Illinois REALTOR® Magazine | July 2013

Tech & You

Going Paperless

Ditch the paper and get organized with Evernote

by Stephanie Sievers  |  Associate Editor

If your goal is to become a paperless agent, trainer Kim Hlava has some tips and a free tool to help you get started.

You may have heard about other REALTORS® using Evernote, a popular note taking and archiving software system. You may have even downloaded the app to your mobile devices, but are you getting the most out of it?

Hlava, president of iNspire Apps Inc., is teaching a session on Evernote at the IAR Fall Conference & Expo at St. Charles in October. She says Evernote has become a favorite  organizational tool for many REALTORS® because it is free, simple to use and can be a useful transaction management tool.

“I think the reason it’s become so popular is that REALTORS® are busy and constantly struggle with organization and time management. Their office is so mobile now,” she said. “Evernote brings things together in a great organizational form.”

Kim HlavaLearn more about using Evernote at the IAR Fall Conference and Expo Oct. 1-3

Hlava’s session, “Going Paperless: Streamlining Your Systems with Your iPad” will teach you how to get the most out of two popular productivity apps, Evernote and PDF Expert.

How can REALTORS® use Evernote?

Evernote allows you to create “notebooks” or files of information. Because it is cloud-based, you can access it anywhere and sync it across multiple devices. Evernote allows you to have details of your client and the transaction in one, easy-to-access spot, Hlava said.

For example, when you get a new buyer or seller, create an individual notebook for them. In it add any notes you might take with the client related to conversations, qualifications, etc. Make checklists of things you need to do in the transaction. Store emails, photos of properties, MLS sheets, copies of contracts and other documents. Record audio on your iPad during a property tour and store that in the client’s notebook.

The idea is that everything you might need for the transaction is in one place any time that you need it, and that frees agents from their desks, Hlava said.

“If you feel safe in knowing that you can leave your office and can get your hands on any information, then you’ll feel more confident out there,” she said.

More easily search and share your information

Hlava, who has trained over 1,000 agents to go paperless, said once you have a notebook it is easy to share the entire thing, or just items within it, with others including your client or another agent. That can save time spent calling or emailing back and forth. It also has  “smart search” capabilities that allow  you to quickly scan through your notebooks even if you can’t remember what you named it, she said. For example, when Hlava types in “Tami” it searches through her nearly 6,000 notes to pull up a copy of that person’s business card.

Don’t dump your old system; Make it work with Evernote

If you have an established organizational system but want to move things into Evernote, Hlava advises that you do it gradually or it will be too overwhelming. Phase it in by creating notebooks for any new clients and build from there. Going slowly can also help you to take better advantage of the free version of Evernote, which allows 60 MB of new data storage per month, Hlava said.

Disclaimer: The report concerning this product does not represent an endorsement by IAR. Readers are encouraged to make an independent evaluation of any product before purchasing. IAR makes no representation or warranty regarding quality or cost of products.

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IAR Fall Conference

What is Evernote?

You can use Evernote to take notes, store files, save video, photos and audio, create to-do lists and sync everything to multiple devices. Basic Evernote is free and allows you up to 60 MB of storage each month or you can upgrade to the premium version for $5 a month or $45 a year.  A mobile app is available for most mobile devices or you can download the program to your computer. Learn more at evernote.com.

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