A dotloop Case Study
In 2015, PARKS Realty, located near Nashville, TN, brought in over $2 billion in sales. The firm is ranked #64 on REAL Trends Top 500, #32 among independent firms, and the #1 Residential Brokerage by the Nashville Business Journal in 2016.
At the heart of PARKS’ success are its agents, who love the family-friendly atmosphere and the company culture that allows them to perform at a consistently high level. It’s no surprise that, in a poll conducted by the Nashville Business Journal, the firm was named the area’s #1 Top Workplace.
According to Jenni Barnett, PARKS Realty COO and CFO, one of the reasons for the firm’s consistent growth is their use of carefully defined processes.
Good agents are naturally creative and resourceful, but they perform at a higher level of productivity (and personal satisfaction) when given a specific structure for their role.
Barnett says that, before they adopted dotloop, PARKS Realty had a workflow in place for document editing, signing, tracking, and archiving. In fact, they had several.
Some of their offices were using a quasi-digital system and still required ink signatures. It was labor-intensive for the admins, cumbersome for the agents, and required the clients to do quite a bit of work. Other offices were using an e-signature platform, which solved some of the ink signature problems, but didn’t provide an all-encompassing transaction management solution.
Most concerning was that, no matter the process, complexity was growing exponentially as the brokerage added more agents.
Barnett says, “We had paper documents everywhere, in all stages of transaction and no easy way to track them.”
In hopes of streamlining their transaction processes, the PARKS Realty team tried to bring all their offices into an e-signature platform – then quickly realized that doing so wouldn’t solve their problem. They needed a system that could facilitate each step in the transaction process, while keeping track of every detail. One that could manage each transaction from end-to-end and could be implemented company-wide.
PARKS Realty was getting by with their current transaction processes, but they were clearly becoming increasingly inefficient. After creating or editing documents digitally, their agents would email them to clients in a round-robin model, where one party would print, ink-sign, scan, and send them back to the agent, who would then convert it to a standardized PDF to be emailed out to the next party. If a document needed to be revised, they had to start the process over from the beginning.
Barnett points out that while all the printing, scanning, and emailing entailed a lot of unnecessary work, that wasn’t the biggest drawback. It was not being able to tell at a glance which stage a transaction was at.
“It was skipping all over the place,” she says, “and you could soon lose track of where you were. You have a signature here and don’t have one there. Has it been sent out for that signature? Who has what and where are they in the process?”
While the management team at PARKS Realty was researching their options, they looked at several types of solutions.
The ones that were stand-alone e-signature programs took away the need for printing and scanning but, among other drawbacks, didn’t offer a way to track the transaction or archive it when done. Additionally, several of the leading stand-alones were not designed specifically for real estate, so in addition to their limited transaction tracking and archiving capacities, their user experiences were not optimal for PARKS Realty.
“We needed something that would bring together all the separate parts into a single piece for us,” says Barnett.
They considered adopting the transaction solution being used by their state real estate association. But while offering some capabilities beyond basic e-sign, it was lacking the collaborate features, administrative control, and long-term archiving necessary for a fast-moving firm with hundreds of agents.
Finally, their research led them to take a closer look at dotloop. The closer they looked, the more they saw that it was the only option that had everything they needed.
Barnett says that dotloop not only delivered each step they were looking for—document editing, e-signature, transaction management, and archiving—but also offered so much more.
They liked how dotloop’s document editing and signing is built on a collaboration model, where various parties are brought in to work on only the most current version of a document—unlike what might happen with a round-robin or broadcast method of distribution.
“Instead of you sending forms out and going back-and-forth and back-and-forth,” she says, “everyone comes to the document. You’re inviting all of them to work in the same place.”
It didn’t take long to realize that dotloop was exactly the real estate transaction management system that would not only fit PARKS Realty’s fast-paced work flow, but would also better position them to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment.
And with that, the brokerage decided to adopt dotloop company-wide.
Barnett says that, right from the start, everyone liked how administrative control could be set up in a pyramid-like hierarchy. While admins at each office have oversight for their location, executive management has oversight for every office. This global view allows executive management to track transactions, see what needs to be done, and even pay commissions based on dotloop.
“If there’s one thing I can say is amazing,” says Barnett, “it’s the controllability of the forms.”
She says that there have been times when she’s needed to make changes to a form that all their agents are using, revising it globally—something sorely missing from the transaction system recommended by their state association. Or when a new form needs to be added to PARKS Realty’s standard buyer or seller packets, she can do it for all 600 agents in one minute flat.
Knowing that good agents need the freedom to use forms that aren’t standard for their office, Barnett also appreciates the fact that dotloop gives them the option of creating their own buyer or seller packets.
“As an agent,” she says, “you have the flexibility in dotloop to make your business easier.”
Even the best solution won’t work unless agents actually use it, so PARKS Realty did several things to boost onboarding success.
First, they set a deadline by which all transactions would have to be processed through dotloop.
Second, they did several waves of training, starting with the office managers, then rolling it out to the agents.
Once they’d completed initial onboarding for their personnel, PARKS Realty continued regularly scheduled training in all offices to brush up on best practices and learn to use the latest features. This has also included peer-to-peer sessions where agents who are advanced users have helped newer agents get up to speed.
Barnett says that once the agents take the plunge and start using dotloop, they see the benefits of the all-in-one system. “I have agents who say: ‘This is the best thing ever. It has improved my business. It has made me more efficient.'”
PARKS Realty has built its success on highly efficient processes for their agents and their admins. By choosing dotloop, they strengthened their commitment to giving talented people a structure and environment in which they can succeed with a solution that and has allowed the brokerage to scale efficiently.
“Anything we have,” says Barnett, “it’s a system. This is what you do every single day. You go to work. This is your job. For us, dotloop is a piece of that works.”
Moreover, dotloop has given PARKS Realty the ability to track and administer transactions at every point. Unlike their visibility with their old patchwork system, with a few clicks of a mouse, they now know the real-time status of any deal.
“It gives us that central point of information,” says Barnett, “to help speed up the process of finding what we need to know to best serve our clients.”
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