Recently I had a discussion with Heather, our project coordinator, regarding the importance of agents keeping things organized in their business. Whether that is organizing your files, systems, or even your time, each is critical to an agent's success.
As Heather puts it "good organization is key to a successful transaction and being organized saves you time, money and potential transaction mishaps." I couldn't agree with her more. Here are some of the great ideas that came from our discussion.
The first step is to create a system to manage all of your paperwork and all of your transactions. On your computer, you can categorize your folders. Make sure to keep all business and personal files separate!
The main folders should include:
The Admin FolderInside the this folder, create these sub-folders:
The Buyers FolderInside this folder, create these sub-folders:
In the above folders, include a folder for each client and simply move the folder from one folder to the next as they complete a transaction.
The Sellers FolderInside this folder, create these sub-folders:
Same thing here for your individual client folders. Make a folder for each client and move the folders between the folders.
The Clients FolderInside of this folder, create these sub-folders:
The Marketing FolderInside this folder, these sub-folders:
Now, inside your Marketing folder you are also going to want to have a TEMPLATES folder for the following types of documents:
I recommend having your templates in this folder, but as you customize them for the different transactions you are involved in, save a copy of the customized document to the correct folder.
For example, say you are listing the home of John Smith and you need to make a house flyer. Open your property marketing templates folder and open your house flyer template. Choose "save as" and save it to your SELLERS/ACTIVE/SMITH, JOHN folder with the title "John Smith House Flyer 758 Fern Ct". This way you have both the client name and address in the title, making searching easy down the road if by some chance you needed to access that flyer but don't remember when you had that listing.
For lead generation, you may want to have your templates in one folder here with a sub folder for executed lead generation. As in our geographical farming example above, you may want to have a sub folder which contains the mailers you created for the farm by date.
Since your article template will live in your Client Care and Appreciation folder, to keep track of your mailers to your database, you can either save those in a separate folder within this folder or save them in the CLIENTS folder.
Then you may also want to have a document in this folder with printer information. For example, if you got your business cards printed at ABC Printing, include that information, the date you ordered, the price and quantity, and your sales rep information so you have it at your fingertips the next time you order.
The Systems FolderInside of this folder, create these sub-folders:
Additional TipsNow that you have your files set up, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
MANAGING YOUR FILESOnce you have your filing system set up if it much easier to manage your transactions as you can simply move them from category to category. For example: In each seller or buyer file you keep ALL the paperwork associated with the transaction (or listing). Then you simply move the folder to the correct location: For example: if a seller starts in the "NOT YET LISTED" folder- after it goes active, you move it to "ACTIVE", after it goes pending, you move it to "PENDING", then when it's closed, it goes into the correct year in the closed folder "CLOSED 2015".
FILE NAMINGName each signed around document by the date (year FIRST for proper sorting with multi-year transactions) and add the same form term in every transaction i.e. "15-06-03 Mutual PSA" that way you can sort and search easily. If you have a document signed by one part only and are waiting for it to be signed around, DO NOT DATE IT. It would look like this: "UNSIGNED BUYER Seller Disclosure" - that does 3 things, it makes it easy to search for ALL the documents you need signed in all your transactions and it is also easy to see in any given folder and it is easier to sort!
FILE SEARCHINGIf you name your files the same each time, you can open your real estate folder and search for the keyword "UNSIGNED" and every document you have saved as UNSIGNED will appear regardless of which folder they are in. You can also search by date "15-06-03" and see every document you rec'd signed around on that date. Furthermore, you can search by form name "Mutual PSA" and see every form of that name you have.
CLOSED FILESMake sure to ask your broker if there is an office protocol for closing files and keeping a backup. We do not recommend relying on Dropbox or any cloud-based backup unless there is a hard copy backup as well AND the system has been approved for sensitive files. There are many options for external hard-drives to which you can save your files. And remember to backup all of the files on your computer preferably daily which can be done with an auto back up program.
Having a system that keeps you organized is one of the most important performance enhancing things you can do for your business.