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Green Home vs. Smart Home (and the Top 9 Features)
Smart homes and green homes are growing in demand in many parts of the country. Yet, when people think of a smart home, some may think it is the same as a green home. Yes, they work beautifully together, but they are actually different. This article will highlight each and show you the key features that buyers are looking for now.
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4 Green Marketing Ideas Agents Can Try this Earth Day
Earth Day is this Sunday--and you know what that means, right? A primo marketing opportunity is here! Not only do holidays (yes, even minor ones!) make it easier to connect with consumers online, research shows that "green" issues resonate with today's consumer. Fifty-six percent of Realtors say their clients are interested in sustainability, and 71 percent said that promoting energy efficiency in listings was important. So if you're a Realtor who has earned NAR's Green Designation, an agent in a market where solar panels are common, or just a fan of all things eco-friendly—try these marketing strategies to connect with green-minded real estate consumers in your area.
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Home Energy Costs Play Vital Role in Marketing Listings
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Sustainability and Real Estate: How to Keep Up with the Growing Demand for 'Green'
Are you noticing an increased interest in environmentally friendly home features from your real estate clients? If so, you're not alone. According to NAR, 56 percent of Realtors report that their clients are at least "somewhat interested" in green real estate. Apart from the environmental benefits, many consumers are recognizing that "going green" means saving green, and more people are taking this into account when looking for homes. Not only is the cost of installing things like solar panels or energy efficient heaters dropping, green technology in general is having an interesting economic moment right now. On March 11, for example, solar power provided half of California's electricity, temporarily driving wholesale rates negative. Jobs in sustainable energy are available at nearly five times the rate of traditional fossil fuel jobs, and solar and wind jobs are growing 12 times faster than the US economy. So it's safe to say that the green revolution is here to stay—and to grow. Real estate technology is still playing catch-up in many markets, however, with only 43 percent of Realtors reporting that their MLS has green data fields. If your MLS doesn't yet offer green data fields, the Center for Sustainable Energy suggests that listing agents instead add sustainability information in the MLS remarks section. For example, for solar power systems, they recommend adding helpful information like: Solar system size – Number of panels and kilowatt capacity Estimated annual production – System output in kilowatt-hours Type of ownership – Owned, owned with loan, leased or power purchase agreement Utility bill savings – Either from the utility or third-party system owner Photos – Show the system, as well as any home energy ratings or green certificates
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Going Green in 2017
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The Future Is Now: Sustainable Homes for the Booming Millennial Market
I get home late and everyone's asleep. We're in the middle of a heat wave, but it's so cold inside that I know the A/C has been on all day and probably all week. Next month's utility bill confirms this suspicion. I walk upstairs and notice all the lights are on, except the one in the hall which would've shown me the Lego I just stepped on. So now I'm freezing and my foot hurts too. I think to myself—there has to be a simpler way. There must be another way that I can shelter my family without wasting so much money and space and resources. We don't need half the space in our house and consume twice as much as we should. Who am I? I'm a millennial. I was born in 1984. There are around 75 million people in the US just like me. And guess what? Many of my millennial peers feel the same way I do. Considering we outnumber baby boomers as the largest portion of the American population, real estate professionals should take these feelings very seriously. What do I want? I want alternatives. I want a smaller house and fewer bills. I care about the environment. I want to do my part for the world and live sustainably. So what are my options?
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3 Apps for First-Time Home Buyers
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Going Green: 3 Marketing Tips for Real Estate Agents
Earth Day is fast approaching and many people are ready to take the initiative to go green. In fact, cities like Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois have already joined the green movement by becoming more eco-friendly. Going green has become a very popular topic in the real estate industry and it would be a great idea to have some tactics under your belt on how to market to clients who desire to live a greener life. Here's some ideas that may be useful to you: 1. Consider joining the green movement. As a real estate agent, you might want to bring yourself up to speed with what green living entails because some of your clients will be looking for eco-friendly homes. You should even think about taking courses to help you become a green real estate specialist. Doing so will help you learn about the specifics concerning green buildings and what the market is like for them. 2. Figure out what your client want. A key factor in assisting your client with their real estate needs is asking, "What are you looking for?" If possible, provide them with a list of possible amenities that an eco-friendly home may have. According to the recent Homes.com Smart Home Technology survey, 48% of real estate agents say that homebuyers are looking for homes that have an automated home security system installed. According to Networx.com, homebuyers are also looking for green amenities such as energy efficient windows, sustainable flooring, and Energy Star® appliances including refrigerators, freezers, and dehumidifiers.
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Checklist: Going Digital
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8 Resources for Saving 'Green' this Earth Day
It's Earth Day--but we're not going to talk about saving the environment by going green today. While there are many virtues to reducing your paper and energy use, we know that you've probably heard all about that already. Instead, we're going to talk about saving green. When you think about it, caring for your finances and caring for the planet are not that different. In the end, it all comes down to responsible resource management. What resources are you conserving by going paperless? Money, certainly, but also time and effort. In the spirit of helping you conserve the resources that are most important to you (whatever they may be!), we've rounded up some of our favorite articles and calculators to help you navigate the world of going paperless. Exploring Expenses We get it. The printing, the faxing, the copying--it's all familiar and maybe even comforting, especially if you've been doing it for years. If you're reluctant to switch to a paperless real estate practice, perhaps some cold, hard facts and figures will make you reconsider. Just how much is all the printing, faxing, and copying costing you? See The Hidden Cost of Paper Transactions to learn more. Still not convinced? These two 'paperless' calculators can give you a more personalized look at how much money you're throwing away each year: Paperless Savings Calculator - This tool from Instanet factors in things like printing costs, storage costs, and staff time to give you a detailed idea of how much money you spend in a year on paper related expenses. Green Marketing 'ROI' Calculator - If you still focus on direct mail instead in favor of online marketing, this calculator from eMerge lets you know how much you could save by turning your focus to digital channels instead.
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Spring Clean Your Business Processes
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The Hidden Cost of Paper Transactions
Are the tools and processes you use in your real estate business giving you the maximum return on your investment? If you're still battling through mountains of paperwork, there may be room for improvement. Examining the Hard Costs of Paper Depending on what state you live in, a single real estate transaction can require signatures on anywhere from 10 to 100 documents. The cost of all this paperwork makes a significant impact on your bottom line. Let's take a quick look at where these expenses lie: Printing - On a standard office printer, a single black-and-white page costs $0.03. With color, the cost jumps to $0.08. Delivery - The cost of postage and courier fees adds up quick. For documents that can be signed locally, factor in the time and expense of travel, as well as the hassle of coordinating meeting times that are convenient for all parties. Storage - Storing and managing paper documents costs over 50 times as much as electronic records, thanks to necessities like filing cabinets, boxes, folders, and more. Not only will you need more space as time goes on, but there are special considerations that paper archives need, like temperature, humidity, and fireproofing. Document loss and reproduction - Whether lost in transit or just lost in the shuffle, paper documents are always at risk of going missing. When this happens, you re-incur the costs of printing these documents again.
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Learn how to be a Paperless Agent™ with the GoodLife Team and RE Technology!
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Best of 2012: Why You Must Be A Paperless Agent
We're celebrating the end the year by counting down our 10 most engaging articles of 2012. This article, by Krisstina Wise, was posted in December and is #8 in our countdown. A Ubiquitous Gadget Over the past 12 months, I've traveled the country speaking at real estate conferences on the importance of mobile technologies and practices to the future of real estate agents. Because the smartphone, and now iPad, are becoming ubiquitous gadgets that agents own, there is no shortage of platform speeches on subjects like, "Top 10 Apps for Your Real Estate Business." Yet, despite the number of mobile themed topics being presented, I've begun to wonder how many agents who own iPads actually know how to use it in their business. I've speculated that the majority of these agents do not. Anyone can buy an app from the app store – that's a piece of cake – but what they're missing is the knowledge of what to do with the application once it's been downloaded. The Big Reveal To test my theory, I opened my last conference talk with this question to the audience (about 400 agents), "How many of you own an iPad or a tablet?" Nearly every hand went up.
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Going Paperless: 3 Tips to Get Started
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Two Approaches to Commute Calculation
Offering information about commute times to people shopping for a new home is, quite simply, a great idea. This is particularly true in our current culture, one focused on reducing expenses and protecting the environment. Today, we'll take a look at two different approaches to doing just this – courtesy of Trulia and Walk Score. My Commute Matters I should explain that I don't live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or another thriving metropolis. However, I do have a commute to work (about 35 to 45 minutes, in fact). And it's a huge part of my day. Lengthening or shortening that commute will be a major consideration for me in making my next home purchase. I'm not alone. Many Americans are hampered by a long commute, and are looking for ways to cut it down. They want to save time, spend less money on fuel, and be kinder to the environment. So, like me, as they make their real estate choices, the length of the commute could be an important factor. Smart real estate professionals will recognize this priority, and will respond by offering information about commute times. New online tools, like the ones we're about to discuss, can be a great first step. Trulia's Commute Map I was actually inspired to write this article after spotting a recent post on the Trulia blog announcing their new Commute Map. I decided to give it a try for myself. Before I share my experience, I want to point out that Trulia's Commute Map lives on Trulia.com. In order to recommend this tool, agents will have to direct their clients to Trulia.com – away from their own website. However, the Commute Map represents another feature that Trulia offers to provide a richer home searching experience to online visitors and may encourage visitors to spend more time on the site (and, in a perfect world, more time viewing any listings that you have syndicated there). Alright, that being said, here's my experience with the Trulia Commute Map.
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"The Cloud" 101
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Why You Must Be A Paperless Agent
Guest contributor Krisstina Wise says: A Ubiquitous Gadget Over the past 12 months, I've traveled the country speaking at real estate conferences on the importance of mobile technologies and practices to the future of real estate agents. Because the smartphone, and now iPad, are becoming ubiquitous gadgets that agents own, there is no shortage of platform speeches on subjects like, "Top 10 Apps for Your Real Estate Business." Yet, despite the number of mobile themed topics being presented, I've begun to wonder how many agents who own iPads actually know how to use it in their business. I've speculated that the majority of these agents do not. Anyone can buy an app from the app store – that's a piece of cake – but what they're missing is the knowledge of what to do with the application once it's been downloaded. The Big Reveal To test my theory, I opened my last conference talk with this question to the audience (about 400 agents), "How many of you own an iPad or a tablet?" Nearly every hand went up. Since the topic of this particular talk was The Paperless Agent – How to Use Your iPad as a Foundational Tool for Business, my heart sank momentarily because I thought, "Oh no, perhaps my talk isn't relevant to this tech-savvy group, as they all own an iPad!" BUT, I quickly felt relieved after asking my next question, "Great, most of you own a tablet, but how many of you use your device everyday as a fundamental tool for your real estate business?" Care to guess the answers from the audience members? Here's the big reveal. Although most agents in the room own an iPad, they admitted to not knowing how to use it.  
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Going Green is Better for Your Clients, Too
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Virtual vs. Brick-and-Mortar Offices
Welcome to the future, where "the office" can sometimes be your bed, a bar, or a beach chair in the Bahamas. For the uninitiated, it may be difficult to believe, but doing business doesn't always require a traditional, brick-and-mortar office. The virtual office is growing in popularity . . . and in effectiveness. To understand what this means for real estate professionals, we talked to Mehrdad Alaei, CEO of GoPaperless Solutions. GoPaperless is one company that has made it their business to serve the changing needs of a technologically advancing industry. They offer one example of how REALTORS® may become more efficient by streamlining their business with electronic transactions. Benefits of a Virtual OfficeThere are 4 primary benefits to a virtual office: 1. Financial savings. One of the most obvious benefits of a virtual office is the money saved on overhead. Eliminate expenses like rent, utilities, printers and copiers, toner, paper supplies, ancillary staff members, a cleaning crew, and much more. 2. Kind to the environment. In general, a virtual office is more "green" than a brick-and-mortar office. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule; many companies with physical offices make green practices a priority, and many folks working remotely get printer-happy. However, most people with virtual offices use technology to digitally share and manage documents, which can be a real tree-saver.
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When Is Your Office Going Paperless?
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Going green, easier than you think!
Guest contributor Deb Rabin from HomeFinder.com says: The term “go green” seems to be used everywhere. We continually hear how important it is to “go green” within our homes but other than the easy recycling of paper or plastic, it can be intimidating, and exhausting concerning ourselves with yet another thing to worry about. It is hard enough to decorate our homes, keep them clean and manage a household. Now we have to keep them “green” as well? Yes, we do, or at least we should try because it’s actually a lot easier and less expensive than most of us might realize. Here are five eco-friendly and thrifty ideas on how you can not only make a difference in our “green” world but also save you some money.
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Are You Meeting Your Goals for 2011?
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Going Paperless: A Smart Choice
Environmental conscience doesn't have to take a back seat to business savvy. What many people may not recognize is that they can make smart choices that are good for business and the environment. A great way to get started is to go paperless. Before I start my spiel, I want to take the opportunity to reach out to you, our brilliant readers. Going paperless is just the beginning of the many ways that REALTORS® can green their business. Are there any green ideas that have inspired you? Do you have any advice for your peers?
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Trends in Technology… Where Will We Be in 2020?
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Need a New Year’s Resolution?
The term, “New Year’s resolution,” is often associated with an ambitious goal that often falls flat come February.  However, if the goal is realistic and practical, it’s easier to adopt. For real estate professionals, that realistic and practical goal could be adopting a paperless platform. Going paperless is beneficial to real estate professionals in a variety of ways.  For starters, the transaction and negotiation process of buying and selling a home is riddled with paperwork that requires signing, faxing, printing etc. Eliminating this tedious process significantly increases agent efficiency and decreases burnout.
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What is Green?
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