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Buying a New Tech Tool? The First Question to Ask
I consider myself a very open-minded person, but try to convince me to switch from Mac to PC, for example, and I'm going to dig in my heels. I'm not alone; most of the people you meet are committed to their marriages, their families, their careers, and their operating system. So when you're choosing any technology product, your first question needs to be whether or not it will work with your OS. Real Estate and Mac You can't exactly describe the relationship between the real estate industry and Apple computers as a love affair, but they're certainly warming up to each other. As more agents purchase Apple computers, more vendors are developing solutions that work on the Mac OS. However, there is a lot of real estate software that will not work. "You need to make sure that the solution you choose is 100% Mac and Safari-compatible and syncs with Mac Address Book and iCal," says Matthew Collis of IXACT Contact. "Some CRMs claim to be 'almost' Apple compatible but have features that only work on a Windows PC." The company read the writing on the wall and developed their real estate CRM to work on both Mac and PC. So what's a Mac to do? You can dig through your options until you find a solution that's built specifically for Apple. You can find a product that was built for PC, and then tweaked a bit to fit Mac (with some features or functionality missing). Or, you can find a Web-based tool that works on any operating system.
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Is That Tech Investment Worth It?
Summer is winding down and, for many real estate professionals, this means preparing for budget season. Now that we're well into the third fiscal quarter, you're probably just starting to think about how to best allocate your resources in 2013. Should you set aside money for the rumored iPhone 5, or would finally investing in a CRM make more sense? When considering a new tech purchase, it's easy to be distracted by the "wow" factor of the latest gadgets without thinking about their often high price tag. In order to preserve your bottom line, think of that new phone or software as more than just a toy--it's a tool that can help your business grow! In order to decide if a potential tool is a worthy investment, ask yourself if the benefit gained is greater than the money spent. Does it save you time? Will it streamline your workflow? Is it something that you will use frequently? If it's something that you will only use once or twice, it's probably best to just hold off. If you do decide that a new gadget or software program is a worthy investment, here are a few things to keep in mind in order to maximize its value.
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Switching to Mac: A Love Story
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Product Review: Immobel’s Multi-Language Website IDX and REAL-Buzz
Although we set out to write a review of Immobel’s Multi-Language IDX Translation, a look at REAL-Buzz was inevitable. Thus, our review covers both. Many REALTORS® who invest in IDX translation to market to global buyers will also choose to participate in the (free) REAL-Buzz.com portal.
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Switching to Windows 7
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New Real Estate Technology Products From Microsoft
Is less more online?  Online information has gone from very high end professional content builders, and gradually lowered the barriers to participation, and now the trouble we face in the “information age” is weeding through what is good, credible information and what is bland and unverifiable information. Frustrating? Certainly, and not just for agents, but for home buyers and sellers as well. A flip side to the expression “less is more,” is that with the greater number of voices, the noise becomes too loud and the message is lost. Microsoft has targeted this concern by developing  several technology products for real estate professionals to make their message bigger and better by focusing on the whole message and allowing users to dive into segments of information to understand the part and the whole.  In a recent seminar I attended at Inman Connect 2010, Gary Flake a Technical Fellow at Microsoft outlined three exciting new technology solutions for real estate: Seadragon Photostynth Pivot
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Get Plugged into WordPress with the Latest
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Putting GPS Search to Work for You
Today more than ever, acronyms like GPS and LBS (location-based search/service) really stand BIG BUSINESS! Juniper research estimates that location-based local search and information services will be used by nearly 1.5 billion mobile users by 2014 with revenues reaching $12.7 billion. It seems like these day you cannot have a conversation about mobile technology without the acronym GPS coming into play and with good reason.  Today more than ever, acronyms like GPS and LBS (location-based search/service) really stand BIG BUSINESS!  Juniper research estimates that location-based local search and information services will be used by nearly 1.5 billion mobile users by 2014 with revenues reaching $12.7 billion. GPS is quickly becoming the default search method on many of today’s advanced Mobile Devices such as the iphone and Android devices in particular.  Dr. Windsor Holden, Principal analyst at Juniper, Hampshire, England points out that “a far larger number of things came together at the same time: advances in network infrastructure and on-device positioning technology, improvements in digital mapping content and improvements in user experience,” in order to get the everyday consumer use of GPS where it is today.  However, as great as GPS and LBS can be, it is important to think of the practical uses, especially within the world of real estate searches, before basing your entire mobile solution around the concept.
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Cloud CMA
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Making it Hard for Buyers to Book Showing Appointments?
Already use a showing appointment product? Are you using it to its potential? A real estate agent's goal is to make it easy for potential home buyers to book a showing for their listing. Why go to the trouble of picking out a showing appointment software program that you don't know how to use, turning away home buyers instead of signing them up? ShowingSuite, a company that provides showing appointment software solutions, recently wrote a blog post detailing three ways to make booking a showing appointment easier on the buyer. Keep the home available to show; Be flexible with showing appointments; Respond to ALL showing appointment requests asap. Continue reading to find out how to avoid common scheduling pitfalls...
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Don't Get Blinded by SEO Science!
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Track My File
Track My File is currently marketed directly to real estate companies and they emphasize that what you get with Track My File is more than the product. They stress the importance of learning how to integrate transaction management processes into the business culture and their ability to help companies do this. The Document Management and Transaction Manager Product are combined. They pride themselves on offering a user-friendly system that all agents can use. Track My File is easy to navigate though the interface appears a bit dated. The Track My File team schedules a one-time consultation with new clients to get to know them, the processes they currently have in place and the way they work. Then they create custom software tailored to both the currently office requirements and workflow. This tailored, consultative approach sets Track My File apart from the competition in this regard where most vendors expect the client to adapt to their system.
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Settlement Room by Emphasys
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5 Technologies to Increase Productivity
Do you ever look at your inbox and feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails, only to find that once you dig in and read them all only 10 percent are actually relevant and require significant action? In the age of social networks and collaboration tools, we are finding new and greater ways to communicate. But all this over-communication tends to hamper our productivity and make us feel besieged. Worse yet, the lost productivity sorting communications can affect our relationships with clients. If you want to increase your productivity and put some of that time back into client relationships, a surefire place to start is to streamline your communications. Since so much communication takes place over email, start by taking a good look at your inbox. How much of the following do you see? Group email threads where you are copied as an “FYI” Endless email strings where you are not relevant to the conversation Emails with revised document attachments Meeting requests, updates, and cancellations Email threads trying to find the best time for a client meeting eNewsletters Google alerts Spam If greater than 10 percent of your inbox are of this time-sucking, productivity-draining nature, it is time to tame the inbox by implementing a few simple tools and processes:
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Boopsie: Mobile Search For Agents
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eNeighborhoods WyldFyre7 CMA
Over the years, WyldFyre has produced some of the most user friendly agent products in the real estate industry. The eNeighborhoods WyldFyre7 CMA is no different. The interface is simple and intuitive and like all of the WyldFyre products it provides the user with a considerable amount of design flexibility. Unlike many of the CMAs you find embedded in MLS systems, the WyldFyre CMA allows higher degree of customization. It even allows users to enter comparables into the CMA that may not be in the MLS system, such as FSBOs and even new home sales. Displays and reports now include full mapping options, including aerial mapping, and allow for total broker and agent branding. Adjustments are simple to make and include and the report is complimented by attractive graphics and supporting documents. eNeighborhoods WyldFyre7 CMA should definitely be on your list if you are review CMA programs.
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Eventus CRM
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Develop Online Applications with dataFloat
IDC Global is a software development company that focuses on database and data processing specialized to improve the performance of Internet and other networked applications. Their new product, dataFloat, offers significant improvements in performance and scalability for Internet and mobile applications and also allows clients to develop e-business and multilingual applications easier and more efficiently.
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AgentOffice: Managing Relationships
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How To Make Your Website Howl!
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, WolfNet Technologies specializes in Internet technology and consulting for real estate companies located throughout North America. WolfNet's services include award-winning web site design, company Intranets, IDX/VOW search solutions, online marketing strategy formulation and implementation, lead management and tracking, custom application development, and general consulting. The Pack at WolfNet has been hard at work and they are pleased to announce several exciting product enhancements coming soon to their WolfNet powered MLSFinder.com® property search! Here is a summary of what’s in store:
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Shakes Hands with Lead Generation Tools!
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What’s in Your Real Estate Tool Kit?
It’s surprising to me that REALTORS® are unaware of items to have in their coveted real estate tool kit. It doesn’t need to consist of a bunch of disjointed tools like in recent history. Make it is easy for yourself and utilize the technology that is now available to you. Can you believe there are still some REALTORS® out there with a Hudson’s map in one hand and the steering wheel in the other? Yes, it’s sad but true. Time to get with the program all you real estate professionals and check out these latest time savers and productivity gainers. Without a system that automatically assumes mundane non-revenue producing tasks, you might as well be an order taker. The following tools are great finds for your real estate tool kit.
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Google Maps for Real Estate
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What’s the Deal With Windows 7?
These days, it seems like I can’t go anywhere without hearing about Windows 7. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at why everyone seems to be completely enamored by the software. For Windows Vista users, the change is pretty gradual. Windows 7 borrows many of the user interface enhancements that were first introduced in Vista. For XP users, however, the change is dramatic. Speaking as a lifelong Windows user, I can say that like many, I avoided Windows Vista due to the negativity surrounding it. Since making the jump from XP way back in January (when the public beta became available), I can’t imagine going back to XP mainly due to the advancements in the user interface. If you haven’t already heard about the new features and changes in Microsoft’s latest operating system, here’s a brief rundown:
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Using Technology
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iHomeFinder IDX
iHomefinder is a well established IDX search solution available to agents in many of the largest markets in the United States.  It is likely that they already have data in your market, so check with your MLS. Their product offers all of the key features of property search that are important to REALTORS and their clients.  Their base product offers search by city, zipcode, price and other standard form based criteria.  Lead generation on their solution follows established paradigms in IDX services including save a listing to favorites, save a search, and registration for automatic listing alerts. They offer a full service back office solution for agents to access their registered users, gain insight into their search behavior, property interests, and contact information.
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AgentOffice
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Birdview IDX
Birdview offers a full-featured IDX service to real estate agents and is available in most markets across the nation. With Birdview IDX, all of the local IDX/MLS listings can be displayed on a real estate agent website for consumers to browse. Birdview offers the ability to search multiple counties and cities at one time and offers many lead generating tools like save a search, listing notification, schedule a showing, and save listings to favorites. Birdview updates the listings on each website as often as every 15 minutes in most MLS markets through the use of the RETS or Real Estate Transaction Standard.
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Top Producer IDX
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