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Must-have Car Tech Can Make a Real Difference for Realtors

October 23 2016

hfinder mustHaveCarTechRealtors

It's common knowledge that a home and a car are the two biggest purchases in a person's life. And when you think about it, Realtors are in a unique position to know a lot about both. That's because a lot of their business is done in the car, and their knowledge of homes and clients requires them to be constantly mobile. Advances in car technology can help make that business so much easier.

Smartphone integration

In a business where missing a call can mean missing out on a sale, it's obviously vital — and safer — to have a hands-free phone system in your car. But though a basic Bluetooth setup may be fine for most folks, Realtors should consider the more comprehensive smartphone-integration technologies like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With these, after you connect your compatible smartphone to your car's infotainment system, your phone's home screen is projected onto the vehicle's touchscreen. You can access your contacts and calendar, but the big benefit is that you also can leverage an increasingly wide range of other phone functionalities, along with popular mobile apps, while on the go.

For example, depending on your phone, you'll be able to use Apple Maps or Google Maps for navigation. Both provide a brand-specific user experience and plenty of unique ways to help you get to your next showing, and there's also a notable value involved: Since you don't need a traditional in-vehicle nav system with smartphone integration, you don't have to pay for one.

Mobile wi-fi

Some Realtors also depend on a laptop or a tablet to bring a little extra processing power to their business. If that's more your speed, a smaller number of automakers will furnish a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, with 4G LTE connectivity. This is the real thing, allowing you — and anyone else in your car — to go online at any time, with the same kind of Internet access you'd have in your office or living room. Now, this technology isn't as widely available as smartphone integration, which can be found in most mainstream brands at this stage. However, it's not limited to premium brands: Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and the like may offer it, but so do GM brands including Chevy. Ford's SYNC furnishes an alternative connectivity solution that can turn a smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Hands-free trunks and tailgates

As a busy Realtor, you'll often have your hands full, sometimes literally. If you've ever had to fumble for your car keys while holding multiple "For Sale" signs, folders and a briefcase or purse, you know what we mean. You also may be interested in another new hands-free technology that's expanding through the auto industry: "smart" trunks and tailgates.

This technology allows trunks to automatically open when you approach the rear of the vehicle, so you don't need to worry about keys, or even pressing a key fob, to store things away. Some do require that you motion your foot under the rear bumper; others require you to stand in a specific place. You must also have the vehicle's key fob somewhere with you, like in a pocket or pocketbook, since the systems work by detecting it.

Safety technology

Certain high-tech assistance measures can be particularly welcome for Realtors as well, especially if you have neighborhood clients, and you're likely to be driving where kids, dogs, and people pulling out of driveways are common.

Front crash-prevention systems, for instance, can use radar or cameras to detect slowed or stopped objects in front of a driver, warn the driver, and then automatically steer and brake if the driver doesn't respond quickly enough. Significantly, some of these technologies are tailored specifically for low-speed operation, with the ability to detect pedestrians and bicycles crossing city and neighborhood streets. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is so confident in front crash-prevention technology that an effective system is mandatory for its Top Safety Pick winners.

Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making rearview cameras mandatory on all new vehicles in this country for 2018, indicating how important driver-assistance technology can be when you're headed in the other direction. Yet until NHTSA's new ruling goes into effect, Realtors who will be backing down their own share of driveways will want to make sure their current ride already has that technology.

Heating for the seating

Don't forget to take care of yourself when you're on the road: Staying comfortable is vital to staying sharp and friendly with clients. Plus, it's always nice to add comfort for clients who may be riding with you. Nearly all automakers will get you started with heated seating, for both the driver and the front-seat passenger, and a growing variety of mainstream cars expand that to warm the rear seats, too. Realtors in colder climates should be sure to check out choices with multi-stage heating and those that heat the seat bottoms and backs. You also can go all-in on comfort with seats that have a ventilation function and, in the more upscale vehicles, massage settings.

A high-tech and well equipped car is like having a home away from home, for people selling homes.

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