Are you a tech geek? If you are, good for you–the paperwork part of buying or selling a home will be a lot easier for you!
If you’re not, or don’t think you are, then time to brush up and/or learn some new skills! There’s a lot of paperwork involved in buying and selling a home these days. Paperwork from your realtor, and even more from your lender! And just when you think there couldn’t possibly be anything else, there will be!
There are some tech tools that will make things a lot easier for you during the home-buying process. And your realtor and lender will appreciate that you can comply with their requests easily and quickly. If you don’t already have some of these tools at home, it’s a good idea to find out where you can access some of them–at work, at a retail outlet, etc. It will save you time and hassle later.
Many realtors today are going paperless. Maybe not 100%, but as much as possible. Many operate completely without putting pen to paper. If you want to speed up the process and make things easier, here are a few tools and programs you should be familiar with.
1. Smartphone. Most everyone has a smartphone these days, whether an iPhone or a Windows phone or an Android. No matter which carrier and platform you’re using, you should be able to send and receive text messages and emails on your phone and use wifi to get online. Text and email are preferred ways of communicating these days.
2. Tablet or laptop. There are some things that will be easier to do on a laptop or tablet rather than a phone. If you’ll need to read a document, the larger screen certainly makes it easier to do that!
3. Scanner. There are apps that will scan and send a document from your phone or tablet. Many home printers will do that too–if they’re the all-in-one variety. For sending the countless financial documents that your lender will require, a regular scanner may work better than a scan app. If you don’t have that at home, check to see if you have access at your workplace. Or a FedEx Office or UPS Store also might work–although they may charge for their service.
4. Fax. Not used as much now as just a few years ago–scanning and emailing keeps the document more legible, especially after multiple transmissions, but most lenders and title companies still have fax #’s so they haven’t gone away completely. If you have a fax at home or at the office you can use, it will be less costly than using the service of a FedEx Office or UPS Store. They charge by the page and that can get costly!
5. Electronic signatures. Many realtors, myself included, use a program called DocuSign to send documents for signature. Many lender do also. And electronic signatures are accepted by most lenders and title companies. There is another program that is used by some agents called DotLoop. Both programs send the documents to each signer with instructions on where to click to “sign” and then a final click to send the “envelope” on to the next signer or back to whoever sent it to you. It’s easy and quick, and saves countless hours and gallons of gas trying to coordinate schedules to meet somewhere for signing. In these days of homes flying off the market, the time saved could mean the difference between having your offer accepted and being beaten out by another buyer who got their offer in before yours!
6. Computer and printer. Most everyone has a home computer these days and a printer. Or has access to one. When documents are sent to you electronically, if you want a “hard copy” you’ll need to be able to download and print things out yourself.
7. Digital file storage. Dropbox has changed my life! It’s my electronic file cabinet where I keep all my files and personal information. Another program in wide use is Evernote–you can save notes, web sites, videos, pictures, documents, everything in Evernote. Both Dropbox and Evernote have desktop versions for the computer and mobile apps that allow you to access your files remotely from your phone or tablet. Game changers!
So, if you’re not familiar with some of these tech tools, check them out and be prepared to use them during your transaction. There are many aspects of the process that are time-sensitive and the quicker you can submit your documents, sign your paperwork, and communicate back and forth, the easier and smoother your transaction will be.