DTPO for Real Estate

All, just getting acquainted with DTPO and looking for some advice/recommendations. I own a solo practitioner real estate business (that may or may not need to accommodate more brokers in the future) and am setting up my document management system in Dt. I know this is ridiculously lengthy, and perhaps asking too much of your time, but here’s a breakdown of what I need to accomplish and some associated questions:


  • Organize files to be audit-ready for Oregon and Washington compliance review by state Real Estate Agencies (i.e., need to be able to find files fast and have all i’s dotted and t’s crossed)

  • Establish incoming and outgoing document versioning to assure all required signatures are acquired (forms go back and forth for signing between buyer agent, buyer, seller agent, seller; mostly via email/DocuSign)

  • Manage transaction (project) deliverables and milestone due dates; i.e. contract management

To accomplish these, I envision these goals/methods for Dt, but am looking for feedback on best practices or other methodologies.

  • Create standard naming convention for incoming PDFs
  • Tag each incoming document with a version status: i.e., unsigned, partially signed, signed; rather than actual version numbers
  • Highlight key text within a document for tracking contract deliverables and milestones so critical due dates aren’t missed

Buyer and seller side documents both need to be managed and any one property can have numerous offers, counter offers, addenda, etc. Key milestones are typically date driven from the day of offer acceptance. For example, I recently listed a hot investment property in our Oregon college town and set a deadline for incoming offers. There were eight! I am required by law to respond to and keep track of each offer, with lots of forms and signatures going back and forth, but let’s just focus on the one that the seller accepted. Within the text of that offer, I needed to identify,

  • when earnest money funds would be redeemed
  • when inspection period ends (starts day after accepted contract and ends x number of day after that. Number of days varies by offer)
  • offer deadline
  • any contingencies, like sale of another house
  • any additional provisions, like seller to purchase home warranty, or have hot tub removed…
  • closing date

In addition, outside the contract text, I need to track the actual inspection date, appraisal due date, and signing date. These are subject to change and best tracked in the calendar, but I’d like to include them in a single ‘tracking’ document.

For overall database design, I am thinking one database per state for transaction records, and a separate one for my company’s policies and procedures. I will also need to track my financials, marketing spend, continuing education records, etc. and haven’t decided if that’s yet another.

For the transaction database(s), I’m thinking I would have an AppleScript that lays out a standard group structure, (Top level = property address, subgroups to be offers, addenda, misc docs…) The high level group (property address) would essentially be a project name that matches the one in my CRM system. If this makes sense, can I insert a variable into the script where I could input the property address into the name of the highest level group each time I creates a new project/transaction? Also, if I do that, should every subgroup and/or PDF include the property address as well or can I leave them generic (offer(s), addenda…)?

Another question; is it possible to script the deliverables? I.e., highlight pertinent text in a document, then run a script to move those highlighted fields to a separate document that I could continue to update with ‘outside the written contract’ due dates, like the signing date. Those dates would also go into my calendar to track them there. I thought I read of a similar script somewhere, but am not coming up with it.

If you’ve read this far… Thanks so much! Any cautions, suggestions, specific ideas are greatly appreciated. Christine

Hi Christine,

looks like you have not received any reply yet…

Anyhow, I will try to help you with all of your questions. :smiley:

First of all after structuring your question a bit, I would recommend that you get a calendar with project view and x-callback-URL. The beauty of this is that you will have all your needed dates in this calendar and using the x-callback-URL as a reference to your documents.

Hence DevonThinkProOffice (DTPO) and DevonThinkToGo (DTTG) will synchronise all your data and your calendar can match the documents related to due dates for both using unique identifiers. This can be done automatically using Workflow.is or Launchpad on IOS for instance.

This workflow would work like this:

Document -> Script asking for input for calendar dates and if project or sub task etc. -> send to calendar with unique ID -> Calendar tracks all projects and sub tasks -> all task need to be done before project can be closed.

Coming myself from Finance, Controlling and auditing I would recommend the following structure by project:

Project # as per CRM with closing date if known ie. 20170716 (YYYY-MM-DD) to track them.

Below you will find some attachments made in DTPO to show you once suggestion of a structure. If you tag the main folder all sub folders will have this tag as well. You could use the tags to get really fast to your documents or using intelligent folders in DTPO.

Tags will be synchronised to DTTG but intelligent folders will not.

In regards to the naming of incoming PDFs and using tags for projects I would recommend to use:

Date received from action (You can later change the title if you want and it will not “destroy” the unique ID for this object. Using the string your incoming PDF will call: 20170716_From Customer_Action: reply by 20170723.

or using the project title: date project In or out going : 20170716_20160716 Nice House_I.pdf

Personally, I would not put too much into the title but an unique identifier and may be an action date, thought this could be send to your calendar with the unique string anyway.

So far, everything can be automated using Script and x-callback-Url-Scheme. (depending also on your email client which should understand x-callback too if possible).

I hope, I could give you some information. If you need anything do not hesitate to contact me.

I have attached a tif-file cos I could not upload the pdf… If you want you can get it here: bit.ly/2tu5oyb
Christine Screenshot_page.tif (602 KB)