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Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity are on the road again!
Each year, thousands of real estate agents and brokers who use Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity have the opportunity to meet some of the folks who make the magic happen for these two Florida Realtors owned products at local conventions and conferences. This year's schedule includes visits as far north and east as Nova Scotia, Canada, as far south as Hollywood, Florida, and as far west as Los Angeles, California. As real estate's number one tech support firm, Tech Helpline serves more than 600,000 real estate professionals in North America. Available through MLSs or local associations, as well as real estate brokerages, connecting with Tech Helpline is typically accomplished via a phone call, online chat or email inquiry. Our annual direct outreach gives agents and brokers, as well as MLS and association executives and staff members, an additional opportunity with face-to-face communications. Opportunities to connect This year, we kicked off our spring and summer schedule for Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity with an appearance at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in mid-May. Tech Helpline was just represented at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) Association Executives Seminar in early June, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Next up, Form Simplicity will be at "Rock the Market" at the Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood, FL on June 25. The next two days on June 26 and 27, both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity will be heading to the Florida Realtors Association Executives Education Workshops in Cocoa Beach, FL. August marks two major conventions for Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity. Association leadership from all business disciplines will convene at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo in Columbus, OH on August 10-13, followed by our own Florida Realtors Convention & Trade Expo (August 21 and 22) and Governance Meetings (August 23-25) in Orlando, FL. Tech Helpline will head to another big convention as the Colorado Association of REALTORS® hosts its "REfresh Expo" in Denver, CO on September 5. The summer tour schedule ends with two back-to-back events. The first one is in North Carolina, the NC REALTORS® 2019 Convention & Expo "Xchange'19" at the Pinehurst Resort during the Expo dates of September 14-16. That's followed by the Arkansas REALTOR® Annual Convention & Tradeshow being held in Memphis, TN at the Guesthouse at Graceland, during the Expo dates of September 16 and 17. More to come As the fall begins, Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be back at it, with appearances by Tech Helpline at the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Expo "REImagine!" held in Los Angeles on September 24-26, followed by opportunities to ask your questions about Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline at CMLS2019 in Salt Lake City on October 16-18. The last two conventions for Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline currently are scheduled for both the 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco this year (booth #1234), November 6-11, and finally December 9-12 at the 2019 Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo in Atlantic City, NJ, which brings together members from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania Realtor associations. If you happen to be attending one of these events, please stop by and bring your questions about Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline. We hope to meet you face-to-face! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.  
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Tech Helpline Tips: Is It Time to Update or Replace Your Computer?
What year did you buy the computer you use most for your work? When is the last time you upgraded its operating system? Are you using the most current version of your web browser? If you can't easily recall the answers to any of these questions, there's a strong possibility that it is time to update or replace your computer. Here's a brief checklist to help determine if updating your computer's software is enough or if it's time to replace this vital technology that helps you do your job.
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Tech Helpline Video Earns National Nomination
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How Much Money Can Tech Support Save Your Brokerage?
You don't think about how incredibly valuable insurance is until something goes terribly wrong. When you tap into your insurance policy, your immediate reaction is probably one of relief: thankfully, you had it in place and you are covered. But what if you are not covered? How painful is it – both financially and emotionally – when something terrible happens and you don't have insurance to cover it? It's hard even thinking about it, right? Tech support coverage in the real estate industry today is a lot like an insurance policy. You don't know how lucky you are to have it, unless you don't. Fully 60 percent of the real estate agents in North America – in the U.S. and Canada – can rest easy. Local, regional and state MLSs, along with some super-savvy brokerages, are providing them tech support coverage through Florida Realtors-owned Tech Helpline. But what about the other 40 percent?
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4 Steps Brokers Can Take to Get Agents to Adopt Technology
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How Can Brokers Meet Agents' Tech Needs?
What would you do if you lost access to your smartphone for a day? A week? What happens when you try to print out a copy of a CMA, and the printer stops and you can't find the problem? What recourse do you have if you accidentally went to the wrong website and your laptop got infected with malware and has been slowing down ever since? Or what if you just can't connect to wireless when you are on the move? Keeping agents connected and their basic technology working is one of the most important things a brokerage can do to support their agents' tech needs. Too often, it seems that brokers focus on solely their own technology solutions: how to get agents to adopt the various tech tools and software in which they've invested so much to provide. But providing basic tech support – making sure real estate agents have a lifeline if they get stuck using their go-to technology, that their smartphone is getting email properly, that their laptops are optimized and virus-free, that if their printer doesn't print there is someone to help fix it now, and not later – is of paramount importance as well. For more than 60 percent of real estate agents and brokers in North America (U.S. and Canada), we've got you covered, as the majority of real estate pros have access to technical support provided by the real estate industry's #1 tech support team. It's a service that is provided at no extra cost as a subscriber or member benefit from your local MLS, your state or local Realtor® association, or your brokerage. It's called Tech Helpline - has been dubbed "the Genius Bar for real estate" – and is created, owned and operated by the Florida Realtors®, the second largest state Realtor association in the U.S. Tech Helpline provides technical support services for a wide range of software and hardware, from smartphones and tablets to desktops, laptops, email problems, virus issues and more.
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Chat Bots: Don't Miss Out on the Latest in Real Estate Tech
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Looking for New Tools for Your Business? Do Not BUY ANYTHING Until You Check Your MLS!
I get calls all the time from brokers and agents looking for new technology solutions for their business. For example, I just spoke to a broker today who is looking to add several new agents to his business. He was looking for a more effective way to keep track of the increased number of transactions in his firm. He called me to ask for advice about how to handle his increased volume of transactions. He asked me what system should I choose? How much will they cost? He was worried he wouldn't be able to afford the new tools he may need to gear up for. I asked him one simple question: What MLS do you belong to? He answered, NTREIS in Dallas, Texas. When he told me the MLS he was a member of, I immediately went to their website and found out that NTREIS actually offers a transaction management solution as part of their core service offering. The broker will have to pay NOTHING in addition to his normal monthly dues and will get the tools he needs to manage his business more effectively. Most MLSs today offer TONS of technologies in their monthly subscriptions in addition to the core MLS system. What's the lesson here? ALWAYS check with your MLS BEFORE you purchase new technologies. You may already have a great tool available to you that you ALREADY paying for. MLSs work hard to provide tools that can be helpful to agents and brokerages of all sizes. It's really simple to check with your MLS. Just look for a tab that says something like Services, or Technologies or Member Benefits and they should provide a list of products that are available as part of your subscription.
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Why Customer Service is Key to Selecting the Right Transaction Management Program
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The New Process for RFPs in Real Estate
The RFP process has been a practice of companies acquiring technology solutions forever. RFP stands for Request for Proposal. The RFP focuses on drawing out product features and functionality. Although RFPs have always asked questions about the company, that is perhaps the most important component of RFPs in 2016. Today, I would argue that an RFP really is a Request for Partnership. This change was caused by a quiet revolution. During the Y2K surge that transitioned software from mainframe to browser, there was recognition that the old process of software development was too bureaucratic, slow, and overly regimented. An alternative to traditional project management that emerged in the early 2000s is called Agile software development. They use terms like Scrum, Extreme Programing, Dynamic System Development Method, Feature-Drive Development and many others. The overarching focus of all of these methodologies is to deliver frequent, high quality working software, delivered in "sprints," which are measured in weeks, not months. The result is continuous improvement. You are experiencing this new methodology routinely on your mobile devices. If you have notices that your iPhone asks you to update your apps all of the time, that's it. DocuSign can illustrate an example in real estate. In the first two months of the year, they have done 18 new feature releases for their transaction management solution. The software that they offered in January has evolved in two short months. It's not just DocuSign; this is the way it's done for most software developers.
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What Are the Advantages of Technology Made for Realtors by Realtors?
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How to Set Your Default Programs Preferences
A recent round of Windows updates wiped out my default program preferences. Now my computer wants to open webpages in Edge, Microsoft's new browser, instead of Chrome, my preferred option. Image files no longer open in Photoshop, but in Windows Photo Viewer. Judging by the grumpy comments on PC users online, I'm far from alone. The inconvenience is only mild, to be sure, but if you have a set workflow, it's enough to derail your productivity. Fortunately, this is easy to fix, and there are a few ways to go about doing so. We'll run through a couple of them here. Set Default Programs from the Settings Menu If you were previously a Windows 7 user, the Settings Menu is new to you, but it offers an easy way to set your default program preferences. To do this: Click the Start menu and select Settings Next, choose System then Default Apps Finally, choose the default you want to change. The image below, for example, shows how to change your web browser default from Edge to Chrome
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Should you Employ a Real Estate Virtual Assistant?
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Ben Kinney’s Real Estate Team of the Future
Ben Kinney (IMSD founder) and his team closed over 500 transactions in 2011. To handle that kind of sales capacity, he has had to reinvent the traditional real estate team structure. Many real estate agents make as much money as a doctor, so why don't we run our businesses the same way? The doctor has a receptionist, nurses, records specialists, and other professionals who handle 90% of the interactions with her patients. If your doctor answered the call for appointments, helped you fill out forms, submitted insurance paperwork and managed billing, they wouldn't make any money. Here is how to model your business the same way.
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