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The Completely Online Real Estate Brokerage - Less Office Space & Better Service

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Developing Your Cloud Brokerage Plan & Expectations
If you view the process of moving your brokerage operations to a virtual online presence as a major process that requires a complete and immediate transition, then you'll probably not want to take it on. You can certainly do it quickly and completely, but it's not necessary. You can move through the process in an orderly way, with very little business disruption along the way. I believe that the ultimate result should be an almost "office independent" structure, but you can also stop at any point that you believe is right for your company.

Here's my view of the complete and effective Cloud Brokerage:

  • Your main office is much smaller, with only possibly one or more conference rooms and no agent cubicles or offices, or only one or two set up for temporary sharing
  • You have a lower office-to-agent personnel ratio
  • Nobody in your company needs to access a physical file cabinet to keep up with documents
  • All transaction documents are securely filed online, with permitted access by only those who have a need
  • Your intra-office communications, meeting announcements, bulletin board, and other communications with employees and agents are all online
  • Tasks and calendars are shared, yet also private when required
  • Communications and file sharing with vendors is secure and online, with ad copy and other marketing materials accessible by those who need them, and collaboration is also possible
  • Clients can access their documents online securely as well
  • All faxing is done online via email and PDF files. Email is set up to provide copies to office and agent, with office filing the physical copy
  • Digital signatures are used when appropriate

Your first step is to determine just how far you want to go, and how many of these facets you want to put into place. Timing isn't important right now, other than when you'll begin. As you progress, you can adjust each phase to your own requirements. Meet with those who will be impacted, get their input, and reassure them that it can be done slowly without office disruption.

Your agents will likely require the most explanation and reassurance. If you show them that they will have more capabilities to better serve their clients in the field, and those who need a temporary office space can access one, you'll find that they'll like this new idea. This is especially true if you show them the new tech toys, like the netbooks and anytime/anywhere online access they'll be getting to the office systems, the MLS, and the Internet. Those already using notebook or netbook computers in the field are already set up to implement these office and marketing tools.

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