Every so often I do a tech tip that inevitably helps others in the real estate community. This is one of those times.
ZipForms is a great tool that most of use now to create and fill out the various contract documents associated with a real estate transaction. ZipForms Online is the online version, which by most standards, I would find perfect for what I need to do, but there’s something about the online version I don’t like, which is why I’ve been using the desktop version.
The desktop version is installed locally on your hard drive which allows you to work offline. As connected as I typically am, I decided that blowing $60.00 every month on a mediocre wireless access card through one of my cell providers wasn’t a great use of my money, considering that I’m usually near a WIFI hotspot.
Even with that in mind, there are certain limitations to the online version of Zipforms that have nothing to do with Zipforms, and everything to do with the internet connection that you’ve joined for the time being. Sometimes coffee shops just don’t have the bandwidth I need to get my contracts written. I tend to work much faster than an internet connection can accomodate, so being able to do the meat of the work offline, create my digital packages to send to my clients, then connect and send is much more efficient.
ZipForms desktop is fantastic when it comes to offline editing of files. It’s not fantastic when you’re someone who not only uses multiple applications on one computer, but multiple computers. I have a desktop at home, a Windows based laptop, and now, a MacBook Pro. The desktop version stores all of the information about your transactions on the computer you’re using, not on the internet, so you cannot access a contract written on one computer on the other…unless you employ the following tool…
Microsoft has a great synchronization tool that allows you to choose a folder, or set of folders on one computer that can be synchronized through the internet to another set of folders on another computer.
ZipForms Desktop stores all of your transactions, clauses, templates, etc., in the same folder on each computer, so it’s quite simple to setup synchronization between those folders to ensure that all of the changes you make in one transaction are nearly immediately available on all of the other computers involved.
Before you can sync files over the net, you’ll need to create a Windows Live Login. I know, this is probably one of many options on the internet, but to date, it’s the most reliable I have used, and even though it’s a Microsoft product, which I typically cringe at, it works.
Head over to http://login.live.com and create an account if you don’t already have one lingering around from years past. Once you have an