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9 December 2010

4 Free Online Sharing and Collaboration Tools That You and Your Clients Will Love

Some of the most time consuming parts of being a real estate agent or broker are tasks like managing and delivering paperwork, coordinating showings and following up with everyone involved in a transaction.

Over the past few years the woes of the overburdened have been heard and there are a number of free sharing and collaboration tools out there today that you can use to make it easy for your clients to get what they need from you immediately without having to manually do the work each time.

Here are four great (free) online sharing and collaboration tools that you and your clients will love:

Backpack by 37Signals

Backpack – One of my favorite tools, Backpack by 37Signals makes it easy to create checklists and organize entire projects on a single page. This is really useful for organizing a home tour with a buyer client all in one place. I once shared a Backpack page with checklists with a seller client to show them the progress of their home sale by updating the page when paperwork reached their attorney and the home inspection results rolled in.

The free Backpack plan includes up to 2 users who can create 5 pages. I would recommend trying it out first and if you like it, upgrade to the $7/month plan which adds a shared calendar (so you and your buyer can see upcoming tour dates) and file sharing. File sharing is very useful for times when you need to share standard paperwork (disclosures, lead paint disclosure) for your client to download as needed.

Google Docs – Google’s free collection of tools makes it very easy to collaborate with your clients on different projects. For example, you could use Google’s word processor tool to jointly write a letter to a bank or Google’s Excel-like spreadsheet tool where, with just a few pre-set formulas, your clients can evaluate the real world cost estimates of each home.

Timebridge – Timebridge is an outstanding tool for coordinating showing and listing appointments with clients. Rather than deal with a whole mess of emails trying to hammer out a date and time that works best for everyone you can provide up to five dates and times that work for you and invite your client to choose which works best for them. Once your client selects a time that works for them your appointment is confirmed.

Dropbox – Dropbox creates a web-based folder on your computer and on the computers of anyone else you give access to. Using Dropbox, you can drag files from any computer with access to the web-based folder and the files will be sent to every other computer with access to that Dropbox folder.

In addition to being able to sharing legal documentation with your clients to download at their leisure you can also share an entire folder of photos from a home tour and it’ll appear as a photo gallery page online. Dropbox gives you up to 2GB of storage space for free which should be more than enough for most of us.

Do you have any online tools or services that you use to stay in touch with your clients? Let us know in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “4 Free Online Sharing and Collaboration Tools That You and Your Clients Will Love

  1. Basecamp (also by 37Signals) is another great tool. My assistant and I have been using it for transaction management for some time and really love it – clients love it as well, because it allows us to create a project for every transaction, where everyone associated on our side of the deal (including attorneys, inspectors, etc.) have their own private portal to retrieve documents, see which To Do's are left to be done (and who's to do them), and more. You can create one project for free to try it out – I think I purchased the pay plan within about 15 minutes of testing. GREAT tool … really, anything by 37Signals.

  2. You have to be a bit more up to date. Dropbox was purchased by Facebook and will be out of busines in 3 days. Bummer! Time to find a new source for that.

    1. Hi Scott – I believe you're referring to Drop.io which was purchased by Facebook in October. Hopefully Facebook makes something of it because that was a great service. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Basecamp (also by 37Signals) is another great tool. My assistant and I have been using it for transaction management for some time and really love it – clients love it as well, because it allows us to create a project for every transaction, where everyone associated on our side of the deal (including attorneys, inspectors, etc.) have their own private portal to retrieve documents, see which To Do’s are left to be done (and who’s to do them), and more. You can create one project for free to try it out – I think I purchased the pay plan within about 15 minutes of testing. GREAT tool … really, anything by 37Signals.

  4. Hello!

    You can find plenty of free online collaboration tool on Internet. The problem is to find the one suitable for you.Projektino.com let you create projects,create tasks within the project,assign tasks to people,set due dates for tasks and the project itself. There is a place to write notes back and forth about the project.
    It' s good to find secured,easy-to-use, platform that allows to share and store files, with unlimited number of users and with permanent access wherever you are. I can share status updates, files & messages, assign tasks, set milestones, manage team, post comments, send reports and receive feedback. In my opinion it's great tool to cooperate with clients, but can be used to organize personal life f.e. vacation, wedding etc as well as to run projects in the company.

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