Assistants 2.0

November 4, 2006

An indispensable asset for many Realtors is their assistant, who’s responsible for maintaining order, keeping on top of the escrow file, scheduling appointments, helping with advertising, running errands, photocopying…and generally trying to keep your life from going completely stark-raving insane.

I can’t say enough good things about my part-time assistant, Cynthia, who does an absolutely fabulous job.  [Full disclosure:  Cynthia also happens to be my sister.]  Like many real-estate related folks these days, she lives in…Seattle…837 miles from where I do my business.

How does this work?  Quite well, thanks to some Web 2.0 technologies, like Docusign, which I’ve commented about before, and another neat little piece of software from some Israeli software geniuses called Beinsync, which, as the name implies, helps keep documents synchronized on different computers.

I run nearly everything in my business off my trusty laptop.  I’ve configured Beinsync to make sure that my laptop and Cynthia’s always have the most up-to-date version of important documents.

The best example of our workflow is when we’re putting together offers.  Most listings in this area come in tandem with a 100+ page disclosure packet, of which perhaps 50 need signatures from myself and my clients.  I scan in the disclosure packets, and Beinsync promptly and obediently (and fairly quickly) uploads them to Cynthia’s laptop.  (If the disclosures are available online, which they are about 20% of the time, Cynthia downloads them directly.)

She gets the disclosures ready for signature and emails them out to myself and my clients.  After we sign them — which takes at most 2 minutes — she packages them all together in a PDF file, along with supporting documents like a pre-approval letter and a cover letter, and saves them on her laptop.  Once again, Beinsync kicks into action and uploads the signed disclosures to my laptop.

Our record was a deal we put together in which the parties were in five different cities!

  • I was in San Diego at a friend’s wedding
  • Client 1 was in Fresno (California)
  • Client 2 was in Petaluma (also in California)
  • The mortgage broker was in San Rafael (again, California)
  • Cynthia was up in Seattle, coordinating all the activities


This sort of thing would have been nearly impossible just two years ago.  Thanks to Docusign and Beinsync — and, most importantly by far, an extremely efficient and tech-savvy assistant — we pulled it off as smoothly as if we had all been in the same room.

Oh, and yes — we did get the deal!

Tags: , Beinsync, , ,


2 Responses to “Assistants 2.0”

  1. Pat Kitano on November 4th, 2006 11:13 pm

    This is the way transactions should be processed. You’re using two off-the-shelf online apps to pull this off, so you’re close to setting up an integrated processing application… probably as efficient as any system currently being offered.

  2. Kevin Boer, Alain Pinel Realtors on November 4th, 2006 11:59 pm

    I tried several transaction management packages, and none of them had everything I wanted, in particular electronic signatures and the ability to view documents offline. The real key to efficiency here is having a real, live human being involved.

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