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Software: The Document Factory

The Document Factory is a series of CDs chock full of documents and forms property investors can use. Diana Clement reviews the CDs and comes away suitably impressed.

Thursday, August 31st 2006, 10:49AM

by The Landlord

The Document Factory
Legal professional forms for landlords on a CD



Price: $99 to $199
Overall rating: 4/5

 



First impressions count for a lot with software. So when I loaded the first of two CDs from the Document Factory it was welcome relief when a Macromedia Flash Player screen jumped into life and this product started working without difficulty.

The Document Factory CDs come in two versions — a Starter Pack and Pro Pack. The Starter Pack costs $99 and contains 15 commonly used landlord legal letters and forms including: tenancy application form, reference check, automatic payment form and bond lodgment, refund and transfer forms.

The Pro Pack CD costs $199. This more comprehensive CD contains 48 Document Factory documents plus a full copy of the current Residential Tenancies Act and six free Tenancy Services documents, all grouped under 10 headings.

• Tenancy forms
• 10-day notices
• Other notices
• Termination notices
• Sale notices
• Letters
• Tenants’ documents
• Other documents
• Fencing notice documents
• Free tenancy services

If you choose to upgrade from the Starter Pack to the Pro Pack there is no time limit on the upgrade — which means you can upgrade as and when you feel the need. If you do want to upgrade, the company requires you to send back the Starter Pack CD. This means you’re without your CD for seven days but you can print off copies of the documents to use in the meantime.

The good news about The Document Factory CDs is that they’re really easy to navigate. You click on the name of the document and a summary of what it contains is shown in the top half of your screen. At the same time an unmissable “open document” button appears. You simply click on it and the document opens, albeit slowly, in a separate Adobe Acrobat Reader window and start filling in the blanks with your information and data. From the summary window you can also, if you wish, print out a summary of the document and, in some cases, instructions on how to use documents.

Technically the product works well. I struggled at one point with the Macromedia Flash software, which the Document Factory needs to run on your PC. But the problem was no fault of the Document Factory — just one of those niggling software annoyances that litter the world of computing.

On the downside, if you’ve got an old dog of a computer, then you may have trouble installing and running Macromedia Flash. Although the program runs in Flash, the documents download as PDFs, meaning they are slow to open and you need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.

Being PDF documents, unless you have a full version of Adobe Acrobat, rather than just the free Acrobat Reader, then you can’t save what you type in the document. You can print several copies with your personal data in it, for example, but not save it.

Many of the property management software programs that we’ve reviewed include a number of free documents, but none as comprehensive as the Document Factory. You can also get some of the documents for free from Tenancy Services but there’s something to be said for having them handy at the click of a mouse. If the CD saves you just one trip to a lawyer its probably paid for itself.

For those of you who really can’t stomach coughing up $349 to have limited copies of these documents on hand, then you can download and pay for the ones you want from The Document Factory’s website. But if you’re a heavy user; it’s probably better value to buy the entire CD.

Whatever you decide to do, you’ll need to give a thought to the upcoming changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. Sean Ford, operations manager at the Document Factory, said if a document is outdated due to an amendment of the RTA and it’s within 12 months of the purchase of a CD, the document will be replaced via email free of charge. If an entire CD is outdated due to an amendment of RTA it will be replaced at a price of 40% of the original price.

“We are currently closely monitoring the RTA review and intend to be able to react swiftly in regards to any impact to our product range,” Ford says. The company also has plans afoot to launch related legal products at some point in the future. “We consider that we do have the finite expertise and experience to enable this to occur. Therefore this may be considered a future possibility and old adage ‘watch this space” is probably applicable in circumstances.”

The other key person in the Document Factory is property Magazine columnist John May. “After numerous requests from other landlords I realised there was a gap in the market for such cost-effective products, which are designed to make life a little easier and less risky for landlords and property managers. Consequently the Document Factory was formed by myself and Sean,” John said.

Finally, this program and the corresponding website have been created with an eye for design.
The Document Factory’s main competitor is Butterworths.

To purchase The Document Factory, visit the Good Returns bookstore at
www.goodreturns.co.nz/bookstore or call +64(07)3491920.

System requirements:
• Internet Explorer 4.0 or later;
• Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 or later (on CD)
• Macromedia Flash (on CD)
• 33.6 modem or later;
• Microsoft Windows 95 operating system or later.


VERDICT


An excellent collection of legal documents that could benefit both new and experienced landlords.
Pros: Easy-to-use extensive database of letters.
Cons: Completed documents can’t be saved and you’ll need both Adobe Acrobat and Macromedia Flash on your PC to run it.

 


Reproduced from the NZ Property Magazine

 

Click here to subscribe today!

 

« Website: InfometricsProperty.co.nzPIA Professional - Property analysis software »

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