By Dave Robison
When I first started in the real estate business more than 14 years ago, I took classes where everybody touted using flyers to “capture buyers.” One of the tactics was to leave the price off the flyer so that buyers would call to get the price. Others had special offers or asked buyers to call for more details. The only problem was flyers were always disappearing, and it was a constant fight to keep them in stock.
Around my fourth year in the business — or about a decade ago — the 1-800 call capture systems started gaining traction. The public loved listening to a recording because it was almost like taking a flyer, but they didn’t have to talk to an agent. The public didn’t realize that the agents were capturing their information. Now it seems like almost everybody has one of these systems on their signs to capture buyer leads.
Fast-forward to today: Now we’re seeing another change. If a buyer wants to know what a home’s list price is when driving by, they simply check an app on their phone. They can see pictures of the inside, they can read property details, they have all the info at the touch of a button.
This type of home shopping about to become more prevalent for two reasons: Continue reading »
By Dolores Esanu
I was at a friend’s wedding a few weeks ago. After a few moments of small talk, one of the guests asked, “Are all REALTORS® so personable?” I answered, “I like to think so, but one thing we are always is patient.”
Patience is probably the most pivotal catalyst towards managing clients and coworkers. We patiently wait on callbacks, patiently wait on feedback and patiently wait on documents. The one aspect the patience attribute I often find challenging is working with those who are not up to date with technology. Growing up in a generation where I can access the world through my fingertips is not only compelling, but can be challenging as well.
REALTORS® range in a variety of ages, from Millennials to Generation Xers to Baby Boomers. Being a Millennial who has adapted to the ever-changing world of technology can cause a lack of patience towards the more seasoned adults who are unaware of the tech resources that make daily transactions so much easier. The whole, “Why drive 20 miles to drop off a contract, when you can just scan and email?” mentality makes sense to me, but may not to agents who were raised without computers and scanners.
So what does one do when encountering agents lacking a general knowledge of technology? Teach ‘em! Living in a retirement community, I often find myself showing other agents how to set up Dropbox, download Realtor.com apps, and even discover the mysterious “spam” folder they didn’t know existed. It can be a little humorous. But the rewarding feeling of knowing that I helped make someone’s job easier by opening their eyes through the benefits of technology is worth more than gold.
Our industry is an ever-changing, fast moving business that we engage in. REALTORS® are movers and shakers, we get things done. Time is a luxury, and I find we do our best to utilize time management to its full potential. Prioritizing dates and tasks is crucial, but if you happen to encounter a fellow coworker, client, or friend who asks, “How do I upload these pictures, again?” Give them a little bit of your time, because in the long run, they may end up saving you a lot of time.
By Subhi Gharbieh
Now that I have sort of become known as the “Real Estate Technology Geek,” I receive calls and e-mails daily about how REALTORS® can become paperless. I highly doubt that it is possible to be 100 percent paperless in our business, but here are three tips that will get you darn near close to never using a printer, ever again.
1. Daily Real Estate Task: Printing “Agent Full Report” from MLS. It is something that we must have when showing a property. It has the details that customers/clients don’t have in their “Customer Full Report,” such as days on the market, the listing agent’s contact info, private remarks, etc.
For PC users — Instead of printing this report, download a program called CutePDF. It is a free PDF converter that will set up as a printer in your print menu, BUT… drum-roll, please… it will not print! It will save your report as a PDF. This program is great and saves you the hundreds of dollars it would cost to purchase a similar Adobe product. I simply save the reports in Dropbox or Box (another must-have) and simply open it up on my iPhone or iPad.
For my fellow Apple/Mac users — Simply click print, and in the bottom left corner there will be a tab that says “PDF,” click on that to save your report as a PDF. No third-party program necessary.
2. Contracts/Addendum: Instead of printing the contracts/addenda you create in zipForm (or any other forms software that you may use): From your iPad, open the document with Box (an app that must be downloaded) and save it in your Box Cloud. Once you have it saved, Go to DocuSign (an app that must also be downloaded) and link your Box account directly to DocuSign. From there, you will be able to open the documents you saved in Box, place initials/signatures, assign recipients, and send the documents for signatures — getting your document signed without it ever being printed or scanned.
3. Listing Presentations: Instead of printing and binding a fancy listing presentation to give to your potential sellers, create a presentation in Keynote or Powerpoint, with fun graphics and the information you want your customer to see. Hand your clients your iPad/Tablet and let them flip through it while you ramble on about how you’re the best REALTOR® in town. They will love it, and if it’s done right, they will be sold on you immediately.
By Peter N. Lamandre
No Apple event would be complete without a post from me, the self-proclaimed “Über Apple Fan-boy.” iOS 6 is finally here and the new features are aplenty…
I will rundown a few of the super cool new things iPhone/iPad users can now do.
Let’s start with the new maps app replacing the previous map application, which was a Google product. It’s clear that Google was holding back some of the cool features in the iOS version of their product as the Android version had far superior features. Can you really blame Google though? Would you really provide your competitor with a “great product” or a “just okay” one? So Apple took the bull by the horns and created a new map app from the ground up, and I must say, so far this is a killer app. With all the iOS users out there, I can not see how the GPS companies will stay in business. The turn by turn is smooth, and so far it is accurate — hopefully it won’t send me into a corn field as I test in in some rural areas in the next few days. I took a spin on the highway and the anonymous crowd-sourced data to determine traffic patterns seems to be spot-on.
Mail received a facelift with the ability to now directly insert pictures and movies from the mail screen. Seems like a simple idea, but the insertion of videos and pictures was previously a cumbersome task, now it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy. I frequently read messages then mark them as “unread” in order to remind me to go back and do something with the email… I know I can flag them but I prefer to mark as unread so I was a bit scared when I could not find the “Mark as unread” link where it normally is. You can now find it in the lower left hand corner of your screen under the flag icon.
In the camera and photo features, there is now a built in panorama shooting mode in the iPhone, but not the iPad. I have used many panoramic apps over the years, and this one is fast, easy, and the sticking works very well. The photo app has noticeably faster loading, which I’m sure all the users can appreciate. The addition of a multiple photo stream will allow users to quickly share specific photos either publicly or privately by invitation only. I can think of numerous real estate-related uses for this feature.
As REALTORS®, we are always in meetings with clients, or in committee meetings where phones can be a distraction. Continue reading »
By Subhi Gharbieh
No Matter how hard we try to keep up with all the latest trends and technology, it is virtually impossible to use every single real estate-related mobile application in our business today. There is just too many of them! My fellow MetroTex (Dallas) YPN member- Justin Levitch and I have been teaching what we call our “iPads, Smart Phones, and Real Estate Apps Course” to diverse crowds of REALTORS® all over the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. We highlight hundreds of apps that could potentially boost your business, or just make you look like the most rock star, tech savvy real estate agent in town. Here are a few of my favorite apps that I use in my business today. Now, I’m already the coolest REALTOR® in town, but these definitely put me way ahead of the competition.
1. MagicPlan (iOS – free) - MagicPlan measures your rooms and draws your floor plan just by taking pictures. You can then get your floor plan in PDF, JPG and DXF format or publish an interactive floor plan on the Web. With MagicPlan, everyone can create a floor plan in just a few minutes. Example use: Draw a floor plan for your listing to show an out of town buyer the house layout.
2. Cards (iOS – free) – Create and mail beautifully crafted, real greeting cards personalized with your own text and photos – right from your iPhone. Your Apple ID is charged $2.99 for each postcard you send. Incredible, way better than a Hallmark! Example use: Post-closing thank yous.
3.Videolicious (iOS – free) – Turn raw video clips and photos into tightly-edited masterpieces to share with your friends in just three simple steps. Example use: 20-second buyer testimonial videos to use as commercials.
4. Dropbox or Box (iOS, Android – free) – Dropbox or Box lets you bring all your photos, documents, and videos anywhere. Any file you save to your Dropbox or Box will automatically save to all your computers, your Android or iOS device, and even the Dropbox or Box website! Example use: Share files too large to e-mail with your clients, backup your photos and/or files in the cloud to have access while mobile. Access contracts or photos on your iPad without using up all your iPad memory.
By Stefanie Hahn
What does getting it done mean? My “it” goes something like this…I want to work hard, be kind, and have a life. In order for me to be kind and have a life, I have to get it done. Working hard is weaved right in there. Here are a few of the apps that I use each day to get it done. *Bonus – all of these apps are free!
Assistant (Android) | SpeakToIt (Apple)
I spend a ton of time in the car – I got an Assistant to help me use this time effectively. The Assistant app can open apps, search for answers and addresses, compose an e-mail or text, read news, e-mails, and texts, play voicemails, save “to do” list items, and more. The voice transcriptions are some of the best I’ve seen in apps of this ilk, which makes using the Assistant fast and easy (and hands free)!
Any.Do (Android, Apple, Chrome add-on and Web)
Using lists helps me keep it together and accomplish what I need to each day. Any.Do works on my phone and has a fun little Chrome add-on that I use on my laptop. Of course, like most of these “to do” list apps Any.Do allows you to cross off items that you’ve completed. Additionally, you can set priorities, display and file under multiple lists, set alarms, add notes, and share your “to do” items.
Business Calendar Free (Android only) Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
Not an avid Apple user? You can still make the iPad work for you! Here are a few apps, cloud computing services, and workflow ideas that can help you make the most of your iPad experience — especially helpful for those hardcore Google users. Sneak peek: SugarSync.
Watch my tutorial to learn more.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
By Subhi Gharbieh
Have you ever thought about some things you can incorporate into your listing presentation that will really juice it up? Here are a few tips to help you get your listing presentation looking like Barry Bonds.
1. Graphs, Charts, Tables of Market Data. Comps, recent sales, and anything that can be explained with numbers, make it visual! (If you’re a Mac user, I strongly recommend Numbers for Mac.
Very easy to use and make your numbers “pop.”)
2. Marketing. Show them your property flyers with your amazing photos. Show them your blog, videos, advertisements, postcards, etc. They want to see what you have done in the past and what you will do for them now.
3. Social Media. Show them your Facebook business page. Twitter. Show them the different avenues you use to reach out to your following and how you market your listings on those networks.
4. Technology. If you have an iPad, make or upload your listing presentation in Keynote (Hands down, best Mac program to use when making presentations.) Bring an actual binded, professional looking listing presentation to the appointment, and bring your iPad also. Hand the iPad to the Seller and let them flip through the presentation on there while you go through the paper version. That alone will sell them. Continue reading »
By Jonathan Osman
No one would have guessed that REALTORS® would look back on 2009 as “the good ole days,” but as the real estate market continues to find bottom, that’s exactly what some are doing. The reality for 2011 may be that we are all fighting for a smaller piece of the sales pie and remaining in business means implementing low-cost solutions to save money.
That being said, here are a five technology tools that brokers and agents alike should implement to help survive an uncertain 2011.
1. Cloud-based Phone Service
The telephone is still the most important tool of our business but for most brokerages, this can result in a huge monthly expense towards the bottom line. Plus, every agent walks around with a phone attached to their hip so is the expense of a phone system and monthly service even necessary?
Services like RingCentral, Grasshopper, and Phonebooth offer users a plethora of options and features usually reserved for phone systems that cost as much as a BMW 550i for less than the cost of a cell phone bill. Local number – check, 800 number – check, fax-to-email – check. “Find Me” features – check. Best of all, whether you are a solo agent, small company working from home, or a mid-sized firm with 50 agents, you can still have the big-company presence which is could help in recruiting agents to work for you. Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
Yelp has become a verb in my world. Where should we meet for lunch? Let’s Yelp! Yelp lets me see restaurants near my current location or a location that I chose. Yelp shows me the name, address and type of food, plus the overall rating by reviewers and bonus — I can see how many people have reviewed the place. When I select a restaurant off the list, I have more options… map, phone number, I can read reviews; see photos and really feel comfortable with my dining decision.
Want more from your texting? chompSMS is a replacement for your standard Android text messaging platform and is loaded with customizations and extras galore. Of course you can change the look and layout of your text messages, add a signature, use quick compose and reply features, but they have some super cool features too. You can customize how you are notified when a new message comes in, down to the color of the LED light that blinks and even select a ringtone for a specific contact. chompSMS has a “speak text” feature that will speak your text messages to you so you don’t have to actually read them. Who doesn’t need that?! Continue reading »