You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default
What Is a Real Estate Offer Management System?
When you list a home for sale, the first thing that usually comes to your seller's mind is figuring out how quickly to quickly find a buyer. But what happens when you find that buyer? What does that process look like, and how will it be managed? When a buyer submits an offer on your client's home, the offer will have an expiration date. How do you ensure your sellers will receive that offer quickly? And if there are multiple offers – which is common in a seller's market – how do you deal with them? This is where a real estate offer management system comes in. A real estate offer management system delivers offers on your listing to your seller in real-time, it allows them to organize the offers, compare and manage multiple offers, and respond to everyone – all within one application. It allows the home seller to control process. Streamline the Offer Process How do you receive offers on your listing? Ask anyone, and you will received a mixed bag of responses. One thing is for sure, the offer is usually presented by a buyer, or buyer's agent. From there, the offer is typically delivered by email from the buyer agent to the listing agent. Then, the listing agent typically emails it to the sellers. Yes, that's right… an email chain. This way of doing things has worked in the past, but it's also caused a lot of problems which can lead to: Missed deadlines – if the agent isn't immediately available to forward the offer Communication follies – if anyone forwards something in an email they shouldn't Privacy follies – if any of the agents forward an email with their clients' info in it Code of Ethics violations – (see REALTOR® Compliance below) Using an offer management system helps solve these problems, and puts the home seller in control. Through platforms like Transactly, you're provided a unique link for your listing, where you direct any interested party to submit an offer. From there, your sellers will be notified in real-time, and can manage the offer and any others – comparing and contrasting them – from within one application. Offers Delivered in Real-time Once a buyer or buyer's agent submits an offer through an offer management system, everyone is notified immediately: Listing agent receives an email and text message (no more having to manually forward emails) The sellers receive an email and text message (no missing out on emails because the agent is coaching their kid's soccer game) The buyer agent receives confirmation via email or text that the offer has been delivered/viewed (helping with REALTOR® compliance requirements to providing written confirmations, SOP 1-7). Multiple Offer Situations Multiple offer situations have been a common theme for real estate in high-demand, low-inventory neighborhoods across the U.S. Without a system to manage these offers, sellers are left with sorting through emails, printing out contracts, and creating their own comparison charts to make a decision. Even worse, they (and their agent) have to manually communicate with each one of those parties individually through email. Offer management systems allow sellers and agents to view all offers at-a-glance, send mass-announcements to all interested parties, such as highest and best requests. Traditionally, only institutional real estate investors used offer management systems to help manage their real estate listings, but now we're seeing traditional agents and home sellers take advantage of the technology. Again, it puts the home seller and listing agent in control of the process. REALTOR® Compliance We've heard arguments from agents who don't like the real-time delivery of offers to their sellers, because they like to review and add their own thoughts and opinions before presenting it. From a salesperson's perspective, I get it. Presenting an offer is a vital point in this process. However, going about it that way presents conflicts with the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics states, "REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible." (SOP 1-6) Some definitions from Dictionary.com: Quickly – at a fast speed; rapidly; very soon Objectively – not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased So, when a listing agent takes their time to thoroughly review an offer and add their thoughts and opinions in a presentation to their seller clients, is it truly "as objectively and as quickly as possible"? Probably not. The top real estate agents we've found and interviewed to become Transactly partner agents, have a "nothing to hide" attitude, are 100% transparent, and are more focused on ensuring their clients interests are above their own. Sure, they're using real estate offer management systems not just to deliver that transparency and access to their client. But, they're also using the technology to build trust and win over new clients. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
MORE >
New 2022 Realtor Tech Survey Reveals Advances, Shortcomings
Today, the National Association of Realtors released its annual Technology Survey of members, one of my favorite yearly research studies. With over 2,400 responses, it provides excellent insight into how tech innovations are impacting the real estate business now and in the future. Not many surprises, but this new research confirms the acceleration of tech adoption as one positive factor fueled by the pandemic. Here are some quick highlights: eSigning rules Looking back at the last 12 months, respondents ranked eSignatures as the most impactful tech tool (79%), with lockboxes (67%) and local MLS apps/technology (67%) tied for second place. A three-way tie is next, with transaction management, CRMs, and video conferencing all at 47%. Safety, speed, and drones dominate future tech tools When asked to predict what business tech tools will have the most impact in the next 24 months, Cybersecurity at 31% eked out the first place as 5G followed with 30%. Drone tech landed solidly in third place with 27%. New tech is starting to gain traction AI, including computer vision and machine learning, virtual reality, IoT (internet of things), and augmented reality are all seen as being "very impactful" over the next 24 months by about one in five respondents. Not yet prime time tech Less than one in 10 Realtors predict blockchain/crypto/smart contracts and the metaverse will be very impactful over the next two years. The same is true when it comes to self-driving vehicles. Hey, big spenders More than one in three Realtors spend at least $250 monthly on their tech tools. That's surprising when one considers brokerages and MLSs are investing millions in providing agents with their tech stack offerings. They must be the group that comprises the one-in-four Realtors who spend less than $50 a month on tech. Yes, they are More than one in three Realtors – 35% – agree that their brokers provide them with all the tech tools they need. But unfortunately, nearly two-thirds say they are not getting the tech tools from their brokers or are ambivalent, which is just as troubling. The price is right 47% of Realtors said that the price their broker charges for technology fees is reasonable. Another 38 percent said their broker does not charge them a technology fee. However, over one in 10 (12%) said that the price they pay for broker-provided tech is not worth it. MLSs get high marks for tech Nearly three out of four Realtors expressed satisfaction with their MLS's technology offerings, with 33% of respondents saying they were extremely satisfied with their MLS's technology offerings. Top 5 MLS tech tools Property data ranked No. 1 with 85%. Sales stats was second with 81%. Public records search was third with 75%. Listing syndication is now fourth with 72%. A pleasant surprise to round out the top five is automated emails to clients and prospects. Top lead generators – move over portals Social media was No. 1 with 46%. Local MLSs are second with 30%. CRMs were third with 26%, and that's a bit of a surprise. You'd think CRMs would be higher as it includes one's sphere of influence. Other research says that repeat business and their spheres are typically the highest-ranked, top-quality lead generators, but social also overlaps sphere. Most surprisingly: Listing aggregators are dead last on the list at 16%. They did not bite on Bitcoin 87% of all Realtors do not own any cryptocurrency. One common theme is the lack of general knowledge Realtors overall have when it comes to new tech. Realtors, mostly, are not early adopters. The great tech lag continues, despite the inroads made during the pandemic with the adoption of core tech tools. But when it comes to newer tech, most Realtors remain largely skeptical, at best. For example, even though there are 14.4 billion IoT or internet of things devices connected in our world today, 41% of Realtors are not familiar at all with IoT. Less than one-in-ten said they were "very familiar" with IoT. With emerging tech, like the metaverse, more than half are not very familiar or not familiar at all. And yet 36% of Realtors said they believe that the metaverse will probably have an impact on real estate. Finally, 41% of Realtors said they were unfamiliar with Big Data and AI. Leading organizations in this space – like RESO – need to do some more broker/agent outreach, folks! You can find the latest report here. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
MORE >
7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with Gmail
MORE >
3 Ways to Protect Your Tech from Natural Disasters
The U.S. went through 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the past year alone. It was the second worst year for the most natural disasters, behind the record of 22 different billion-dollar events in 2020. With winter blizzards in the north, wildfires in the west, droughts, and heatwaves throughout the country, along with tropical storms and massive flooding, disasters have an enormous impact on real estate, communities, and people throughout the nation. Most recently, Hurricane Ian became one of the most devastating U.S. weather events. And because Tech Helpline's headquarters is in Orlando, FL, we are acutely aware of the damage that so many in our state face. What can you do? Follow the sage advice of the Scout model: be prepared. Best practices to keep your hardware safe During a natural disaster, your hardware is at a greater risk of being damaged or ruined by exposure to the elements. Even a power surge – or outage – resulting from dangerous weather can harm your computer's hardware. You can safeguard your hardware's physical assets through various preventive procedures. Some of these include flood-proofing your workspace to deter water damage or securing vital technology in water and fireproof safes. At the very least, keep your tech equipment away from windows and unplug your devices to protect them in case of a power surge or flood – and to prevent an electrical fire. Also, have a plan for a power outage: do you have a power storage unit or generator you can use once it's safe? If you want to go the extra mile, have an electrician do a professional assessment to show you other ways to protect your equipment from natural disaster damage. Keeping your data safe – back it up – remotely Sometimes, there's nothing that anyone can do to prevent the destruction of property from the elements. However, there are ways to safeguard your data. Natural disasters can pose severe risks to your personal technology and your company's I.T. infrastructure. What if you couldn't access the data you needed for a few days – or weeks? Protecting your data from natural disasters is just as crucial as preserving your hardware. So, it's important to take the necessary steps to keep your essential data safe and accessible. First, you must ensure all your data is backed up routinely and remotely. How often? It depends. Many systems today allow you to synch all your data throughout each day. If you are backing up your data manually and are actively working, your backups should be daily. Just ask yourself, if you lost power right now, what information would you not be able to access? That should help you self-assess how essential frequent data backups are. Second, make sure you keep a complete inventory of your data. If you are storing documents on different systems or in other places, you need to know where everything is. In addition, keeping track of all the data you need for your personal and professional life can make access faster and easier during an emergency. Make sure you have a plan While you can't always plan for a disaster, you can create a disaster plan. Disasters cause chaos. Your priority is keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. But you also don't want to find yourself scrambling to figure out at the last minute what tech needs the most protection and how to keep them out of harm's way. Create a disaster plan for you and yours as well as your tech – and your data. Your emergency plan should cover everything you need, including where you can secure a backup laptop or portable power source should you need to evacuate. Think about the answers to these questions: Do you have an extra computer available? Are your laptop and smartphones fully charged? Are your backup battery sources fully charged as well? Your I.T. department may also have a disaster plan to reduce server downtime. Interruptions in service could include specific steps your I.T. folks could take that may impact you. For example, if your office phone lines are down, they might need to reroute calls to a voice mail system or directly to agents. Understanding their plans and how they might impact you is crucial too. After any natural disaster, when things settle down, a best practice is to perform a risk assessment to identify what worked well and what didn't and make the necessary adjustments to your disaster preparedness plan. This approach can help you stay ahead of any future calamities. Most importantly, throughout it all, Tech Helpline is ready and available to assist and remain just a click, call, or online chat away for 600,000-plus Realtors nationwide and throughout Canada who have access. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
MORE >
Buyers and Their Tech: How Technology Can Help Them Find Their Next Home
MORE >
Real Estate Tools for Agents to Save Time and Money
Real estate agents are at the frontlines of a historically dynamic housing market, meaning they must innovate and adapt to keep pace. Whether they're representing buyers or sellers, having the right repertoire of digital tools at hand can help agents close sales faster, save time and money, and gain a coveted edge in a hypercompetitive market. Here's a look at some of the ways top real estate agents are utilizing technology to get ahead. 1. Lead generation With more than three million Americans holding active real estate licenses, it can be difficult for agents to stand out among buyers or sellers looking for representation. Tech-savvy real estate professionals are utilizing lead generation software such as Zurple, which helps identify prospective buyers by preferred ZIP codes and fosters relationships with them through personalized correspondence. It also keeps tabs on progress made on identified leads. Explore Lead Generation solutions in our Product Directory. 2. Keep clients organized Keeping track of your clients' various needs–and the stages of their home buying or selling journey–can be overwhelming. Customer relationship management softwares can help agents keep track of leads, track metrics and cultivate relationships within a single repository. CRM platforms such as KW Demand, MoxiWorks and kvCORE can help agents manage the entire lifecycle of a client relationship, from prospect to sale. Explore CRM solutions in our Product Directory. 3. Listing templates Marketing plays a key role for agents seeking to network, promote listings, or seek new clients. When it's time to advertise a new listing or create a new set of flyers, having access to editable, predesigned templates can be a huge timesaver. Companies such as Lab Coat Agents offer dozens of templates to choose from that can be used for hardcopy marketing, as well as email and social media. 4. Hassle-free scheduling Scheduling mutually convenient times for an in-person showing or meeting can be a challenge, but tools are available that make it easier to lock in a timeslot. Calendar management tools like Calendly allow people to schedule a call or meeting without the back and forth usually needed. 5. Digital staging During a recent National Association of REALTORS® poll, 47% of buyers' agents said home staging affected their clients perception of the home, and 82% said that it made it easier for buyers to imagine living there. Prepping a home for sale doesn't have to involve renting furniture and hiring interior designers to place it strategically throughout the property. Digital staging has become a popular alternative, with companies such as BoxBrownie employing professional photo editors to dress up properties more efficiently and affordably than traditional methods. 6. Virtual open houses There's not yet a technology available that allows us to be in two places at once, but we're getting close with virtual open houses that allow buyers to tour homes remotely. Companies such as Matterport and Kuula make it easier for listing agents to create 3D and 2D tours for clients to view online. As an alternative, consider using a live streaming app to give viewers real-time access to a property. Such technologies are especially useful during a time when 29% of millennials say they would be comfortable with making an offer on a home after only seeing photos or virtual tours, according to recent research. Explore Virtual Tour solutions in our Product Directory. 7. Sealing the deal The process of lifting contingencies can be stressful. Before the sale they've worked so hard to secure is finalized, agents must facilitate inspections and ensure financing is in order. Modern technologies can help. For example, Blend helps keep the financial aspect moving with a mortgage suite that facilities application-to-close lending. Applications such as DocuSign Rooms for Real Estate help out on the transaction side by streaming collaboration and accelerating workflows. Explore Transaction Management solutions in our Product Directory. 8. Paperless forms and signing Agents can modernize how they complete transactions with DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Real Estate, which simplifies the end-to-end contract process with a customizable platform of applications. You can use eSignature to securely send and sign agreements electronically and streamline the preparation of real estate forms with pre-filled data. Another DocuSign feature, Forms for Real Estate, provides brokers and agents with access to state and local association real estate forms and allows them to fill out, sign, and store the forms in a secure digital workspace. Forms for Real Estate accelerates deals, improves agent experience, and minimizes compliance risk by streamlining the forms workflow. Explore eSignature and Forms solutions in our Product Directory. To view the original article, visit the DocuSign blog.
MORE >
5 Ways Technology Helps Top Producers Spend More Time Selling
MORE >
4 Free Virtual Editors that Can Improve Your Writing
Have you ever rushed to send a client an important email, only to realize you made crucial punctuation or embarrassing grammatical error right after hitting the "send" button? We've all faced that frustration. But there's a simple solution that technology can fix for you! Increasing in popularity, artificial intelligence-based virtual editors, such as Grammarly and others, can immediately identify errors as you type. As a real estate professional, do you realize the benefits of ensuring your communications are error-free? According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of agents use email daily or nearly every day. In addition, email is the preferred communication method for 89% of all clients. More importantly, strong communications skills are crucial to what clients expect from today's agent. Using a virtual editor can save you from struggling with grammar and punctuation. Even if you're a talented agent with excellent writing skills, you'll know that everyone makes mistakes, and these new tools can help you catch a minor error you missed before hitting send. How virtual editors work A virtual editor is similar to a word processor as they both allow you to generate, edit, and save text documents on your computer. Powered by artificial intelligence, this new tool predicts the edits you make for your text based on your use of language and writing style. As it takes in the data of written work, the AI built into a virtual editor can understand Natural Language Processing (NLP) and can comprehend written words like a human does. The more writing you do with a virtual editor – because it uses machine learning ­– the more intelligent, more robust, and accurate it becomes over time. A virtual editor develops the ability to edit your prose by checking the tone of the writing and then offers ideas and alternative word choices to improve the clarity of your content. It basically becomes your full-time copy editor. The benefits of virtual editors Having virtual editing software is easy to add to any computer. Versions exist for both PC and Mac operating systems. First, a virtual editor doesn't just highlight your spelling and grammatical errors but also shows you how to correct them by providing solutions, and often more than one option, with a click of a button. Its error checking is faster than using a standard word processing program, offering revised sentences, different word choices, and corrected punctuation – all to increase efficiency and save you time. The second benefit of virtual editors is that they can help you improve your vocabulary. Virtual editors will point out if your word choice is weak or if you are using a particular word too often or are repeating one in the same sentence. It instantly suggests alternative words that improve your writing flow. Virtual editors can also "teach" you better writing skills by helping you avoid poor writing habits. For example, it highlights the weaker use of passive voice to suggest rewriting in the active voice. In addition, it offers alternative phrasing to shorten your sentence structure and tighten your communication. It also helps by providing absent transitions to improve the readability of your writing. Finally, virtual editors are user-friendly, and some offer options to work on mobile devices. They are also compatible with the most popular browsers, including Safari, Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Others can work inside your email program to help you write crystal clear communications to customers. Lots of choices While the most well-known virtual editor program is Grammarly, and it is by far the leader in its category, there are other choices. Some, including Grammarly, offer a free version. Programs such as ProWritingAid function similarly to Grammarly, but it works to enhance the flow of your writing and provides stats based on sentence structure and vocabulary. In addition, ProWritingAid also contains several unique implements, such as a built-in thesaurus for offering different synonyms. Finally, it offers a free Chrome extension and more than 20 types of detailed graphics that help analyze your writing style. On the downside, the full versions of ProWritingAid are expensive and incompatible with mobile devices. There's also Wordtune, which is easy to use and is powered by an AI that will automatically show rewriting suggestions to improve the clarity of your writing. This virtual editor will also detect if your writing tone sounds casual or formal and centers on shortening or expanding your text when needed. It's a significant advantage: you can add it to your Chrome browser as an extension. That means it will work on Gmail, Google Docs, Outlook Web, and social media platforms. However, there's no desktop app, and it's not available for mobile or offline use. Another option provided is Readable, which like its namesake, works to improve the readability of your prose. By analyzing your text, it points out grammatical and spelling errors, along with signs of weak writing such as run-on sentences. Like Grammarly, it also scores your writing in real-time based on how easy it is for your audience to read your writing. Readable then explains how you can improve it. However, Readable does not offer a free version, so after a seven-day trial period, you'll have to pay to continue to use this virtual editor. Protip: Grammarly's premium and business versions can be expensive, but you can buy them at a significant discount through a website such as StackSocial, often offered at about half-off the standard price. A hidden bonus Perhaps the best thing about using a virtual editor is that you forget it is even there after a while, like autofill. You come to expect it to catch minor errors, and it's likely to help you correct some bad writing habits. In the end, by using a virtual editor, your clients receive clear and accurate communications from you. This matches what your clients expect when they hire a professional to help them with the most significant transaction in their lives. If you need help installing or setting up a virtual editor, contact Tech Helpline, and an analyst can walk you through what you need to know. To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
MORE >
6 Tech Tools for Agents
MORE >
25+ Best Real Estate Software, Tools and Apps for Realtors
Managing a real estate practice takes a lot of work. Without good systems in place, simply managing your current clients, appointments, and paperwork can hold you back from growing your business. As you surely already know, there are thousands of options for apps, tools, and software for real estate agents in every stage of their career. You'll find solutions for more effective lead generation and nurturing and automated scheduling, transaction management and coordination, offer management, and systems that improve productivity and communication. Where do you start? Here are essential tools for real estate agents to make your life easier and free up time for what's important. Real Estate CRM Software and Lead Generation Lead generation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are separate but incredibly related aspects of your business. Depending on your preference and needs, you may want a single platform that does both or you may prefer dedicated real estate lead generation software and a separate platform for CRM management. Choosing real estate CRM is a big decision. There are seemingly limitless options, and it's a big commitment that may mean disrupting your entire lead generation system. Because Customer Relationship Management software is at the heart of your business, it pays to put the work into choosing the right platform. Top real estate agents are twice as likely to use lead management and CRM software compared to less successful agents! The best CRM software for real estate agents: Is easy to use Integrates with other tools you use Offers robust analytics and reporting Provides the automation you need with personalization Includes an easy auto dialer Next, consider your needs before choosing a CRM for real estate. The right CRM will depend on the size of your real estate business, whether you are managing a team, and what will best support your specific goals. You may want a straightforward project management tool you can use as a CRM. Some real estate agents prefer an open system which integrates with other tools. Open systems let you pick and choose the right platforms for specific needs so they can work together. An all-in-one CRM system handles all aspects of lead generation. Ready to get started? Here are some top picks for CRM software for Realtors to grow your business. CINC – All-in-One CRM and Lead Generation Platform While perhaps not best for new agents, CINC is arguably the best real estate CRM software for real estate agents and teams with powerful lead generation tools. The platform offers: Client marketing to create Facebook, Google, and Instagram campaigns Generate leads with optimized sites designed to capture leads Import lead sources into your central dashboard Tools to get information about your leads' preferences and needs Automatically organize leads into your contact lists based on potential Notifications when leads are ready to contact you Real estate team management with automatic tracking and lead routing Connects with over 4,000 apps CINC has four products starting at $600 to $1,200 per month for a single agent with add-on costs like leads starting at $500 per month. The biggest drawback, aside from the cost, is CINC takes a long time to master. It's robust, but the system is rather clunky and not very intuitive. Real Geeks – All-in-One Lead Manager CRM Software for Realtors Cost: $299/month plus $350 to onboard 1-2 agents, additional cost for PPC management and seller lead generation Real Geeks is powerful real estate sales software that combines marketing, lead generation, nurturing, tracking, and reporting, and more. Here's why Real Geeks is a favorite among real estate agents: IDX real estate websites for lead generation Property valuation landing page to generate seller leads Robust lead manager CRM tracks and nurtures leads In-house marketing team manages PPC campaigns for an additional fee User-facing app integrates with your local MLS Automatic and up-to-date market reports SMS autoresponder for immediate response to lead inquiries Facebook Marketing Tool and marketing services (additional fee) Automated email drip campaigns Top Producer – CRM Made for Real Estate Cost: $60/month to $105/month per user Top Producer is a real estate CRM software designed specifically for agents. Campaigns, templates, and processes are all crafted for real estate for a more intuitive system and the features you really need without a lot of bloat. Stand-out features include: MLS Property Insights allows you to label and take notes while working with clients. The listing status and date will be automatically populated so you can stay on top of the details. Transaction management lets you see a transaction timeline and relevant listing data and get reminders. Integrates with 150+ tools like Gmail Dynamic workflows with relevant tasks to turn prospects into clients Automated marketing with MLS-based Market Snapshot Reports and alerts Follow Up Coach gives you suggestions on who to contact next and suggested touch points to stay on track IXACT Contact – Realtor CRM that Tracks Commissions and Transactions Cost: $45/month or $456/year IXACT Contact is a unique CRM platform for real estate agents because it not only helps you manage relationships and nurture leads, it also helps you track revenue. This CRM software for Realtors is designed to manage all your contacts and referrals as well as transactions, expenses, and revenue attached to each profile. It also has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to adopt. Copper – Real Estate CRM Software Designed for Gmail and Google Workspace Cost: $553/year Copper is a CRM platform designed for agents who use Google Workspace and Gmail. You'll find it very easy to manage contacts, market listings and open houses, and nurture leads through Google Calendar and Gmail. Copper automatically tracks and inputs all communications including account details, leads, emails, and contacts. By integrating with ActivePipe, you can nurture leads with tailored email campaigns and funnel leads into personalized workflows. HubSpot – Popular Free CRM for Real Estate Agents Cost: Free HubSpot is one of the most popular options if you're looking for free real estate CRM software. It offers tools like lead generation, live chat, email integration, and contact management. HubSpot excels as an inbound marketing tool for real estate agents. They also offer great free tools like templates, personalization and snippets so you can recall emails and responses you use frequently and tailor them to each recipient. Realtyzam CRM – Basic CRM Platform Designed for Agents Cost: $15/month or $144/year Already use Realtyzam accounting software? They also offer CRM software for real estate agents with an easy-to-use platform that's designed to be as simple as possible. Track sales activity, manage leads, and get reminders to get in touch with clients. Real Estate Lead Generation Software and Tools One of the greatest challenges in growing a real estate business and managing an office is the amount of work that goes into generating, nurturing, and converting leads. You may have team members devoted to cold calling, marketing, answering calls, and scheduling appointments, but there's probably an easier way with these top lead generation tools for real estate agents. RealScout – Lead Nurturing Tool Cost: $39/month per agent or $500/month for brokerages This simple but powerful Realtor lead generation tool scours the MLS for listings matching your clients' criteria. New listings are automatically emailed to your clients with branded emails that look like they came from you directly. You can sort properties by over 400 criteria to send clients the best matches for what they're looking for. The RealScout platform also includes a branded home search portal that displays accurate MLS data, team functionality, and other tools to generate leads. Structurely – AI Virtual Assistant Helps Convert Leads Cost: Starting at $299/month for 100 contacts Structurely helps you spend less time qualifying leads and more time closing. Their real estate software solution works like another member of your team to: Connect with leads from your CRM Nurture unresponsive leads 25 times over 12 months Send alerts when leads are ready for you to step in Not ready for a real estate virtual assistant? Try an AI assistant to help manage leads! Using pre-built, optimized real estate scripts (or your own scripts) for new and old leads, sellers, and buyers, Structurely sends all lead conversations to your CRM in real time and mirrors your CRM lead routing rules. Best of all, you can jump in and take over the conversation at any time! Revaluate – Generate Leads with Predictive Analytics Cost: $139/month (for 2,000 contacts) Revaluate is a simple solution to significantly boost the conversion rate of your cold calling campaign. It helps you generate leads by using predictive analytics to identify homeowners in your area likely to move within 3-6 months based on social media, demographic, and consumer data. Redx – Realtor Lead Generation for Specialty Leads Cost: $60/month Redx is real estate prospecting software with a unique purpose: it gives you access to expired listings and aging FSBO listings to help you identify potential prospects. As you create prospect lists, the included Storm Dialer can automatically dial numbers while displaying relevant information. This is one of the best alternatives to cold calling and a great investment! FreshDesk – Live Chat Function to Convert Leads Cost: $18/month or $180/year FreshDesk lets leads and clients contact you from their preferred channel, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and iMessage, with a single inbox. Automation assigns the communications to the right person in the office and the system supports team collaboration. Fast response times and allowing leads to contact you how they prefer means a higher chance of converting them into a client! Cloud Attract – Create Real Estate Landing Pages Cost: $99/month for Cloud Agent bundle One of the most popular real estate lead generation tools, Cloud Attract lets you create attractive landing pages that target either buyers or sellers. Choose from more than one dozen professionally designed templates, select the information you want to collect, and your landing page will be automatically generated. You can then customize it with your own imagery, copy, fonts, Google Analytics ID, and more. Generated leads appear in a tab with email notifications. Real Estate Accounting Software and Expense Tracking Apps While you're busy meeting clients, showing homes, generating leads, and overseeing transactions, it can be challenging to stay on top of bookkeeping and expense tracking. Still, this less glamorous side of running a real estate business is important. Here's the best accounting software for real estate agents and expense tracking tools. QuickBooks for Real Estate – Robust Realtor Accounting Software Cost: $15 to $180 per month (free trials and discounts often offered) QuickBooks Online is a leading choice for accounting software for Realtors with tools that make it easy to grow your real estate business. Here are some reasons QuickBooks is the go-to option for real estate agents: Insight into business performance month-over-month to set goals and make business decisions Automatically pay payroll taxes if you have employees Easily create categories of liabilities and assets like business credit cards, petty cash, furniture and fixtures, travel expenses, technology expenses, marketing expenses, and office supplies Generate a real estate agent profit and loss statement by week, month, or quarter Robust real estate agent expense tracking with mileage tracking and integration with other tools like DocuSign, Pipedrive, Copper, and Salesforce Sales Cloud Most agents only need the Simple Start plan which is about $25 per month. Realtyzam – Accounting Software Designed Specifically for Agents Cost: $12/month or $120/year Realtyzam is unique because it was designed specifically for real estate agents. This cloud-based real estate accounting software offers basic accounting as an affordable alternative to QuickBooks for Realtors. Realtyzam is a great choice if you want a simple system for tracking expenses and generating reports for taxes. MileIQ – One of the Best Apps for Realtors to Track Mileage Cost: Free trial, $6/month or $60/year MileIQ is a more robust app for Realtors that tracks mileage. It uses automatic drive detection so you don't need to worry about turning tracking on and off, and you can automatically classify common routes to track business and personal miles. It even offers mileage tracking for real estate teams! MileIQ reports an average deduction of $7,022 for MileIQ users. Stride – Free Mileage and Travel Expense Tracking App Cost: Free The average Realtor spends $1,200 per year on their vehicle, according to NAR! You spend so much time in your car and traveling as an agent, it's crucial to track your mileage and travel expenses. For most agents, the mileage deduction is one of the biggest tax deductions they claim! Stride is a free mileage tracking app that's easy to use. Just turn on the mileage logger when you start driving and turn it off when you're done. You can log other travel expenses as you go. At tax time, Stride creates an IRS-ready tax form. While free, this tool isn't designed for agents and it's very basic. QuickBooks Mileage Tracker Cost: Included with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed Already using QuickBooks for real estate agents? QuickBooks also offers a mileage tracker app that automatically detects when you're driving. Swipe left on trips to mark them as business miles. Tracked miles will be automatically transferred to your real estate bookkeeping software. Because it's linked with your other real estate business expenses, QuickBooks will determine how much you can deduct for you. The downside is it has an added cost that's higher than competitors like MileIQ. Other Top Apps for Realtors: Marketing Productivity and More! From paperless open houses to streamlined and automated scheduling, these top real estate agent tools can simplify many areas of your business. Calendly – Scheduling App for Realtors Cost: Free for basics and $8 to $16/month per person Calendly is one of the best real estate apps for agents to stay on top of scheduling and appointments. Here's why real estate agents love using Calendly: Set availability preferences to customize when and how you book appointments Automated real estate team scheduling Automate communication before and after meetings Connects to up to six calendars Poll meeting attendees for best availability times Integrates with CRM platforms and more Automated reminder and follow-up emails Alllows leads to schedule with you instantly! Spacio – Easy, digital open house sign-in Cost: $25/month for agents, $100/month for 5-agent teams, and $145/month for brokerages and offices Ditch the clipboards and sign-in sheets with Spacio, an automated paperless open house app. This simple app helps you capture leads from virtual and in-person events, communicate with buyers and sellers, and even market listings. Realtors Property Resource (RPR) – Create CMAs on the Go Cost: Free RPR and the RPR Mobile app are essential tools for real estate agents who need on-the-go research and fast answers. A subsidiary of NAR, RPR gives you access to the data you need during showings and meetings while allowing you to create comparative market analysis reports on the go. This app for Realtors is perfect for getting quick answers to client questions with a tool to search neighborhoods and zip codes and share property photos with your clients. Wise Agent – Popular Real Estate Marketing Tool for Email Automation Cost: $348/year Wise Agent is simple, yet it's one of the most effective real estate agent marketing tools for email automation. This real estate CRM software lets you set up campaigns that run themselves. Choose the number of emails (events) and days between events or fixed dates then use pre-made templates or create your own. The Wise Agent platform is rather outdated, but it's easy to learn and helps you break up the lead nurturing process into several steps without getting overwhelmed. Dotloop – Transaction Management Software for Signing Offers and Documents Cost: Free for 10 transactions and unlimited eSignatures, $29/month for Premium Dotloop is leading real estate closing software that helps you stay on top of transactions. Dotloop helps agents and brokers collaborate, provides reporting, and manages transactions from opening to closing. One of the best uses of Dotloop is making sure offers and closing documents are signed. After opening a "loop," you can add property information and upload documents with notes indicating where they need to be signed. Each field can be assigned to the appropriate party. Recipients can easily add eSignatures with real-time notifications. Disclosures.io – Organize and share disclosures digitally Cost: Free for basic, $39/month for Pro with custom templates and seller dashboards This web platform and app is one of the top agent tools for streamlining disclosures. The free tool for Realtors lets you share information, disclosures, pre-sale inspections, natural hazard reports, and more with interested parties and track activity. You can create packages for sellers or buyers with the property information, photos, a video tour, and uploaded documents. You can even integrate DocuSign! DocuSign – Trusted Digital Signature Platform Cost: $25/month per user or $240/year for Realtors DocuSign is one of the best tools for Realtors to reduce paperwork and streamline transactions. DocuSign eSignatures are a trusted solution to keep clients happy and save time with a secure cloud platform. NAR members get exclusive reduced pricing! Real Estate Transaction Management Help One of the most time-consuming aspects of running a real estate office is staying on top of the paperwork and all the details that go into seeing a transaction to closing. It's easy to get overwhelmed managing appointments and deadlines, checking signatures, and coordinating communications. Are you tired of paying the high cost for real estate management software while trying to manage your business with dozens of tools? As great as these Realtor tools are, you can free up more time from administrative tasks and benefit from a robust platform that keeps you in control. Transactly is real estate transaction management software that gives you a central hub to manage everything and a real estate TC who takes care of the details. The Transactly platform can be used on your own or with a transaction coordinator. Use customizable templates, automated reminders, document management, reporting, and the Transactly Hub which integrates with Dotloop, DocuSign, Gmail, Google Calendar, and more. You can even streamline the offer process by providing a unique listing link that allows parties to submit offers which can be reviewed and managed in real time! For just $95 per year, you can combine our tech-enabled platform with a dedicated transaction coordinator and live support. For a flat fee per transaction, your US-based TC handles everything from reviewing paperwork and ensuring compliance to scheduling, monitoring key dates, coordinating signatures, and monitoring closing. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
MORE >
4 Questions to Always Ask to Pick the Best Technology for Work
MORE >
Second Century Ventures Announces 17 Companies for 2022 REACH Scale-up Program
Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of Realtors and the most active global real estate technology fund, announced today the acceptance of 17 companies to the 2022 REACH and REACH Commercial programs. Launched in 2013, this marks the tenth cohort focused on solutions for the residential sector and the fourth cohort dedicated to scaling solutions for commercial real estate. "The innovative companies that have come out of the REACH program over the years have had a dramatic effect on the real estate landscape," said SCV President and NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. "The influence of technology in this industry is undeniable and the entrepreneurs in REACH continue to redefine our understanding of what is achievable today. We are so excited to work hand-in-hand with these pioneering companies to ensure that Realtors® remain at the forefront of the real estate industry." Companies selected for the 2022 program represent a diverse range of solutions across the real estate ecosystem, including innovations in inspection, appraisal, fractional property ownership, lead generation, due diligence, underwriting and tenant retention, among others. Collectively, these companies have raised more than $200 million in funding and represent a combined valuation of $1.4 billion. "This year marks multiple significant milestones in NAR and Second Century Ventures' legacy of innovation," said Dave Garland, managing partner, Second Century Ventures. "Not only are we celebrating the depth of a 180-plus company strong portfolio and the continued expansion of the REACH program, but we are also scaling some of the most ground-breaking technologies the industry has witnessed to date. The 2022 NAR REACH and REACH commercial programs represent the top new companies in property technology, whose teams are as talented as the innovation they deliver." Companies accepted to the 2022 REACH and REACH Commercial programs are as follows: REACH 2022 Courted: Professional networking platform empowering agents to make better data-driven marketing, hiring and referral decisions. Fractional: Collaborative, full-service, community-driven real estate investing marketplace. Inspectify: Applies the latest technology to make inspectors more proficient and effective. leadPops: All-in-one solution to drive traffic, boost SEO and increase both volume and quality of leads. PLACE: All-in-one platform for top producers delivering unparalleled consumer experiences. Perchwell: Unifies real-time market analysis, listing data, seamless client collaboration and reporting. Reggora: Appraisal management platform delivering unprecedented efficiency and agility. Revive: Brings certainty to the renovation experience to homeowners across the nation. REACH Commercial 2022 Arx City: Underwriting and market intelligence platform to source and evaluate optimal development projects. B-Line: Facility management and emergency alert platform empowering owners and occupants safe return to work. CREtelligent: Innovative due diligence solutions, analytics, and professional insights for commercial real estate acquisitions. LeaseUp: Collaborative commercial real estate platform for brokers to manage projects, create polished output for clients and centralize communication. Matrix Rental Solutions: Universal rental application platform built to deliver efficiency and inclusivity for renters and landlords. SPACKLE: Connects service providers with commercial occupiers to manage and fulfill maintenance and improvement requests. Stake: Empowers renters' savings journey through cash back and financial tips, enhancing tenant retention and financial stability. STRATAFOLIO: Streamlined commercial property management platform to save time, increase profits and reduce manual work. WhoseYourLandlord: Turns resident reviews into operational insights helping home providers increase resident retention and satisfaction. The REACH program is led by Executive Director Kia Nejatian, and the REACH Commercial program is led by Executive Director Bob Gillespie. REACH offers a robust curriculum including education, mentorship, exclusive networking opportunities and significant exposure to the global real estate marketplace. To learn more about REACH and how you can get involved, visit nar-reach.com.
MORE >
Quick Quiz: Are you a digital agent?
MORE >
Technology: Real Estate's 'Easy' Button for Maintaining the Human Connection
Some say that the earliest recorded history of the real estate industry was found in cave drawings from thousands of years ago that depicted the commercial exchange of property (nobody's really sure who paid the buyer's commission, though!). Fast-forward to the 1800s when real estate transactions and mortgage lending started taking shape around the world — and finally made its way to the U.S. and Canada when real estate agents would meet and share with each other info about the properties they were trying to sell — and the very beginnings of the MLS took shape. Through this rich history, one common theme always remained: the human connection. The relationship between broker and agent, or agent and client developed over time. Agents were a key piece in sharing community intel and helping clients understand the mounds of paperwork and real estate regulations. Today, so much of that info is available with a few clicks online and transactions happen faster than before—creating challenges to the traditional agent and client bond. The good news is that in today's world of cool tech gadgets, AI (artificial intelligence), virtual reality, and 5G—the human connection is still just as important. Here are just a few reasons we think that technology and human connection need each other to work in real estate today. Easier client nurture Whether a home buyer needs advice or extra help during a stressful transaction, the personal touch of an agent is still needed, and strategically incorporated tech tools enhance this relationship experience. With on-the-go solutions at your agents' fingertips, they can log notes and preferences on every lead so they can provide a more personalized experience and better showcase their expertise. Intelligent CRM software gives brokerages the tools to automatically engage and nurture relationships by consolidating communication channels and AI-enabled lead follow-up into one smart system. Other smart tech tools like Spacio help agents focus on open house guests and their questions and less time trying to chase down visitor contact information. Plus, contact details gathered with Spacio are automatically added into agents' CRMs for easy follow-up phone calls and personal emails. There is a litany of great client communication tools on the market, including modern MLS mobile apps with features tailored for easy and real-time text messaging between clients and their agents to keep the lines of communication open from listing to closing. Boosted efficiency with automation Technology has also helped agents and brokerages keep up with the pace of transactions, especially when there are several happening at once. Paperwork and file folders are still here, but overall, there's a lot less of them. The hassle of tracking down someone for a pen-and-paper signature is now nearly non-existent with tools like eSignature. Almost every part of a transaction can be completed very quickly, on the go, and in real time. With automated back office or transactions tools, agents can say goodbye to tedious tasks. These automated tools mean that brokerages and agents can focus on what they do best—nurture relationships, work more personally with clients and each other, and close more deals faster. You don't have to do the nitty-gritty drudge work in between—technology does it for you! Automated tools also guarantee agents will stay top of mind with their clients, while brokerages achieve 100% adoption. Smart, targeted digital marketing Remember the good old days of direct mail postcards to find new leads (and that actually worked)? While that hasn't completely disappeared, there are efficient digital marketing tools that still offer you the same type of human connection experience. Digital ads, like those from Boost, give you the opportunity to capture contact info of leads as they surf the web. Plus, Boost optimizes your ad to reach the people who are most likely to interact with it based on their previous online clicks and behaviors. Their ad clicks go to a personalized-by-you landing page designed for qualified lead capture. Then that info can be automatically integrated into your CRM for easy follow-up with emails, phone calls, and more. You can't do that with a postcard! At its core, real estate is about relationships—people helping other people buy and sell homes. Technology is not taking over; it's a complement to human connection. From CRM, eSignature, and transactions to back office and accounting, real estate technology makes it easier for agents and brokers to generate even more leads, close deals, forecast sales, and more—faster, simpler, and actually more connected than ever before. To view the original article, visit the Lone Wolf blog.
MORE >
7 Tech Solutions for Real Estate Agents to Adopt
MORE >
Clients Concerned About Omicron? 4 Digital Tools for Their Home Search
With the Omicron variant fueling record numbers of COVID-19 cases and causing some schools and offices to once again close and go remote, some clients may be more hesitant about in-person home searches. For agents, remaining connected with clients from afar is still important, as we don't know exactly when this moment will pass and coronavirus concerns will recede. One of the best things that agents can do for buyers right now is to give them a digital tool that can keep their home search going. Not only will it help prime buyers for the search experience – e.g. nearby comps, ideal search criteria – but it'll help you better prepare for their needs and wants so you can hit the ground running when they're ready to resume in-person home searching. Here are a few ways that Homesnap can help your buyers keep their home search going, even in the midst of another coronavirus surge: New advanced search filters give your buyers more options Homesnap has more than 30 advanced search filters, which put us on par with the other big players in the world of home search. With more granular search filters, buyers can narrow down the homes that meet their specific search criteria – including: School ratings Stories HOA fees Parking Basement Pool Waterfront View Pet-friendly properties Price reductions Heating and cooling Have your clients set up a saved search on Homesnap with these new filters now, so they can start exploring their target neighborhoods and get a lay of the land. Personalize your search even further with Search By Commute and Draw Your Own Search Your buyers can use Homesnap to compound dozens of filters to find the perfect home to suit their needs, and they can personalize their home search even more using our Search By Commute or Draw Your Own Search features. Search By Commute allows you to enter important commute locations – such as your office and your kids' school – to triangulate homes that fall in your desired commute times. With Draw Your Own Search, you can actually draw your search area by hand. These features provide added filters so you can provide buyers with more tools to find their ideal home. Introduce your clients to Snapping, which has three important benefits One of our consumer-favorite features is the Snapping feature, which allows anyone – agent or consumer – to snap a photo of any home using the Homesnap app and immediately see all the details about it. Snaps are saved in every Homesnap user's profile, so they can reference them later – and they can easily be shared between clients and agents. Snapping is a fun and unique tool to share with your clients, and they can start using it right away. Think of it this way: Even during social distancing, people are still allowed to go outside and get some fresh air. They can walk around the neighborhood for exercise. Why not tell them about Snapping as a way to keep your home search going? They can Snap any property – on-market or off-market – and the benefit is three-fold: You'll get a better sense of the kind of home they like, based on the houses they Snap and send your way. This empowers your buyers to take charge of their search. If they snap an off-market property, you can look at the property's Likelihood to List score using Homesnap Pro and see if it's very likely to list. Then, using the unlimited homeowner contact information that's included with your free Homesnap Pro account, you could actually reach out to that homeowner and see if they'd be interested in selling. It keeps your home search and communication going, even during these uncertain times. Your buyers may still be eager to buy, or they may be tentative – but encouraging them to stay in that mindset regardless will make it easier for you to ramp back up when they are ready to start making offers. Keep sharing homes using in-app messaging As an agent, you don't want to take a break from communicating with your buyers. Every touchpoint ensures that you're top of mind. By introducing them to in-app messaging in Homesnap, you're creating a safe haven where they can search for homes and share them with you so you can protect that client relationship. Plus, you'll get alerts when they favorite homes so you can always stay on top of their home search. Some buyers have been unfazed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and others will be tentative about making offers during another surge. But what you can tell every client, regardless of their attitude, is that it's still important to keep their eyes out, know their neighborhoods, and refine their search criteria so they are ready to hit the accelerator when they feel comfortable. And by keeping that conversation going, you're also staying front of mind – even if you aren't able to meet in person right now. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
MORE >
5 Technologies that Increase REALTOR Productivity
MORE >
Know Your Numbers: What do you really know about the software you use?
Tony Robbins is arguably one of the biggest names ever in coaching and self-development. Both Marilyn Wilson, President of RE Technology, and I have attended two of his seminars. The last one was in August of this year. I'm going to let you in on a little secret, the most impactful idea we learned from Tony: Know your numbers. That's it. Know your numbers. Before you can determine if you have improved, made more money, or grown your business, you need to know where you started from and where you are at now. This article will be about knowing your numbers for your software. The average broker offers 12 different pieces of software to their agents; the average MLS offers anywhere between three and 10 pieces of software, and then there is whatever the agent decides to buy for themselves. Because the end of the year is approaching fast, I thought now would be a good time to consider what we use, how often we use it, and what other options are available to use. What Software Do We Use? Let's start with the what. To really understand what we use, we must start a list. I recommend creating this list in Excel or Google Sheets, so other columns can be easily added when we get to steps 2 and 3. As an example, I am going to do this exercise with you! The list below covers software I use with my work at both WAV Group and RE Technology. It is not a complete list of everything I use, but it is a good example for you. You might have noticed the same thing that I did. I am using some of the same types of software (e.g., using both Microsoft Word and Google Docs), but that is definitely a reason to do this exercise. This will help determine if you are paying for two different pieces of software that do the same thing. How Often Do You Use the Software You Listed? The next step is pretty simple. How often do you use each of the tools listed? As an agent, you will probably find that the bulk of your time is spent on only 20% of the software. See my answers below! As you can see from my list, about 25% of the software I use multiple times a day. Once we have completed step 3, then we can consider any changes that need to be made going into 2022. What Other Options Do We Have? This step you will have to do on your own as I am not with a brokerage or in an MLS. Compile a list of all of the software that your brokerage and MLS offer (free or paid). Just like our list from steps 1 and 2, add what type of software it is. Questions to Ask Yourself Now you should have two lists—one list of software you use and one list of software offered by your brokerage and MLS. Now ask yourself the following questions: What software do I already use from the brokerage and MLS? Of the software that I don't already use that my brokerage and MLS offer, am I paying for a comparable piece of software? Spend a lot of time on this question. If there are comparable pieces of software, what should I consider getting rid of in favor of the software provided by my brokerage or MLS? Additional questions if you are running a team or brokerage: When was the last time you determined what your agents are using? Could you save money by offering less software? Once you go through each of these questions, you will probably find that you are already paying for something you can get free from your brokerage or MLS. This will help you bring down the cost of running your real estate business. It's Your Turn Normally, this is where I challenge you to take 15 minutes to do what is mentioned above, but my hope is that you will do the challenge as you read the article—and it will definitely take you more than 15 minutes. If you haven't done this yet, schedule time on your calendar in the next day or two. This can really help you bring down the cost of doing business. I often speak with agents that tell me they didn't know their MLS offered a piece of software they are already paying for! If you have any questions about knowing your numbers or have suggestions for other articles, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
MORE >
Boosting Your Real Estate Business Productivity
MORE >
Fact vs. Fiction: 3 Myths of A.I. in Real Estate
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a technology buzzword in the real estate market for the past 18 months, and with good reason. While the technology itself has been around for some time, brokerages and agents alike are beginning to see just how valuable AI can be – especially as they optimize their business and embrace digital innovations as the pandemic wears on. AI is really good at synthesizing data insights and predicting behavior, which means it can save real estate pros a lot of time and money as it frees them up to focus elsewhere. The catch is that there is a lot of misinformation swirling about AI as well. How can you really use AI in your business? What will it deliver? Where does the technology end and an agent begin? Read on as we separate the hype from reality. Myth #1: AI will replace the need for agents This thought has likely crossed your mind before. Any technology that automates a process which is historically done manually creates fear and anxiety around the human element. While it's not unfounded, there is a twist. For most innovations, AI included, the benefit is that a process can be streamlined thus freeing up real estate professionals and brokerage team members to do high value tasks instead. For example, a 2020 report from Altus Group found that while three-quarters of commercial real estate executives believe automation will eliminate some jobs, nearly the same number believe it will also create new roles that focus on delivering value. Ask yourself, is it more valuable to spend time manually integrating your lead generation system with your social media content for the month, or is it more valuable to interface with clients and prospects directly? The latter delivers a better return each and every time. AI simply cannot replace the value agents create when engaging with leads and clients. Now more than ever, homebuyers and property owners are looking for real estate professionals to engage them with real market insight and a productive, genuine relationship. AI not only makes that a reality, but does so on a great scale, enabling agents to focus on high-value activities and not intensive data analysis or tedious processes. Myth #2: AI is incoming lead generation only AI definitely has a strong role to play in lead generation. For example, deploying AI-powered chatbots on your website can help you get in touch instantly with new leads as they come in. But those inbound leads are only the beginning. From property valuation to automating back-office operations, AI can play a major role. Our clients find lead conversion to be the biggest area of surprise. Once a prospect hits your website, AI can take over to nurture the lead. Integrating into your CRM system is where the opportunity exists to maximize conversion rates. For instance, an AI-driven automated property alert allows agents to set up parameters and flag opportunities whenever a home hits the market that fits a certain prospect's criteria. But the agent doesn't have to be involved when a home is flagged – they can be at another closing, at a T-ball game, or asleep while this is all happening. Taking that a step further, AI can continue to track properties with certain characteristics for any given lead even after that lead may have said, "No thanks." It essentially eliminates the terminology of "dead" lead – now it's simply an immediate lead and a longer-term lead. By better understanding what a given client is after through data insight and analysis, AI is the lever that can drive conversions, not just inbound leads. Myth #3: All AI capabilities are the same Not all AI capabilities are created equal. An AI system that tracks activity and gives real-time feedback, whether it be via a prospect "score" or a notification upon activity, generates a "propensity" for that prospect to act. But there is a difference between a third-party AI system that must be integrated and one that is native to the system. Likely they don't have the same functionality, and for the two to communicate, there must be a bridge which is not the same as a native integration. Inevitably, something is always lost in translation given the nature of how the two systems were developed. Leveraging AI tools native to an application speeds up the machine learning process (where AI gets its intelligence!), and is ultimately more efficient as data doesn't have to be shared outside an application. As Alexander Chandler, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Alexander Chandler Realty, noted in a recent Forbes story about technology innovation in real estate, "Those not harnessing AI are going to be left behind holding buggy whips." There is no better time to separate AI fact from fiction. Start by understanding specifically how AI technology can bolster your business, add to the value of your team, and drive the operational efficiencies you need to grow and scale in a white-hot residential real estate market. To view the original article, visit the Chime Technologies blog.
MORE >
3 Powerful Technology Solutions You Already Have Access To (Or at Least Should)
MORE >
4 Steps to Find a Technology Solution that Works for You
We often see big-name technology products, such as Salesforce, and we think, "Wow! That would be amazing for me to have all of that functionality!" BUT, "We are a team of one, maybe two and it just doesn't make sense to invest hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars into that kind of customization." That doesn't mean there isn't software that would work perfectly for you. There are four steps that you should take when deciding if a technology solution is right for you and your business. Recently, RE Technology went through this very process to replace our outdated Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) and Project Management (PM) tool. This same process can work for you if you give it a shot. Vitamin vs. Painkiller When Marilyn Wilson, the managing partner of WAV Group and President of RE Technology, talks about software, she often asks, "Is the software a vitamin or a painkiller?" What does that mean? Think about it—if you were close to being broke, would the software help keep your business alive, or would you dump it like yesterday's trash? I am not going to provide examples of vitamin software because that would be completely up for debate. However, I will discuss CRMs, which are always painkillers. For your business to grow long-term, you must use a CRM. Step 1: Ask yourself the hard questions Cut out a chunk of time—where you won't be interrupted—and ask yourself the following questions. What problem am I trying to solve? Why do I believe this is the problem that needs to be fixed? Why? Do this two more times to clarify the problem. How can I solve this problem with the least amount of effort? What tools do I need to accomplish this? Do I already have software that would solve this problem and I am just not using it to its full capabilities? Now that you have taken the time to answer the above questions, set them aside for two to three days. With a fresh set of eyes, do this process again, reviewing what you have already written. This will allow your subconscious to process each of these questions. Now you are truly ready to start looking for the software that is just right for you. When I did this for RE Technology, I did this over the course of a couple of months working with different people on my team to help define EXACTLY what we needed. We determined we were looking for a system that did multiple things—it needed to have CRM, PM, and marketing capabilities. Step 2: Determine your options As you could probably guess, this step is not easy to do. When trying to determine your options you must go beyond what you think you know. You must explore. Fortunately, you are currently on RETechnology.com, which makes your search a little easier. You can go to the product directory on our site and find products that fit the category you are looking for. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a CRM, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from. This is why you must already know what you need before you start looking. Besides searching on RETechnology.com, you have several other options to help you search. First, ask your broker and other agents in your office what they use. If you are asking other agents, make sure they have a similar production level that you do. If you are not able to ask someone else, then you can search on Google or G2.com. RE Technology took these exact steps in narrowing down which platform we were going to use. Step 3: Narrow down your options At this point, you have probably looked at 10 or more CRMs and your head is spinning. It is time to narrow down the options. Pick your top three; demo each one of them—especially if they provide a free trial option. It's worth it! Using your answers from Step 1, rank the top three options based on the problem(s) you are trying to solve. If one of the options in your top three doesn't solve all of your problems, throw it out. You should also ask yourself: Does this product help me today? Will this product still work for me in three to five years? Will the time and money investment for this product help grow my business? Step 4: Congratulations! Now is the time for the hard work to start. Pick one.Set it up.Use it. Your Turn Most of the time, we do not need to buy new software. However, when we do, we should always do it the right way. Bookmark this article. Share it with your fellow agents. One day, you will need this and will be glad you have it. Come back next week to learn how to find powerful technology solutions that you already have access to, but didn't know about. If you have any questions about how to find software or have suggestions for other articles, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
MORE >
The Best Eco-Friendly High-Tech Home Products
MORE >
6 Tools for Finding Your Right Virtual and In-person Mix
The pandemic forced many real estate agents "go virtual" when it came to showing properties and engaging with potential buyers and sellers. Even though agents and clients are beginning to meet in person again, the following virtual tools still make sense to help win over buyers and sellers. 1. Virtual Tours Virtual tours were gaining popularity pre-pandemic, and they've now become the primary "initial" way of viewing a home. Be sure to include versions that allow for 3D viewing and 360° movement – to enable prospects to view a property as if they were inside. 2. Aerial Drones Drone footage can give a bird's eye view of what it's like to live in a certain neighborhood and provides a more holistic view of an area, including features beyond the property. Does the nearby school create a street parking issue? What amenities are nearby? Et cetera. 3. Video Meetings Not every virtual solution needs to be super fancy. Holding a Zoom meeting or walking through a home and FaceTiming is still perfectly acceptable – and sometimes more convenient! We've all become experts at online meetings and viewings, and buyers will appreciate having you there, as they can make individual requests. Maybe they'll want you to point the camera out the window so they can see the view from the master bedroom, or maybe they'll ask you to count the number of steps it takes to walk from one side of the backyard to the other. Don't underestimate the power of this simple tool! 4. Virtual Open House In many areas, the market is so hot that homes are sold before the first open house. Live streaming an open house is a great idea, as it allows multiple buyers to tune in and you don't need to schedule individual appointments unless a buyer is really interested in the property. You can speak about the house beforehand, give a live tour, and take live questions as well. If you decide to host a virtual open house, just be sure to market it well in the days leading up to it. You want to make sure people know about it and have the link to the live stream far in advance! 5. Social Media How many times have you ignored a message that came through on Facebook or Instagram? Make sure you're active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and be sure to write back immediately to anyone who is interested in using you as an agent. Otherwise, you'll lose out to someone who did answer the message. 6. HighNote If you're unfamiliar with HighNote, it's time to get familiar with it, because it can make your life so much easier and help win over buyers and sellers. Instead of sending an email with multiple attachments, HighNote's smart presentation platform embeds those attachments into a beautifully displayed presentation. Best of all, you then get real-time results telling you when the recipient opened the presentation and what they clicked on. You can then tailor follow-up communications based on their activity. Finding the right mix of digital and in-person interactions with prospects and clients is real estate's new normal. It's simply important to remember that how you connect is not as important as the strength of your connection!
MORE >
Technology Tools Required for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
Get Smart: Making the Most of Smart Homes in 2021
What's the difference between going home and going to work? For many of us in 2020, the answer was "not much." Most of us have spent more time at home this past year than ever before, so it's only natural to be looking for ways to make that time at home more enjoyable and efficient. Smart home devices offer so many options for making life easier, more convenient, and more sustainable at home. Buyers, sellers, and owners are embracing smart home products like never before, and that trend is unlikely to slow down anytime soon. Now is the time to learn what your clients want in a smart home, beginning with our Smart Home 101 guide. Who Is Embracing Smart Home Products? Like with many types of technology, you will see the highest adoption of smart home products among the younger demographics of home buyers and owners. But Millennials and Gen Z are definitely not the only ones embracing the convenience and connectivity of smart homes. Anyone who owns a smartphone can download apps to connect with their smart home products, and buyers of all ages are doing just that. Most smart home devices are designed to be user friendly, easy to install, and easy to connect with the rest of the home. Add it all up, and you have a very diverse group of clients who are embracing the smart home trend. The Internet of Things Grows Every Year The Internet of things (IoT) is comprised of all the devices in the home that have online connectivity, and it's growing rapidly every year. Everything from light bulbs to toasters, TVs, and larger appliances can be part of the IoT. These devices often have their own software that allows them to be controlled remotely and have WiFi connectivity to exchange data. For people who already love smart features, IoT devices are a natural fit. These devices can also provide an easy entry point for anyone who is dipping their toes into the waters of smart home items for the first time. Voice Control and Smart Hubs Are Popular with Every Demographic There are so many smart home devices that every client is likely to want their own unique mix, but there are also a few devices that you're likely to find in every smart home. A smart hub with voice control, like Amazon's Echo with Alexa, is a must-have because it functions as a hub for so many other devices. A smartphone with the right apps is also a must for maximizing smart devices' convenience and utility. In addition to improved connectivity, smart hubs offer voice control, allowing clients to seamlessly control their homes without scrolling through menus or taking time away from whatever they're busy doing around the house. How Smart Home Devices in the Kitchen Save Time and Make Life Easier The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in any home and a very popular place for smart devices. Nearly any powered item found in a kitchen is now available with connectivity to the IoT, among other smart features. For larger appliances, smart versions are easily programmable and can even tell you when it's time for maintenance. Smart refrigerators have some especially advanced features, including some that help you automatically keep a shopping list or even look into the fridge without opening the door. Buyers will love the convenience of a smart kitchen, and sellers will love how much a smart kitchen appeals to those potential buyers. Why Going Green and Going Smart Go Hand in Hand Today, many real estate clients are focused on sustainability, and a smart home makes it easier than ever to go green. Start with one of the most popular features, the smart thermostat, which saves energy by keeping your home comfortable when you're there while not wasting energy on heating/cooling while you're away from the house. You can even program it so that your home will be just the right temperature when you come back from work. Really, any smart home device that can be controlled remotely allows you to save energy because you can simply turn it off with your smartphone apps when you're out of the house. There are also affordable devices like smart plugs, which allow you to put lights on a schedule so that you never have to worry about wasting energy on lighting when you're not home. Buyers interested in green living – and sellers who want to attract those buyers – will definitely be interested in smart, sustainable devices. Smart Security Systems for Peace of Mind Security systems are one smart home feature that's popular with every demographic, and clients won't have to break the bank to have a high-quality security system that offers smart features. These security systems can be controlled remotely and allow clients to keep a close eye on their home even when they're at work or on vacation. Going with a monitored security system adds an extra layer of protection because security experts can check on the home when security sensors are tripped and send help if anything goes wrong. Smart security systems also offer convenient features like video doorbells, so you can easily see who's at the door before you answer. A Connected Home for Convenience and Entertainment Last but certainly not least, there are the smart home devices that are just plain fun and make it easier to enjoy your leisure time. Smart TVs allow you to watch your favorite shows and movies on the most popular streaming services without worrying about a cable bill. Smart speakers are ideal for music lovers because they allow you to listen to your favorite tunes throughout the home and control everything with your voice. Modern gaming consoles aren't always listed among smart home devices but also fit the bill because they offer many of the same perks as a smart TV. Smart homes are here to stay, and the start of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to begin embracing the trend. As the last few years have shown, you can expect new smart products to emerge regularly and change how we interact with our homes. However, unlike some design trends, smart home features also have extensive appeal, with options to suit buyers from every background. The home of the future is a place where every important device is connected, and clients have an unmatched level of control over the many devices in their home. With how quickly smart homes are progressing, that future is very much within view. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
MORE >
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Use of Smart Home Products?
MORE >
PropTech: What Does It Mean for the Real Estate Agent?
Technology is advancing the way real estate agents communicate value to prospective clients. It plays a huge role in assisting in transactions and is changing the way you do business. From artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) to virtual reality (VR) and new 3D tour technology, proptech trends are slowly but surely making their way into your daily routine. But the question remains for a lot of agents: is proptech spawning a new era or is it disrupting a legacy system? The Resistance Real estate has not always embraced property technology advancements quickly. The industry as a whole is resistant to change. It operates on a legacy method. As an agent, you do what you have always done. Why? Because it works. But what if you could work better? What if you could give more value to your client and continue to fill the shoes of your predecessors? Proptech can open virtual doors, build your brand, and provide valuable information to home buyers and sellers. 3D Tours: Use Them or Lose Them The past year has certainly seen a jump in terms of how virtual tours have played a huge role in your real estate marketing plan. This proptech has changed home buyers' behaviours dramatically. When you want to market a property and get it sold quickly, surveys indicate you need to incorporate a virtual tour for your buyer to view from the comfort and safety of their current residence. You could risk losing a deal before you even make a connection if your buyer can't connect with you online. Proptech and Communication Consumers are seeking information before they contact a real estate agent. Advancements in technology give the consumer multiple ways to contact you – email, social media, direct message, Zoom meetings and more. How can you get more leads and referrals? Offer potential clients as much useful information as possible. Use property technology to showcase floor plans, 3D tours, and interactive ways to cater to the clients' changes in behaviour. Buyers are searching online and according to NAR, several buyers are placing offers before visiting the property in person. Keeping Up with Drones in Real Estate A popular proptech addition to 360° tours is drone footage. What better way to have a great view of a listing than to get a bird's eye view? Using drones adds another level to your listing presentation. For your seller, you are offering added value to your marketing plans, and for your buyer, these additional virtual tours help build an emotional connection to a property. Though drones are readily available, they come with a few regulations, so it's best to have your professional real estate photography provider get your aerial photos. Stick to what you do best so you don't end up flying your newly purchased drone into the neighbour's open window. According to NAR, one of the biggest challenges real estate agents face is keeping up with technology. Big players in the real estate industry, like Zillow and Redfin, are using data to offer their services and give insight into current market trends. Don't miss out on some great opportunities by skipping out on information that can help you and your clients. Property Data and Analytics Use proptech to analyze data. Information offered by your MLS' property data/tax tool is a window into the future as well as a way to analyze past trends. Accuracy is key. Presenting the whole picture with data from the markets helps you provide the best service to the consumer. How do you know what is happening in the current market? By monitoring economic, geographic, and demographic data, real estate agents can use this information to predict sales and provide a more accurate valuation of a property. What if you could use data to target specifics by narrowing down precisely what a buyer wants? Advanced analytics will soon be able to get you up close and personal with all your buyer's desires. By inputting things from desired floor plans and room dimensions to distance to schools and Walk Scores, you will be able to narrow down the ideal property. Not only does this provide value to the consumer, it saves time. The Future is VR Virtual reality gives the consumer the ability to see before they buy and, in fact, can now let them see before the brick and mortar has time to set. Proptech advancements in VR can let the consumer walk through a property before it is even built. At the pre-construction stage, you can visualize various upgrade options, get a realistic view from every floor of a multi-level property and experience how an adjustment to the proposed floor plans would flow. The world is changing and every industry is adapting to technology. With the Internet of Things (IoT) giving you ways to access your home security camera while on vacation or to get a ride in a self-driving car, the future definitely looks tech-friendly. As one of the largest industries in the world, real estate and proptech go hand in hand. You don't have to give way to AI chatbots as the only form of communication with the consumer. Instead, embrace technology as a new partner in business. Keep your human connection, your coffee meetings, and your personal approach to your clients because as humans we all crave that bond. Use technology as a complement to your real estate marketing approach. The bottom line is, if the experience leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction, proptech is good.
MORE >
Understanding IoT (Internet of Things) Risks: How your clients can protect themselves
MORE >
The New Bridge Solution: How to Turn Homeowners Into Sellers
The biggest problem for home sales today remains a lack of inventory. So, how do we keep the bounce-back from COVID-19 going? We need more listings! To create more listings, we need to get homeowners off the sidelines. The problem is that homeowners are nervous to make a move for the same reason everyone else is: a lack of inventory. It's a catch-22, but there's a new, innovative bridge solution for brokerages available through zavvie that's designed to help agents get sellers moving. A bridge solution removes urgency from the buying and selling process, reduces stress and removes the biggest barrier to selling. Don't confuse a bridge solution with a bridge loan, however. The only people who qualify for bridge loans don't need one. A bridge solution is available nationwide, unlike an iBuyer option. Bridge solutions are flexible. Sellers love them, and so do agents. Getting a Homeowner to Become a Seller Many homeowners today feel like they are locked into their homes. It's a "chicken and the egg" problem: they can't buy until they sell, but can't sell unless they find the right house. A bridge solves that by giving your clients time to find that right house. Smart agents know you can quickly turn a homeowner who has no plans to sell into a seller if you show them the right place or the right offer. A bridge solution can do both. Homeowners also don't want to sell right now because they don't want people traipsing through their homes. To them, it's a safety issue. And selling a house on the open market is always daunting. Your clients have to prep until it's perfect, keep everything in shape and interrupt their lives for showings. A bridge solution removes these obstacles to selling. Two Bridge Solution Approaches Today, two dominant bridge solutions exist. The first purchases your client's house with an all-cash offer, then leases it back to your clients, giving them the time they need to find a new home. With the second approach, the bridge solution provider buys your client's next house, providing them time to sell their current home. Homeowners who want to move up and have excellent credit, have growing income and are looking for a more expensive home do well with the bridge solution that buys their next home. The other approach is a home sale-leaseback model that delivers flexibility. Your client can lease their current home for as long as they like and move whenever they find their dream house. This bridge solution can work with a wide range of credit scores and income types. Offering All the Options Homeowners have more options to sell their homes today than ever before—and they need and want the help of an agent. It's why zavvie helps brokerages keep the agent at the center of the transaction. By offering a bridge solution for sellers on the zavvie-powered platforms of our broker partners, zavvie makes sure agents can show homeowners all of their options. Lane Hornung is CEO and founder of Colorado-based 8z Real Estate, one of the nation's most successful brokerages, and is CEO/co-founder of zavvie, one of the only complete iBuyer solutions for real estate brokerages. To view the original article, visit RISMedia.
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Audit Your Tech Stack with This Worksheet
MORE >
The Latest Trends in Team Software
The following is an excerpt from RE Technology's Success Guide to Team Software: Website Some team platforms develop excellent websites with a high focus on lead generation, content creation, and search engine optimization. Teams doing a lot of online digital advertising will need to look for websites that offer the ability to create lead generation pages--also called squeeze pages. Others recognize that a team website is like a business card. If you are not in love with the activities around online lead generation, having a fancy website is probably not that important to you. Mobile Apps Mobile apps have been an exciting growth area for team platforms over the years. The driving trend among these mobile apps has been less about developing branded mobile search apps that are in the Apple App and Google Play stores, and more about delivering functionality that allows teams to access customer records on the fly, or to take a group approach to responding quickly to customer requests. If your team is mostly mobile, rather than office based, this may be a very important feature for you. Contact Record Monitoring One of the biggest areas of new development in software for teams has to do with reference data and client monitoring. Using artificial intelligence, the software can track activities across all of your client records. Using this data the software can, for example, tell you when there is a customer that you have not interacted with in the last year or suggest that you reach out to a customer who has been spending an insane amount of time looking at listings on your site. The goal of contact monitoring is to make sure that you stay connected to everyone in your database, and to focus on those customers who show the most activity in the process of executing a transaction. Some solutions even monitor Facebook and LinkedIn for the most recent posts made by your clients so you can check up on them from within your contact records. Contacts, Calendar, Email Integration Most business professionals lack time for administrative upkeep such as scheduling meetings or updating contact records in multiple places. An important feature in team software platforms is mobile phone integration. It allows an iPhone or Android device to connect to your CRM. If you get a new customer call on your phone, and you save that contact, your phone will then sync the contact record to the CRM in your team solution, so you do not need to re-enter it. Likewise, if a team member schedules a task or meeting for you, they can access your calendar for your availability and set that appointment so it displays on your phone's calendar. If you are speaking to a tech supplier for your team, ask them about Google Sync or Outlook Sync. Reporting and Forecasting One of the challenges to operating a team is to measure team productivity. These metrics fall into the realm of reporting and forecasting. Depending on the role of the team member, good reporting and forecasting can provide the team leader with data that shows how team members are using the system, the value of business they have in the pipeline, etc. Remember, when you are running a team, you need to think about it like you are running a business or running a brokerage. Productivity per team member is a key matrix that you need to track. Dynamic Automation The idea behind software has always been automation. In the past, automation in team software was pretty linear. Linear automation is when you schedule things to happen at a specific time in a specific order. On day one, do this. On day two, do that. On day five, do this other task; on their birthday, do this, etc. Dynamic automation uses the intelligence of software to observe consumer actions and adjust the behavior accordingly. In tech speak, they use the term "if this, then that." For example, let's imagine that a past client comes to your website to read an article about home improvement, then starts looking at houses. Dynamic automation would bring this to your attention and save the search for that client without them needing to do anything. The software could then send them a follow-up email the next day with the listings that they reviewed and ask if they have questions or would like to see any other homes. These auxiliary communications use machine learning or artificial intelligence to anticipate the needs of clients dynamically and automatically. Download Success Guide: Teams to learn more about Team software trends, how to evaluate Team software, and more.
MORE >
Growing Your Team Business with Productivity Software
MORE >
Homesnap's New 'Sell Speed' Tool Predicts How Quickly a Home Will Sell at Different Price Points
Homesnap on Monday announced the debut of Sell Speed, a proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm composed of hundreds of up-to-the-minute real estate market data points that predicts how quickly a home will sell at various prices. This new feature gives agents confidence in recommending price levels in a rapidly-changing real estate environment. Currently available in beta to Homesnap Pro and Homesnap Pro+ users, Sell Speed helps agents better understand their market and develop pricing strategies. Agents can view the Sell Speed of their current listings or any off-market property. With Sell Speed, agents can: Advise sellers on pricing strategy and likelihood to sell: Agents can use Sell Speed to help their clients set realistic goals and expectations about the price their home can command. Agents can illustrate how price variations affect the timeliness of an offer and guide their clients toward striking the ideal balance between asking price and days on market. Enhance listing presentations with pricing insights: Agents can use Sell Speed to identify the ideal property list price for an off-market property. By arming themselves with accurate, data-driven pricing models based upon proven market predictors, agents can win more listings. Use Sell Speed to assist buyers in negotiations (Pro+ agents only): Homesnap Pro+ agents can access the Sell Speed on any listing – even if they are not the listing agent. Pro+ agents can leverage Sell Speed as supporting evidence to prepare offers and facilitate negotiations. "In this intense housing market, pricing homes accurately is more important than ever. Sell Speed was designed to help Homesnap agents amplify their market knowledge both to keep their current clients informed and at ease and to secure potential clients," said John Mazur, Homesnap CEO. Agents can adjust a home's price up to 30% in either direction of the list price or estimated home value. As the price is adjusted, the selling probability timeframe dynamically updates to produce the estimated time in which the property will sell. Unlike other price-predictor tools that can cause confusion with clients and home searchers, Sell Speed is not consumer-facing and is available only to Homesnap Pro agents. "We consider Hundreds of data points to produce the Sell Speed of a home," said Guy Wolcott, Homesnap Founder. "Homesnap's proprietary machine learning algorithm takes current market conditions, similar listings, recent sales, buyer activity and listing agent behavior among others into account to produce the Sell Speed." The Sell Speed agent tool is currently in beta and available on web, iOS and Android devices to registered Homesnap Pro agents. For more information, visit www.homesnap.com.
MORE >
Smart Homes Need Smart REALTORS
MORE >
Moderne Ventures' Virtual Demo Day
Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM PDT Join us to gain first access to Moderne Ventures' 2020 Passport Companies through a virtual Demo Day from our founders. These companies are recognized for leveraging technology and innovation to provide solutions to leaders in the multi-trillion-dollar industries of real estate, finance, insurance, hospitality and home services. Companies include: Aclaimant Addressable Bend hOM NumberAI Suburban Jungle A Q&A session will follow presentations. Register now!
MORE >
Using Slack to Help Run Your Real Estate Business
MORE >
Your Smart Home Primer
Have you heard the term "Internet of Things" and wondered what it meant? In a smart home, many devices can now be connected to the internet so they can be controlled through automation and apps on mobile devices. The range of options in this category seems to be expanding faster and faster with market volume expected to reach $47 million and home penetration to reach 52.4% by 2024, according to statista. Here are some of the reasons smart home technology has become so attractive:
MORE >
2020 Hindsight: Game-Changing Tech and Tools from the Last Decade
MORE >
Top Tools, Templates and Tech for Listing Leads
As real estate agents, we're constantly looking for innovative ways to get listings and stand out from the competition. Because these days, our competition is everywhere. Discount brokerages, iBuyers, other agents--everyone is competing for the same scarce inventory. That's why we're sharing our most creative, innovative, and proven methods for getting more listing leads:
MORE >
Collaborating with Others Using Apple Notes and Google Keep
MORE >
Smart Realtors Need to Understand Smart Homes
A few days ago, I had a call from an agent. We discussed the many reasons why an agent needs to include new homes to show prospective buyers. When I mentioned "smart homes," she stopped me and said there needs to be a seminar on smart homes and just how much a Realtor needs to know. I agreed, and after the call I started doing some research on smart homes and what homebuyers are looking for in a smart home. But first I wanted to understand the market, so I visited the National Association of REALTORS® website to look at who is buying homes currently. Millennials, the generation born between early 1980s and 1990s, make up the largest generational group of homebuyers. I decided to start there with what Millennials are looking for in a home. After reviewing a bunch of surveys, the one common thread was what I call smart home technology. I strongly believe REALTORS® need some basic knowledge in the following areas of smart home technology. Each buyer will have their own order of importance, but here are my top five categories of smart home technology:
MORE >
9 Technology Productivity Tips: Do this, not that
MORE >
Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Technology
One of the rituals of the spring – in addition to home buying season – is spring cleaning. It's a time when many of us clean, declutter and purge throughout our homes. But what about our technology: our laptops and smartphones? Spring is an excellent time for some spring cleaning for your tech too. Here are some ways you can clean, declutter and purge your way to a better tech experience the rest of the year with a tech spring cleaning. How to make your smartphone sparkle Do you know the best way to physically clean – and sanitize – your smartphone? To clean an iPhone, Apple recommends using a soft, slightly damp (distilled water), lint-free cloth. For a Pixel, Google tells owners they can use regular household soap or cleaning wipes. Most recent Samsung smartphones are water resistant, so Samsung recommends running these models under fresh water, shaking out excess water from the ports, and then wiping it dry with a microfiber cloth. If you need to do a deep-clean of a grimy smartphone, the easiest, fastest and safest way is to use disposable screen wipes, available from online retailers such as Amazon. The good news is that research tells us all of these methods do a pretty good job of eliminating most of the germs on the phone too. Cleaning your computer The host of the podcast "Ask a Clean Person," Jolie Kerr, told The New York Times you only need four items to clean a laptop: Rubbing alcohol, microfiber cloths, cotton swabs, and canned compressed air. The reason isopropyl alcohol is ideal is that it won't damage the computer's internal components. Kerr also says there's nothing wrong with purchasing specialized electronic or computer cleaning products, but they are most likely overpriced, and these homespun solutions will do the trick. The key to cleaning your laptop is to take your time. The first step is to turn it completely off (not sleep mode). Next, using the can of compressed air, go to work on the keyboard, then spray out all the ports. Experts say when using canned air, always use short bursts, as longer ones can cause condensation. The next step is to dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol. Don't ever pour or spray fluid of any kind directly on your laptop. Now clean with the cloth between all the nooks and crevices. To clean your laptop screen, do not use any chemicals. You should only use a soft cotton cloth with a little distilled water. In fact, on a Mac with a Retina display, if you use a product like Windex, it will destroy the screen coating. Declutter and organize your screens If you save your files to your desktop as a shortcut timesaver and don't always remember to move those files to the proper destination, you could suffer from screen clutter on your laptop. Get your laptop organized during your spring tech cleaning by moving files into folders. For your smartphone, get your apps organized as well. On an iPhone, you can create different folders and group similar apps together to declutter your screen. At the very least, you should make sure you eliminate "widow" pages: screens on your phone that have one app – or a few – on an entire screen – requiring you to scroll more. That's a time waster. Consolidation of related apps on your smartphone screens can save you time. For example, keep all your travel apps on one screen with the ones you use most frequently positioned where you like to access best. For users who have access to Tech Helpline, they can reach out for help on setting up folders on their smartphones. For iPhone users who are do-it-yourselfers, Apple provides instructions here. For Android users who want to learn more about setting up folders on their own, this wikiHow article gives step-by-step instructions here. Time to purge How many apps are on your smartphone? Now, how many of those apps have you used in the last six months? If you don't know, the latest operating systems will tell you. If you have an iPhone, here's how to see when you last opened each app. First, select your Settings (gray gear icon) on your iPhone, then choose General (another gray gear icon). Go down and select iPhone Storage. You may have to wait until the data loads, but soon a list will appear of all your apps. They are ranked by the amount of data they consume and show that amount on the far right. Below the app is the information you want for purging: the last date you used the app. You may be surprised at the number of apps you have that you have not opened for more than a year. Don't be surprised if you have apps that have never been opened. We've all been there, done that, but the good news is you get a two-for-one: you purge the apps from your screen (declutter), and you will free up space to store more of what you want and use. To delete the app, you can do it on the next screen: select the unused app, and at the bottom, you will see a "Delete App" option. If you own an Android smartphone, it's also easy to clean up your unused apps by accessing the Google Play Store on your Android device. In the My Apps section, the place where you go to reinstall or update apps, you will see a list of all your current apps. The apps will show the amount of data they consume and when they were last used. The best part is you can sort these apps by "Last Used," which will group the least used apps at the bottom. From there, you can select the apps you want to purge. Your laptop probably also can use some spring purging. How many screenshots did you save for a quick email and then never deleted? Or created a duplicate image? Have you cleaned out your deleted files or trash lately? Have you gone through your programs to make sure you don't have any unwanted software – or bloatware – that you can remove? Going through your folders during the spring is a great ritual to start. Think about what you really need to save, what you can back up to the cloud or a portable hard drive, and what you can delete forever. Your tech devices, if they could thank you, would, because they may get even better without all that clutter. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
MORE >
The Dumb Thing About Smart Homes
MORE >
New Technology for Real Estate Agents
Looking to stay ahead of the competition and the latest technology? Check out these three innovations that'll help you impress sellers, generate leads and build a name for yourself as an agent who is one step ahead of the rest.
MORE >
Your Smart Device May Be Listening, But You Still Have the Power to Delete
MORE >
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.
MORE >
10 Gorgeous Gadgets and Accessories for Road Warriors
MORE >
8 Cool, Affordable Tech Gifts
Each year, we try to find affordable, cool tech tools and gear of the season that real estate agents and brokers would either like to give (great closing gifts) or even receive! Here's our holiday gift guide to tech gifts that are cool, affordable and highly practical.
MORE >
How Agents Are Benefiting from Artificial Intelligence
MORE >
Smart Homes: What Agents Need to Know in Order to Effectively Market Them
The technology available at our fingertips continues to become seemingly more advanced by the second, and our dependence on it to perform even the smallest of tasks appears to be increasing along with it. Smart technology is now making its way into our homes, intending to make our lives easier and successfully making us humans lazier than ever. From ordering our groceries to turning on our lights, these cutting-edge devices are changing the way we live life and turning our houses into smart homes.
MORE >
Hot New Tech from NAR Midyear
MORE >
When Too Many Real Estate Tools Are Overkill
Let's talk technology real estate tools. This includes hardware, software and online tools. Do you find yourself trying to find enough room in the car for both your clients and your tech stuff? Or, do you find that you're so busy with your fancy online and software tools that you don't have time to do some prospect contacting? That's even when one of your super tools is a fancy CRM, Customer Relationship Management, system. Real estate agents are constantly bombarded with advertising for: the greatest smartphone super tablets and desktop computers high-resolution cameras and video equipment voice note recorders CRM software or online CRM systems image and video editing software time management systems task management transaction management electronic home measurement ...there is so much more The first question is, how did we ever sell real estate before all of this stuff? The second is how much tech stuff is too much? The truth is that we really did sell real estate before the fancy tech stuff, and just as much as we sell now. This brings us to the third question: is all of this making us more or less efficient at our job?
MORE >
3 Things that You Need to Know About Smart Home Staging
MORE >
3 Ways Technology Has Changed the Real Estate Game
Technology is changing the real estate industry. The internet and mobile devices have given the average consumer more options when it comes to buying and selling their home. Agents need to adjust their business model to meet the needs of today's modern consumer. Here are three ways technology has changed the real estate game.
MORE >
How $200 Can Make a Home Smart, and Add Thousands to the Sale Price of a Home
MORE >
Discover 42 Cutting Edge Tech Products for Real Estate in 2017
We've been launching more things than Elon Musk in the past month. First it was the fresh, new redesign of RETechnology.com, and today it's the release of our seventh annual Technology Guide! That's right, the RE Technology 2017-18 Technology Guide is finally here! Download this free guide now to learn more about 42 of the latest and greatest real estate tech tools available today. You'll find information on everything from lead generation apps to CMAs to 3D virtual tours--plus smart questions to ask when evaluating a solution.
MORE >
11 of the Best Real Estate Agent Tools
MORE >
7 Young Tech Companies Poised to Reinvent Real Estate
REach®, NAR's tech incubator program, announced its 'Class of 2017' last week. Each year, the annual program selects seven companies whose products or services show the potential to benefit NAR's 1.2 million members. The program runs from one NAR conference to the next. Each class debuts in May at the NAR Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C. and 'graduates' at NAR Annual in November. Hundreds of companies applied this year—up significantly from 2016—and the seven chosen after an exhaustive review of their business models and execution strategies truly represent la crème de la crème. This year's class ranges from early- to mid-stage companies who, in total, have raised over $50 million in funding and whose total valuation tops $350 million. The goal of the program "is to move these organizations rapidly forward beyond their initial successes through education, mentorship and market exposure." REach® has had a successful track record so far. The tech incubator hit the half-decade mark this year, and its previous four classes have, on average, doubled their customer base and, in total, raised more than $60 million in funding during and after the program. So which hot tech products does REach (and NAR, by extension) think will benefit Realtors? Let's take a look. 1. Centriq: You keep maintenance records for your car--why not do the same for your home? This app helps homeowners digitally track property-related receipts, invoices, documents, notes, and even a home inventory. All of these records can be transferred from buyer to seller in the event of a sale. Realtors can sponsor this digitization of their 'listings' and give the new owner their home's records as a closing gift.
MORE >
5 Real Estate Tech Tools in 5 Minutes
MORE >
How The 'Internet of Things' Affects Real Estate
Growing interest in Wi-Fi connected gadgets inspired us to write this article about Internet of Things (IoT). So today we cover IoT: what it is, how it affects real estate, and what to look for in the future. What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? The English Oxford dictionary defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as "the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data." For example, lights that can connect to your smartphone via internet so that you can turn them on or off wherever you are, even if not at home, wearable devices to track your sleeping habits, or self-driving cars. These everyday objects with internet connectivity aim to provide convenience and efficiency to the user by sensing, tracking and transmitting data. And because the growth in the industry has made such devices very affordable, they are proliferating. All these devices, regardless of who makes them, are categorized into the IoT concept. How It Affects Real Estate IoT gadgets for the home lead to smart homes. Did you get a Wemo Switch this year as a holiday gift? Or perhaps an Alexa-controlled Echo speaker? If you did, you are probably on your way to transitioning your home to a smart home. Smart homes are homes "equipped with network-connected products." Perhaps you already started noticing clients who are more excited when they tour properties with "smart home technology." In these homes, devices communicate with each other – from the alarm clock to smart thermostats, fire alarms and security cameras. READ: Prep Agents with 6 Smart Home Facts
MORE >
How to Use Google Keep for Real Estate
MORE >
The 4 Best Content Curation Tools for Real Estate Agents
Now that you know the basics of what curating content is (and how to leverage previously published content without plagiarizing), it's time to dig into the best tools for aggregating content. Below are our top four recommendations, plus information on service levels and pricing. Pocket If you're an internet junkie, you probably need Pocket, an app that allows you to save articles to read later. Whether you're scrolling Twitter and see a long read about the housing market, or get an email from your mother sharing Great Uncle Harold's big win at the county fair, you can now save every "not now, but later" URL you come across. Whether you save articles to Pocket from your computer, tablet or mobile phone, you can access them later from any connected device — even when you're offline. And if you prefer Pinterest to Reddit, you'll be delighted by the service's sleek display and design. Who it's best for: Pocket has a pretty terrific free service, but its Premium service level — which is ad-free, searchable and includes personal back-up of your content — is just $4.99/month.
MORE >
Four Time-saving Tools that You Need For YOUR Real Estate Practice
MORE >
3 Real Estate Tech Tools This YPN Chairperson Can’t Live Without
Young people are entering the real estate industry in waves, and among them is a new breed of tech-friendly enthusiasts who believe digital is today and tomorrow's path to success. Yet, with new tech tools introduced almost daily to the real estate market, identifying and adopting only the most valuable digital assets becomes a challenge—and sometimes with very little return on investment. Five years ago, Jesicca Skoloda, a degreed business major who worked about 70 hours a week managing a jewelry store, decided she had more to bring to the table. Recognizing her aptitude for generating business, her love of technological tools, and her entrepreneurial spirit, Jesicca set out to earn her real estate license. Today, Jesicca is within the top one percent of producers for the Luzerne County Association of REALTORS® and is consistently a Top Producer at Classic Properties—a company that serves more than five Pennsylvania counties with about 100 agents. Jesicca, 30, has already sold nearly 20 million dollars in real estate since entering the industry. To what does this rising star and chair of her local Young Professionals Network (YPN) attribute her good fortune? In addition to intrinsic qualities such as self-determination, energy, and confidence, Jesicca says her success stems from a willingness to embrace the tools that keep her and her clients informed and on track. Here are Jessica's top three producing apps.
MORE >
Forget Inbox Zero. Be an Inbox Hero with Boomerang for Gmail
MORE >
"Move-In Ready" Increasingly Means Smart Home Technology for US Consumers
Sellers looking to upgrade their home before putting it on the market may be wise to install smart home technology. According to a new survey from Coldwell Banker, 44 percent of US consumers believe a house that's "move-in ready" has smart home technology. In fact, 54 percent of survey respondents would choose the home with smart technology when faced with two houses that are exactly the same, and 26 percent believe the technology is a major selling point. So What Is Smart Home Technology? Speaking of "defining," what exactly is smart home technology? Coldwell Banker teamed up with CNET in May to clarify the term. The two companies settled on a mutual definition to "provide a clear and unified designation to keep up with rapidly evolving technology." To start, a home must have a reliable internet connection and one of two base "smart" systems: 1) security features that control access via smart locks or monitors the home through, say, networked security cameras; or, 2) smart temperature controls. Additionally, a property must have two other systems from the following list to qualify as a smart home: Appliances (smart refrigerators and smart washer / dryers) Entertainment (smart TVs and TV streaming services) Heating / Cooling (smart HVAC system, smart fans or vents) Lighting (smart light bulbs and lighting systems) Outdoors (smart plant sensors and watering systems) Safety (smart fire / carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights)
MORE >
2 Must-Have Tech Tools for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
A Look at the Latest and Greatest in Smart Home Technology
Are more are of your clients asking about smart home technology these days? That's no surprise--according to a Coldwell Banker survey, 45% of Americans are expected to have some sort of smart home technology by the end of 2016. The survey found that smart home technology appeals to both potential buyers and sellers, with 54% of homeowners stating that they would install smart home products if they were selling their home and knew that the technology would make their home sell faster. Over half of buyers said that smart home technology like security and temperature controls would be most appealing in a home. The survey results were revealed just before this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where attendees got to scope out all the latest gadgets, from laptops and cameras to virtual reality headsets to automotive gear and, yes, smart home technology. Halo Smart Smoke Alarm - This sophisticated device can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide and send alerts to your phone, so you're informed of emergencies even while away from home. The alarm can also issue voice-driven weather alerts. The best part? Its battery lasts a whopping 10 years! TOTO smart toilet - We get it, a smart toilet sounds like a potentially awkward idea. But how's this for a selling point? The TOTO smart toilet only has to be cleaned once a year, thanks to high tech materials and a system that uses ultraviolet light and electrolyzed water to clean with every flush. The Toto will also lift its own lid for you, pre-heat the seat(!), and even clean you off with a bidet-like feature. How's that for taking care of all the dirty work?
MORE >
Top 8 Real Estate Gadgets for 2016
MORE >
Best of 2015: Hate Writing Listing Descriptions? This App Does It For You
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in October and is #6 in our countdown. See #7 here. For many real estate agents, writing is a dreaded, but necessary, chore. There are listing descriptions to write, market reports to draft, and even blog posts to create. If you're not a person to whom writing comes naturally, these tasks can be a massive time and energy drain. Fortunately, there's a new app that takes that pain out of writing--by doing it for you! Wordsmith from Automated Insights can take data from a spreadsheet, like market analytics or property information, and automatically generate a reader-friendly article, report, or listing description, among other options. Here's how it works. Let's say you need to write several listing descriptions. Rather than slaving away at each one individually, put the property details for each listing in a spreadsheet, like in the image below. Once the data is structured--with individual columns for address, square feet, number of bedrooms, etc.--the user then uploads the spreadsheet into Wordsmith. The next step is to create a template for your content. This gets at the heart of what makes Wordsmith successful--it knows that much of what we write is fairly formulaic already. Listing descriptions always mention the number of beds/baths, square footage, the local neighborhood, etc. Market reports typically talk about the latest sales data and compare it to the previous period. By creating a master template for each type type of content, generating future content becomes as easy as uploading a spreadsheet.
MORE >
Hate Writing Listing Descriptions? This App Does It For You
MORE >
What Will Buyers Want in 2016? Smart Homes!
Buyers want smart homes? What's that? Don't worry, if you don't know the slightest about smart homes, you're not alone. Technology, like real estate trends, is constantly changing. Sometimes it can be hard to stay in the driver's seat. Smart homes, or homes with built-in intelligence systems, are rapidly gaining in popularity, causing buyers to increasingly look for more high-tech home upgrades as technology advances. Who's doing the driving? The "Internet of Things," or "IoT," is the connectivity of everyday objects to the internet and one another, a phenomenon embraced and expected by the general public in all manner of applications. As wireless internet technology advances, and becomes easier to operate and more cost effective, smarter experiences can be provided in the home. Crash course There are an array of home technology options, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave, with various compatible home automation devices. However, technology compatibility issues abound, especially when a mix of wireless home technology solutions are used. The goal in the not-so-distant future: compatibility. Major players in the smart home technology market are joining forces in support of an open wireless network standard that would allow interoperability among various products.
MORE >
Best Online Tools and Apps for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
Homes Are Getting Smarter: Can Real Estate Agents Keep Up?
There are hundreds of products and services that go into building a home. It looks like there will be more as advances in technology are introducing devices that will make homes more intelligent. Tech giant Google is betting on it. Recently, they purchased a company called Nest for approximately $3.4 billion. Yes, a "b." Nest specializes in smart technology for the home. Their website says, "We take what's familiar and look at it in a new light. Our team focuses on making technology that's simple, fresh and helpful." They have developed a smart thermostat. They claim it will save the average homeowner 20 percent on their heating and cooling bills. You can control the thermostat from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. After a week or two, the thermostat learns how you like the home and self-adjusts to suit. It learns what you like and responds in kind. Now that is a real self-programming thermostat. A 20 percent savings on heating and cooling bills is no joke. Lower costs raise property values. Many home buyers in my area ask their Realtor® for a copy of the heating and cooling bills of a home they're interested in purchasing. A 20 percent savings would be an average of approximately $600 per year, or $50.00 per month. In mortgage money, this is $10,000 of added home value. Money saving and ecologically sound--not bad.
MORE >
7 Real Estate Agent Must Haves
MORE >
Pocket PCs, iPad, and Outlook Tips
POCKET PCS? The technology industry is booming, and everyday appliances are being redeveloped to be better than ever before. With many technology devices, part of a new design means a device is made smaller and portable. One of the most well-known examples is the computer with original models weighing around one ton. Today, they are portable devices that come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. In the real estate industry, a REALTORS® time is divided between the office and showing homes and having a reliable device that can handle multiple work functions is essential. Laptop computers are an appealing option, but at times they can be difficult to operate, bulky, and inconvenient to carry. Luckily, Intel and other computer companies are beginning to develop Desktop PC HDMI sticks that will connect directly to an HDMI port. The HDMI sticks contain an Atom Quad-Core processor, as well as 2 GB of RAM for data storage. With the addition of a portable keyboard, HDMI sticks are lightweight and easier to transport. They have the ability to plug into TV monitors to display 1080p for clean visuals which are useful in the real estate industry. The current HDMI sticks that stand out are the Windows based HDMI sticks known as Intel's ComputeStick as well as MeeGoPad T01. HDMI sticks are available for sale now. For more information, visit http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/compute-stick/intel-compute-stick.html.
MORE >
How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 2
MORE >
How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 1
I've been fielding lots of questions from Realtors® wanting to know how to pick the right tools to put their own end-to-end solution together, how to make "tool A" work seamlessly with "tool B" and even "Where do I start on this and how to I figure out what I need?" Truth be told, there can be tons of things you can add to a system, but if you are setting out to build an effective, easy to manage and work platform, part of the art of constructing it is knowing "when to say when" and only putting those things into the platform that are uniform and in keeping with your original vision. Today, I thought I would run through a list of key elements you should consider putting into such an end-to-end marketing system, along with warnings about potential pitfalls that may jam you up along the way. I am going to share a total of seven things I believe comprise the key elements to the success of a project such as this. In order to keep things from getting too long, I am going to split this article into two parts. One published today, and one next week. 1) If it doesn't make you comfortable, skip it This is one of the most important, yet most overlooked considerations. As you put together your end-to-end system, you are going to be subscribing to many different products to make your platform. It is understandable that there is going to be a little bit of a learning curve as you sample and decide upon these different products. The thing to never lose sight of is that if you sample a solution and still aren't 100% comfortable with it and have reservations, do not choose that product as a piece of your platform. Go on to the next option and explore it instead. If you stick with something you aren't comfortable with, eventually the platform is going to get too frustrating, you will stop using it, and then you are right back to square one. Additionally, remember that since you are going to be selecting many different products from many different developers, only look at those products that are flexible and can be integrated with each other. You never want to get in a situation where you are manually having to move data across from one product or service to another. Disjointed products do not make an end-to-end platform.
MORE >
How a 72-Year-Old Realtor Embraces Technology
MORE >
Top 10 Tech Tools to Help You Sell Your Listing
It's important to keep up with the latest trends and developments if you want to be successful in any field, but especially in the world of real estate. Here are some excellent tech tools you should consider to help sell your listing. Maps - Google Earth is perhaps the most popular version of this tool, which allows buyers to check out the street view of the home, as well as the surrounding area to see if any nearby services or stores are major eyesores. Intuitive search tools - A large percentage of buyers use sites like Zillow, Trulia, NewHomeSource or other real estate portals to find a home that suites their taste and budget. Some sites like CLRSearch even allow you to further customize your search by using parameters such as foreclosures only, new homes only or even by school district. Professional photographs - With an increasing number of people using professionally taken photographs for their home listings, it's important to get high-resolution images that are up to the current standard. Floor plans, preferably 3-D - Potential buyers want to know how a home is connected and what the layout feels like to walk through. One of the best ways to provide for this need are interactive floor plans that allow users to virtually tour a home with just a few clicks.
MORE >
3 Forms of Tech That Are Changing the Real Estate Market
MORE >
The Technology Habits of Successful Real Estate Agents
To be successful in today's real estate market, it's necessary to use technology to its fullest potential and implement systems whenever possible. Using the right technologies can save time and money, and ultimately lead to greater earnings. If you have not already adopted various technologies as essential to your real estate business, now is the time to start. Not only will this keep you in touch with your clients – as most are just as or more technologically savvy than the average real estate agent – it will also allow you to stay competitive with the other agents out there. According to a study by Keller Williams, 68 percent of all new agents are under 35 years old, and 32 percent are under 25. This generation grew up with technology. They understand it, and they use it every single day, both in their personal life and in their business. In order to compete with this up-and-coming influx of new, tech-oriented agents, there are a few key strategies you can execute in bringing your real estate business up to the standards of the Digital Age. Going Digital If you are still are pushing papers around, filing documents by hand, and getting forms signed in-person, you are falling behind. Going digital with your real estate business, if you haven't already, is probably the best place to start. Using a real estate transaction management system gives you the ability to go paperless. You can upload all of your documents, organize all of your contacts, and allow guest access in order to share files with your clients, broker or team.
MORE >
Apple Watch For Real Estate
MORE >
Real Estate Technology is Not an Expense. It is an Investment
More and more these days, when doing product demos and trainings, I am hearing from real estate agents how expensive it is to be in business and how whatever piece of technology they happen to be looking at is just going to be an additional expense. I agree and disagree with this statement. First off, I am keenly aware of how expensive it is to be in business. I am, at the end of the day, responsible for all my employees, the company overhead, and ultimately, making sure our company is going down the correct path. This is incredibly stressful at times, as I am sure running a real estate practice can be. What I completely disagree with, though, is technology being looked at as an extra expense. Technology should never be looked at as an expense. It should always be looked at as an investment. There are multiple reasons I think this, but the most important one is that if you look at any piece of technology as an investment, you are instantly going to begin thinking about what your return on investment will be (e.g. how much more business is that piece of technology going to allow you to do?), and at that point, thinking of things in those terms, you can never lose. First, For The Doubters So if you are wondering why technology is nothing more than just another expense, like your car or a laptop, let me explain it to you like this: You most likely have some sort of assistant working for you. It could simply be a transaction coordinator, or maybe a full fledged assistant. Those people do things for you when you aren't there, out out of the office, focusing on other things. These things they do for you make you more productive and therefore give you an opportunity to do more business. Clearly you wouldn't consider these people an expense. They are people. They are people that are contributing to the growth of your team. You are investing in them and they in turn are investing in the growth of your real estate practice. Technology works the same way. If you are looking at a piece of technology and it can't do the same types of things above, then it's not really a technology platform worth considering. If it does do those types of described things, even though it's not a human, it is something that you are investing in, that will be working towards the common goal of making you more successful.
MORE >
Spotlight on Real Estate Tech: Our Top Product Reviews from 2014
MORE >
Your Guide to Real Estate Technology in 2015
Over the past several months, we've been publishing weekly guides that focus on a single type of real estate technology. Each article offers an overview of that category, helpful articles, and questions to ask before considering a new purchase. With a new year on the horizon, now is the time to start setting goals for 2015. For many agents, achieving these goals may require new the help of new tech tools or services. If you are looking to add or upgrade technology products, the first step is to thoroughly research your options. Kick off your research by choosing the type of product you're interested in learning more about from the list below: Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) Online Marketing Market Analytics Electronic Signatures Real Estate Websites Document and Transaction Management Lead Generation Lockboxes Mobile Apps Website Analytics IDX Websites Online Reputation Management
MORE >
11 Gift Ideas for the Techie You Love
MORE >
3 Must-Have Tech Tools for Real Estate Agents
This post comes to us from the Market Leader blog: As a real estate agent, you should be spending time calling prospects, meeting with clients, and showing properties. You shouldn't be spending a ton of time scouring the internet for cool tools, apps and gadgets to help you be more productive. That's my job! Every so often, we'll be checking back in with the latest tools and tech tips for successful and struggling real estate agents alike. Here are some fantastic recent innovations that can help you focus, stay on track, and make you look like an expert. The Neighborhood Data Goldmine: Sitegeist How many times have you been working in a new area – or even in your own – and gotten stumped by a question about the neighborhood? Hyperlocal data has historically been tricky to obtain, until recently. Sitegeist is a free smartphone app that provides important information about the area you're standing in right now – facts that clients and prospects want to know. For example, a few taps and swipes on Sitegeist can tell you: Age distribution Commuting facts Historic weather data and record temperatures Great restaurants, hotspots and venues in the area Average rent Political contributions, by party affiliation – for those who want to know just how red or blue their neighbors are
MORE >
Five Tech Tools You Need to Host a Safe Open House
MORE >
How to Score the Latest Tech Tools Without Breaking the Bank
It's easy to be distracted by the "wow" factor of the latest gadgets and overlook their frequently hefty price tag. But before you break out the plastic (or break your budget), know that there are ways to make your dollar stretch further. As with many things in life, timing is crucial. For example, did you know that there are times when certain products are available at a substantial discount? We've done a little digging to find the best times to buy new tech tools: Digital cameras - February. The latest models have just come out, and the older one are on sale. Computers - Older models go on sale in July and August in order to make room for new models. You can usually get a good deal on new laptops in August and September, thanks to back-to-school sales. Phones - It's usually best to wait until you're eligible for an upgrade to get the best price on smartphones. Can't wait? Consider switching to a different carrier to take advantage of new customer incentives. Tablets - When the newest iPad (or Android or Windows) tablet is still only a few months old, it's a great time to buy the previous model at bargain. If you're only interested in the latest and greatest, consider holding off for Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts during the holidays. Other ways to preserve your bottom line are purely psychological. Think of that new phone or software program as more than just a toy, but as 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, consider holding off.
MORE >
30 Top Tools for Agents in 30 Minutes (8/19)
MORE >
2015 Technology Guide: Find Tools that Profit Your Business
RE Technology's fifth annual Technology Guide is fresh off the presses! Released in time for NAR Midyear, this free resource helps agents and brokers find the right technology solutions for their business. Trying to navigate the crowded sea of available tech tools can be a daunting task for real estate professionals. With so many options to choose from, things can get confusing fast. By providing detailed information and points of contact for dozens of products in multiple categories, the 2015 Technology Guide is a valuable reference during your research process. Use it as your starting point whenever you're considering a new tech purchase. How to Use the Guide The guide is simple to use. You can download the entire guide as a PDF or thumb through it right from your browser. Below are a few tips for navigating the web-based version. Choose whatever method is most comfortable for you. Turn pages like a book: Love the feel of turning pages in a book? You can do that with the guide, too! Just click and drag the top or bottom page corners to move forward or back. Use the arrows: Click the arrows on either side of the guide to move forward or back. Click to turn: Double click the top or bottom of any page to go to the next. Jump to a specific page: Know exactly where you want to go? Just type the page number in the input field to view it instantly. Use the Table of Contents: If you're looking for a specific product or category of products, use our table of contents to find it. From there, just click on the page you're looking for and you'll be sent there immediately.
MORE >
The Hottest Tech of 2014
MORE >
10 Ways Technology Can Save Agents Time and Money
The Web celebrated its 25th birthday last month, according to the Pew Internet Research Project. It's hard to believe, but true. And despite some early skeptics, the web has been saving people time and money ever since its debut. It's easy to think of examples. Email, something we now take for granted, saves people the time and expense of sending letters. Netflix saves its subscribers the hassle of schlepping to the nearest video store--and the monthly cost of unlimited streaming is far less pricey than the per video charge (and late fees!) that Blockbuster once charged. Over the past quarter century, the Web has affected virtually every industry and many aspects of our lives. Real estate has been far from immune. Gone are the days of printed MLS books or of being chained to an office desk and landline. Mobile technology has enabled agents to conduct business from anywhere, and websites, social media, and more have made the Web an affordable and efficient marketing channel. In what other ways can the Web make agents' lives easier? We've rounded up 10 of our favorite examples of how technology can save real estate professionals time and money. 1. Build a DIY Website - Gone are the days when coding knowledge was necessary to build your own website. Today, multiple turnkey website solutions exist. If you're looking to build a site for your business, we highly recommend exploring real estate specific website solutions. They come loaded with features agents need, like a built-in IDX search and specialized templates. Other solutions, like WebsiteBox, offer a wealth of backend tools like an integrated CRM, drip marketing capabilities, Google Analytics, and more. Most can be set up in under 15 minutes.
MORE >
The Technological Side to Building Relationships
MORE >
Robo Agents and Their Tools
This post comes to us from the Market Leader blog: There was a long period when the real estate industry stubbornly refused to change with the times. Agents and brokers had to be dragged – kicking and screaming – into the age of technology. They faced a steep learning curve and scaled it admirably. Today, agents are not only technological whizzes, but some are at the forefront of using technology in real estate. Two of the newest tech gadgets being utilized by agents to photograph or take videos of their listings are the stuff of sci-fi dreams. Google Glass As the debate rages over whether Google Glass is legal to wear while driving, in movie theatres, and – soon, I'm sure – in Vegas casinos, the real estate industry is wholeheartedly embracing the technology. Google Glass looks like a pair of glasses with a rectangular projection on one side. That projection is actually a small Android computer that includes a screen, camera and microphone. Google Glass owners, at this point, are an exclusive, by-invitation only bunch, ponying up $1,500 for a pair. In other words, it's not available to the general public right now.
MORE >
How Paperless Are You?
MORE >
What to Do When Tech Problems Strike
Technology is a wonderful thing. When your devices function properly and you know how to leverage them, your work and personal lives run so much more efficiently. However, when your electronics are down, your business is down, too. This is especially true for real estate agents. Not only are most agents mobile--using their smartphone, laptops, and tablets on the go--but as independent contractors, they have no employer IT department to turn to when their computer, phone, or printer stops working. Some try the DIY troubleshooting route--but too often this ends in wasted time, energy, and frustration. So where can an agent turn in a tech crisis? Well, that depends on what you need help with. Today, we're going to guide you through different support options for various tech issues. Help! I'm having problems with my real estate software! Because modern real estate solutions are largely web-based, many difficulties have been eliminated since there's no software to install. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's all smooth sailing. Sometimes data is accidentally deleted, or upgrades make old features hard to find. Fortunately, most real estate software comes with robust tech support options including phone, email, and live chat support. Many also have video tutorials or a built-in Knowledge Database that lets agents use a search feature to find answers to a specific question they may have. Check with your vendor for tech support options. Tech support is important, so if you find that your vendor's options are inadequate, consider switching to a new solution. If you need guidance, many of our product reviews provide available tech support options. If you're simply looking to use a product better, many vendors offer live training webinars. Check your vendor's website for more information, or see our webinar listings here. If a solution is offered by your broker, MLS, or association, there may be training sessions available through them. Check with your organization for details.
MORE >