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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.
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4 Questions to Always Ask to Pick the Best Technology for Work
Note: Are you attending NAR mid-year Legislative Meetings? Visit the Trade Expo May 3 & 4, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and meet with Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline representatives in person at Booth 400! Did you know that technology is one of the top 10 qualities and skills buyers and sellers expect from their real estate agents? But, conversely, we know that many agents still find some aspects of technology challenging. According to the most recent research from the National Association of Realtors, 38% of all agents never use customer relationship management software, 32% never use transaction management software, and 40% never use video. Ironically, most top-producing agents use those technology tools to stay successful. Fortunately, the impact of COVID has accelerated the adoption of technology by more real estate agents than ever before. As a result, these numbers should continue to show improvement. We also know that many agents may lack the confidence to pick the right software for them and their business. Below are four key questions you should ask when trying to select the best technology: 1. What problem or pain point will this technology help me solve? Perhaps the biggest mistake that agents make when buying technology is looking for the bling instead of the bones. Another analogy: you want to buy the steak, not the sizzle they try to sell you. The next shiny object for real estate agents is often full of cool features. It looks and sounds fantastic. But the better way to buy is to look at the benefits the technology will provide you, not the list of features. It would be best to determine what goal you are trying to accomplish with the technology you consider. For example, the technology you buy needs to solve a pain point, fix a problem or provide you with a personal and/or business benefit that you can measure. 2. What is the actual cost? The cost is not just the purchase price. Your time has value – and, therefore, a price. If you discover the software you buy has a steep learning curve to use effectively for the benefit it provides, the cost will be higher than an alternative that takes less time to learn. Some software solutions offer training – videos, webinars, blog posts – and that's great – especially for those of us who are not tech natives and who spend most of our day working with people rather than with technology. But if you struggle with finding time to work on lower priorities, are you going to find the time to learn how to use a new program that requires a lot of training for something that does not truly provide a significant benefit? You should expect the software you buy today to be more intuitive than ever. And some technology may require more time than others for you to learn. However, it shouldn't be a steep learning curve. You shouldn't have to buy a "For Dummies" guide or invest hours and hours trying to figure it out. 3. How hard will it be to become part of your workflow? Take a look at your smartphone. Count the number of apps. Are you scrolling through screen after screen of used or rarely used apps? If you are like most people, this probably rings true. Research says the average person has 40 apps on their phone, and nearly 90% of their time is split using half that number. Technology competes for our time just like anything else. And unfortunately, it can contribute to lost productivity (think Wordle) and distract us (how many times have you checked email in the last hour?). When you buy technology, you want to make sure it will fit nicely into your workflow. It needs to become something you regularly use unless you purchase it to solve an infrequent but essential problem. For example, you purchase expense tracking software to monitor your driving expenses. Yet, you soon realize that you are not taking the time to enter the data after each trip because usually, you are with clients. It would be great if the app syncs with your GPS and enters that data automatically. But what you bought does not fit well into your workflow. 4. What happens if something goes wrong? We've all been there: you use new technology, and it crashes. Or you can't get back to the place you started. Or a document disappeared. Who are you going to call? You may find there is no one to call at the software provider, as most only offer online tech support. It's also the kind of support that takes time. You fill out a form, hit send, and wait. When shopping for software, it's best to research their reputation for providing tech support. While something may not go wrong, what if it does? Fortunately for the 725,000 Realtors nationwide who have access to Tech Helpline – the top-ranked tech support service for the real estate industry – they can get help. You can call Tech Helpline or reach out to a tech analyst by online chat or email. And connecting with the tech support is now easier with the new mobile app available on Google Play and the App Store – or search "Tech Helpline." And while Tech Helpline may not be able to solve every software problem, they are a remarkable resource that helps agents fix tech problems every day. Related reading: 5 Ways You Can Spring Clean Your Tech Smartphone Running Slower? Here Are 4 Helpful Tips Why Tech Support is a Vital Service for Real Estate Agents Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Second Century Ventures Announces 17 Companies for 2022 REACH Scale-up Program
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Quick Quiz: Are you a digital agent?
One big takeaway since the pandemic is the real estate market becoming rapidly more digital. As brokerages rely more on agents working remotely, almost everyone has adopted more digital solutions to meet client needs. Tech-savvy agents were best positioned to adapt, but many more agents joined the digital ranks. Some agents have resisted the move to digital and remain happily "analog agents." Others have joined the ranks of becoming a "digital agent." Where do you stand as a real estate agent? Are you a digital agent? Take this quiz to find out. Please pick that answer that is closest to being accurate: Question #1: Do you use a digital transaction management program, and if so, how often? For every transaction For most transactions For some transactions Occasionally I don't use a digital transaction management program Question #2: How advanced is your agent website? Pick the description that best describes your website: Modern design is 3 years old or newer, mobile-responsive, fast loading pages, with rich and current content, uses ongoing SEO and features built-in IDX search. Design is not more than 5 years old, has at least three of these features: mobile-responsive, fast loading pages, rich and/or current content, ongoing SEO, and built-in IDX search. Has at least three of these features: mobile-responsive, fast loading pages, rich and/or current content, ongoing SEO, and built-in IDX search. Don't have a website or don't maintain it regularly. Question #3: How often do you use email marketing? At least once a week At least once a month At least once a quarter Rarely Never Question #4: What is your social media presence? I post and/or comment at least three times a week I post and comment at least once a week I use social media now and then I rarely sign in I don't use social media Question #5: Is your smartphone less than 3 years old? Yes No I don't know I don't have a smartphone Question #6: Do you offer a real estate blog, and if so, how often do you post? At least twice a week Weekly Every other week Monthly I don't have a blog Question #7: How often do you utilize virtual and 3D tours? For almost every listing For most listings For only certain listings Rarely Never Question #8: How frequently do you use video for your real estate marketing? I use video all the time I use video frequently I use video occasionally I rarely use video I don't use video Question #9: How often do you use your CRM (customer relationship management software)? I use my CRM every day (or my assistant/team does) I use my CRM at least once a week or as needed I don't use my CRM enough I want to use my CRM, but have not had time to set it up I don't have/use/need a CRM Question #10: Do you invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or online advertising (such as Google ads or Adwerx)? Yes, it is part of my monthly marketing spend Yes, frequently but not monthly Yes, but only a few times a year or less Rarely, but I have in the past No, and what's SEO, Google Ads, and Adwerx? Scoring System 5 points for every (a) answer 4 points for every (b) answer 3 points for every (c) answer 2 points for every (d) answer 1 point for every (e) answer Results 45-50 points: Congratulations! You are a digital agent. 31-44 points: Almost a digital agent, a few analog tendencies. 25-30 points: Mostly an analog agent, but moving in a digital direction! 13-24 points: Much more analog agent than digital. 12 points or fewer: Proudly an analog agent! The day in the life of an agent is increasingly reliant upon technology. Tech Helpline's goal is to provide friendly technology support for all your devices. Our talented, US-based analysts share a passion for technology and are here to help you with your technology questions. Collectively, Tech Helpline technical advisors have over 300 years of technical knowledge and specialize in supporting real estate brokers and agents. Today, Tech Helpline is the real estate industry's #1 tech support service. You can learn more at TechHelpline.com. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Technology: Real Estate's 'Easy' Button for Maintaining the Human Connection
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7 Tech Solutions for Real Estate Agents to Adopt
Tech can feel tough to master for even the savvy, and, if you're a relative newcomer to the digital world, it can feel intimating to add tech skills to your resume. However, now is the time to get acquainted with helpful digital solutions you can build into your business strategy for longterm success. Real estate agents can keep up with current market conditions by taking to tech and learning best practices. Check out these seven tech solutions that real estate agents can use to continue growing their businesses. 1. Let's start simple: Get acquainted with Skype, Zoom, or your favorite virtual meeting platform Get acquainted with Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, or your favorite virtual meeting platform. Before you hop on calls, make sure you know how to log-in, mute yourself (in case there's unavoidable background noise) and turn off your video. To make sure you keep up a professional appearance, designate a well-lit area of your home that you can use to speak with clients. Of course, you can also call your clients or your team on the phone, and this is a great solution to keep in touch. But, there's value in speaking with your client and seeing, in real time, their reaction to the different properties the two of you are considering. You can also check in with your clients the same way you might use Skype or FaceTime to keep in contact with your friends and family. Suggest a virtual face-to-face with your clients and ask them if you can be of any help. 2. Virtual showings Many people don't want to buy or rent homes unseen—totally understandable. So, how are we able to lead standout showings? Check out virtual showing options. Real estate agents are integral members of their communities and dedicated to finding their clients a home that fits their lifestyles, and creating lasting relationships with property owners and renters. So, work with property owners and sellers to try to make virtual showings possible for your clients. 3. Livestream walk-throughs You can film a walk-throughs not just for your clients, but for your whole sphere of influence. Go LIVE on Instagram or Facebook and show a vacant property that can be rented or bought right now. Like a showing conducted face-to-face, make sure to apply the best practices you use during your showings everyday—walk slowly, be clear about what you are seeing, leave some time to explain the amenities that the property offers, and if showing a rental, make sure to let your viewers know about any specials that the landlord is willing to offer new movers. 4. Online learning platforms Chances are you're spending a lot of time at home. Learning and sharpening your real estate skills is a great way to decrease anxiety, have fun, and build a sustainable business. If you haven't already built rentals into your business plan, now is a great time to do so. At Rental Beast, we believe that agents of all levels should have accessible education. So, we've opened the doors to Rental Beast University, our interactive online education platform for all agents for free. With Rental Beast University, you can chose from a selection of on-demand webinar courses with proven records of success. Courses include crucial topics including rental best practices, social media skills, and converting renters to buyers. 5. Online applications engines Have you taken your rental applications digital? This is not only a great solution for these times when staying contact-free and paper-free is important, but also a great way to ensure that your applications run smoothly and quickly during any part of the year! We're pleased to announce that Apply Now by Rental Beast is lightning fast, 100% online, and totally free for real estate agents. With credit scores processed instantly, and viewable only to designated reviewers in a secure portal, Apply Now gets your client into their apartment and your commission in your hands at lightning speed. 6. Up your digital marketing game by building an authentic and modern social media presence Make sure that your digital marketing game is strong and you're projecting a professional image to your all of your clients. Take some time to make sure that your social presence is strong and consistent. Looking for a starting point? Check out this suite of educational content: 4 LinkedIn Tips You Need to Know Facebook For Real Estate Agents: 5 Essential Tips How Many Hashtags to Use and 6 Other Instagram Tips For Real Estate Agents 7 Mistakes Agents Make on Twitter: Social Media for Real Estate Agents Get up to speed on how you can craft a presence that feels authentic and will generate the leads your business needs to succeed. If you don't trust yourself to post with any degree of frequency, online posting tools like Loomly, HootSuite, and more can help you make sure all your content is ready to be posted! To view the original article, visit the Rental Beast blog.
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Clients Concerned About Omicron? 4 Digital Tools for Their Home Search
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5 Technologies that Increase REALTOR Productivity
With 1.4 million active REALTORS looking for clients, digital transformation, and unprecedented low housing inventories across the country, home buyers and sellers have never had more choices. Buyers and sellers expect real estate professionals to use the same sort of mobile and cloud apps that are transforming so much of everyone's daily lives. In today's on-fire real estate market, using the right technology is more important than ever for buyers, sellers, and agents. During the course of a real estate transaction, the endless moving parts create administrative headaches for REALTORS® and their clients. Technology is one of the best ways to deal with these issues and eliminate tedious tasks while mitigating burnout, one of the industry's most present foes. However, there are so many tech tools on the market today that it can feel overwhelming just searching for the right solution. Here's a short list of five tech tools that should be in the arsenal of every REALTOR® in 2022 and beyond. 1. Electronic document signing capabilities tools You're probably very familiar with tools like DocuSign that allow you to sign, initial, and process legal documents securely and remotely. They're popular for a reason: They allow REALTORS® and clients to manage documentation remotely and while mobile, offering an invaluable amount of flexibility in today's fast-paced real estate market. 2. A showing appointment service With unprecedented activity on the few available properties right now, appointments and opportunities are constantly moving. Appointments you schedule for one afternoon can be rendered moot that same morning because the house you were to show is listed as pending within hours. Having a showing service to manage the ebb and flow of scheduling, as well as the inevitable changes that will come down the pipe, is invaluable. And it takes one more task off REALTORS' plates, which is a great benefit. 3. Tools that provide up-to-the-minute market data There's a record amount of activity in the real estate market right now, and being able to quickly and accurately assess the market and property data is vital to providing the best client service. REALTORS® Property Resource and its app, RPR Mobile, provide detailed data not only about the property you're showing, but properties around it. If REALTORS® don't have access to those tools, they're doing their client a disservice. If a client loves a home so much they're ready to put it under contract, but have lingering questions about the school district, property taxes or other information, a REALTOR® should be able to access that data immediately lest someone else place an offer on the home within the hour it takes to drive back to the office and look up that data yourself. Apps and programs that provide this up-to-the-minute data give REALTORS® who use them an advantage over those who just use the MLS. While the MLS provides active listing data, it doesn't pull in public records data or county EPA data; you have to seek out other sources to find that information. By having all that information at your fingertips on one platform, REALTORS® can be more agile when answering client questions and evaluating properties. 4. Customer experience tools Experience management solutions include mobile apps that enable seamless engagement between agents, buyer, sellers, and contractors. Creating great experiences means engaging and delighting clients throughout the buying and selling process. Making it easy to share listings, schedule showings, access homes and provide feedback are all key to creating that magic moment when a buyer finds the perfect home. But great experiences aren't just for buyers and sellers. Great experiences are for agents, too. Selling real estate is hard and complicated. Agents need tools that reduce hassles, like making it easy to cancel a showing when a home goes pending, or rescheduling showings when things change. Or making it easy to provide controlled access for out-of-region buying agents or contractors like appraisers and home inspectors. A good customer experience tool will also include an agent safety feature. While September is NAR REALTOR® Safety Month, REALTORS® should always be mindful of their safety and the safety of their clients. REALTORS® using these apps can enable agent safety features, which alert a preferred contact if the REALTOR® using the app doesn't interact with the feature or respond to notifications after a set number of minutes. This ensures agents remain safe and have the peace of mind that, should the unthinkable happen, someone will be alerted and come to the rescue. 5. Comparative market analysis tools CMAs are vital when it comes to bringing in properties quickly to allow buyers and sellers to determine where their property sits in terms of pricing. Buyers can learn what the property values around their own property are so they can make decisions in terms of pricing, and sellers are equipped with property value data that will empower them to make smart financial decisions when thinking about purchasing a home. CMA tools can quickly assimilate comparative property data and help both parties see if they're making a good choice, which is especially valuable when emotions are running high and the pressure of needing to make an immediate offer is looming over a client. Technology and opportunities While technology has been a boon to REALTORS® in countless ways, there are still some challenges that tech advancements have yet to solve. Right now, there's a shortage of inventory – and the inventory that's on the market is going fast. If buyers aren't actively aware of properties for sale because they go on and off the market within 48 hours, that's a missed opportunity. If you have the right technology tools, you'll be able to deliver a better client experience in a timely manner and make sure clients are getting all the information they need when they need it most. The real estate market is the most demanding it's been in decades, and being armed with the technology to give clients the data they need the moment they ask for it is not only vital to customer service, but could result in referrals later on. To view the original article, visit the Sentrilock blog.
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Know Your Numbers: What do you really know about the software you use?
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Boosting Your Real Estate Business Productivity
Do you feel like you're losing ground in the battle against the clock? Do you wish you could extract more business productivity out of each day? Time management can be very challenging with all the distractions in our modern, connected lives. Because everyone is different and we all have different ways of working, there is no single time management prescription that works for everyone. There is, however, a common need to organize your responsibilities and their due dates. The book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen shares a concept that is helpful when taking this approach. In his book, Allen writes, "From a practical standpoint, here is the three-part drill that [makes up the Weekly Review]: get clear, get current, and get creative. Getting clear will ensure all your collected stuff is processed. Getting current will ensure that all your orienting 'maps' or lists are reviewed and up-to-date. The creative part happens to some degree automatically, as you get clear and current." When you're managing your time effectively, you're happier and you feel less overwhelmed and less stressed. We all need creative thinking in varying capacities to excel in our work, and the right mind space for productive, creative thinking comes naturally when you build the conditions for it through organization. "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." – Gustave Flaubert, French author Calendars: Friend or Foe for Business Productivity? It seems like calendars can be either superheros or evil villains, depending on how they're managed. Like any other tools, calendars can be misused, abused, or even ignored once you've decided they're actually working against you. Many people can probably claim they have started one or more calendars at different times in their lives to "get organized" and gave up using them not long after. Or they have used calendars intermittently and never developed a consistent routine with them. The overall structure of your time should allow for gaps because they're a necessary ingredient for your success. For example, you need time between meetings to prepare so that you're not wasting your time (and other people's time) because you were unprepared. Not providing yourself with adequate time between scheduled appointments and meetings will usually add stress to your life, which will likely snowball over the course of a day. Stress cuts into your focus, productivity and creativity. Streamline Your Time Cluttered calendars are probably one of the most common obstacles to overcome for people. No matter how many daily tasks you juggle, there is always room for thinning out your calendar. This is where good judgment comes in as to what to enter into your calendar in the first place. You may be surprised by some of the things you can remove or whittle down to create more breathing room in your daily schedules. The problem is few of us are rarely trained on practicing good calendar habits, so it's not the tool's fault that it is failing. And it's not your fault you may not get along well with calendars or feel like they interfere with your productivity. With the right calendar habits, calendars will increase your productivity. A good first step is to learn what to eliminate and reduce in your calendar, whether you're already using a calendar or starting one up. Divide and Conquer You may find your best time management solution includes using multiple calendars for different parts of your life. This works well for many people and it it's the reason why you can create multiple calendars in services like Google, all included with your free email account! The nice thing about using Google Calendar is it integrates with so many other online tools, including many real estate CRMs. And they have lots of tutorials to help you get the most from it – all for free. Automate Appointment Scheduling Another essential task that can eat up your valuable time is scheduling appointments. Most of us don't have a personal assistant and even if we did, they would probably suggest (and perhaps with some slight attitude) we think about automating our appointment scheduling! We are no longer in the dark ages, but some people tackle appointment scheduling with the same inefficiency they suffered from 20 years ago. You can end the time-wasting back and forth trying to schedule time with people by sharing your available time and allowing them to book time with you – all while you're doing something else. Online scheduling tools like Calendly will sync with many different calendars to give you all that time back that you used to spend making appointments through back and forth texts, emails, and calls. Just include your scheduling link in all your electronic communications and start reaping the benefits of more time in your pocket! Who's Your Goalie? It can take 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption, so your calendar should behave like a goaltender to prevent interruptions from eating up your valuable time. If you're unavailable, you are truly unavailable and unreachable in your professional world with the exceptions for responding to new leads, emergencies, critical matters with your family and loved ones, etc. In some cases, you may need to get better as saying "no" to meetings and invitations – personal or professional – and yes, even clients. If it's not essential and you know you have a time crunch in a given period, it should always get serious consideration before you commit and take a valuable time slot in your day. Tying Everything Together With a CRM Once you're in control of your responsibilities and you own your calendar (not the other way around), you can understand why so many real estate professionals rely on CRMs that integrate their daily, weekly and monthly schedules with their business tasks, their leads, and other business contacts. It only makes sense to adopt a CRM to keep the clarity you're maintaining with your calendar habits. It is truly liberating when you reduce the stress caused by an overcrowded calendar and you have the tools you need to take control over your time and stay on track with your business goals. To view the original article, visit the iHomeFinder blog.
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Fact vs. Fiction: 3 Myths of A.I. in Real Estate
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3 Powerful Technology Solutions You Already Have Access To (Or at Least Should)
I am going to describe a magical place where you can find very powerful technology solutions without having to spend another dollar. As with most products, there is the potential to buy upgrades if desired; but this place is meant to help you market your listings and find properties to buyers. You are probably wondering, "Where is this magical place that you speak of, Mr. Nash?" If you can keep it a secret, I will tell you. It is called—wait for it—the multiple listing service. Okay. I got that off my chest. Please keep it a secret; we don't want everyone to know. The multiple listing service, or MLS, SHOULD offer you MANY options of products besides the typical MLS system and showing service platform. If your MLS does not offer you more than just an MLS system and showing service platform, ask your MLS to provide more options—or just join another MLS. It is okay to join another MLS. It is widely believed that an agent can only use their local MLS—this is not true. You 100% have the ability to join another MLS. For any questions on this, either search (using your favorite search engine) "NAR MLS of Choice," or you can send me an email at [email protected] with any questions. Where to Find Products Offered by Your MLS As a user of RE Technology, you probably heard of Coffee Chats. These were daily webinars that RE Technology hosted during the beginning of COVID. Marilyn Wilson, President of RE Technology, interviewed a different company every day about ways to get through and handle this pandemic. One of her comments, nearly every day, was for agents to go to their dashboard and just click on ANY product they do not normally use. Below is an example of an MLS dashboard with many options for agents to choose from. There are three products on this dashboard that I am going to go more in-depth with to give you just a small taste of the powerful products available to you through the MLS, all without having to spend extra money. Most MLSs should provide the following options to their users: Homesnap, RPR, and ListTrac. Homesnap Homesnap is one of the most powerful mobile apps that an agent can use. First off, Homesnap is a search platform for consumers to explore homes and allows them to search for MLS real estate listings online or from their phone. But for the agent, it is so much more. The agent version of Homesnap is called Homesnap Pro. This allows you to have access to everything the consumer has access to and then some. You are basically armed with the power of the MLS listing from your phone. There are many features that the Homesnap Pro app empowers you, the agent, to do, including Rapid CMA generation, Safety Times during showings, the ability to create Facebook ads in-app, and a newer feature called Homesnap Showings, which gives you a showing appointment platform for no extra cost. RE Technology recently hosted a webinar with Homesnap to demonstrate the new feature to Homesnap Pro. You can watch the webinar below: If you are not sure that your MLS offers Homesnap, visit this link to search for your MLS. You can also call your MLS or visit your MLS dashboard and look for Homesnap. To download the mobile app, you can go to Google Play or the Apple Store. RPR REALTORS Property Resource® (RPR) is a nationwide property database and reporting software created by the National Association of Realtors that compiles hundreds of datasets on millions of properties. If your MLS offers RPR, you will be able to see nationwide property data. This will enable you to create dynamic analytical reports for your clients. For more on RPR, check out the video below: ListTrac ListTrac allows you, as the agent, to monitor your listing stats no matter where your listings appear online. You can sign up to receive a weekly summary of all of them called, "Activity @ a Glance," and also pull a "Seller's Report" that allows you to show your seller how much attention you were able to bring to their listing. Now It is Your Turn Go to your MLS dashboard (or link bed) and check out some of the products your MLS offers that you do not normally click on. Find out what these products do and determine how you can bring more value to your clients by using them. Come back next week to learn where to find training for your technology tools. You would be surprised by how much information is out there for you. If you have any questions about technology offered by MLSs or have suggestions for other articles, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
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4 Steps to Find a Technology Solution that Works for You
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The Best Eco-Friendly High-Tech Home Products
At the recent International Builders Show, companies from around the world assembled (virtually, of course) to showcase their latest innovations in home products and technology. Many of these products weren't just fancy and fun to look at — they were designed to be environmentally friendly, too. Let's take a look at some of these eco-friendly standout products. Mighty Buildings 3D-Printed Home The construction technology firm Mighty Buildings showed how it can fully 3D-print a 350-square-foot house in less than 24 hours. Using its own composite building material and by applying state-of-the-art automation, the firm said it can produce structures twice as fast as conventional builders with 95% fewer labor hours and with 10 times less waste. Company spokesperson Helen Wong highlighted that the system can build everything from small backyard alternative dwelling units to entire subdivisions. Source: mightybuildings.com It's also worth mentioning that the company, in conjunction with the Palari development group, also recently announced its first-ever community of 3D-printed houses. The 15 eco-friendly homes are set for a five-acre site in Rancho Mirage, California. "This will be the first on-the-ground actualization of our vision for the future of housing," said CEO Alexey Dubov. Kohler Smart Faucet Kitchen appliances and fixtures made strong appearances at this year's show, including Kohler's voice-activated smart faucet. The unit dispenses measured amounts of water at your spoken command; just say the words to turn the water on, fill a container to a preset level or dispense a specific quantity. The faucet also features a motion sensor that can turn the water on and off at the wave of a hand, reducing water waste (and your utility bill!). Source: us.kohler.com If commanding water flow isn't just plain spiffy enough, the faucet also connects with the Kohler Konnect app so it can alert you to your water usage and detect if there's any unusual water flow. (RELATED: How Has COVID-19 Impacted Use of Smart Home Products?) Beko French Door Refrigerator Beko, a company consistently awarded for its energy-efficient products, showcased an eco-friendly 36-inch French 3-Door refrigerator. With what it calls its "EverFresh" and "Active Fresh Blue Light technology" for meticulous temperature management and precise humidity control, this refrigerator keeps food fresh up to 30% longer than an average unit – up to 30 days. Source: beko.com According to the company's website, this technology simulates natural light conditions, extending the photosynthesis process, and thus maintaining freshness and nutritional value of your food while reducing food waste. Lasso Loop Recycling Center Still in prototype, but an eco-friendly problem solver nonetheless (when you consider that a whopping 91% of all plastic is actually not recycled), Lasso Loop's in-home recycling center is a clever, dishwasher-sized appliance that works in tandem with an app to maximize recyclability. While shopping, your app can scan container barcodes to determine if the packaging is recyclable before you buy it. If so, the unit can clean, shred, and compress the metal, glass or plastic materials into an onboard container. Source: lassoloop.com According to their website, "Plastic, metals and glass are broken down separately, reducing [them] to a fraction of their size and maintaining valuable purity throughout," making them viable for closed-loop recycling. Once the bin is full, all you have to do is schedule a pickup from your app or a drop-off at an approved facility. LG Studio WashTower Another eco-friendly award winner at the show, LG's Studio WashTower makes laundry day easier with a series of sensors that detect fabric texture and load size, and then automatically select the optimum controls, washing and drying temperatures, and speed settings for the most efficient laundry experience on the market. Source: prnewswire.com According to LG's website, "The LG STUDIO model offers the platform's largest capacity with a 5.0-cubic- foot ENERGY STAR certified front-load washer – large enough to tackle king size bedding – below a 7.4-cubic-foot ENERGY STAR dryer so you can get more done in fewer loads." Paired with the LG app, you can start or stop the units at will and check for the remaining cycle time. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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6 Tools for Finding Your Right Virtual and In-person Mix
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Technology Tools Required for Real Estate Agents
I was inspired today by an interview request for Realtor Magazine. The journalist wants to interview me for the top tools that every real estate agent needs. So here you go, in no particular order: Cell Phone – Ideally a smart phone; I prefer iPhone to Android Tablet or Laptop – I prefer the iPad with a keyboard an internet connection. iPads are portable, always connected, large enough for presentations with clients, fast, battery lasts forever, fits in a lady's purse—but best of all, they allow your customers to digitally sign agreements. MLS – The multiple listing service is the top tool for every agent. Good MLSs have integrated tax records so you will have access to all parcel records along with active listings, pending, withdrawn, and recently sold properties. Lock Box – You need to get your lock box software set up with whatever your association or MLS provides. Forms – Everything happens on a contract in real estate. Good news is that your association or MLS has a forms solution included with your dues. CRM – Customer Relationship Management systems are magic. They integrate with your phone's calendar and contacts, have marketing and sales plans that you can follow, and offer things like flyers, property pages, social media posts, etc. Website – You should have a website with IDX property search and ideally a mobile app too. Sometimes, these are bundled with your CRM for a more complete solution. CMA – Your MLS or your broker will provide you with a CMA tool. Comparative market analysis tools allow you to compare properties and show those comparisons to your prospects in a listing presentation. Photographer – Don't mess with photography unless you are a hobbyist. Hire a photographer to take your headshots and bio-video—then work out a deal for them to shoot your listings and do 360° virtual tours with virtual staging. Social Media Marketing – You must have a Facebook business page and LinkedIn profile at the very least. If you want to use Twitter, Clubhouse, Snapchat or Instagram, go for it. But don't waste your time unless you already used Twitter, Clubhouse, Snap, Insta, etc. Accounting Solution – As a real estate agent, you are running a business. You must collect your expenses and income information in software to make sure that tax filing is not a burden. Maybe a dedicated business credit card and bank account is not a bad idea either. Yard Signs – Get from your broker. Transaction Coordinator – Managing closings is a pain. Most transaction coordinators will do your transaction for some price between $75 and $500. Find a person that you like because they will be taking care of your clients through closing.
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Get Smart: Making the Most of Smart Homes in 2021
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How Has COVID-19 Impacted Use of Smart Home Products?
A year into COVID-19, and it's safe to say we've changed how we live, work, play, learn and, well, just about everything. But we've also changed how we operate -- literally! A recent Homes.com survey found that almost 65% of homeowners and renters bought smart home products for their homes in response to the pandemic, with almost half of them (49%) buying smart home technology for the first time ever.
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PropTech: What Does It Mean for the Real Estate Agent?
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Understanding IoT (Internet of Things) Risks: How your clients can protect themselves
The IoT, or Internet of Things, refers to any physical device connecting to the internet that collects and shares data. With the explosive growth of devices in a home that can connect to the internet, you and your clients need to understand the risks surrounding IoT devices and the ways to secure protection.
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The New Bridge Solution: How to Turn Homeowners Into Sellers
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Friday Freebie: Audit Your Tech Stack with This Worksheet
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we often don't need all the things we once thought of as necessary. And with just a few weeks left in 2020, it's time to figure out what you want to carry forward with you into 2021. While we can't help you answer the big life questions, we can help you figure out which technology you should keep in the year ahead--and which you should dump. Read on to learn more in this week's Friday Freebie! Audit Your Technology Ecosystem with this Free Worksheet from BoomTown One of the biggest expenses an agent faces is their collection of technology, also known as their "tech stack," which includes everything from their CRM to their transaction management system to meeting apps like Zoom, and beyond. But when you have a multitude of programs in your tech stack, your budget can suffer. This printable worksheet from BoomTown helps you examine the strengths and weaknesses of each app or program you use and identify which ones are most beneficial and which ones you can let go. The worksheet offers you space to: List all your current tech products, their purpose, their price, and more Perform a SWOT analysis of each product From there, you can decide which parts of your tech stack you want to continue paying for in 2021. To help, the worksheet also offers a list of the most important and widely-used categories of real estate tech, as well as an example tech stack of a real-life top agent. Ready to get your tech ecosystem primed for a successful 2021? Download your FREE tech stack audit worksheet now!
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The Latest Trends in Team Software
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Growing Your Team Business with Productivity Software
The following is an excerpt from RE Technology's Success Guide to Team Software: Operating a team is pretty similar to operating a brokerage. The advantage that teams have over brokers usually relates to having more influence over the activities of the team. Quite frankly, beyond compliance related activities, most brokers have little or no control over how agents operate. Teams come in all shapes and sizes, but one shared commonality is a unified approach to how they operate and how they provide services to clients. For example, some top producing agents focus on listings, often carrying an inventory of 10 or more listings. At that rate, it is hard for the listing agent to also take on buyer clients. So, they create a team of buyer's agents to respond to leads generated on their listings, both digital and from yard signs. The biggest concern by the listing agent is the effectiveness of buyer's agents at converting those leads to grow the business. Another key common element between these team solutions is buyer and seller lead tracking paired with powerful follow-up actions that generate business. More than anything, these platform solutions offer the team leader the ability to empower team members with great follow-up software while simultaneously evaluating the strengths of team members converting opportunities into business. Another prevalent feature of these platforms is a focus on lifetime relationships with every client in the database. With the entire team able to see what the last touch was with the customer and how they responded to it, this component creates continuity with client engagements, driving home future repeat business and referrals. For too long, real estate teams have primarily targeted new business generation while allowing existing customers to stray from insufficient relationship maintenance. All of the tools in this year's Teams Success Guide facilitate collaboration between you and your team, helping your customers receive the best possible service. These platforms are proven to help you stay organized. You will be able to run reports on the effectiveness of your team members and have visibility into their activities. Each of these companies invest in dedicated staff members who deliver awesome support resources, ensuring that your team maximizes their productivity when using these platforms. But remember, you must make sure that your team of agents and staff attend those trainings and maximize the features of whichever platform you choose. Download Success Guide: Teams to learn more about Team software trends, how to evaluate Team software, and more.
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Homesnap's New 'Sell Speed' Tool Predicts How Quickly a Home Will Sell at Different Price Points
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Smart Homes Need Smart REALTORS
A year ago, I wrote an article about smart homes and went into detail to help all of us understand consumers' attraction to smart homes. You can put most smart devices into five categories: energy efficiency, security, entertainment, mood and, of course, FUN! I am on a personal journey to smarten up my home slowly as I replace needed appliances and devices. I started with my wi-fi enabled garage door opener, which alerts me if the garage door opens after 11pm (plus, Amazon is offering a service to open the garage and place packages inside). I can open or close, or even check if it's closed, from anywhere in the world. Next, I put up Bluetooth Christmas lights, with which I can chose from 140 colors and effects—that would be for fun. I also have a Nest thermostat and can check the temperature and change it from anywhere, even remotely. While at it, I bought a wi-fi camera to use when I am away for an extended length of time. What else? I'm redoing irrigation system with a new wi-fi controller to notify me of a problem or control from anywhere. I have a new smart refrigerator coming in a few weeks with all kinds of features including, alerting me if door is ajar. Smart door locks are on my shortlist, but it all cost money! Which leads me to why all REALTORS® need to be smart about smart homes. All these upgrades cost money and should be considered when selling a home. Smart Homes for REALTORS® 101 The National Association (NAR) released a report a few years back, Smart Homes and REALTORS®. When I compare the NAR report with newer studies, it looks like things are about the same. I am going to call this Smart Homes for REALTORS® 101. While you should be somewhat knowledgeable in these areas, PLEASE know you are not expected to be an expert, just understand the basics. So what is on the shopping list of today's homeowners and what is important in a smart home? Locks, cameras and video doorbells, as security is at the top of the list, followed by temperature control, which makes sense as an energy saving device plus comfort. The next area of interest is what I call "mood," which includes lighting and entertainment, whether sound or some sort of video. You can start at about $15 for a smart plug to control one light, to big dollars for more advanced equipment. So how much of that equipment is not included when listing a home? Door locks and mounted devices are one thing, but plug-in equipment is another, so do your homework. Appliances are also an area to consider. Realtors should understand the features and energy savings, plus the fact that smart appliances can cost 30% to 50% more than regular appliances. Preparing for this post, I read many reports and articles, one of which offered a step-by-step road map for turning your dumb house into a smart house. By the time I finished the article, we were talking about $15,000 worth of upgrades to make a house smart! As smart home technology continues to grow and homeowners and homebuyers increase what they have or want, it becomes more apparent that REALTORS® need to understand the technology. I spent a few hours reading and taking notes, and if the next buyer or seller wants to discuss smart homes with me, I am better prepared. You need to do the same! I found it all very interesting, but then again, I am a geek! Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at www.DickBetts.com
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Moderne Ventures' Virtual Demo Day
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Using Slack to Help Run Your Real Estate Business
I am a big fan of using the apps that come on your smartphone, but we all need a few extra things to help us be efficient and productive. If you have been following my recent articles on getting the most out of the apps preloaded on the smartphone, you know I love the calendar, contact, reminders and notes available from Apple and Android. But sometimes we need more, and I want to share a few apps over the next few articles that I think can help change the way you do business. Let's start with Slack. I used Slack for about three years and loved it! Slack allows you to have one-on-one conversations or group conversations. Slack, Microsoft Team, Rocket Chat and Mattermost are all communication programs that accomplish about the same task.
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Your Smart Home Primer
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2020 Hindsight: Game-Changing Tech and Tools from the Last Decade
The New Year is a great time to look back and remember how far we've come. We've put together a list of some of the most game-changing tech that was born this last decade as well as some that could prove big in the next decade. How has this technology changed the way you do business?
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Top Tools, Templates and Tech for Listing Leads
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Collaborating with Others Using Apple Notes and Google Keep
Collaboration using Apple Notes and Google Keep offers many features that will help REALTORS be organized. Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting the benefits of using these FREE apps (hope you saw my "How to Grab Text from an Image Using Google Keep" article that I shared recently). Collaboration has so many uses in business and life. Let's start with business: you can have a note that updates instantly across all your devices, including the devices of those with whom you have shared the note. For example, this could be a note shared between a REALTOR and an administrative assistant; with every client you could start a collaborating note; teams could share information; brokers could have all agents and staff on the same notes.
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Smart Realtors Need to Understand Smart Homes
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9 Technology Productivity Tips: Do this, not that
Technology is supposed to save us time and make us more efficient. Most often, technology does. But sometimes you need to give tech a rest and do things the old fashion way because it's actually faster. Here are tips on when technology can make you more productive, and when it can be a time waster.
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Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Technology
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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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Your Smart Device May Be Listening, But You Still Have the Power to Delete
The newest technology trend revolves around the smart devices created by Amazon, Google, and other tech companies. These devices can help automate your life with phrases like "turn on the lights in the kitchen" or "turn down the temperature." These are the best assistants to be had. They remember everything. But what if you don't want them to remember everything? There has to be a way to delete the memory off of these devices so they don't remember every question you ask them. We created this blog to help provide you with instructions for clearing the data on some of the most popular devices.
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Green Home vs. Smart Home (and the Top 9 Features)
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10 Gorgeous Gadgets and Accessories for Road Warriors
Your car isn't just a way to get from place A to B: it's a mobile office, your space to sing and so much more. We've put together a list of 10 gorgeous gadgets and accessories that every road warrior could use. We tried to choose a mix of high-tech and low-tech items. We also looked at a variety of price points. Which is your favorite gadget or accessory?
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8 Cool, Affordable Tech Gifts
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How Agents Are Benefiting from Artificial Intelligence
WAV Group founding partner and RE Technology CEO Victor Lund traveled to Paris again this year to share insights on the evolution of technology in America. His talk highlighted how systems automation is relieving Realtors of many routine tasks. This process is called artificial intelligence (AI), which is the process of having machines do the work that humans normally do.
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Smart Homes: What Agents Need to Know in Order to Effectively Market Them
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Hot New Tech from NAR Midyear
Artificial intelligence, digital automation, hyperlocal marketing, and 3D posts for Facebook. These are just a few of the hottest technologies that new companies – and established ones –showcased at NAR Midyear. Officially called the "REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo," Midyear is where NAR members go each May to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities and, of course, the trade show. Here are some of the hottest new tech offerings – both products and services – for agents and brokers that were on display: BoxBrownie It touts itself as providing "high-quality photo editing, virtual staging, floor plan redraws, and CGI renders at (an) unbelievable price." Grammar aside, BoxBrownie is all-pro when you see their before-and-after offerings. Their offer can be summarized in just two words: photo magic. If you have an empty room, but would love to show it fully staged with furniture, BoxBrownie does that. Have a dead, brown lawn in a photo because it's the middle of winter – or summer? Not a problem. BoxBrownie can give you lush, green grass and turn any season into blooming spring with bright blue, sunny skies to match. Or what about a house for which you need a nighttime shot with the rooms all lit? Other software that has tried to do this automatically have gotten the shadows and the interiors all wrong. BoxBrownie nighttime photos gets them all right. This is one tech company that stood out at NAR Midyear for several reasons. First, their technology looks fresh, practical and cool. Second, it's highly relatable as it attempts to dramatically improve what every agent does: post and use listing photos in all their marketing. Third, agents will love their price points: if you want to use their service for just one picture, you can, and it could cost you as little as $2.00. All of their pricing is far less than the alternatives. They are a NAR REach Class of 2018 member. Their website – with pricing and lots of before and after photos – is at boxbrownie.com. Streak If Google and Salesforce had a baby, they might very well have named it Streak. Streak is Gmail with a native CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software interface. If you know how to navigate Gmail, you won't have a lot of struggles finding your way around Streak. It isn't just a Gmail widget-like experience (think SalesforceIQ or Insightly). It is fully CRM entirely woven into your Gmail account. Its deep integration with Gmail eliminates a few of the biggest objections that agents who still don't use CRMs have: it's pretty intuitive, it's a program agents probably already use, and the leads that come in from Zillow or realtor.com and many other lead gen sources are automatically identified and readied for a response. The downsides? Some agents and brokers might find the price tag high. The monthly subscription isn't as expensive as most Salesforce options, but the $49 a month price tag for a single user isn't cheap. Then there's the fact that Gmail spam rules prevent any drip marketing campaign integration coming from Streak. The Streak salespeople tell you that's a good thing since email marketing barely works today anyway. Details at streak.com. zavvie This tech firm's DNA comes from a real estate brokerage. It was born out of the technology used by 8z Real Estate in Boulder, Colorado, the fastest growing brokerage firm in Colorado last year. Their focus: hyperlocal marketing. They practically wrote the book on it. Earlier this year, zavvie published the first white paper on hyperlocal marketing for real estate. They've been on a roll ever since and have expanded from Colorado to coast-to-coast. Inman News just nominated zavvie and 8z Real Estate for an Inman Innovator Award. NAR just announced zavvie is part of their NAR REach Class of 2018. zavvie creates a hyperlocal platform for an agent to dominate his or her neighborhood online. Through neighborhood websites, neighborhood Facebook Pages, and actively contributing to sites such as Next Door, zavvie helps agents digitally farm their neighborhood. While zavvie automates some of the social media content posts for agents, zavvie also makes it super easy for agents to post content from their mobile app on the go during their regular workday activities. zavvie targets brokerages, teams and even has an individual agent offering that starts at $299 a month. Learn more at zavvie.com. MoveEasy Technology is driving the rebirth of concierge moving services being adopted by brokerages. MoveEasy is one of the newest entries, and it is leveraging the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface) to reduce the stress of moving for home buyers and sellers. Let's face it: nearly everyone hates moving. Just the planning stage alone can be maddening: you have to make so many phone calls. You have to find a mover, get bids, worrying about packing and possibly storage. But that's just the beginning. You have to stand in line at the post office and pick up your moving kit. Then you have figure out which gas and electric utility providers, cable or satellite company, and Internet services firm provides services to your new home. Worst-of-all: you have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get your new driver's license with your new address. The entire process takes so much time and is a significant stressor. Most agents just let their customers go it alone. MoveEasy is a service an agent can offer their customers for free. It acts as a virtual concierge and puts everything at the fingertips of the home buyer, so they can go online: click, enter and select. For agents, it's a free service that makes them look like rock stars because they don't lift a finger. For brokerages, it's a no-brainer because MoveEasy handles all the tech the setup and agent training. MoveEasy is fully integrated with MoxiWorks and say they can integrate with just about any CRM. Check them out at moveeasy.com. Chime IDX integrated with CRM Chime uses an ad management system to generate leads. Leads are directed either to your Chime IDX Website or your Facebook page. There, they are prompted to register. The inbound lead data is collected and goes into your Chime CRM. The Chime CRM then uses Artificial Intelligence to send an email to the new lead and an alert to the agent that they have a new lead. Chime's pricing model offers a starter version at $25 a month (no lead routing) and a pro version at $49. While it provides a team collaboration feature, teams have noted in online reviews that the product is not as well designed for a team as it is for individual agents. Chime has done well integrating with the major ad portals, all the primary email platforms, and many marketing offerings. It continues to integrate with other software. It is a NAR REach Class of 2018 member. The website is chime.me. Matterport From the folks that gave the world three-dimensional home tours without the need of headgear or glasses, Matterport has a cool little feature they added and were talking about at Midyear. Agents know that Facebook marketing remains one of their most powerful and cost-effective ways to maintain top-of-mind awareness and generate a new kind of lead process: inbound, where the leads reach out to the agent. That's the magic of social media marketing. Matterport has a neat feature for its users that is largely going overlooked. It will instantly generate a "mini-movie" for a Facebook post. These video teasers, just 10-15 seconds in length, showcase one's 3D Video Home Tour, and include a shorter animated GIF file for use as well. Here's the coolest part: Matterport used Deep Learning (aka Machine Learning) to create and automate this process. The agent or broker does not have to do a thing. These are generated automatically as Matterport Spaces with more information here. Check out their cover video on Facebook here at the top of the page. Find them at matterport.com. More tech ahead There were more great tech firms at NAR Midyear, and there are sure to be an exponentially higher number in Boston at NAR Annual. From Active Pipe, a hot startup that offers automated email marketing to Quigler, a high-tech compliance solution firm (both NAR REach Class of 2018 members), Midyear scratches the surface of what's out there. With innovations in areas like Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, we can expect to see even more breakthroughs for agents and brokers in the months ahead. For insight on other hot tech trends from Tech Helpline, check out these articles: Drone-in-a-box for real estate? How Drones Are Transforming Real Estate Marketing Future Tech: Tools that will change our work and our homes A Quick Review of Smart Home Technology Gifts and gadgets for under $15 Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®. Florida Realtors owns both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.    
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When Too Many Real Estate Tools Are Overkill
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3 Things that You Need to Know About Smart Home Staging
New, highly accessible automated technology has a rapidly accelerated the proliferation of smart homes in America. That's caused home staging to turn high tech as well. Welcome to the new world of smart home staging. Here are three things that you need to know about the new trend in showing a home: smart home staging.
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3 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
According to the National Association of Realtors, Millennials are currently the largest group of potential home buyers–and they're looking to purchase smart homes. A survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens, found that 64 percent of Millennials "believe that smart technology makes their home safer and more enjoyable." So, what exactly is a smart home and how can adding a few simple switches and sensors not only increase a home's property value, but also help make it a hotter listing?
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Discover 42 Cutting Edge Tech Products for Real Estate in 2017
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11 of the Best Real Estate Agent Tools
Being a real estate agent is challenging, and it's especially hard when you aren't aware of the tools that can help you. Trust us – there's a ton out there that can help if you know where to look. We've compiled a list of the best real estate tools from mobile apps to CRM services to help you do your job even better. Read ahead to start adding to your real estate tech toolbox and become the best equipped agent you can be. Organizational tools: Being a real estate agent is hard work and there are a lot of moving parts. As a result, it's important to stay organized so that you don't miss important phone calls or double book appointments. Here are a few organizational tools to keep your life in check: 1. Deductr: Deductr, available both online and as a mobile app, was created to help track tax deductions so you're not leaving money on the table. You can track your income, miles driven, and your hours to make the most of your tax returns. Deductr also provides notifications and reminders to track your expenses so you have all your important information in one place. 2. OmniFocus: An organizational app available on all devices from your laptop to Apple watch, OmniFocus provides you with the tools to ensure that you're getting the most out of your day. It allows you to see your schedule, responsibilities, projects, and even your inbox from various "contexts" – personal, professional, etc. You'll never miss another work appointment or forget about a meeting at your kid's school – especially since it provides push notifications to remind you!
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7 Young Tech Companies Poised to Reinvent Real Estate
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5 Real Estate Tech Tools in 5 Minutes
When Jeff Lobb took the stage at Inman Connect in New York this past January, everyone got out their note-taking tools—five real estate tech tools in five minutes. Because in what was a whirlwind event of high-minded, conceptual talk, Jeff was ready to drop some serious knowledge and tangible takeaways. Jeff's message was clear — the tools alone won't make you a successful agent. It's how you use them. 1. Big data This phrase from the tech world has infiltrated real estate, but few really know what it means. "We are sitting on more money in our database now than ever before." But that's it — we're just sitting on it. And it's not complete. By harnessing the power of a tool like Revaluate Pro, agents can use data to "create the person behind the email," and know more about when buyers and sellers are ready to make a move. 2. Emotional marketing Agents need to connect with clients by being: memorable, mobile and visual. Be memorable, mobile and visual! Animoto has been around for a few years, but most agents aren't using it strategically. Using the personalized videos before, during and after the sale can help cement your brand in the sellers' mind and integrate you into the buyer's world.
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How The 'Internet of Things' Affects Real Estate
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How to Use Google Keep for Real Estate
Google processes 40,000 searches per second and over 3.5 billion searches per day. That's incredibly impressive, but Google provides much more than just a search engine. Google offers internet users a large range of products free of charge. In this new article series, we'll share how you can use Google's free products to grow, manage, and organize your business. Here, you'll learn how Google Keep can help your business, where to find it, how to use it, and more. What is Google Keep? Google Keep lets you "Save your thoughts as notes, lists, and voice memos from anywhere." Basically, anything you want to remember, take note of, scribble down, photograph, or have available for quick and easy reference can be stored in Keep. Keep also syncs across all your devices (phone, desktop, laptop, and tablet), making it easy to access your data anywhere. Why use it? Keep allows you to share and collaborate with your contacts on your notes. Keep's advanced sticky note functionality also lets you add labels to your notes for easy sorting. Creating labels for things like buyer resources, seller resources, and individual properties or clients will create tabs in Keep that contain all items with that label, making it easy to keep track of notes relevant to a particular person or property. Where can I get it? Android iOS Computer Browser
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The 4 Best Content Curation Tools for Real Estate Agents
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Four Time-saving Tools that You Need For YOUR Real Estate Practice
Recently, I wrote an article about specific ways you can ensure consistency in your real estate marketing plans. One part of the article talks about using technology, and I am remiss in that I promised to share with you some of my favorite tools and have not. So today, to right that wrong, I am going to share some of my favorite time-saving technology tools that you can institute today to help you become more consistent in all your real estate marketing practices. 1. Boomerang If you are anything like me, you are getting hundreds and hundreds of emails per day. Some of them are simple interactions that you can handle right at that second and move on. Some, though, are things that maybe you want to temporarily ignore and come back to later. Or, even something you give an immediate response to, but also need a reply from whomever you sent that reply email to. The more emails you deal with, the more likely emails like those are going to end up buried in your inbox, or forgotten all together. Boomerang keeps this from happening. It works with both Gmail and Outlook. Using their "in browser" tool, you can take any email message and set it to reappear in your inbox, at a later date. For instance, if you just don't want to deal with a message at the moment, schedule it for a later date, and it will appear at the top of your inbox at that date/time. If you reply to someone, you can set the Boomerang reminder to appear at the top of your inbox at a specific date and time, as well. BUT, more specifically, you can specify that you only want it to do so if no reply has been received. That is a pretty handy way to instantly be reminded that you did not hear back from someone. How many times have you gotten leads, only to eventually have them fall through the cracks when communication suddenly broke down? Boomerang will eliminate that possibility.
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3 Real Estate Tech Tools This YPN Chairperson Can’t Live Without
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Forget Inbox Zero. Be an Inbox Hero with Boomerang for Gmail
For most agents, Inbox Zero is unattainable. Between automated listing emails, lead alerts and messages sent from clients, title and mortgage partners and more, you likely receive more emails than you can possibly pay attention to each day. That's where Boomerang comes in. Boomerang's main functionality is to help you put messages in a queue so you can read and respond to them at the right time. But Boomerang doesn't just help you cut through the clutter of email, it also helps you get focused on proper follow-up and makes you more likely to receive replies back. Here are three ways you can leverage Boomerang to get ahead in your real estate business. "Snooze" the emails that you don't need to answer right away There are probably a few times a day — or even a dozen times a day — when you react to the "ding" of your inbox, only to find that it's a general newsletter from your MLS or an invitation to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. What if those "time-insensitive" emails could be programmed to come back to your email at a time when you're more likely to respond? With Boomerang, you can do just that. By simply clicking one button, you can tell the utility to bring a message back to the top of your inbox at a specific time in the future. Get ahead with better inbox management Consider setting up one or two hours a week that are dedicated to managing these less important emails. If your weekly sales meeting is at 9am on a Tuesday, schedule these emails to Boomerang back on Tuesday at 7:45am. Get in a bit early, fire up the coffeemaker and hit reply or delete until you've achieved Inbox Zero on your long-term response messages.
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"Move-In Ready" Increasingly Means Smart Home Technology for US Consumers
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2 Must-Have Tech Tools for Real Estate Agents
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 a pair of fantastic innovations that can help you focus, stay on track, and make you look like an expert. For Working on the Go, Try the Dell Venue Tablet Looking for a tablet designed to meet the needs of busy road-warrior real estate agents? The Dell Venue tablet provides a great alternative to an iPad, with an attractive price tag. It comes in two sizes, an 11-inch or 8-inch screen. Consulting firm Prowess Consulting looked at how real estate agents spend time and use (or misuse) technology. They wrote a white paper on the subject, commissioned by Intel, which makes processors for the Dell tablets. Here's what they found: Agents need intuitive file management that is optimized to work seamlessly with a cloud software program. Photo editing needs to be easy and streamlined. The tablet needs to support virtual tours. Images should be fully visible and not obstructed by other elements on the screen. Easy support for digital signatures. Speed when using mapping applications. Local storage – so you can store and show property information without an Internet connection.
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A Look at the Latest and Greatest in Smart Home Technology
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Top 8 Real Estate Gadgets for 2016
In 2015, technology became even more necessary, wearables more popular and smart phones got even smarter. We've reached the golden age of gadgets, and it's time to begin planning for what will come in the year ahead. We've made a list of the top gadgets that will help drive your business forward in 2016. 1. Activity-tracking wearables If you're burning the candle at both ends, you're going to wear yourself down and your work will be affected. It's important to take care of yourself so you can be at your peak to help keep your clients happy. Activity-tracking wearables can help you take even better care of yourself by tracking your exercise, sleep patterns, calorie intake and more. Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and Microsoft all make wearable activity trackers with styles to fit any budget. 2. Wearables to keep you safe Agent safety has always been a top priority. Cuff is a smart device that fits into jewelry or keychains and pairs with an app on your phone to monitor your location. If you ever feel like you're in trouble, you can activate an emergency alert through the device. A notification will be sent through your phone to your VIP contact list so they can call the police and direct them to your location. 3. Picture-Printing Phone Case Let's face it. We have so many pictures on our phones that, most of the time, we can't even remember what's on there. With Prynt Case, you can turn your smart phone case into a photo printer. The case attaches to the back of your phone, and the compatible app prints images right from your phone. No ink required, Prynt Case prints on the provided ZINK Paper. What better way to connect with potential buyers than to send them home with snapshots of their favorite listings?
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Best of 2015: Hate Writing Listing Descriptions? This App Does It For You
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Hate Writing Listing Descriptions? This App Does It For You
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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What Will Buyers Want in 2016? Smart Homes!
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Best Online Tools and Apps for Real Estate Agents
It's a wonderful time to be an agent with all the helpful tools available to the real estate industry. Technology offers us so many ways to stay connected, safe, organized and keep learning about real estate. Are you taking advantage of the powerful apps and websites online to help you save time? We've compiled a list of 10 terrific online tools and apps for real estate agents to help you accomplish more and make your life easier: Wi-Fi Finder - For members of an industry who spend a lot of time on the go, searching for Wi-Fi can be a tedious process, but still preferable over data charges! Check out Wi-Fi Finder, a free app that will help you locate free or paid Wi-Fi wherever you are. The app uses the GPS function of your smartphone to tell you exactly where the closest Wi-Fi hotspot is, and how to get there. Bonus: it doesn't require Wi-Fi to use the app! Prezi - Looking to make a real estate listing presentation that will really wow your audience? Check out Prezi. This visually stunning presentation editor allows you to display information on or offline, collaborate with teammates, and import images and videos. Since Prezi is a cloud-based program, you can use it to present from your desktop, iPhone, or iPad, making it a terrific option for displaying information at an open house or a last minute meeting in a coffee shop. Prezi is free if you're okay with all of your presentations being public. There is a low monthly cost for making your presentations private. Google Alerts - One of many useful tools from Google, this free service allows you to receive notifications every time your name, business name, or any topic that interests you is mentioned online. You can control how often alerts will be emailed to you, keeping you in the loop each time your business is mentioned. Try setting up an alert for the geographical area you farm, or homes for sale in your city.
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Homes Are Getting Smarter: Can Real Estate Agents Keep Up?
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7 Real Estate Agent Must Haves
Real estate is not always an office job. In fact, more often than not agents find themselves doing business out in the field. Meeting prospective sellers, showing buyers around, organizing marketing and events...a lot of this gets done on the go! Whether you're working from your car, a coffee shop, a vacant listing, your vacation destination or somewhere else, here are the seven essentials every real estate agent needs to conduct business from anywhere: 1. Smartphone Your constant companion, it's probably by your side when you go to bed at night and when you wake up in the morning. Smartphones are just so darn versatile! Besides helping you call and text clients, your phone enables you to check emails, take photos of listings and even legally sign and deliver documents. How neat is that? 2. Business Cards In a field where you're always meeting new people, you're definitely going to need some business cards. Printed or digital, business cards give contacts a way to remember and get in touch with you. Today's agents might want to add more than just a name and phone number. How about your Twitter handle? Here are some tips to help you optimize your business cards and stand out from the pack. 3. Mini Office Suite Find a good old fashioned pencil case and pack the following in your car, laptop case or travel bag: trusty pen, notepad, stapler, white out and tape. You won't regret it when you are the most prepared agent at any meeting.
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Pocket PCs, iPad, and Outlook Tips
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How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 2
Last week, I shared part one of building the perfect real estate marketing and lead cultivation platform. If you missed part one of my article, you can read it by clicking here. Let's pick right up where we left off and address the last four critical considerations related to the creation of this platform. 4) It has to be multi-channel It might be enticing to just find one great product (a mass email tool, for instance) because it does take time to research and select many different tools. But never lose sight of the fact that there is no "one size fits all" type of marketing vehicle. This is because there is no one type of homeowner in the world. Everyone responds to different things. To have a truly successful platform, you must have a little bit of everything. You want to have a comprehensive platform that includes email marketing, text messaging, print marketing, inbound marketing and social media. 5) Data integration (across all platforms) is KEY No matter where your leads are coming from (your website, your broker's website, your email system, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, open houses, etc.), ALL data must flow seamlessly into your platform in an automated fashion. If you have to manually do any data input, you do not have a good platform. This is a critical step and there is no wiggle room here.
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How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 1
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How a 72-Year-Old Realtor Embraces Technology
Are your so-called selling tools behind the times? Afraid you're too old to jump on today's technological bandwagon? Even if you didn't grow up with a mouse in your hands, the technology to streamline your business is not out of reach. Just ask 72-year-old real estate agent Ed Robinson about his tips for Realtors®. Ditch the filing cabinets. Go digital. This Canadian agent has put together a simple mix of tips for Realtors, including devices and software to help you save a few trees – and a lot of time. How does he do it? An iPad - Command central. Scanner Pro - Transform paper documents into digital files for storage and editing. PDF Expert - Download, view, edit, annotate, and sign paperwork electronically. Dropbox - Cloud-based storage, accessible by any device, agent, or client. How does it work? A buyer makes an offer. You scan it into a digital version, then fire it off to the listing agent. Done. You download MLS listings for a client, easily add notes in PDF Expert Saving it for future reference... Emailing it... Share it via Dropbox You get a deposit check, scan it onto your iPad, import it into a receipt template, then send a digital receipt
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Top 10 Tech Tools to Help You Sell Your Listing
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3 Forms of Tech That Are Changing the Real Estate Market
The future is right around the corner. Agents and brokers need to prepare for digital technology that could (maybe) change how or why people buy and sell homes. Here is our top three emerging real estate technologies that could (again, maybe) affect the real estate industry in a big, bad way. Bitcoin: Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be spent globally, and are not affected by taxes or regulatory laws. Finite in nature, new "internet money" can never be created or reprinted. A wide range of businesses are starting to accept these as a legitimate form of payment, including the real estate industry. Real estate can be bought with these virtual currencies, and not talking about dinky lots in the middle of nowhere. Need an apartment building in Romania? An industrial lot in El Paso, Texas? What about a 2-bedroom apartment in London? All of these properties, and more, can be purchased with Bitcoin or other forms of virtual currency. So, how does this affect industry buyers and sellers? Well, not much if your brokerage or business does not accept virtual currency. Although most businesses don't accept these as actual payment, some large brokerages (like this one in New York) around the world have started. This is not unique to the real estate industry, a survey given to U.S. retailers showed that 8 percent plan on accepting Bitcoin by 2016. Not bad for a form of currency that's been around for less than a decade. Much to the U.S. government's dismay, virtual currencies are here to stay. If they start growing in popularity with in the coming years, it may be in your best interest to accept "internet bucks."
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The Technology Habits of Successful Real Estate Agents
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Apple Watch For Real Estate
I am not sure what the market penetration breakdown is for Apple vs. Android phones in real estate, but suffice it to say that there is a significant number of iPhone users. Many agents report that their smartphone is among their most valuable business tools, and for good reason. Your internet connected phone lets you stay connected to every component of your business to keep you on the track to great customer service and the success that comes with it. Long gone are the days of putting an "out of office" message on your desk phone and on your email responder. This was a best practice years ago when the internet was not omnipresent and internet enabled devices were clunky to use. Let's face it, the Palm 7 was a magical device but it barely worked. Today's smartphones are now complemented by a plethora of applications that allow real estate agents to stay connected to everything in their business. The problem with being connected all of the time is that you are, um...connected all of the time. While it may be fine for teenagers to walk around staring at their phone all day long, that is not the right impression for professional real estate agents. The good news is that Apple and Google understand this. The first effort was to develop earpieces that allowed users to keep the phone in the pocket. That works great for hands-free phone calls and listening to music, but serves little more. Google took a swing with Google Glass – another promising attempt – but like the earpiece, it's a bit awkward. I purchased them and was pretty disappointed, especially by the reaction that it had on people. I always feel like someone out of a Twilight Zone or Star Trek episode. Again, not the "look" of a professional real estate agent.
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Real Estate Technology is Not an Expense. It is an Investment
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Spotlight on Real Estate Tech: Our Top Product Reviews from 2014
Throughout 2014, we've been publishing a series of articles that guides agents through the technology selection process (see the full list of articles here). While those provide a helpful overview of broad technology categories, the next step is to learn more about a single product in more detail. That's what our product reviews column does. Each review offers an in-depth look at an individual product, complete with screenshots and an overview of all major features. In 2014, we published over a dozen product reviews, and we've rounded them up here for your convenience, sorted by category. Take a moment to learn more about a new technology that could help you grow your business in the year ahead. Transaction Management/Forms Form Simplicity - A solution created by a professional real estate organization, Florida Realtors®. Its ongoing development is, in part, shaped by a panel of REALTOR® members who ensure that the program stays in step with what agents and brokers need to be successful. Realty Commander - Realty Commander excels in handling multiple different file types, short sales, and HUD. DocuSign for REALTORS® PLUS - A first look at DocuSign's new "Transaction Rooms" that wed transaction management capabilities to DocuSign's eSignatures. zipForm® Plus - zipLogix upgrades their forms stalwart with a clean, new interface that makes it easy for agents to use. CMA Cloud CMA - The reports you print directly from the MLS are stale, say the folks at Cloud CMA, and don't offer any opportunity for your unique branding. Their solution was built to fix this problem.
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Your Guide to Real Estate Technology in 2015
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11 Gift Ideas for the Techie You Love
Many people around the world are or will be shopping for presents for their loved ones in the coming weeks. Sure, TVs, laptops, and tablets are cool, and kudos to you if that is what you have planned to purchase! Now for those of you who are looking for something special, quirky even, and perhaps not as expensive, we prepared a list of interesting tech gadgets that are popular right now. Listed below, in no particular order, could be gifts for fellow real estate professionals or for the techie you love. Virtual keyboard – The WOW factor is pretty high with this one. Cube video action camera camcorder – While Go Pro has very cool cameras, they may be a bit much for a teenager. These might be a better option for someone who on his way to becoming a Pro. Bluetooth location tracker – There is always someone in the family who could use one of these. Swivel socket with surge protector – A practical gift to use at the home or the office. Light for real estate sign - While there are some more expensive ones out there, these might just do the trick.
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3 Must-Have Tech Tools for Real Estate Agents
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Five Tech Tools You Need to Host a Safe Open House
A key step to hosting a successful open house is ensuring high attendance and maximizing exposure to your listing. With an influx of visitors, it is important to take the necessary steps to keep your sellers, buyers and yourself safe. Below are five tips and tools to use during your next open house, to ensure a safe and successful event. 1. Stay charged: Keeping your phone battery at full charge is an easy step to stay safe during an open house. If your phone battery drains quickly, invest in a portable charge case or mat like one from Mophie to ensure you have full power throughout the day. 2. Keep an eye on prized possessions: During a busy open house, it can be difficult to keep an eye on everyone who passes through. Make sure your seller's prized possessions stay secure by using a wireless security camera like Canary. It syncs automatically through WiFi and you can check real-time footage directly from your smartphone. After the open house, simply pack up the device to use at your next showing. 3. Be alert when en route to your open house: Do you live in an urban market or within walking distance to your listings? Stay safe on-foot with an app like bSafe (iOS/Android, Free). If you feel threatened or unsafe, tap the "Alarm" button and the app will send your GPS location to specified contacts in your address book via text message. It also connects friends within the same area who can walk to and from a location together.
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How to Score the Latest Tech Tools Without Breaking the Bank
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30 Top Tools for Agents in 30 Minutes (8/19)
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 10:00 - 10:30 AM In order to take your business to the next level and win the best buyers and sellers in the market, you need the right tools for the job! But who has the time to filter through all the productivity tools and sites and apps and find out what's worth your time? We do! Join Trulia Trainer Jovan Hackley for a rundown of the latest must-know tools, apps, and services used by agents like you to generate business and impress clients! Attend this session for: tools you can use now to improve your marketing ideas to help you wow potential clients at your first meeting real advice on how to decide which tools you really need Register now!
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2015 Technology Guide: Find Tools that Profit Your Business
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The Hottest Tech of 2014
In April, the National Association of REALTORS® announced the companies that have been selected to participate in their NAR REach™ accelerator program. The REach™ class of 2014 also doubles as a list of the "it" tech for this year. We're going to introduce you to these exciting companies and share some details about their products. NAR REach™ REach™ was developed by the strategic investment arm of NAR (Second Century Ventures). The purpose of the program is to introduce innovative tech companies to the real estate industry. Participants are very carefully selected after a comprehensive review of their business, their management, and the potential benefit their products and services will bring to REALTORS®. Only a few companies are invited to participate, and they truly represent the "cream of the crop." For more information on REach™, you can read the press release. The Hot List We know you're busy, so we'll provide a quick snapshot of all the companies here, but be sure to read on for further details! Back At You Media: A hands-free, full-service, automated way to generate leads and maintain relationships on social media. www.BackAtYou.com. Deductr: Make tax time easier by automatically tracking expenses, mileage and time. www.deductr.com/NAR Desktime: Earn extra income by helping clients turn unused office space into cash. www.desktimeapp.com Fundwell: Helps commercial real estate professionals connect small business with prequalified lenders to fund real estate or business expansion. www.thefundwell.com Goby: Tracks energy utilization in buildings to optimize efficiency and regulatory reporting. www.SeaSuite.com SendHub: From any mobile device or computer, REALTORS® can manage all of their client communication via voice calls and text messaging - so that the agent never misses a lead. www.sendhub.com SmartZip: This predictive marketing platform uses mountains of data and intricate algorithms to identify homeowners that are likely to sell, then targets these homeowners with effective Web and social marketing campaigns. www.smartzip.com WeVideo: Video creation made easy! Compelling videos created from any device, with automation options to save you time. www.Wevideo.com
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10 Ways Technology Can Save Agents Time and Money
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The Technological Side to Building Relationships
Guest contributor Melissa Dittmann Tracey of REALTOR®Mag says: Here are ways some real estate professionals are using technology to improve their relationships with their Internet leads: Use Metrics as Your Guide Track how engaged your customers are with your website. Many CRMs and e-mail systems have built-in analytics to give you a deeper picture of who your Web visitors are, what pages they're spending the most time on at your site, and who opened your e-mails. For example, a CRM program called BoomTown ROI offers a real-time peak into consumer behavior on your real estate site. Its "Opportunity Details" dashboard allows you to track your visitors' behavior online. Depending on their actions, leads will be labeled as "high interest" if they show a recent interest in one or more listings or as "renewed interest" if they were inactive on the site but later returned. This can indicate who you need to follow up with. Here are some other tools for using metrics to help give you a more in-depth picture of your website's visitors: Google Analytics provides a free solution to let you know who's visiting your website, the online avenues by which they're reaching your site, and, specifically, how they're interacting with your pages. Facebook Insights offers information about how people are discovering your Facebook posts, as well as how engaged they are based on your most popular posts, likes, comments, and shares. Mouseflow.com allows you to record the actions of your website's visitors and generate instant heat maps showing where they clicked and scrolled and what they're paying closest attention to on your site.
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Robo Agents and Their Tools
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How Paperless Are You?
Before there were iPads, smartphones, and laptops, agents listed and sold real estate every day without them. But today’s competitive market demands that all parties be "in the loop" for every transaction. We must utilize systems and devices that keep us connected in order to meet the real-time needs of demanding consumers. New tools are typically a great asset to sales and business. Where would we be without some of these great tools? As an example, copiers make duplication easier. Digital phones that double as cameras allow agents to take pictures and videos that can be uploaded immediately to engage buyers and update sellers. With all the new-fangled equipment, tools, devices and resources out there, how does a busy agent figure out what will help them make more money, more easily and efficiently? Going paperless helps to streamline the many systems and communication channels needed to stay connected, organized and more importantly, efficient! Whether you are interested in going green, or simply want to get control of the crazy paper challenge, you might want to make it simple by implementing one step at a time. Garry Wise started out in real estate and noticed a huge gap in keeping all the parties in a transaction up to date as the transaction progressed. What if he could come up with a better way to do just that? So he did! Garry created www.ThePaperlessAgent.com and has helped hundreds of agents harness the power of going digital!
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What to Do When Tech Problems Strike
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Agents, Teams and Technology
Sometime soon, I will be selling a rental property and buying a different one, taking advantage of the 1031 Exchange program. I am probably like most consumers. You begin shopping for something to buy before you sell. The relationship between a buyer and an agent (or team) will typically have three phases. The first phase is the time you shop before listing. The second is the time you shop while your home is being sold. The third is the time when you are ready to buy. Right now, I am in the first phase, doing casual research. I do not plan to list my home for sale until the spring in Buffalo – if that ever comes ;-). I started driving neighborhoods around Thanksgiving. Flyers are not very popular in the area where I have been cruising, so I have been using a number of mobile apps. Occasionally, I call the number on the sign and leave a message. Nobody ever answers the phone anymore. Take Away #1: Signs are important in real estate. I did not even contemplate contacting a buyer's agent who was advertised on a listing agent's listing. Friday night, an agent contacted me from a phone message from four months ago. She sent me an email and called me by some other name like John. Not sure what happened there. I replied to the email and she called me right away to apologize. We had a nice chat and I told her what was up. She told me that her clients love Listingbook and that she would set me up with an account.
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Family Matters
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Instant Gratification
When I was a child, my parents were constantly encouraging me to "delay my gratification." Wait until after dinner to eat that cupcake, rather than scarfing it down this afternoon. Don't flip to the back of the book to find out what happens; read through the whole thing. They spent nearly two decades teaching me to delay my gratification ... and the Internet taught me the exact opposite in moments. The Internet has created a society that expects (read: demands) instant gratification. As a real estate agent, understanding this and building strategies around it can help you rise above your competition. I was inspired to write this article after talking to Greg Robertson of Cloud CMA. He was talking about how quickly their reports can be created. "If you're on the phone or meeting in person with a prospective client and you tell them you can create a report that will help them understand, just for example, your listing price recommendation, they'll want to see that report right away. How wonderful to be able to create that report with a single click and to show it to them right then and there." The reports can be sent via email as an attachment or displayed on the iPad as a presentation. "Never again will you make a client wait until you get back in the office to share your CMA with them. You can create and share any Cloud CMA report by simply sending an email." Of course, these days, fast doesn't count if it's accompanied by low-tech. A piece of junk isn't going to please your clients, no matter how quickly they receive said piece of junk. The reports from Cloud CMA have the added benefit of being aesthetically-pleasing and mobile – two things that also matter to our tech-savvy society.
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Top 10 Ways to Sell Your Client’s Home FAST! (Part 1)
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The Weather Outside is Frightful – Now What?
It's well-known that winter can be a very slow time for selling real estate. So what can agents do with this downtime? Well, we've thought of a few ways you can leverage this cold weather slowdown to prepare and start the spring selling season off with a BANG—and position yourself for your best year ever! First, it's important to take some quiet time and think about what goals you would like to set for yourself in 2014. What revenues would you like to generate? How much money can you invest in yourself and your business? There are great business planning tools out there that can help guide you through the process of creating your own strategic plan. What are your key strengths and weaknesses? Have you asked your customers this important question? They can give you clues about the best ways to improve your service levels and create lifetime loyal fans. You can create a simple survey with just a few simple questions on an inexpensive tool like Surveymonkey.com if you want to get a quick read of your performance. Send it out to the customers you have worked with in the past twelve months and see what you get back. Ideally, you may want to think about going even further by signing up for a program like QSC that allows you to track client satisfaction for every transaction you're involved with. Once you identify your key strengths and weaknesses, you can think about the type of training you would like to participate in. Winter is a great time to complete some education courses so can take on 2014 with new skills. What kind of training would you like to engage in to make you a stronger real estate professional? Check out the attached list of training solutions to find some ideas. It's also important to check your Association and MLS websites for training courses. Many of them offer a variety of great courses that are free or very inexpensive.
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2014 Technology Resolutions
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Competing for Market Share as a Real Estate Agent
I've been reading a lot lately about competition amongst listing agents. Depends who you ask as to the biggest competing factors, the best tools to have in your arsenal, and the most important points of difference (POD). Many sellers look for a listing agent based on two criteria – lowest commission and highest listing price. But that is only a tiny part of the big picture, really. If you're competing for market share as a real estate agent, what are some things that can set you apart and get you ahead? NAR tells us that nearly half of all sellers (45%) said they expect an instant response from their agent and 97% of all sellers expect a response within an hour. Timeliness is a critical factor when it comes to beating your competition and winning listings. Like sellers, buyers also rank immediate response highly. Adopting mobile technology is a great way to enable faster response times and greater availability to your sellers. Make an impact with potential buyers by providing extensive information on your website, QR codes and SMS. Sellers and buyers alike most commonly choose an agent based on a referral, with trustworthiness and reputation being the most important factors. For all the dissatisfaction (27% of sellers say their agent doesn't respond quickly enough), 89% of buyers are likely to use the same agent again or recommend to others. Winning the first sale is most important, or so it would seem.
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Top Product Reviews from 2013
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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Real Estate Solution
Real estate agents always need to be learning and growing to keep their business thriving. Sometimes that involves personal development--earning new designations, learning new sales strategies, seeking advice from a real estate coach, or even just sitting down with a good book. Other times, thriving means embracing new technologies. Learning new apps and programs can be daunting, though, especially if you're unfamiliar with a certain type of product. What should you look for? What options are available? It's hard to know without a lot of research. Fortunately, we've developed a series of guides that helps you answer exactly those questions. Each guide offers helpful questions to consider before making a purchase and lists specific products that may suit your needs. Kick off your research by choosing the type of product you're interested in from the list below (see our list of broker-specific guides here): Property Search Website Online Marketing Mobile Solution Online Reputation Management Market Analytics Listing Syndication Lockbox Lead Generation iPad Apps Electronic Signatures Document and Transaction Management CRM CMA
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