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 Marianne Guenther Bornhoft
A new study just released from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism indicate that half of American adults have mobile Internet access via a tablet or smartphone. This is a major shift on how we as REALTORS® might want to review how we price our listings. Now more than ever, it is important to identify how potential buyers are using new technology to find their dream home.
At the center of this growth phenomenon is the tablet computer. The report states that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults — 22 percent — now own a tablet device-double the number from a year earlier. Another 3 percent of adults regularly use a tablet owned by someone else in their home. And nearly a quarter of those who don’t have a tablet, 23 percent, plan to get one in the next six months. In addition, 44 percent of U.S. adults have smartphones, which, according to the survey, is up from 35 percent from May 2011.
Most buyers start their home search by looking at listings online, or most often, on a real estate app specifically designed for a smart phone or tablet. This search tool allows the person to search for very detailed criteria. For example, the app will prompt the buyer to select the price grid they desire. For example, on the REALTOR.com® app, a typical price starts from a no minimum amount up to $300,000 with a $25,000 price spread between the two different price brackets. Most apps follow this rule. Some are only $25,000 between the price brackets and some real estate apps use a $50,000 price spread.
So let’s say you’re a seller and you would normally price your house at $224,999, now with the specific price brackets in mind, you might want to price it at $225,000 exactly. That way it will show up in both searches. Specifically, the search criteria a buyer might pick has house prices that go up to $225,000 or some would rather start from the $225,000 price bracket and search higher.
Remember, the real estate app only gives you exactly what you ask it to produce. So a seller might actually be losing a buyer who could afford a higher price home by pricing it out of targeted range. It would have been better if they would have priced it precisely the amount of one of the specific price brackets on the desired real estate app.
Rethinking how we expose the listings to the public is crucial as technology becomes more advanced and different ways to search for a house develop. We must learn to adapt to this change or be left behind.
Marianne Guenther Bornhoft is a broker at Windermere Manito in Spokane, Wash. Connect with her at www.SpokaneHouse.com , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marianneguentherbornhoft or on Twitter @spokanehouse or www.linkedin.com/in/marianneguentherbornhoft.
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 Scott Newman
With new communication and social media technology emerging everyday, it seems all you can do is try and stay on top of it all so you’re not left in the dust and viewed as “out of touch.”
However, as we enter this new, super-connected world as real estate professionals, I think we need to make sure we are on the forefront of establishing good policies and rules for how we use all this technology to connect with our clients and the general public.
Below, I’ve outlined 3 “Golden Rules” to consider when choosing how to use technology to engage your network.
Rule #1: Just because it’s a text, email, or blog comment, doesn’t mean that grammar and spelling should become afterthoughts. Anytime you’re communicating with anyone, it is imperative that you put your best foot forward — and that means taking the time to spell-check and make sure what you have written is grammatically correct.
Rule #2: Do not use your phone to do your dirty work. Yes, we have all been running late to meet a client and thought that it would be easier to just shoot them a text, but I personally feel that is the wrong way to handle it. Your character is defined by how you react to adversity. So when something goes wrong, pick up the phone immediately and call so they can hear the sincerity in your voice. That way whether it’s a giant issue or a tiny one (like you running a few minutes behind), they know they are still your top priority and that you are making the necessary time for them.
Rule #3: Do not use your technology while you are with your clients. Continue reading »
By Shannon Williams King
Looking for affordable, unique gifts for your loved ones or yourself? Here are five must-have tech gadgets all road warriors need, and a few more gift ideas I thought sounded cool! What’s on your list this year?
1.) Kindle Fire – At $199 who can’t resist finding out what all the fuss is about? I love Amazon, so I think I’ll like it. They say it’s the iPad2′s closest competition… I want to find out! Is this on your list?
2.) Mophie Juice Pack – True road warriors are always on the phone. Don’t find yourself without battery power for the ever so important phone call. These small cases double your phones’ battery life. Only $79 online!
3.) Motorola t505 – A must have if your car doesn’t come equipped with built-in Bluetooth. You will love the way this little device integrates with your car’s radio. Buy it online at Amazon for the best deals – about $60.
4.) Drivesafe.ly App – You can now text and drive safely! This is the perfect FREE gift to “give” your friends, clients and kids. Who knows, you might even save a life.
5.) Wide Angle Lens Kit – For your iPhone or video camera – all of us who shoot photos with our smartphones you can now use this wide angle attachment to get the best photos possible. $50 on HDhat.com
And now for some other fun ideas!!!
6.) Square up – Think PayPal for your smartphone. It’s perfect if you sell products, have a fundraiser, or a garage sale. Or someone just owes you money. You can now accept credit cards for ANYTHING with just your phone! And it’s FREE… what a great gift for those you know who are in any service industry.
By Michelle Flaherty
Now that we’re on to day two of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, and my mind and body are beginning to adjust to west coast time, the pieces of information that I will bring back home with me are becoming much more clear.
First, it is becoming abundantly clear that I need an iPad. Every class I’ve attended so far has opened my eyes to at least one new tip, trick, or app to enrich my clients’ experience and make my job easier and more fun. Nobu Hata (2012 chair of the YPN Subcommittee) in the “follow me” class made a point to say it was THE single tool that agents need to have to improve their businesses. And when it came time to write this blog post, I’m embarrassed to say that I had to ask my MOM to borrow hers so I wouldn’t have to go get my laptop in the hotel room. Yes, I’m embarrassed to say that the Gen-Y is the technology dinosaur in this family real estate team.
Second, in a world full of social media and advertising noise, people in the community appreciate when you recognize or mention an ad they placed in the newspaper, an award they received, or an accomplishment that earned them a place in the news. Both the “marketing without money” and “selling luxury property” class instructors suggested clipping articles and reaching out to people personally when their names or businesses are in the news (assuming the story is positive). A great reminder that real estate is and will always be a business built around real relationships. Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
This video outlines the pros and cons of the iPad and covers the basics that all real estate practitioners should consider before they make their purchase.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Malvern, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
By Stefanie Hahn
The two major players in the location-based check-in game are currently Foursquare and, simply because of the size of the network, Facebook. You are probably already a member of Facebook, which is really how Facebook will beat Foursquare in the end. Maybe.
Let’s start with the basics … If you haven’t heard about Foursquare yet, don’t worry. There are still plenty of people not sure what it is or how it works. In a nutshell, Foursquare is one of a few mobile networking sites that allow you to broadcast you location in the world and interact with others who are nearby. It was designed as a game, but has become more about social media than it is about play. Here is a cute video from the Foursquare folks describing the service in their own words.
I resisted Foursquare for quite a while – mainly because I didn’t really feel the world needed to know where I was at every moment and also because I didn’t really see the value in playing along. Then in February there was a whole debate about the “please rob me” sites popping up that told people when you were somewhere else – that was a bit creepy too. In the end, however, I signed up because I recognize when something cool is coming along. Continue reading »