DMS for Real Estate: Overview and Best Practices

In the real estate world, quite a lot goes into the process of managing clients` information and delivering efficient services to new and existing clients. One aspect that is particularly of serious concern to realtors is document management. Realtors deal with a voluminous pile of files and documents every day. Organizing, storing, and retrieving documents for future use can be challenging and time-consuming. Here just some examples of these documents:

  • Closing disclosures
  • Property deeds
  • Home inspection reports
  • Title search reports
  • Buyer`s agreement
  • Title insurance policy
  • Tax declaration, and so on

Luckily, digital transformation makes life easier today with the introduction of cloud storage and document management software. Access to work documents and clients` information is simplified, secure, and centralized. Commercial real estate businesses utilizing this approach have benefited in several ways; compared to the era of physical paperwork about 10-20 years ago, real estate document management systems allow for a seamless workflow. Businesses that leverage CRM software sees their sales increase by 29%.

Document Management Solutions for Real Estate

Document management, in simple terms, is how organizations store, manage and track their documents electronically. This involves the use of a dedicated computer system or software to store, secure, control, organize, share, and track electronic documents within an organization. And depending on staff access level, these documents can be safely accessed, retrieved, and shared from anywhere for official purposes.

Real estate document management solutions or software, therefore, serve as a central repository for key client and business information. Compared to the traditional paper-based system, this means a clean desk and a more efficient data storage and retrieval system. And as such, several things (like loss, abuse, destruction, and data theft) can go wrong if an efficient document management system is not implemented. This is why document management is such a big deal in the commercial real estate industry.

Why Document Management is a Challenge and Time-Eater in the Real Estate Industry

A real estate firm is not designed to operate without property or people coming together to either sell or buy real properties. So for real estate transactions to occur, the firm physically mediates between buyers and sellers, there`s a possibility that physical documents could go missing during this process.

The real estate company can be sued if a client’s financial information or data is unduly exposed or falls into the wrong hands. Currently, the average direct cost of a data breach stands at $3.92 million, and this may increase depending on how swiftly you`re able to contain the breach. There’s also the challenge of losing customers and managing the situation with investors and other stakeholders.

Without an efficient real estate document management system, any commercial real estate firm is bound to suffer from problems like slow document retrieval, lost or misplaced documents, disorganized documentation, and security breaches in client information. In a way, this also impacts the productivity of the staff and the company’s overall efficiency and reliability.

On the other hand, there`s good news; with a document management system or software in place, you can effectively eliminate these inconsistencies by storing and managing all work-related documents from a central cloud-based repository. This makes it so much easier to access, control, and process important documents like contracts, deeds, titles, search reports, surveys, and lease in a timely and orderly fashion.

How a Dedicated CRM Can Help

When it comes to optimizing operational efficiency in the real estate world, one tool that stands out among several others is CRM. When you think about centralizing customer relationship management, CRM software readily comes to mind. According to a study carried out by Software Advice in 2018, about 45% of the users of CRM software are either real estate, consulting, or insurance firms. The largest of them all is real estate with 21%.

In real estate, CRM software is not just used for interacting with leads, prospects, and existing clients. It also keeps a comprehensive record of customers` information in an easily retrievable manner and seamlessly or efficiently manages clients and workflow, thereby helping to close deals on time. In the long run, this helps commercial real estate companies and realtors to make smart decisions, resolve issues swiftly, and deliver a superb experience to their customers.

The introduction of CRM systems into the real estate business process — being an obvious mark of digitization — automatically collects and stores important data, and helps you visualize how your relationship with your clients is going. Another good side to this is that it helps you analyze your performance and makes it easy for you to address key issues in your business. No more unauthorized access to customers` information, loss of important data due to manual handling of files, or waste of time that could otherwise be utilized in more productive ways.

Other Benefits of CRM Systems in the Real Estate Industry

Real estate CRM systems provide lots of features that are similar to those in generic CRM systems but dedicated real estate CRM software does come with some special features focused on the real estate industry. These include:

  • Digital marketing automation
  • Improved efficiency
  • Multiple listing services
  • Referral management
  • Transaction management software, etc.

Some more specific benefits of having a CRM system in place are: 

  • Smarter reporting: CRMs automatically create clear, accurate, and colorful charts and infographics that make it easy to interpret information and make smart decisions.
  • Manage real estate marketing campaigns
  • It can be used to track homes and stay current on upcoming offers.
  • Following-up automatically. Some prospects or leads, unlike others, require an additional push to spur them towards action.

Current Trends in Document Management in the Real Estate Industry

Since the adoption of digitization in the real estate world, some trends have begun to emerge. Along with the general drift from paperwork and manual processes to automated document collection and data storage, are some interesting trends. These include:

Increased Adoption of Cloud Storage

Cloud computing has revolutionized how data is collected, stored, and shared for a wide variety of purposes. Generally, a good cloud storage software is enough to take the level of productivity higher in any organization by simplifying its document management systems.

Specifically, for realtors, the biggest joy in cloud storage is the centralization of data. This means that no matter where you are, you`ll be able to access, download, and share information with colleagues. Cloud computing eliminates the need to use a particular computer (containing the drive to retrieve your files); with the advent of cloud storage, you only need an internet connection to access files and client information at anytime from anywhere.

According to a report compiled by McAfee, 87% of companies experience business acceleration when they use cloud services. Also, more than 35% of the time, organizations are willing to launch new products, speed up their time to market, and expand to new markets when they use a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) to secure their data in the cloud.

Increased Security: Protection Against Loss of Data

Usually, a dedicated cloud provider hosts your cloud data and is responsible for managing your data and seeing to the availability, accessibility, backup, recovery, and maintenance of your data. In other words, the use of a document management system brings about increased document security.

That said, you should also know that increasing along with online data security is a more sophisticated level of cybercrime. Without a doubt, we can expect that a rapidly growing trend in digitization in the coming years will be an increased sensitization of cybersecurity. And with that comes more sophisticated firewalls to block out unauthorized access. McAfee also agreed in its report that cloud storage is far more secure than on-site storage (in local drives) of business information.

Better Services and Quicker Closings

Since the advent of electronic document management systems, clients have joined the trail of beneficiaries. The increased adoption of document management systems allows for better, less expensive service and quicker closings in general, even as more sophisticated technology is incorporated into CRM software.

Final Thoughts

Using a document management system for daily organization and orderliness of files is a massive step toward improving operational efficiency. Salesforce shows that a successful CRM implementation in any business can boost sales by 29%, improve productivity by 34%, and sharpen the sales forecast by 42%. A dedicated CRM system allows realtors to work smarter and faster. A fine real estate CRM is like having a virtual assistant that often helps to do things that realtors and real estate businesses may not have the time for.

Without a doubt, the future of the real estate industry will fall in the laps of realtors and real estate firms that successfully integrates a customized or dedicated customer relationship management system into their business models. Today, real estate agents who earn more are most likely using advanced tools like a customer relationship management tool (CRM) tool. And there is a wide variety of both generic and real estate document management software that can help accelerate growth and refine how real estate business is done today and tomorrow.

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