The lead agent for DeCosta-Properties @ Keller Williams explains why his agency counts on KAMIND and Office 365.

The five-member team at DeCosta Properties in Lake Oswego, Oregon does business in the state’s most affluent zip code. They wouldn’t think of using second-rate information technology. According to lead agent John DeCosta, each of them has a laptop, an iPad and an iPhone. What makes it all work in sync, he is quick to add, is Microsoft Office 365 and support from KAMIND.

Although not a large operation in the agency world, DeCosta’s group is part of national residential real estate leader Keller Williams, which provides access to a massive database of properties and network of other brokers. Being well connected in all directions is essential.

“One thing that can hold back people in our field is communication. We have to be able to do business on the go, and we can’t do that with out of date computer systems.” DeCosta explained. “So about five years ago we placed our faith in KAMIND, and we’ve never regretted it.”

“For example,” he continued, “All of my team are on Outlook, so we all view and use the same calendar and email accounts. We are set up so that we can see each other’s appointments and correspondence on any of the devices we might be using at the time. This is hugely useful when setting or changing appointments for viewings, listings and closings—especially when we’re not in the office.”

DeCosta also credits being on the Microsoft cloud with a number of effective sales techniques his team members are able to engage with cloud-based computing. One of them allows for quick, simple downloads of various length videos featuring scores of listed properties; and it can be done right in front of the homebuyer on an iPad.

“We also have put a signature feature into our emails so that our thank you notes to clients can display a photo of their new home right in the email,” DeCosta beamed.

Residential property transactions are very detailed. DeCosta estimates that the average listing and sale involves about 120 emails and hundreds of pages of documents. Some easily exceed 300.

Advanced search features of Office 365 enable his agency to save easily retrieved copies of all relevant documents; which can then be sent digitally to clients at key times. He says the document management capacity built into Office 365 saves his team hundreds of hours a year in running around time. DeCosta can give clients and agents their entire file for a property before escrow, upon moving house or at tax time—assembled in a matter of minutes.

“We are in a hyper-competitive business,” DeCosta admits. “Many of the technologies and practices we have in common with Keller Williams are what makes people trust us with handling what is usually the largest asset they will ever buy or sell.”

DeCosta says the complex network of software licenses he used to maintain before Office 365 and the cloud was actually more costly than his present outlay. “With the subscription level KAMIND partner Matt Katzer has recommended for us (the Enterprise), we don’t have to worry about buying five sets of software every time there is an update. New versions are simply downloaded from Microsoft as they become available.”

Not one of DeCosta’s team is particularly computer savvy. He proudly points out that they sell houses. “We don’t do IT,” he adds. There are occasions when the system requires professional IT hands-on. For example, when a DeCosta agent recently got the new iPhone 6, it took support from KAMIND to backup, transfer and reload—a service provided at no charge because KAMIND is the company’s licensed Microsoft partner.

DeCosta said in closing: “KAMIND and Office 365 are the easiest referrals we give. Our clients relocating to the area for business often ask us whom they might contact for a range of services, including IT support. I just tell them; ‘Call Matt and get Office 365.’”