How To Make Your Real Estate Business Paperless!

Business experts have been talking about the “paperless office” for nearly thirty years now.  It is not a new idea.  What is new is that technology has changed so much that even small home offices and small businesses finally find it easy and cost effective to reduce paper clutter and go paperless.

Easy and affordable

When the paperless movement first gained popularity, it was only affordable for the largest companies.  The technology was in its infancy and the costs were prohibitive for all but the biggest organizations.  As time has passed, technology has improved exponentially and costs have dropped dramatically, making it possible for nearly every business to substantially cut their paper clutter.

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The best time to go paperless is of course when you are first starting up a business, but that does not help the small business or home office that has been up and running for several years or more. 

For the vast majority of people who want to go paperless, there are two important parts to the task – transition current activities to a paperless environment and convert old records to a paperless environment.

What equipment is needed?

At bare minimum, all you need is a computer, a good quality scanner, and sufficient storage media.  Let’s look at these each in turn.

Computer – Your computer is the key to reducing paper clutter.  It allows you to conduct your business electronically as much as possible, and keep electronic records that are easily accessible.  The software package you use is critical, as it must have features and functions that help you go paperless.

Scanner – A scanner allows you to convert existing paper records to electronic paper records.  You can find a scanner for less than $75, but the least expensive scanners on the market are also the slowest.  This can be a significant factor that slows you down when scanning old records.  You can invest more money and get a faster scanner, or you can use a high-speed scanner at a self-serve copy or print center. 

Storage Media – The storage options currently available offer you a wider range of formats and price levels than ever before.  You might choose to use a separate hard drive to store your records, burn your records on to CD’s, or use one of the many cloud storage companies that host your electronic record on their servers for a fee. (We recommend FileInvite - Here’s a promo code for $49 off!)

Why go paperless?

Changing to a paperless office has many benefits for the small home office as well as the small business.  They include the following:

  • Fewer file cabinets

  • Less need for physical storage areas

  • Lower costs due to less need for paper, printer ink, etc.

  • Easy access to records via computer

  • Greater productivity

  • More efficient transmission and sharing of information

Going paperless is not without its down sides, though.  You must have a solid back up procedure to ensure that your electronic records are safe in case of computer or hard drive failure, and you must also make sure those record are secure from hackers and other cyber security risks.  Finally, remember that it takes time to transition to a paperless environment.  It does not just happen overnight.

Overall, going paperless is a great way to cut down on the paper clutter in your office and at the same time makes your organization more efficient and more productive.  This can make a big difference in the sustainability and profitability of a small home based business profitable and sustainable.

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