Printers That Cater to Real Estate

Whether you’re an independent salesperson or an office manager, it’s worth considering in-house printing solutions.

August 1, 2006

When you work in real estate, your printer is a key piece of office equipment. There’s an ongoing need for a variety of documents, from flyers and brochures to contracts and forms. Although some practitioners choose to outsource their printing needs, many find it to be more convenient or affordable to have an in-house system.

A number of printing vendors have picked up on the specialized needs of real estate professionals and have rolled out products and systems to suit the demands of your job. Whether or not you’re in the market for a printer, it’s worth taking a look at what’s on the market. Here’s a sampling:

A multitasker’s dream.

Panasonic Digital Document Co. is talking up the capabilities of its C3 series of multifunction network scanner/printer/copier/fax machines for real estate offices. The company contends that by bringing document production in house with this $13,495 system, you can save money and time on color printing that had been outsourced.

This workgroup multifunction machine is rated at 21 pages per minute for color printing and 32 pages per minute for monochrome, with a maximum print resolution of 1,200 dots per inch, or dpi. The unit has a SecureDigital PC card slot for direct printing of documents or digital images stored on these cards. In its scan mode, it can be used to create a digital archive of printed documents or convert them into PDFs for distribution via e-mail.

When printing files from a networked PC desktop, the system’s software lets users drag and drop files for printing without the need to open software applications. Another software feature, Document Manager, gives users the same convenience when combining content from several different files into one document for clients.

Customized solutions.

Lanier, a Ricoh company, offers a scalable document solution in its array of products for the real estate business. Here, too, the focus is on the brokerage, with a program to address all aspects of the document workflow in real estate, including e-mail, faxing, and print production.

The company offers a free service called DOCUtivity analysis; a Lanier representative assesses offices, printing capabilities, and document demand to provide insight on building the most cost-effective solution. Components can include Lanier’s document production and management software; digital multifunction printers; stand-alone printers and scanners; e-mail-enabled faxing; and Web-based or internal network-based document archiving. There’s no base pricing; cost depends on the range of services and tools selected.

Easy online shopping.

Hewlett Packard, a REALTOR® Benefits partner, has long offered printers that meet specific needs of real estate professionals. The company has created a handy real estate Web site that lists all of its real estate-suited products and buying guides. You can identify the best HP printer for a range of print needs, including desktop and workgroup printers, as well as specialized printers for photos and signs. Also included is information on selecting the best print media, based on the type of project. Finally, the site includes a link for ordering printers and supplies at an NAR member discount.

Free? Really?

Although it’s not specific for real estate, Xerox has devised a relatively painless solution for color printing with its free color printer program. To participate, a company must have more than one employee and produce between 2,000 and 4,000 printed pages per month. Qualifying companies get the Phaser 8550 solid ink color printer for free, with a three-year agreement to purchase ink and other “consumables.” The 600 dpi printer is rated at 30 pages per minute for color or monochrome. Consumables are automatically shipped to users each month, based on projected need, and there’s a monthly fee of $100 when demand falls below specified usage level. The agreement also includes three years of service and support. At the end of the contract, the customer owns the printer.

Perks of In-House Printing

Whether you’re an independent salesperson or an office manager, it’s worth considering in-house solutions such as these. Even if you don’t buy from these vendors, their focus on real estate and small business may alert you to options you may not have considered.

Any solution that brings printing in-house can introduce cost savings, while ensuring creative control over how the company is represented in all documents. Options such as scan-to-PDF, e-mail faxing, and digital archiving can introduce new efficiency in document management and distribution.

Remember it’s not just system cost, but the total cost of ownership that determines your best value. The price of consumables as well as extended service contracts represent ongoing expenses. Before entering into any long-term equipment lease or lease-to-own contract, find out about fees that may be applied if you terminate the agreement early.

All of these vendors want your business; it’s just takes a little research to decide which really offers the best deal for you.