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
So my laptop is on its way out. I am now spending more time fixing it than I am actually working on it. For someone who uses her laptop like a third arm, this is very disturbing. What’s a girl to do? Research, read and then buy! Or at least that is my plan.
I get asked by agents ALL of the time, “I want/need a new laptop! What should I buy?” Well, I can’t tell you exactly what to buy, but I do have a few personal guidelines.
First of all, I would buy a PC. I know Apple is sexy. I know they are less prone to viruses. I know all the cool kids have them. I would still buy a PC. My MLS just (as in last week) became compatible with Firefox. We also use a ton of programs and applications that do not play well without Internet Explorer. And yes, I know, you can run a side-by-side set-up that will allow you to run any programs that will not work with Apple, but it doesn’t seem worth it to me. Bonus: Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system is said to be comparable to Apple’s Snow Leopard.
Next, I would research: go to http://shopper.cnet.com/ and see what is rated the best and why. Read the reviews. CNET will give you a CNET editor rating and an average user rating on most products. I also like to research and read the information on PC Magazine – http://www.pcmag.com/reviews. Finally, check out Biz Rate at: http://www.bizrate.com/computers-software/ for more information. Biz Rate’s tagline is “search compare conquer.” What’s not to love about that company line?!
Now, pay attention. Let’s talk parts and specs and such… Continue reading »
By Kelly Reark
I am here today to talk to you about the importance of using protection.
Seriously. Protect yourself from viruses and other digitally transmitted diseases. With all the forms of protection out there, it would be a shame for you to be exposed.
I use several [explicative deleted] words to describe computer viruses and hack jobs that are out to destroy my personal information, family photos, and databases of real estate contacts. Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your data:
1. Back up your files, and do it often. You can use a thumb drive, cloud data service, external hard drive, or even the “old-fashioned” way of burning your files to a CD. There are companies out there that will even do it for you. The main thing is to make sure you have a system in place so that you frequently store your data and can recover your files should the worse happen.
2. While you are at it, backup your anti-virus software each day. Your job is (likely) to sell real estate. While you are out there, someone else is sitting in front of a computer. Their job is to invent viruses.
3. Know who your friends are. Sure, you get friend requests every day from people you “kinda” know, and you want to grow your business… but is it safe to friend everyone that asks? No. Put a system in place to screen your friends and be picky about what information you share with them. Continue reading »
Win a $3800 mobile office package or one of four HP mini Netbook computers.
Hewlett-Packard wants to hear how YPN members use technology to win more business, save time, and wow clients. They are running a contest for the best example of technology use of by a REALTOR®.
All entries due October 28.
The winners will be announced at the YPN Mix & Mingle Networking event at the 2009 REALTOR® Conference and Expo in San Diego on November 13.