How do cloud-based document management systems help the real estate industry?
Paperwork piles up when a property is sold. Sometimes files are several centimeters thick with hundreds of documents, and that’s a conservative estimate. This is the status quo of the real estate industry.
Acts, declarations, disclosures. Real estate developers must store and keep these documents in an archive for an indefinite period. Exempting them is not an option, or they are breaking the law. Most choose to dump them in compactors or warehouses for storage.
Needless to say, the risk of loss, theft, misfiling and human error is high. In addition, it results in a waste of time for the employees. According to McKinsey, a staff member can spend 1.8 hours a day researching and collecting information.
To put this number into perspective, in a team of 5, only 4 employees are doing productive work. The fifth is just looking for documents. He has made the adoption of technologies such as cloud-based document management systems (DMS) an absolute necessity for real estate businesses.
Free yourself from the tyranny of physical space with DMS
A document management system essentially allows all real estate documents to live in the cloud. It keeps recordings secure and indexed so that, should the need arise, they can be easily retrieved and shared. This reduces the huge volume of real estate businesses crushing paper debt by allowing them to go paperless.
An industry anecdote, real estate companies can dispense with 75% of their paper documents by scanning them through a DMS. Digital record keeping reduces the burden of hard copies to a handful of documents. And since most of the paperwork is in soft copies, it also lowers the cost of warehousing and storage.
Smarter and compliant
Of all the paper problems that DMS solves for real estate, the most important is recovery efficiency. Nintex, a workflow and content automation company, finds that 49% of people struggle to find work documents. In real estate, finding and retrieving a document from a records management storage can take between 5 and 15 days, depending on the service provider and its location, as long as it is not damaged or lost in the first place.
A DMS, on the other hand, creates a ready-to-use digital repository where information can be found instantly with the click of a button. Using algorithms that allow deep searching, appropriate personnel can locate a document by name or content.
In real estate transactions, where dozens of documents are needed at short notice, such quick and effortless retrieval makes a material difference. Additionally, fast and guaranteed recoveries are essential for auditing purposes, where the consequence of non-compliance is hefty fines or worse, license revocation.
Faster and more secure
Real estate companies face a litany of paperwork challenges. Access to and security of critical and legal documents are two more. Original physical records are limited to one location at a time. When dealing with high-value customers, any delays due to such document bottlenecks prove costly to the business.
Cloud platforms filter out this problem because electronic copies can be viewed by multiple people simultaneously, while being completely secure. In addition to cybersecurity, document management systems provide granular control access. This allows companies to define who accesses which documents. Essentially, it guarantees the dissemination of information and its consistency.
On average, an office has about ten different versions and copies of the same document. For bigger teams, the number is even bigger. A DMS keeps a copy so that anyone viewing it sees the same information. And since these platforms also come with a guest access feature, sharing with the many players in the real estate value chain is easy.
Trade physical for digital
Ever since the paperwork has existed, real estate agencies have been unsuccessfully trying to store, manage, and retrieve them properly and safely. Current industry practice is fraught with pitfalls. The sheer volume of documents that must be sifted through every day stifles resources. Not to mention the monthly cost of archiving documents for every client and every property for years.
This weighs on workflow, productivity, time and results and calls into question the viability of the model. It is high time for the industry to abandon its paper problems for the convenience of digitization to speed up processes, reduce overheads and reduce infrastructure expenses. And if that’s not enough to move to cloud-based DMS, disruptive pay-as-you-go pricing models, which can drastically reduce monthly expenses, should be.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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