Real Estate Document Management
Definitions and Best Practices

Technology is changing the way that commercial real estate firms conduct business and increasingly becoming vital in order to complete tasks and meet critical deadlines. Numerous studies show that CRE firms that leverage technology are able to increase productivity, efficiency, and accuracy firm-wide.

What is CRE Data?

In the world of commercial real estate, every activity involves data – spreadsheets with hundreds and even thousands of lines of information. But with the increased volume and velocity of data, CRE firms are challenged to make sense of it all. Unsurprisingly, the CRE industry lags behind most other industries with regards to adoption of data and analytics. But the commercial real estate space has seen a digital transformation in recent years, and the power of data and analytics can no longer be ignored. Leveraging data and analytics, such as with investor dashboards and reporting, can have a massive impact on how sponsors and investors make decisions.

What is Document Management?

Document Management is the use of a computer system or software to access, control, organize, secure, store, retrieve, share, manage, and track electronic documents and business files for an organization or firm. Document management systems enable firms to combine files into a single centralized hub, to streamline business workflows, and to efficiently handle documents, allowing organizations and their investors to quickly and efficiently extract key information.

Key trends impacting the growth of the document management software market include the following:

  • Rise in workflow collaboration
  • Demand for mobile device integration
  • Increasing need for security
  • Shift toward a paperless society
  • Greater focus on the investor experience
  • More regulations around document security and governance
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Business professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information and take an average of 18 minutes to locate each document

What is Commercial Real Estate Document Management?

Commercial real estate transactions involve a large volume of paperwork, and paper documents both take up space and consume time to process and locate. They can also be difficult to store and access and involve the risk of falling into the wrong hands.

A commercial real estate document management solution serves as a central repository for key information such as K-1s, waterfall-audit files, and broker/property management docs. Based on permission-levels, it enables your investors or your colleagues to access, view, and share specific documents and pieces of content.

Benefits of Commercial Real Estate Document Management

Documents are a core component of most business engagements and transactions. Managing these files can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Further, a study from PWC found that it costs $20 to file a document, $120 to locate a misfiled document, and $220 to reproduce a lost document.

Here are some of the benefits of using a document management system at your commercial real estate firm:



When documents are not properly managed, the possibility of vital, sensitive information being exposed to the wrong people is considerable. A commercial real estate document management software solution lets you safeguard confidential and sensitive business information while still providing end-users with on-demand access to key documents. Role-based access control ensures that authorized users alone are allowed to view specific pieces of content. A CRE document management system also provides better backup and disaster recovery and prevents information destruction. Further, a CRE Document Management tool, such as IMS, prevents security breaches by leveraging banking- and military-level encryption.



CRE is an increasingly global business. Investors across the country or across the world need instant access to key information, regardless of your own time zone and business hours. Similarly, people don’t just want access to information when they are in the office. They may need access to information while they are traveling, working remote, or even during their commute. With these requirements, investors expect to have quick, easy, convenient, 24/7 access to their documents from mobile or browser. A commercial real estate document management system provides investors with anywhere, on-the-go access, putting those documents and other pieces of key information right at investors’ fingertips and enabling them to easily find and retrieve the documents that they need when they need it from a central storage location.

  77% of business owners want the flexibility of accessing their files remotely  


Document challenges account for over 20% of productivity loss – that’s one entire day out of the standard work week! A document management system eliminates the inefficiencies of manually managing files and paperwork and the time-consuming effort to search for misplaced documents. Document retrieval speeds are dramatically improved in an electronic document management system versus a manual system.

A commercial real estate document management software is a powerful time-saving tool. Streamlining processes improves firm productivity and reduces risk and error. You can also acquire signatures and process paperwork faster when it’s easily available and has an automated workflow. Further, a study found that e-signatures save an average of $20 per document. When taking into consideration how many documents you create and spend per month, that $20 per document adds up quickly. Leveraging electronic signatures also reduces turnaround times by up to 80%, meaning your firm can close more deals, more quickly. The time saved by using a document management system can be devoted back to value-add activities for the firm.

  8% of documents get lost and 3% get misfiled – this document disarray is the #1 cause of organizational chaos  

Knowledge Management

Data is a critical aspect of doing business in the commercial real estate industry, but having silos makes it difficult to effectively manage information. Documents and information should not be confined to a single computer or server (or filing cabinet!). A cloud commercial real estate document management software can help to eliminate internal silos of data by giving all or selected authorized internal employees quick and easy access to documents.

Together, these benefits help to create a better investor experience and improve client relations. A commercial real estate document management system also enables the firm to be more scalable, with fewer manual processes as the company grows.

How to Leverage CRE Document Management

  • Easily and securely share key documents with both investors and internal employees, eliminating manual, error-prone, and unsecure processes.
  • Use commercial real estate document management software to make documents available to investors within their investor portal, no additional logins or passwords required.
  • Use authorization-levels to distribute documents to an investor, at a project level, or only to selected employees within the firm.
  • Notify users when new documents are available, accelerating business processes.

  8 out of 10 companies report high or moderate degrees of data silos  

Why You Can't Wait on Investor Dashboards and Reporting

Over 50% of CRE firms already use data and analytics to shape their decision-making. There is already a gap between those commercial real estate firms that embrace technology such as investor dashboards and reporting and those firms that are slower to innovate, and it’s only getting wider. That means that if you aren’t leveraging analytics, you could be falling behind. Failure to invest in the right technology solutions and analytics can hinder firm efficiency, effective asset management and optimization, and educated decision-making.

Ready to Get Started?

Investor Management Services (IMS) is the leading investor management software platform for CRE owners and investment firms. Today, we have over 550+ customers who have been able to reallocate thousands of hours back to value-add activities for their 85,000+ investors. The IMS Platform is being used to calculate $2+ Billion in distributions and $50+ Billion in equity.

To learn more about how commercial real estate firms have used IMS’ Commercial Real Estate CRM software to save time and resources, drive value, and improve the investor experience click here. Ready to go ahead and take the next step?

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