how those can transform data. GPS tracking through devices can tell you where you were, how long you were there. The heat maps and data that come from that information (much like the traffic data we are seeing) are exciting to think about. Just imagine that your Fitbit or Up band was your lockbox access and it was recording which properties we showed, what times of day, which days, and how long we stayed at properties.