The paperless revolution has started! We live in a world that’s abundant with so many tools and apps that the thought of going paperless has at least crossed your mind, right?
Inman Ambassador, and Phoenix-based real estate agent Kerry Melcher, and I recently had a Q&A to pin down some of the important points. It may even make you reconsider ditching your day planner.
Tell us about yourself Kerry.
I’m a third generation Phoenix REALTOR and a native to Phoenix. I’m married to a native and we are raising two small natives. My practice is devoted to midtown Phoenix and is all referral. I’ve been a REALTOR for 26 years. In the past 6-7 years I’ve become a very active volunteer in the REALTOR world and that has changed who I am and has brought me some of my closest professional and personal friends. I really love being a real estate agent – I grew up around REALTORS and bullpens and MLS books and microfiche. It’s not uncommon for me to say (and truly mean) I love the smell of a realtor! Good, bad, part-time or full – those are my people.
When did you decide it was time to ditch the paper?
Having children was the beginning – I needed to manufacture more hours in my day and that seemed an obvious place to find those. The iPhone was the real turning point. I got an iPhone about six months after the first came out and became instantly convinced that it could help me eliminate paper when it came to contract signing and transaction management.
Why did you decide to become a paperless agent?
Practically: file management with paper is not as precise and takes an enormous amount of additional time beyond the production of documents. I am vastly more organized than i was when swimming in paper. I must have owned 6 printers when I moved away from paper. Eliminating the hours of research I would put into a new printer was a savings but getting away from the ink cartel was life altering (dramatic I know but I’m a realtor and paper was everything before).
Impractically: I love technology that can enhance performance and make life easier and I really love an excuse to find and use that technology. I’m a little geekish and I think finding and using tools is fun and it turns me on.
What were the first tools you got that helped you get started?
The iPhone is where i started getting away from paper contracts. The iPad is and was the giant printer killer for me. The iPad is 90% a work tool for me. The iPhone is practically a limb – please never let me choose between it and another one of my favorite limbs.
What was the transition like? Where did you start?
It wasn’t a big process. I started trying applications for signing and practiced on school permission slips until I found the right one. Once I found one that was nearly foolproof I used it on my next contract. App research to use was less than two weeks. After that it forced me to figure out storage and file management.
What challenges did you/do you face with being paperless.
The biggest thing is really just changing your workflow but it so quickly pays off that it’s easy to let that momentum carry you to the next transaction and solve the next problem.
What are you clients’ reaction?
Some clients are at first intimidated or bothered by their signature – not a lot of hurdles really. I’ve taken more than one client to the apple store after our transaction to buy an iPad.
Have you seen a change in your productivity as a real estate agent?
It makes me much more efficient. I could not do all the volunteering and the caring for my husband and kids in the manner which I do without being paperless in my business. I always thought I was an unorganized person – and it’s not my strength but I’m feeling super human when it comes to my files now.
What apps are at the top of your list right now?
- JotNot Pro or Genius Scan
- Dropbox and Evernote
- Google apps
- Siri – she’s my CRM assistant
- Cue right now I’m not sure it will stay on my page one but it’s learning more and more about me and I like that. Here is the review that I did for CUE, not too long ago.