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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.
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The Dumb Thing About Smart Homes
Today, you can talk to your house. Just tell Alexa or Google to lock your front door, turn off your lights, close the garage, set the coffee maker for 6:00 am and turn the temperature down to 68 degrees, and it will happen. And you can do this – and a lot more - all from the comfort of your bed. That's a pretty smart home, isn't it? But there's a dumb thing about this type of smart home that can get a real estate agent or broker in trouble: most smart homes won't set themselves up when a home is sold. This does not apply to all smart homes, but it does to the ones controlled by voice-activated assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home. These smart home systems are set up and customized by the current owner, and they can't be transferred to a new owner. That means the buyer, most often, must start from scratch and create their own smart home setup. Now that may sound like a simple thing, but if you promoted the fact that the house is a smart home, you might end up with a very unhappy buyer. Depending on the number of smart devices the house has, it could take hours and – depending on the age and brand of the smart devices – even days for an inexperienced person to fully set up a smart home with all the bells and whistles. Everything in that house today connects specifically to the current internet setup and connection that the owners have in their house. Every single smart device uses the owners' password to connect to the internet. More importantly, the master controller for all the devices is inside a mobile app. That mobile app can only be accessed by the owner's Amazon or Google account. So far, neither Amazon nor Google has made it possible to transfer these smart home setups. And a seller is not about to share access to their Amazon or Google accounts with a buyer. When a buyer purchases a smart home that is controlled through Alexa or Google, they are going to have to start at the beginning. Your job as an agent or broker is two-fold. First, you need to understand that these smart homes are not portable unless the owner takes all the devices with them, leaving a dumb house. Most owners are most likely to take the voice activated controls – the Amazon Echos that operate Alexa or the Google Home devices. They also might take the smaller items, such as wall plugs for appliances and lamps. But they are not likely to take the smart locks, or the Ring doorbell, or the garage door opener, or the smart appliances. That's why your seller needs to provide a complete inventory of every smart device, including the make and model. The make and model information is vital because not all smart devices connect the same way. The key for an agent is how you describe smart homes in terms of each house's capabilities – not what it can do, but what it can't do. Be transparent with your buyers. Tell them they will have to create their custom setup, but that will also mean it will be more secure: it will be tied to their account, their internet connection, and their passwords. Providing buyers with a detailed inventory list of all the smart devices will be a blessing – and a huge timesaver when they need to troubleshoot. It's almost guaranteed they will need to troubleshoot when setting up smart home devices. Setting up a smart home can be very time consuming if you have dozens of devices from different manufacturers. Especially when you have never done it before. And most buyers have never done it before. The best advice, therefore, is not to oversell a smart home. When demonstrating what it can do, provide a full disclosure that what you are showing is customized to the owner, not the house. If you want to learn more about smart homes, here's a primer, "A Quick Review of smart home Technology," and information about how to stage a smart home here: "3 Things that You Need to Know About smart home Staging." Fortunately for agents and brokers, the majority have access to Tech Helpline, real estate's number one technical support team, that can offer agents help with their own smart home setups. Tech Helpline, a service from the Florida Realtors, is a member benefit provided by many of the largest MLSs, trade associations, and brokerages throughout the U.S. and Canada. For the 600,000 Realtors who have access, it's free to use. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.    
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New Technology for Real Estate Agents
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Green Home vs. Smart Home (and the Top 9 Features)
Smart homes and green homes are growing in demand in many parts of the country. Yet, when people think of a smart home, some may think it is the same as a green home. Yes, they work beautifully together, but they are actually different. This article will highlight each and show you the key features that buyers are looking for now.
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10 Gorgeous Gadgets and Accessories for Road Warriors
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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.
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How Agents Are Benefiting from Artificial Intelligence
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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.
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Hot New Tech from NAR Midyear
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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?
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3 Things that You Need to Know About Smart Home Staging
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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.
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How $200 Can Make a Home Smart, and Add Thousands to the Sale Price of a Home
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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.
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11 of the Best Real Estate Agent Tools
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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.
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5 Real Estate Tech Tools in 5 Minutes
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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
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How to Use Google Keep for Real Estate
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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.
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Four Time-saving Tools that You Need For YOUR Real Estate Practice
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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.
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Forget Inbox Zero. Be an Inbox Hero with Boomerang for Gmail
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"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)
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2 Must-Have Tech Tools for Real Estate Agents
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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?
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Top 8 Real Estate Gadgets for 2016
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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.
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Hate Writing Listing Descriptions? This App Does It For You
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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.
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Best Online Tools and Apps for Real Estate Agents
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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.
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7 Real Estate Agent Must Haves
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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.
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How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 2
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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.
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How a 72-Year-Old Realtor Embraces Technology
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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.
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3 Forms of Tech That Are Changing the Real Estate Market
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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.
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Apple Watch For Real Estate
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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.
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Spotlight on Real Estate Tech: Our Top Product Reviews from 2014
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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
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11 Gift Ideas for the Techie You Love
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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
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Five Tech Tools You Need to Host a Safe Open House
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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.
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30 Top Tools for Agents in 30 Minutes (8/19)
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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.
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The Hottest Tech of 2014
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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.
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The Technological Side to Building Relationships
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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.
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How Paperless Are You?
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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.
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Agents, Teams and Technology
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Family Matters
My 30th birthday is looming, and everything I used to think I'd feel at this major milestone has changed completely. Any sadness at disappearing youth or fear of my own mortality is a non-issue. Instead, all I feel is gratitude that I have the most important thing in the whole world: a beautiful family. I realize now that my family is the center of my world, and EVERYTHING takes a back seat to them. Making my home and my family the center of my universe means I need to be more efficient at other things, like work. For me, that's writing about real estate—and for you, it's selling real estate. I'm trying to find tools that can help with this efficiency at work, as I'm sure you all are, too. So while it's top-of-mind, let's talk about some of those tools that can help real estate agents streamline work to free-up time for what really matters: family. eSignatures The first timesaver I thought of was digital signatures. Signing documents digitally is taking our industry, and others, by storm by offering wide-ranging and substantive benefits for professionals and consumers alike. I interviewed Paul Koziarz of DocuSign, a leading digital signature provider, to learn more about the ways that eSignatures can save real estate professionals time. Time in the car. When your loved ones are waiting for you at home, the last thing you want to do is waste time stuck in the car. Driving from point A to point B to collect signatures doesn't require your unique professional expertise, and it's certainly not emotionally fulfilling. "eSignatures allow the parties in a transaction to sign documents quickly and safely, no matter where they are. And best of all, no driving across town required," Koziarz explains.
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Instant Gratification
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Top 10 Ways to Sell Your Client’s Home FAST! (Part 1)
Great news! You were able to secure a new client interested in selling their home. Now what do you do to sell the home as quickly as you can? Well, we've got a few suggestions for you. This is the first of two articles that offers proven tips to sell your listing in days--not weeks or months. 1. Price It Right It can be difficult to get reliable comps for properties right now because many markets are recovering so quickly it's hard to keep up with them. That's why it's important to use market stats tools that leverage up-to-date MLS data. Companies like RBIntel, AgentMetrics, and Top Producer's Market Snapshot can be valuable tools you can leverage to help you price the home right when building a listing presentation. 2. MLS Listing vs. Pocket Listing Even though inventory is very tight currently, marketing a property by listing it in the MLS is a much more valuable approach than a pocket listing. It reaches a large addressable audience of real buyers who are engaged with an agent to purchase a home. Agents routinely save searches for properties that meet buyer criteria, so whenever your seller's listing matches that criteria, they are alerted. Here is a secret: those alerts are also triggered by price changes within the price range. Knowing this, if you change the price of a property by any amount (even $1), the alert goes out. Be sure to change your price regularly to leverage this MLS marketing strategy.
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The Weather Outside is Frightful – Now What?
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2014 Technology Resolutions
Technology is changing our lives – and our industry – on a daily basis. And as they say, you're either with the times or behind them. With that in mind, I wanted to roll out three New Year's resolutions I'm asking my agents to adopt when it comes to technology in 2014 and I'd love to see you implement them into your success plan for 2014 and beyond. 1. Let's See That Beautiful Face! Every slogan and catchy phrase that can help you sell more homes in 2014 has already been plastered on a billboard somewhere at some point in the past. No matter what you say, and how well you say it, there are simply limitations to the things you can convey through pen and paper. Instead, turn to video. For $200 we purchased (and you can too from any number of online retailers) an "iPhone film pack" for use with pretty much any smart phone. The kit comes with a clip on and boom-style mic, tripod-adapter mount, and a magnetic camera lens that fits over the phone's camera to give a wider-angle view. With this kit, we can now shoot video both in the office and out in the field with a maximum 3-minute set-up time. Think of the possibilities: neighborhood reviews, client testimonials, and interviews with local business owners, etc. The sky is the limit with video, and the added benefits (increased SEO, higher click-through rates, etc.) make this a great way to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
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Competing for Market Share as a Real Estate Agent
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Top Product Reviews from 2013
We encountered a lot of great tech products in 2013. Some were new to the real estate sphere, while other solutions received significant updates. In order to help you choose the best products for you in 2014, we've rounded up a list of our product reviews from the past year, arranged by category. These are all agent-centric products--stay tuned for a list of broker reviews in the coming days! If you'd like more advice on how to evaluate products, see our series of articles on questions to ask before choosing a solution. Market Analytics / Video MarketVideos.com - A video content solution that delivers localized market videos to agents every month. The videos educate viewers on local market conditions, including popular statistics like active inventory and median listing price. Agents can share the videos with their database via a branded email newsletter or embed them onto websites and blogs. See more Market Analytics / Video Services in our Product Directory. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Top Producer - It's not the destination that has changed at Top Producer, just the routes you can take to get there. The goal behind the CRM is, as it has always been, that an agent can log in and immediately know what they need to do that day. The difference is that this can now be accomplished from any Web-enabled device and done with even greater ease and efficiency. IXACT Contact - A full-featured CRM with robust marketing capabilities. The program can help agents stay organized and in control, keep in touch with prospects and clients, strengthen client relationships, convert leads into clients, and manage their active business. See more CRMs in our Product Directory.
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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Real Estate Solution
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Finding the Right Cell Phone for Real Estate
The first decision that a REALTOR® needs to make is Smart Phone vs. Dumb Phone. If you just want a phone and access to text or sometimes the ability to read an email (not necessarily respond to one), then a dumb phone is for you. No sense taxing yourself with a complex smartphone if you are not committed to leveraging the features of the device. Any phone will do – just pick one that feels comfortable to hold and carry. Battery life on these devices are awesome today. It is hard to make a bad choice. If you choose to go the smartphone route, picking the right one is a little more challenging. An older friend of mine once asked me which smartphone to buy. My answer was the one your wife uses. Whenever he sees me today, he says that it was the best advice he could have been given. If you are living with someone or working with someone, there is a high probability that you will be sharing phones and plugs and that sort of stuff. Moreover, you can help each other learn how to use the phone and share tips and tricks. It is the best of all worlds. Even if your smartphone has some shortcomings, the benefits of having the same device will overcome that. Here's a hint – be sure to get different color cases. As a bonus, you will also probably save some money by sharing a family plan for calls, text, and data. iPhone vs. Android This is an argument that nobody wins. The Android is usually less expensive, and, according to Consumer Reports, Android models from Samsung, LG, and HTC all have higher ratings than the iPhone. Consumer Reports rates messaging, web browsing, display quality, phoning, battery life, camera image quality, camera video quality, portability, operating system, display size and camera megapixels in their rating schema. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the top rated phone according to consumer reports. And, you pay for that at a retail price of $600 or more. The LG Optimus G is a relative value ranking fourth on the list, but carrying a price tag of $445. A very high percentage of real estate specific applications work very well on the Android platform.
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Buying a New Tech Tool? The First Question to Ask
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Will Google's New Helpouts Affect Realtors®?
If only we could predict the future....I would have known to buy more stock in Apple when it was down around 70. I would have paid more attention in my writing classes in high school and college. I wouldn't have....well, nevermind. There are so many things I would have done differently, I can't even begin to count. Sometimes, a new technology or a way of thinking comes along, and it slowly fizzles out of existence while you waste your precious time trying to implement it or, maybe, it skyrockets to the moon while you sit on the sidelines. It's hard to predict when technology is involved.
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Banish "One Size Fits All"
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REach™ Accelerator Class of 2013 to conclude at REALTORS® Conference & Expo
This year the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®' investment arm, Second Century Ventures (SCV), launched the REach™ technology accelerator program to bring the latest cutting edge technologies to the real estate industry. The inaugural class is set to conclude at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco in November. During a panel discussion just before the Expo opens, some of the industry's top executives including Rick Davidson, CEO of CENTURY 21, Pam O'Connor, CEO of Leading RE and Errol Samuelson, President of realtor.com®, will discuss how they are using technologies from the REach™ companies to streamline communications, deploy social media and enhance their brands. Following the panel discussion, the REach™ companies will demonstrate their products and the progress they have made throughout the program. Meet the REach™ Class of 2013 at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco: BombBomb: Get more listings and recruit more agents with the power of video email. BombBomb provides a complete e-mail and video marketing platform for developing, sending and tracking results of traditional and video e-mail campaigns from any device.
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"It Pays for Itself with One Sale"
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How to Set Up Your Virtual Office on a Shoestring Budget
A real estate business requires a cadre of software to run the various aspects of the business. From financial software to tools that manage the intricacies of the transaction, it is hard to find tools that work well together, and sync with various mobile devices. Because most real estate professionals spend a large percentage of their time outside the office and in the field, or working from home offices, it is important to be able to run your business no matter where you are or where your customers are. This is where the benefits of cloud computing can be a life saver! They can help you run your business efficiently no matter where you are or what time it happens to be. They will help you maximize your time, enhance your productivity, connect with your clients, manage your transactions and save you money. Steps to Set Up Your Virtual Office The Benefits of Cloud Computing With traditional software, sales associates saved data on their laptops, USB drives, or portable hard drives. Computers get stolen, programs are rarely backed up properly and many times updates are not done in a timely manner. Access to the most up-to-date information was limited. The benefits to cloud computing are many. Because the majority of programs available to real estate professions today reside on the web, there is no longer a need to install new updates to your computer. If updates are made, they launch when you open the program online.
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Real Estate Agents finding innovative solutions from REach™ Accelerator Companies
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7 New Technology Companies to Innovate the Real Estate Industry
Technology is everywhere – changing the way people communicate, work, play and do business. To bring the latest cutting edge technologies to the real estate industry, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and its investment arm, Second Century Ventures (SCV), launched the REach™ Accelerator Program. This unique program was developed to help technology companies connect to the more than 1 million REALTORS® driving the U.S. real estate market. After receiving more than 130 applications last year, REach™ selected these seven innovative technology companies for 2013 with products or services that can benefit both REALTORS® and the real estate industry: BombBomb: Get more listings and recruit more agents with the power of video email. BombBomb provides a complete e-mail and video marketing platform for developing, sending and tracking results of traditional and video e-mail campaigns from any device. Lumentus Social: Social media made easy and effective for real estate agents and brokers. Lumentus Social gives companies a measurable edge in identifying, understanding and engaging social media communities keeping social media communications on brand and on mission.
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Friday Freebie: Free Tools from realtor.com®
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Real Estate Software/ Technology: What to Invest In
A common question many REALTORS® grapple with is which real estate software / technology tools to invest in and which ones to, well, leave on the sidelines. Technology perhaps hasn't been a focal component of your business and you may not be very tech savvy. But you know that social media and real estate software, such as real estate CRMs, have emerged and have proven themselves vital to running a business in a competitive marketplace. Important tools for your business can include a social media management dashboard, such as Hootsuite, a digital document signature service, such a DocuSign, a blog, a powerful IDX, and/ or a tablet, such as an iPad. However, one of the most important pieces of technology for an agent is a real estate CRM. There are ones that are easy to learn and use and offer many benefits to help you stay organized and "top of mind" with your contacts. For example, you can send a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter, nurture your leads with customized drip marketing campaigns, and manage your listings and all the associated "to-dos," easily and simply. But of everything that's out there, how do you know which tools to invest in?
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Forget Buyer Leads, I Need Sellers
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Make Over Your Tech Tool Collection to Sell More Homes
This post comes to us from the HomeFinder.com blog: Looking to boost your go-to tech arsenal? We've compiled the must-have apps, gadgets and services you need to add to your collection, to make this summer your most successful selling season yet! Eliminate paper clutter: Eliminate unnecessary paper and clutter by scanning papers, documents and receipts onto your iPad. Download the Scanner Pro app ($6.99, iOS) to transform your iPhone and iPad into your own personal scanner. Your paper documents automatically become PDFs you can save, share or email at your convenience. Track your belongings: When you're juggling multiple sets of keys, a phone, a tablet and a laptop bag, you're bound to misplace one of them. The Garmin GTU ($119) is a small device you can attach to your most important belongings. If one of your designated items has entered or left any of the ten areas you have predetermined, its GPS technology it will automatically inform you by email or text. Take professional quality photos: Photos are a real estate agent's best friend. Invest in the ultra sophisticated Samsung GC110 ($449) camera to attract potential buyers before they even set foot inside the home. Thanks to this camera's Wi-Fi connectivity, you can immediately share photos and videos with your clients via email or social media. Also, consider bringing a digital photo frame to open houses, so you can keep a running photo loop of the neighborhood and nearby amenities, so potential buyers can have an idea of their possible future lifestyle.
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RE Technology's Guide to Midyear Exhibitors
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Find the Right Tools for Your Business with our 2013 Technology Guide
RE Technology's third annual Technology Guide is finally here! Just released today, 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 127 products in 23 categories, the 2013 Technology Guide acts 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, and this year we've made it even easier for readers to navigate. You can download the entire guide as a PDF or thumb through it right from your browser. Below are a few ways you can navigate 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 handy table of contents to find it. From there, just click on the page you're looking for and you'll be sent there immediately.
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Amp Up Your Repeat and Referral Business
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What is a Real Estate Technology Accelerator?
If you've been paying attention to industry news lately, you've probably heard the term "technology accelerator" in reports. NAR runs one called REach™, and even Inman News has jumped into the game, announcing Inman Incubator earlier this month. So what is a tech accelerator? In short, it's a program that helps young technology companies grow by providing them with education, mentorship and, in some cases, funding. In the case of REach™, the program specifically grooms companies for success within the real estate industry. Teaching Startups About Real Estate REach™ differs from other incubator programs in a few key ways, foremost being NAR's stewardship. By supporting companies that can, in turn, support its 1,000,000 members with innovative new technology, the National Association of REALTORS® looks to secure the future of itself and the industry at large. That support includes intensive education on things like execution strategies, how to measure success, and insight into the real estate customer. "There are some intricacies and nuances of the industry that we need to understand at a deeper level," says Conor McCluskey, founder of BombBomb, the first company admitted to REach's class of 2013. "Overall, we expect to benefit from the relationships we'll make with industry leaders, with brokers and agents, and with like-minded companies serving the industry."
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6 Technology Trends That Matter to Your Real Estate Business
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UI/UX Explained and What It Means for You
While UI and UX may sound like fancy new age acronyms, their relevance actually dates back to the Renaissance! UI stands for User Interface, while UX refers to User Experience. Both terms refer to the ways in which we, as humans, interact with machines. Just like machines have progressed from the wheel and axle to automobiles and to supercomputers, our terminology for the human interaction with them has also advanced. As a busy agent, UI and UX are probably not terms prevalent in your day-to-day vocabulary. However, their meanings are 100% relevant to the technology products you consume. When shopping for a new technology based tool, a basic understanding of UI and UX will make you a smarter tech consumer, personally and professionally. User Interface UI refers to the space in which we interact with machines. It's the interface between our physical bodies and our computers, tablets and cell phones. UI represents the laying of our hands on a keyboard or the picking up of a device and touching the screen. It's easier to understand the concept of UI in the physical space, meaning your actual hands touching the machine. However, the concept of UI is equally relevant in the digital space. This means that your CRM, CMA, and email marketing programs all have a user interface. Every click, scroll, drag and swipe are elements of the program's UI.
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Product Tour: zipForm 6 Professional
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ChangeLog: Has your real estate vendor released important updates lately?
Has your real estate tech vendor made important updates recently? RE Technology's new column, ChangeLog, will keep you up to date with changes you need to be aware of. Since we always keep a close eye on real estate technology news, let us share our knowledge with you! Here's our round-up of the latest changes in the tech sphere. To learn more about each update, click on the links provided in each story. Check below to see if any of your vendors are on the list. Imprev unveiled an upgrade to the RE/MAX Design Center last week at the RE/MAX R4 Convention in Las Vegas. New features include single property websites with responsive layouts, YouTube ready video tours and easy-to-manage campaigns. To celebrate, the company also released a "40-Touch" social media campaign in Design Center. The campaign is available to a all Premium subscribers, as well as those who have purchased the Campaign product. Cartavi released version 2.7 for iOS devices late last week. The update includes a new bulk action feature, map view for mobile devices, as well as extra security provided by new passcode capabilities. Additionally, in response to customer input, Cartavi has enabled "envelope owners" to rename and delete documents. In his monthly update, CEO Dale Ross announced RPR's new alliance with Fannie Mae. This partnership is designed to help REALTORS expedite the short sale approval process by expanding REO listing information, among other features.
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Don’t Worry About Keeping Up, With One Big Exception
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Look into my Eyes, Not my Screen!
Tablets, smartphones and cloud computing, oh my! Five tips for better use of mobile tools when meeting with clients. When it comes to mobile technology, the numbers tell half the story. Apple sold over 25 million iPhones last year. IDC estimates 166,000,000 tablets will sell worldwide in 2013. Even modest e-readers are selling faster than ever. Take a walk through an airport or drive down a highway (!) to witness how consumed we've become with our little, mobile screens. Oh, and the apps, right? Hundreds of thousands of tiny little programs that make our products sing, dance, store, share and spend our way to a better life. We love apps – at least fifty of them, or so – that make our day easier. Who can beat the price, either? Free, mostly, or a few dollars. Long live the app! Now comes the hard part: If everyone's looking at their screens, how can we do the most important part of our job: Earning the trust of our clients? Which, as you might suspect, involves looking someone in the eye. Sales is pretty simple: build rapport, identify a need, demonstrate how you fill that need. The rest is pricing and process, which are meaningless if the first parts don't go well. Price and process look great on screen – slides, PDFs, videos to explain and entice – but we must be careful not to disconnect ourselves from the person too early by injecting our tablets. Even an iPad doesn't work without a human touch.
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9 Holiday Deals to Start 2013 Off Right
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10 Best Product Reviews of 2012
We encountered a lot of great real estate tech products in 2012. Here, we take a look at the 10 most popular product reviews of the year. 1. Cartavi and DocuSign Integration Like most of the industry, we were intrigued by the news of Cartavi's integration with DocuSign. We'd had the opportunity for a brief demo of the Cartavi document management system at industry events and were certainly impressed – but the addition of DocuSign electronic signatures takes this already - impressive platform to a whole new level. 2. Top Producer CRM™ Those of you who have been around awhile probably remember that Top Producer used to be software that you installed on your computer. Now, because Top Producer is cloud-based, you can leverage the platform from any touch screen mobile device, tablet or desktop computer. We took a look at the product from the perspectives of both a computer user and a mobile user. 3. ePropertySites Property Marketing Tools ePropertySites describes their goal in their mission statement: "Perfecting the art of property marketing online and on site." For this reason, we've focused this review on several of their tools focused on marketing individual properties. However, their robust array of products also helps real estate professionals with personal marketing and much more.
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A Look at Top Producer's Newest Features
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A Day in the Life of a REALTOR® Geek
Guest contributor Nobu Hata of NAR's The Member's Edge blog says: For my first NAR blog post, I was asked to nerd out on you guys a little bit, so I decided to take the "Day in the life of..." route.  It's a glimpse into one of my final days as a practicing agent – just a couple months ago – with all the tools and practices I used in my business, plus a couple other bonus links to cool things agents across the country are implementing. I hope you enjoy it! Tuesday, 7:30 am: A new day! Meeting day. Broker open house day. Buyer and seller decision day. Large coffee day, because I'll need it. 8:00 am: It's time to prepare for the all-office meeting. It's the first Tuesday of the month, so pouring over the previous month's MLS stats – absorption rate change, sales by neighborhood and zipcode, month-over-month and year-over-year change – is the name of the game. I dump the stats into a Powerpoint presentation which is then deployed to agents via the company shared Dropbox folder. 9:00 am: (Okay, more like 9:05ish-am.) The meeting begins! Agents, already prepped, come ready for conversation. Agents unable to attend in person are looped into the morning meeting via join.me. Heading into the fall, it's time to prepare for the winter lull and prepare for the following year's marketing with the stats at hand. Best tips for new marketing techniques are shared, best buys for technology are presented (iPad, Dell laptop/tablet hybrid, wifi, writeoffs baby!), emerging trends like collaborative client technology like Relay and Ziplogix are discussed, donuts are eaten.
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Stop! Check Your MLS Before Making That Purchase
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Prepare for Disaster: Going Without Your Favorite Technology
All good things must come to an end. This is as true in the technology world as it is anywhere else. When one or more of your favorite technology solutions becomes unavailable, whether it's because your MLS is changing vendors or the vendor themselves go out of business, it can be upsetting and disruptive. The solution is to be as prepared as possible. Here are a few suggestions. 1) Recognize that it can happen to anyone. No technology is immune from this possibility. That goes for your website provider, MLS system, your phone, your computer, and more. Take every single tool that you use and imagine life without it; that will give you some idea of the potential realities. You need to have a disaster recovery plan for everything that you cannot live without. It does not need to be planned in great detail – but you need to know the basics. 2) Understand the differences between "software as a service" and installed software. Even if you're unfamiliar with the term "software as a service" (SaaS), you're certainly familiar with the concept – it usually refers to an application hosted on the Internet. For the purposes of this discussion, when we refer to SaaS, we're also talking about cloud-based software – while there are some fine distinctions between the two, they are very similar in that the data is hosted externally and you access it through a Web browser. This is in contrast to software that is actually installed on your computer (like Microsoft Word) and data stored on your computer (like a Word document).
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Is That Tech Investment Worth It?
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Introducing Inman’s 2012 Innovator Awards Winners
Inman News recently announced the winners of their 2012 Innovator Awards during this year's Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco. Here's a look at the creative thinkers and companies shaping the real estate industry today. Innovator of the Year (individual award) Austin Allison, co-founder and CEO, DotLoop - As a former real estate agent, Austin Allison found that the greatest threat to his efficiency was "the 'choke points' in the paperwork process." DotLoop was his solution--transaction management software that integrates online forms, e-signatures, and a custom CRM onto a cloud-based platform that's accessible from anywhere. Allison's success has been impressive. His business savvy helped DotLoop gain over 100,000 paying subscribers in its first year alone. In 2011, he appeared on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list and was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders by Inman News. This spring, his company launched DotLoop-NOW, a free version of their popular transaction platform. Perhaps RE Technology's own Victor Lund best summed up Allison's forward thinking mindset in our Follow the Leader profile: "Austin reminds me of Steve Jobs at Apple. The reason: he has created a product that is not underdeveloped or overdeveloped. This is difficult for a leader, as they are so personally invested in their products – they have a hard time stopping, even when they've hit the 'sweet spot' of usability and functionality. Austin is a leader because he understands this balance."
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Product Review: ePropertySites Property Marketing Tools
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5 Simple Steps to Making the Best Real Estate Videos
Real estate professionals know how important video has become to the industry. There are millions of video tours on Youtube today and video blogs have become all the rage for top real estate pros. The problem with many real estate videos is that the quality can be poor. Just because you are taking an amateur video doesn't mean it has to look like an amateur video. Here are five simple steps to making great real estate videos with your smartphone: Step 1: Record Horizontally - Recording horizontally gives you a wider view. Conversely, when recording in a vertical position, you're only recording part of the image. This looks okay if the video is viewed from a smartphone, but since most real estate videos also make it to YouTube and other websites, vertically recorded videos do not present as well as horizontal views. Step 2: Tripod and Tripod Attachments - There's nothing worse than seeing a real estate video that is shaky or that moves around a lot. This can make people dizzy and it's a huge turn-off for viewers. There's a simple fix for this: use a tripod. Tripods are built for regular cameras, but there are low-cost adaptors available. Joby sells a great all-in-one tripod for smartphones called Gorillamobile for $40. There are other options for tripods, as well. For adaptor and brackets, photo retailer Adorama has a $10 product called the Heavy Duty L-Bracket that attaches to your tripod and holds your phone in place. Studio Neat Glif is available for $20, and does the same thing as Adorama's product. These sites also have iPad options. Other websites to check out are Amazon.com and HDhat.com.
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Product Review: RatedAgent.com
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Top-Ranking Tablets from Consumer Reports
The August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports ranks some important real estate technology tools: Smartphones, laptops, cameras and (our subject today) tablets. We'll be dripping out some of their key findings to help those of you who haven't made these important purchases yet or are looking to upgrade. Let's talk tablets! With our upcoming webinar, "WOW Your Clients with Your iPad," we've had tablets on the brain. So we were particularly interested in seeing which brands and models Consumer Reports recommended. iPad Receives Top Score The third generation 10-inch Apple iPad with 4G and 16GB receives the highest overall score of any tablet Consumer Reports reviewed. Why does this model receive such high marks? Consumer Reports touts the excellent display, realistic colors, great camera, long battery life, and extensive app store. If you already have an iPhone, you should seriously consider leaning in this direction because all of your apps will populate to your iPad and you will not need to learn anything new. Looking to spend less money? The prior-generation iPad 2 also receives excellent marks and earns the accolade of "the best deal available for the iPad" from Consumer Reports with an overall score of 80 for Wi-Fi only and 82 for 3G.
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