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Industry Acquisitions Drive Luxury Brokerage to Launch New Tech Stack
Willis Allen Real Estate, a leading luxury brokerage in the greater San Diego area, announced that they are launching a new tech stack for agents, "WAREhouse." The new platform will be launched in phases, with the first phase released to agents on June 17.
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Amazon Echo Show 5 Coming Soon
Amazon announced the Echo Show 5, coming on June 26. It's an affordable version of its bigger brother, Echo Show. The Alexa family proceeds to grow in helping us to manage and entertain our day digitally. The question: Is it time to revisit NAR MLS IDX policy?
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Where Is the Real Estate App Store?
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Who Is the End User of Real Estate Tech?
Are the tools you're offering to clients beneficial to you or to them? Are the frictions in the home buying and selling process a result of technology developed with the wrong end-user in mind? It's All About the Experience Why do people pay for fine dining? What about first class seats? A luxury car? It's about the experience. It is easy to see how Michelin star restaurants, airlines, and Italian car manufacturers understand that the ultimate customer is the diner, traveler and driver, respectively, of their business. Can we say the same for the most common real estate tools?
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How Brokerages Currently Structure Their Tech Is Limited
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Why zavvie’s Offer Optimizer Is an iBuyer Game Changer
When Zillow launched Zestimates, no one realized at the time how radical the impact of what they did then would become later. There are a lot of Sunday quarterbacks who would like to re-write history and say they knew it would result in helping to catapult the firm to a $7 billion valuation. But no one predicted back then that Zestimates would fuel a phenomenon dubbed "real estate porn" that helped it drive more than 100 million unique visitors to Zillow's website each month.
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Yes, There is Such a Thing as Too Much Real Estate Tech
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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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Technology Needs to Be Easy-to-Use
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Magnificent 7 Tech Trends to Watch in 2019 and Beyond
Two years ago, I picked a "Magnificent 7" list that included Automation, Deep Learning, IoE (Internet of Everything), Intelligent Apps, Security, Digital Twins, and Ghosting. Here's my list for 2019 of the NextGen and NextLevel tech that have caught my eye and the implications for real estate.
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Green Home vs. Smart Home (and the Top 9 Features)
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To Adopt or Not To Adopt
Agent adoption has always been a hot topic. As long as new technologies develop and emerge in the real estate space, there will always be an ongoing conversation on adoption. Typically, we hear a lot from the quantitative side of adoption. In the statistical data highlighting agent adoption numbers related to specific technology solutions and platforms, however, rarely do we hear about the qualitative data or the "why" pertaining to agent adoption. Technology solutions offered at a brokerage level to agents are intended to make agents more productive and make their life easier at the same time. So why is there often so much hesitation and resistance to embrace these solutions that have nothing but good intentions towards the agent and their business? Here are three primary reasons/barriers why agents don't adopt technology:
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MoveEasy Masters Brokerage Integration
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Demystifying the Real Estate Tech Stack
Real estate brokerages share a common goal: to make our agents' businesses more successful, and therefore driving more revenue to the brokerage. Every brokerage operates differently. Having the ability to choose best-in-breed solutions offers an edge when investing in a competitive technology stack, and is a key way to help agents grow their businesses and give broker owners an advantage to increase agent retention. But building a tech stack can be intimidating. How should a brokerage choose technologies to include? Should the brokerage invest in an "all-in-one solution" or a few solutions that are the best on the market? What are the essential components of a real estate tech stack? At Fox & Roach, we focus on giving our agents the tools necessary for them to be most successful. Here's how we did it.
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A Real Estate Brokerage with a Technology Vision
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Homebot Wins Realogy FWD Innovation Award
Realogy Franchise Group brought together 300 industry leaders to hear and vote on their 6th Annual Realogy FWD Innovation Award. Sherry Chris of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is the brand sponsor of the event, but it was really a team effort that fostered collaboration among all of their brands. Chairman Ryan Schneider kicked off the event with opening remarks that focused Realogy's strategy for the event, suggesting that Realogy always balances the decision of "Build, Buy, or Partner" in all of their technology decisions. He noted that for Realogy, it is "our opportunity to leverage technology," remembering that real estate is a human focused business enhanced by technology." Well said. I took some notes on each company that come from my perspective as a consultant that works on technology strategy with America's largest brokerages and franchises. So my comments are slanted in that direction.
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Offering Tech for Your Agents? Here's How to Boost Adoption
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5 Technology Expenses to Review for Budget Season, Part Two
Part two of this two-part series continues to explore technology expenses and strategies for budget season. In part one, we discussed the importance of reviewing your technology partner agreements and telecommunication expenses. Part two focuses on finding savings in cloud services, the benefits of a hardware refresh program, and capturing Shadow IT costs. So, let's start.
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How to Switch Your Focus from Software to Success
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The Smarter Your Home Gets, the More Useful It Becomes
Understanding what a smart home is and what the technology can do for you and your leads is a great way to get a leg up on your competition. On the most basic level, a smart home saves you time and money by linking various systems around your home or office so you can control them via your phone or a voice command. But when you drill down into it, smart home technology can do so much more. Here's a list of ways you can use smart home technology in your personal life and in real estate.
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Top 3 Smart Home Tech Features Millennials Crave
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Bitcoin or Bust: Buying homes and paying rent with digital currency
"Bitcoin accepted." A not-so-strange note to see anymore. Digital currency, or cryptocurrency, is hot and some of those in real estate are now using it to appeal to young renters. That means saying goodbye to mailing checks and hello to using an API that converts a digital currency payment into U.S. dollars.
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Keller Williams Betting $1 Billion on Voice
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Better technology fuels consumer interest in new real estate brands. Here's how local real estate brokers can compete
Who are they? Redfin and Compass are new brokerage companies coming to your town. They are fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in cash. Redfin recently went public. Compass has raised over $750 million. Redfin resonates with mainstream consumers via their easy to navigate web and mobile systems. They streamline the home selling and buying process similar to how Amazon made e-commerce easy for buyers and sellers. In contrast, Compass entices premier agents to leave their existing firms with healthy incentives and the promise of better agent technology. In Chicago alone, 50 agents who sold over $400 million moved to Compass.
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A Quick Review of Smart Home Technology
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Future Tech: Tools that will change our work and our homes
Imagine this: It's the day before Christmas 2025 as you dash into the Amazon Mall for a last-minute gift and Pepper is there to greet you. Pepper immediately knows you are anxious. Pepper patiently and calmly answers your questions, directing you to the right place for that perfect gift. Pepper is a lifesaver and made you feel great. Pepper is also a robot from Softbank that can read and respond to human emotion. Now, the Amazon Mall may be fiction—although Amazon has started to open brick-and-mortar stores—but Pepper is not. Pepper just went to work at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas recently. In this article, we explore how the future is now, because many of the tech tools that will change our work and our homes tomorrow are already in production today. They're just not widely available yet.
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The Holy Grail: Agent Adoption
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5 Startups Shaking Up the Real Estate Industry
Real estate technology is experiencing a moment. Last year, $1 billion was invested in the space, with two companies, Opendoor and Compass hitting a $1 billion valuation. Where there is funding, there are disruptors. These five caught our eye. The type of ingenuity demonstrated by these companies inspired the recent launch of our Jump Start program. But in addition to creativity and problem solving, these companies are bringing something else to the real estate transaction – a little bit of fun.
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Top 5 Tech Tools for Savvy Brokers
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Real Estate Leaders See Bright Future for Predictive Analytics, Big Data, and Marketing Automation
New Imprev Study Also Shows Surprises: Lukewarm Ratings for Portals and "Hot" Technologies Real estate industry leaders anticipate big opportunities coming from newer technology like predictive analytics, big data, and marketing automation over the next five years, but show lukewarm confidence in artificial intelligence, augmented realty, and virtual reality 3D tours. These findings emerged from a new Imprev Thought Leadership Survey asking participants to predict the future of real estate marketing and anticipate the effect on their businesses. The study was released today at Inman Connect, the nation's largest real estate technology conference being held August 7-11 at the San Francisco Hilton.
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3 Do's and Don'ts in Choosing a Technology Partner for Your Brokerage
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What Smart Home Technology is Trending in Real Estate?
Hey Alexa, will the next listing looky-loo really care that my home is smart? Eighty million smart home devices were delivered in 2016 – up 64 percent from the previous year, and that number is expected to climb even higher in 2017. In today's spotlight on real estate trends, we'll take a look at what smart home technology is trending, why – and how being in-the-know on smart tech can give your business a boost.
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The Best in Real Estate Technology: 2017 Edition
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Smart Home Hackers: What Real Estate Pros Should Know
Is smart home technology putting you and your clients at risk? Purported to bring convenience, security, and improved connectivity, smart services are instead bringing unauthorized surveillance, loss of privacy, and compromised data, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). What's the IoT? It's the combined/synergistic use of mobile apps, cloud storage, big data, automation, sensors and more that are attached to everyday items, processes and systems—part-and-parcel of everything from your phone and laptop to your TV, appliances, door locks, and security. Case(s) in point: Recent WikiLeaks on the CIA's (and other hackers') ability to spy on you via TV – not to mention last October's massive, internet service disrupting DDoS attack. The IoT-DDoS Conundrum Each of these items relies on the cloud to operate, either for analysis or as a communications path to other devices, forming a "botnet" of devices. But there is no magical "cloud" – only someone else's computer, such as company Dyn's DNS system – the one hacked last October. Protection from botnets, to date, is woefully insufficient, and devices are so prolific that if a mere portion of those in homes were comprised, it could prove disastrous. The best protection? Keeping these devices out, as even password protected gadgets are NOT secure, and informing clients of smart home risks.
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The Top Tech that Changed Real Estate in 2016
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Why a Smart Home is also a Danger Zone
A most provocative talk about smart homes and the dangers of the IoT (Internet of Things) kicked-off the first Hacker Connect in New York City in January. Molly Sauter, a PhD candidate and Vanier Scholar from Montreal's McGill University, gave a presentation that scared the crap out of me when she dove into the dangers of today's smart home. Now I've been a fan and even early adopter of affordable smart home tech: in the late 1980s, I had a wireless alarm system from Radio Shack and switches that allowed me to turn on lights with a remote. But that stuff turned out to be terribly unreliable. More than a year ago, we outfitted our home with Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot and have been blissfully pleased. Great product, awesome interface and we're now dabbling in more ways to make our home smarter. I even wrote about Amazon's move into the smart home space after last year's homebuilder convention, since it was being largely ignored there ("Digital Dawn: Amazon is creating the smart house for the rest of us"). Fast forward one year later, and Alexa was the star of the most recent CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and a plethora of products at this year's International Builders Show touted ties to Alexa. In fact, the popularity of Alexa is so pervasive – Amazon sold millions of units of its Echo and Echo Dot during the holiday – when Google introduced its competing product – Home – industry experts predicted that Google is simply too late to beat Amazon at this game ("Amazon's Echo is building a coffin that's custom-made for Google").
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Technology, Agent Adoption, and ROI
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Up Close with Clareity's Broker Dashboard
For brokerages looking to replace their aging intranet platform, there's a new player in town that can improve internal communication with agents and boost adoption of broker-provided tools. Clareity's new broker dashboard, known as DASH!, offers single sign-on (SSO) access to all MLS and brokerage provided tools. If that sounds familiar, it should. DASH! is an extension of Clareity's MLS-provided SSO dashboards that serve over 800,000 agents in 175 MLSs and associations. The broker dashboard is accessible as page extension within the MLS dashboard, or as a standalone offering. That's important because, according to Clareity, agents use their MLS dashboard an average of 3.4 times a day. That frequency of use makes the dashboard a superior place for brokers to promote the tools they provide to their agents. The dashboard also serves to reduce frustration in agents. According to WAV Group satisfaction research, a major pain point for agents is having to run around the web to access the dozen or more tools that they use--as well as having to remember log-in information for each. By consolidating all of these tools in one place under one log-in, brokers can vastly increase adoption of the tools they offer agents.
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Schmooze vs. Substance: What Are YOU Using to Make Technology Decisions?
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Looking at Virtual Reality for Real Estate? Augmented Reality Will Be Even Bigger
A lot of attention in real estate goes into looking at what the next big thing will be in technology that will impact our business. As a self-confessed closet geek, I do my best to stay on top of future trends. All things related to data have garnered my greatest attention over the last few years – from predictive analytics, to artificial intelligence and the emergence of the "algorithm economy." The future impact of these trends on real estate will be stunning, but there are two other trends closer to the vest for real estate brokerages that could have a much more rapid and practical impact. And that's what is happening in leveraging technology to allow people to not just see a house remotely, but feel as if they are actually inside the home. VR has the buzz One of the biggest buzzes in real estate continues to be around virtual reality. VR gives real estate agents the ability to immerse customers into a property, virtually, through a three dimensional online experience. Matterport is among the hottest technologies being used to create the most advanced digital 3D property tours. Just visit their website, and you'll see the value of what they do. It is being used by some of real estate's biggest and most forward-thinking brands: Redfin, Alain Pinel Realtors, Halstead, and Apartments.com, to name a few. In fact, Matterport has spawned a cottage industry, giving birth to a nationwide network of professional 3D photographers that have helped drive down the cost of a 3D tour and make it more accessible to agents nationwide.
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11 Real Estate Tech Tools that Will Simplify Your Life
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Top Tools and Apps to Get You through the Day
Sometimes all those apps and tools we have taking up space on our phones and tablets can be a bit distracting. How often are you grateful for an app or a crucial tool for keeping you on task or for making you more productive during your day? We've all had one of those days where it seems the simple app we have keeping us on task is the only reason we were productive. Since we tend to get stuck using the same tools over and over again, we may be unaware of the other tools out there, or unwilling to try something different for fear of switching up our routine. Via Atlassian There is a lot of time wasted at work, and you'd be surprised to know that some of the biggest culprits are some of the unnecessary things we end up having to do while at work...and not just checking on our Facebooks. According to a study by Atlassian, at least 60% of our time at work is actually spent productively. If you're working a 40 hour work week, that's at least 24 hours spent not being productive. One of the biggest culprits? Answering and keeping your emails organized. That same study found that, on average, it takes about 16 whole minutes to get back on track after being derailed by an incoming email. Okay, ready for the good news? We've got the master list of professionals from all different industries of the tools and apps they use to get through their day productively. We went out and asked a few of our customers what they thought about it and what top tools or apps they use everyday. The results? Amazing. And we'll be honest, there are a few on this list that we hadn't even heard of! But you can be sure we'll be implementing them into our routine very soon.
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6 Tips to Increase Agent Adoption of Your Brokerage Technology
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Smart Home Certification for Residential Properties
Today, we had our Logictech Harmony Ultimate Home automation experience installed. From a single controller or mobile device, anyone in our family can control connected lights, locks, thermostats, home entertainment devices, and even schedule when devices turn on or off. Everything is connected. Smart Homes May Add More Value This week, Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CEDIA announced a collaboration to develop a smart home curriculum for real estate sales associates. Coldwell Banker and CNET, the world's largest and most trusted online source of consumer technology news and reviews, also developed the definition of a smart home, which is illustrated below. At the onset, Coldwell Banker will be culling smart home features from their database through keyword search to determine listings that qualify for the designation. By pulling qualitative data from the Coldwell Banker database in the form of keywords in the property descriptions, they hope to begin measuring benchmarks in relative price per square foot and days on market for smart homes. Today, consumers can search for smart homes on ColdwellBanker.com/smarthome, but the company expects that they are at the beginning of a long road to lead the industry into support for smart homes. Coldwell Banker recently released research that indicates that 87% of consumers value smart home features.
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Digital Dawn: Amazon Is Creating the Smart House for the Rest of Us
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What’s the Real Estate Tech Arms Race?
In the past, real estate companies have felt threatened by new technology. However, recent activity on the tech front points to upcoming real estate trends embracing technology and challenging the sector's reputation as resistant to change. Sometimes dubbed the "real estate tech arms race," the rewards are real, and both residential and commercial firms are rushing to form alliances with these new tech technologies to ensure they're not left behind. The uprising of real estate tech Up more than 350 percent from 2010, investors tossed a whopping $1.5 billion in the real estate tech pot in 2015, and they're battling all the way to the finish line to fill the void of real estate industry driven technology tools that will allow brokers to complete jobs more efficiently and effectively. An explosion of startups aimed at the industry There are 175 startups trying to change the world of real estate. Though most are destined to fail, the movement will not. The commercial sector is leading the way and the residential sector is struggling to catch up. The dragon hiding in the rafters Mega-giant Zillow is hosting hackathons to get an early read on potential ideas and consider where to invest.
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4 Pieces of Wearable Tech for Real Estate
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16 Ways to Be Productive in 2016
2015 flew by and it's crazy to think that 2016 has started. Since most of us probably felt how fast 2015 flew by, we cannot waste time in 2016, especially at the beginning. Resolutions and setting goals are important, but staying productive is at the top of most of our minds in order to achieve these resolutions and goals successfully. It's clear that productivity and to "be productive" is a trending topic right now, so how do we all maintain this stride for the rest of 2016? There are many lists for ways to be more productive and we've found many to be helpful. However, here's our list of the top 16 ways to stay productive throughout all of 2016. 1. Energy Mapping When do you feel like you have the most energy? During the day, when do you feel most productive? For a week, log your days, the amount of work you completed, and the timeframe you completed it in. You'll be able to see at the end of the week the times you feel most productive and energized. Then schedule that time where you feel most energized for whitespace or to get stuff done.
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Real Estate Tech Up Close: Our Top Broker Product Reviews from 2015
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How Concierge-level Service Helps Brokers Impress and Retain Clients
"Concierge service" is the buzzword of the moment in real estate technology. We've been noticing that more companies are making it as easy as possible for agents and brokers to start using their products. For example, some CRMs will transfer or upload your contact database for you, or set up drip marketing campaigns for your clients. It's a smart move; by removing the barriers to getting started using their product, these companies vastly increase their customer retention rates. Brokers can learn from this model of customer service--and many already do. Brokers deliver concierge level services all the time. Our CEO, Victor Lund, recently experienced this level of service from a brokerage he listed his second home with. See the picture below? That's the home's front yard after a blustery storm blew through the area. Because his broker understood the importance of keeping a listing in top shape for showings, they immediately recommended and sent over a contractor who took care of the problem for him. What happens when a customer asks your company, Where can I find a landscaper? or Where do you get your tires fixed? Do you have an answer? Many brokerages, especially smaller ones, don't--even though providing that concierge-level service differentiates them other agencies in their area. Many consumers may not presume that a broker can answer these questions. However, if a brokerage can, then they become a more valuable resource to the homeowner.
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NAR REach™ Slings 8 New Products at REALTORS®
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The Surface Pro 3: The Tablet that Replaces the Desktop?
Microsoft calls it "the tablet that can replace your laptop," and with every update of their Surface series, they are getting closer and closer to that goal. If you are still in need a full-sized laptop, you should probably still buy one, but if you need/want something lighter and more portable but with the benefits of a laptop, the Surface Pro 3 is that something. It's a complete PC with a full Windows operating system, currently available in Windows 8 and Windows 10 models, but not a complete PC all of the time. It's perfect to use for both home and work, because it's essential to both. The Surface Pro is as adept at watching Netflix in bed as it is working on-site and on the go. Boasting a 12 inch display, it's comfortable to watch movies on and shows as well as space to view webpages, compose emails and edit spreadsheets. It's light and thin, clocking in at 9.1mm thick and under 2 lbs. The standout feature of the Surface series is the kickstand. With the Pro 3, there comes a new and improved, more flexible one; it offers nearly every angle between upright and almost flat to give you the optimal viewing angle for any lighting situation. For those that need the textile feel of a button press when typing and a touch screen just doesn't cut it, the Surface offers the flip out physical keyboard. Flexible enough to fold over the screen as a cover and durable enough to handle typing out the next great novel—or at least the next great email!
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Should REALTORS® Upgrade to Windows 10?
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Discover More Information Automatically about People Online with Connect6
Have you ever received an online lead in which the only information included was the email address? How about an email from a potential client who didn't provide much information, such as a phone number, their name, or other personal information? If you answered "YES" to either of these questions, Connect6 could be your solution for these types of predicaments. Connect6 is a Chrome browser extension that also works with Gmail. Check out this short 45 second video on how Connect6 works:
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Onboard Informatics and AddressReport Offer Turnkey Property Reports for Businesses
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Productivity Hack: Drown out Distracting Noise… with Noise
Noisy workspace got you down? Whether it's a chatty colleague, a droning lawnmower just outside your window, or the chaos of an open office floorplan, nothing torpedos your concentration like loud distractions. So what's an effective way to drown out all that noise? Surprisingly, it's more noise--white noise, to be exact. Like the static you hear between radio stations, white noise can boost your concentration, soothe frayed nerves, and act as a kind of aural fence that keeps unwanted sounds at bay. Luckily, white noise generators are pretty easy to come by. There are countless sites and mobile apps you can start using today to get your productivity back on track. Here are a few: SimplyNoise.com - This is my go-to noise generator, mostly because it's, yes, simple. Just go to the site, choose from white noise, pink noise, or brown noise (each affects the brain differently), adjust your volume and get to work! Coffitivity - If you can't quite buy in to listening to static, this website offers users' ears the gentle ambient sounds of a coffee shop. Coffitivity is also available as a mobile app for Android and iPhone in case you run into distractions on the go.
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7 Tech Tools to Make Brokers’ Lives Easier
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Top Real Estate Technologies Straight from Science Fiction (Part 2)
The future is right around the corner, and we are doing a second part of our future real estate tech right out of sci-fi. In case you missed the the first part, here it is. Now here is more tech that is impacting the real estate industry in a big bad way. Holograms A hologram uses light and glass to project a three dimensional image. We have seen it in Star Wars, Minority Report, and hundereds of other science fiction movies. But holograms in the movies are based on very real technology used in the real world. Shoe company Nike is the first company to use holograms as an advertising tactic, displaying their new shoe publicly at bus stops. The hologram display has great quality, running videos at 1080i resolution and storing up to 18 hours of compressed video at a bit rate of 4 MB per second. Imagine how powerful this could be in the real estate industry--being able to project high resolution images of houses to sell. Where a potential buyer can see every nook and cranny of the property with ease. Now imagine you can do this with every house you have listed. An agent and broker will only be limited by their imagination and the price tag. A basic hologram system can cost upwards of $10,000.
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Tech Tools Boost Home Sales
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Real Estate Innovations from NY TechDay 2015
Last month, Onboard Informatics joined 400+ other technology startups and innovators at NY Tech Day to exhibit Onboard Simplicity to over 10,000 attendees. Companies came together from many different verticals including finance, advertising, social impact, fashion and, of course, real estate. The showroom represented a variety of sizes from big, established and well funded firms to those just getting off the ground. Here are some of the most innovative real estate initiatives from NY Tech Day that impressed our team so much, we had to share for those who may have missed the event: Perchwell With a sleek, modern interface and advanced search functionalities this New York real estate search engine lets real estate agents better serve and expand their client bases.
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How Online Collaboration is Changing the Face of Real Estate
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New Kids on the Block: 8 Tech Solutions for Brokers to Explore
It seems like every month multiple new solutions, services, and apps debut that aim to somehow simplify the lives of agents and brokers. We know it's hard to keep up--that's why we do it for you! Aside from our daily educational content, RE Technology hosts a comprehensive directory of thousands of real estate technology products. It's a database that's constantly growing. To make sure you're up on what's new, here's a sampler of the latest additions to our directory: HomeKeepr Designed for buyers who gave just moved in to a new home, HomeKeepr offers your clients a custom home maintenance calendar. For homeowners who can't complete the suggested tasks, the app recommends local vendors to contact. Suggest this mobile app to clients when their transaction closes--it's one way to stay in touch by offering information homeowners actually need. WebGreeterIncrease website conversions with a live chat operator that greets visitors and assists them in searching for a home that meets their needs and budget. Well-trained operators can assist your site's visitors in multiple languages--helpful for brokers operating in market with a lot of foreign buyers. Maximum Real Estate WebsitesAnother addition to the crowded IDX website category, this vendor offers templated real estate websites with customizable content and lead capture forms, marketing features, and more.
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Forward Looking Technology
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Successfully Integrate New Technology
It's common for a real estate office to have a diverse group of salespeople with a variety of backgrounds, specialties, and experience levels. While sales practitioners are as different as the client bases they serve, those varying talents can pose a challenge to brokers trying to roll out new technology that all their agents will embrace. Tyler Wagner is an associate broker and co-owner of Wagner Real Estate in Havertown, Pa. They have 30 licensed agents with their company—one-third have more than 20 years experience, one-third have been licensed within the last two years, and the rest are in between. Wagner consults with his father and brother, who are co-owners in the family business, whenever a new product or system looks promising for their brokerage. They want to make sure everyone on their team will use it, so they do their homework. "We want our agents to use what works best for them," Wagner says. "Technology can sometimes be distracting to your daily sales activities, so we help people stay focused and don't let them get too carried away [learning new systems]." After talking to multiple brokerages about how they implement new technology, we've compiled a set of three tips to keep in mind to successfully introduce tools at companies of all sizes.
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Edit PDFs Right from Your Browser with PDFescape
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"Must Have" Tools for Real Estate Professionals
It's 2015--time to start using all the great technology available to you! A good program needs to be time saving, reliable, secure, and helpful. There are thousands of apps and programs to choose from, so we've decided to do some of the work for you. We've highlighted a few helpful real estate tools to utilize in your day to day. So how do you decide which tool to use? Not everything is going to work well with real estate. For one, your phone (if you have a smartphone) is going to be a huge tool for you. You can access email, social media, and thousands of apps amid a great deal of other built-in programs. If you don't have a smartphone, it's time to upgrade! Most phone carriers have some pretty good smartphones you can get for free when you sign a two-year contract. Here are our "must haves" for real estate professionals: BombBomb BombBomb is a great addition to any email. It allows you to record video messages. We like this tool for several reasons: Relatability: become a face people know and trust. Ease of use: It's pretty user friendly. You also don't have to worry about spelling since it's a recording. Lists, emails, forms, and drips add to the usefulness of this email system.
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3 Tech Tools for Fostering Business
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5 Ways to Integrate New Services Into Your Routine (or Your Agents')
As someone who uses a multitude of technology platforms, it's increasingly hard to incorporate these tools into my daily routine. However, the platforms I love are the ones firmly planted in my routine, and I can distinctly remember the people from those platforms helping me integrate their services into my day. Here are five ways to integrate new services into your routine (or your agents' routine): 1. Hold Yourself Accountable It's the time of the year where most people have set their New Year's resolutions and started chipping away on achieving them. This is where you go to gym only to realize that every treadmill and elliptical is filled with others trying to fulfill their own resolutions. By mid-February, however, the gym becomes a little less crowded as people begin to neglect their ambitious January 2015 resolutions. This year, I resolve to hold myself more accountable, and that begins with the services that I'm using as a marketer. Accountability is defined as the requirement to be responsible for something. The accountability you now hold for the new service you purchased is under your responsibility to use, learn, and/or keep track of. However, if you don't hold you own self accountable for integrating this tool into your routine, it can fall to the wayside — just like that "going to the gym" resolution.
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Real Estate Tech In-Depth: Our Top Broker Product Reviews from 2014
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Three Ways to Improve Marketing Tools and Technology for 2015
This time of year people tend to focus more on family than business. But before buying another present or heading to another party, spend a moment to reflect on your business and make some decisions regarding the year ahead. When business planning, where is the best place to put your efforts? The top 230 top executives in real estate were asked which competitive differentiators help their business the most, and 87% answered marketing tools and technology. Here are three things you can do to improve your marketing tools and technology and make sure 2015 is a successful year for your business. Sync your technology List your technology vendors and see where you can consolidate. Having several vendors with different technologies not only means administrative hassles, it can also mean less frequent updates, incompatible systems, and difficulty resolving issues when they arise. When it comes to technology vendors, the fewer the better. It is best to have a single point of contact, if possible. This way, you'll work with someone who understands your business in a more holistic way, not just in the one area they work on. As an example, if you're pulling listings, neighborhood information, school zones, and basic demographic information into your site, you could potentially have four vendors just for local data. Perhaps it happened over time or maybe it was deliberate, but managing multiple vendors and data feeds costs you valuable time and can create inconsistencies on your site. Use a single source for this technology to ensure standardization and consistency in your content. Make 2015 the year you have one point of contact, one vendor who understands your business challenges and can present solutions.
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Broker's Guide to Technology Selection for 2015
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3 Ways to Help Listing Agents Be Proactive
Guest contributor Zach Schabot of REALTOR®Mag says: Infomercial marketer Ron Popeil had a famous saying. We all know it: "SET IT annnnnnd..... (say it with me now)... FORGET IT!" But Ron Popeil was never a listing agent who had to deal with anxious home owners, was he? With the rapid rise in technology use, clients expect faster service and more marketing exposure than ever before. The pressure to perform, even in a seller's market, is increasing every year. Even with proper staging, professional photography, and well-written descriptions, making a listing active and then sitting back to wait for a buyer is simply not good enough. Here are three proactive approaches that you as a broker can encourage listing agents to take with their listings. Measure the home before it's listed. For a nominal fee, a licensed appraiser will measure a listing and provide a floor plan. This helps listing agents get accurate information to use in the MLS and provides a nice floor plan to use in marketing pieces. It's also a chance to address any discrepancies in the beginning of the transaction instead of at the end. And for you risk-management junkies, this will add an element of protection for those agents who choose to hire a professional instead of taking measurements themselves.
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4 Ways to Automate Your Real Estate
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So Many Apps! How Much You Pay for Software Might Surprise You
Everything is an app One of the more common "let's make fun of the millennials" tropes is the idea that today, people want everything personalized, and on-demand. And like a lot of tropes, there's at least some truth to this — everything from television channels to burrito options are under increasing pressure to be offered a-la-carte, so you can get what you want without paying for what you don't. The bad old days. Hope you enjoyed paying hundreds of dollars per user. The web has been a big cause (and proponent) of this, and in a lot of ways, it's been a huge advantage to small business and entrepreneurs. A-la-carte software systems allow you to quickly spin up a functional, customizable information structure in a few hours, which is pretty amazing if you ever have the opportunity to do it, as I did at my last startup. Need a toll-free number? Accounting system? Time tracking? Done, done, and done. Plus, since all of this stuff is independently purchased, if it any of it becomes obsolete, you can simply dump it without breaking the rest of your system. We've successfully commoditized functionality! In general, this was a sorely needed direction for software. The pre-web era gave us increasingly broad, ill-fitting suites of tools — here's a weird database to go with that word processor you wanted — and charged us for everything. In theory, the different applications would be conveniently "integrated", but anyone who's fought with an old version of something like Microsoft Office can speak to the unexpected challenges that came with this sort of thing. Today, integrations come in the form of at least semi-open APIs, and today, two products from different companies often work together more seamlessly than two 1990s-era applications from the same suite. It's amazing, and best of all, it gives customers options.
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30 Top Tools for Agents in 30 Minutes (8/19)
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What’s the Future of Real Estate?
In 1991, the National Association of REALTORS® made an "office of the future" video predicting what kinds of space-age technologies would change the home buying and selling process by the year 2000. Jon Coile, broker-owner of Champion Realty in Severna Park, Md., dug this gem of a video out of the NAR archives for his presentation last week at the Broker Summit in Atlanta. Did NAR get the fashion wrong? Yes. (Is NAR really known for its fashion sense?) But how far off was the video, really? Today we have AT&T Digital Life (the home automation mentioned in the video), Skype (video calls), thumb drives (mini discs), MLS with photos (home tour line drawings), smart appliances ("Microsoft Maytag software"), Siri (talking cars), and GPS (car navigation systems). "And they're still going to need an agent – they got that right, too," Coile said. So this video begs the question: What does the next decade hold for the real estate industry?
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6 New Inventions to Boost Your Business
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Who’s the Boss?
Guest contributor Denessa Munsterman of PCMS Consulting says: Living in both the real estate brokerage and technology worlds, I have seen firsthand the frustrations from the lack of agent adoption that brokers and the folks they buy real estate technology from experience. It's fascinating to see the excitement everyone feels when they roll out the next big technology that is going to help agents be more productive and brokers more profitable, yet 6-12 months later you run a report and see that only 10-15% of the agents are actually engaged and using the product. I know the guys and gals that put out these awesome solutions. They can't figure out why more agents aren't in love with their product. And the brokers spend thousands of dollars a month, trying to give agents what they think they want. Only to realize after significant investments that very few agents are paying attention. The brokerages that have high agent adoption of technology have it for three reasons: They actually have their finger on their agents' pulse. They don't just think they know what their agents want. These brokers know for certain because they have done focus groups, surveys, etc. Once they roll a solution or strategy out, they make it MANDATORY... no questions asked. They provide tons of support for their agents. There is never any doubt of how to get the most out of their investment. And they make sure their agents are getting the most out of the investment, too!
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Unboxing the New iPad App 'Slide Bureau'
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Your Digital Assistant: Easily Do
We could all use an assistant to handle the slew of daily tasks and activities that seem to expand on a daily basis. We try and manage address books, social networks, notifications, and important client/friend/sphere updates to the best of our ability, but we still usually come up bit short. That is where EasilyDo steps in on either an Android or iOS device and truly makes great strides in easing the workload. EasilyDo claims to shave minutes of tedious work from your day, every day, and it actually comes through. To get started, you need to setup your accounts within the system. Here is a list of the accounts EasilyDo can help you with: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Gmail Yahoo iCloud Exchange iMap DropBox Evernote Box Salesforce Once set up, the program will scan your emails and social networks for important nuggets of information and either complete tasks for you, or simply notify you for action. This is dependent on the activity, and whether or not you paid for the service. EasilyDo is on the freemium model, but with a paid subscription it can automate certain activities like contact merges and will also pull contact information out of the signatures within your email, and add it to your address book.
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What the #*[email protected] is Geospatial Data Anyway?
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Optimize Yourself and Your Client for This Crazy Market
I write this post on what is a "holiday" for many people: President's Day. A three-day weekend, the most joyous of "holidays." Meanwhile, my wife – who is now a REALTOR® in Chicago – is running around prepping for another day because three day holiday weekends only means an extra day to be with clients looking for homes in a market starving for inventory. She has realized what many a real estate pro already has known: There are no such things as holidays for REALTORS®. This, after a marathon Saturday of showings where half the houses she saw sold by the end of the day, turned into a night of presenting four offers to her seller only for the elation to quickly wear off when said sellers realized they have no home to move into once their condo closes in two months. Let's face it, the market realities today mean that the hours real estate professionals work may not be the hours they'd LIKE to work. There's lots of "work-life-balance" talk on the interwebs, but unplugging may be hard to do when you're in a multiple-offer situation, or if you NEED to show that listing that just came up on your MLS radar. However, the time you DO have with your clients will prove to be the most valuable, and squeezing every bit out of time with them might mean a make-or-break deal. Some tips... Audit Your Productivity Processes Now: No other technology can position the client/agent team better in today's hot market than mobile technology. How mobile are you? How mobile is your broker-tech, MLS, and forms technology? These entities are not created equally, and if you realize you're working in the tech dark-ages, literally make it better, or carry contracts with you. Recognize that "being mobile," actually means "being productive." Know how to use DocuSign, dotloop, zipForm or whatever your broker or MLS's technology is that allows you to write offers on the fly. Dropbox and Evernote collaborations with clients may save your listing sanity. Sometimes having a MiFi hotspot and a laptop is all you need to be productive, whether your next office might be a Starbucks or the passenger seat of your car. The words, "I need to go back to my office to..." should never enter into your lexicon. Bonus: Brokers, make your next sales meeting a workshop, one in which your agents practice writing mobile contracts. For example, practice writing and sending forms to each other. Broadcast it live with about.me. Record it and throw it on your YouTube page. Your time is valuable, too!
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The Technology Shiny Penny
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Agent Adoption: Celebrating Small Victories
We all know that getting agents to use technology tools is a difficult challenge. Many times, agents will adopt technology when it is proven to bring them more business, and it will alleviate extra work, such as paperwork. All too often, I see a company make progress getting a CRM or other tech system adopted, then slow down when it comes to promotion. This is a constant challenge and takes a commitment from the top down to prove to your agents that a new technology will make their job easier in the long run. The old saying, "no pain, no gain" is never more evident than with agent technology. Agent Adoption Three of the best ways to get agents to use their technology are to: 1. Offer incentives. Some examples of this are to keep track of logins and activity, then create a wall of fame for those using it. Monitor key metrics such as contact size, email volume or any performance based metric you can find to know if agents are using the system. Then, offer rewards. Small performance fees, centered around productive tasks that increase ROI, may be worth a periodic payout.
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On Positioning. On Conversion. On Email. On Being Smart.
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What's a Public Service App?
Real estate professionals are no strangers to using apps. Over the past few years, mobile and web-based applications have become indispensable to agents and brokers. But there's an entire category of real estate app that you may not have heard of--public service apps. These tools can help you better serve the needs of your community and position your business as a valuable resource. Apps for Serving the Community Coined by MRED CEO Russ Bergeron, the term "public service app" refers to web-based tools that offer benefits directly to the consumer. The apps augment MLS listing data with information that motivates a consumer to purchase a home or helps a seller better market theirs. To get a clearer idea of what we're talking about, let's look at a few examples: Walk Score - Provides information on the walkability of neighborhoods, nearby public transit and amenities. Consumers can also calculate commute times in order to find a home that's close to work. SourceMLS™ - When the SourceMLS badge appears on a listing, consumers can rest assured that the data is timely and accurate because it comes directly from the local MLS. Fannie Mae Short Sale Assistance Desk - Helps expedite the short sale process, reducing the chance of foreclosure. My Home EQ/My Home Energy Score - A utility tool that reveals the energy efficiency of a home, enabling consumers to make a better informed choice about where to live. Down Payment Resource - Flags properties eligible for down payment assistance programs within the MLS data feed, and provides consumers information on those programs.
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Top Broker Product Reviews from 2013
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Centralize Agent Databases
"I've decided to leave," Beth said in a shaky tone. "It's nothing against you, the company or anything like that. I've just decided to make a change." Beth wasn't the first agent that I had lost, but was definitely one of my favorites. She was a good producer, took advantage of the classes and training we had to offer and knew the technology better than anyone. After my attempts to dissuade her failed, I had to ask what my competition brought to the table that we didn't. "They market my database for me," she started. "They upload my contacts into their system and a couple of times each month they send out a well-written email to them branded with my information." My jaw hit the floor. Didn't she know she was giving away the lifeblood of her business! How could an agent give this responsibility to their company? No agent would ever grant their broker this, right? Fast forward two years to find me sitting at a desk working for that company in question, formulating a content marketing plan that would take the responsibility of marketing off of our agent population, present them as knowledgeable, consummate professionals and most importantly—manage our company brand in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of consumers. I, much like Beth, now understand the value of a company-managed email marketing program and how this empowered agents to focus on doing real estate and stop trying to market. I've told this story to hundreds of brokers at conferences and gatherings over the years, and 99 percent of them responded with the same shocked look of disbelief.
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How to Make Technology a Business Differentiator in Real Estate
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How to Choose the Right Tech Products in 2014
With a new year on the horizon, now's the time when brokers are setting goals for 2014. For many, achieving these goals may require new tech tools or services. If your brokerage is looking to add or upgrade technology products, the first step is to thoroughly research your options. Over the past several months, RE Technology has published a series of articles to help real estate brokers do just that. Each article offers helpful questions to consider before purchasing and lists specific products that may suit your needs. Kick off your research by choosing the type of product you're interested in learning more about from the list below: Lead Generation Listing Syndication Mapping or Lifestyle Search Market Analytics Property Search Website Consulting Service Ad Network IDX/VOW iPad App Back Office Solution
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Business Strategy: Understanding Tech for Agent Adoption
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Lead Consolidation: Two Forgotten Words in Online Real Estate Marketing
If you are anything like me, you are tired of hearing about the latest and greatest app you have to learn how to use, or the next best service to buy. My mind is going through "technology overload," making it difficult to stay current — and many times a good idea or service may go unnoticed. Let me start off by saying I am frugal when it comes to spending money on tools to grow my business. It might not always be a positive trait to have, but on the plus side, if I buy into something it has to be good — so listen up. Last month I was at a technology summit where a real estate panelist mentioned a new service called "FiveStreet," which was revolutionizing his business by consolidating his online prospects. I have been on the quest for something like this for more than three years, so hearing that this product is available got me a bit excited. If your business is anything like ours, we get 15-25 inbound leads a day. It has been a constant struggle to manually input all the data, respond to all online inquiries in a timely manner, properly track them to see where they all come from, all while being able to route them to the proper team of agents. We've tried our hand at various CRM tools, and we boast about being equipped with tools to serve our business. But one thing I have noticed over the years is that many of the CRM software providers don't fully communicate with the real estate syndication websites. There is always a missing piece to the puzzle. This FiveStreet service seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle that can tie it all together.
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Are you struggling with agent adoption across one or more of your systems?
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Rules When Choosing a Technology Partner
1. Begin with the end in mind The real estate industry has wasted loads of money on software solutions that have either underperformed or were never adopted by agents. Questions to ask yourself: What issues am I trying to solve for my brokerage, agents and clients? Can technology really solve my issue? How will solving my problem help me, my clients and my bottom line? 2. Understand the technology partner's solution Make sure your team does a deep dive on potential technology solutions for your company. You should: See a live demonstration. Understand the administrative tools of the product. Request to run the application for at least a week to understand the software features and test it in a live environment. Ask for case studies of the product used by similar companies. Ask for company references.
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Laptop vs. Tablet: Which Should You Use?
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iPad vs. Microsoft Surface Pro for Real Estate
The real estate industry has struggled with supporting the tablet needs of real estate professionals. Until now, the iPad has reigned supreme as the leader among real estate professionals. Now Microsoft has a legitimate contender in the race that deserves serious consideration among real estate professionals. It is called the Surface Pro. About Microsoft Surface Pro The Microsoft Surface is a tablet like the iPad. It offers touch screen computing like the iPad, and is similar in size (weighs 300 grams more than the iPad, or about 30% heavier). The Surface Pro is clearly the more powerful device in terms of computing power and memory. However, the key feature is that the Surface Pro runs the full version of Windows 8 that you may be running on your desktop today. Moreover, every application that you use in real estate will work 100% of the time. You will not run into any glitches with any of your business software because you are using a tablet instead of a desktop. You have access to the full MLS, forms, Internet, and all of your mail, calendar, and documents are mirrored seamlessly across your computers. Of course, the Surface Pro runs full versions of Microsoft Office including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. It also runs popular business software like Adobe Acrobat Pro and QuickBooks. Everything works exactly the same as it does today on your computer. It even has a camera like the iPad and offers apps for your favorite site like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Pandora, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Skype, Netflix, and more.
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Evernote for Content – Content for IDX
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Did You Forget About the Data?
You are buying another brokerage, you've negotiated the terms and you've finally cut the deal. The acquisition of that competitor's office is going to finally happen. Congratulations! Now you are thinking about changing the building sign; getting new business cards and yard signs for the agents; how to announce the deal; etc. This is all of the surface stuff that people see. But have you thought about the engine that runs the machine? Your technology, your back office accounting systems, your web integration to the MLS/Boards and every tool that actually makes your company run! These essential tools are often overlooked until the day after. And what you don't see is what creates challenges! Here are some things to consider: When integrating one office to a new environment, the back office systems are often not the same. And, even if the two companies are with the same technology partner, the service level or menu of products can be different and will require some advanced planning to seamlessly integrate. The MLS systems can be challenging and will also require some advanced coordination between you, the other party, your MLS, real estate boards and your technology partner. Sensitivity and confidentiality prior to your announcement are critical and you should ask your technology partner and any employees involved to sign a NDA.
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4 really wonderful words that are music to the ears of every broker I know, “I am so busy!”
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Data and the MLS
I have read various blogs and commentaries about the whole issue of data, MLS and off-market listings. Rather than cover old ground let me say that a) we think data is important, b) MLSs are critical to the industry and c) off-market listings pose a real threat to that same industry. The pursuit of short-term personal interests over the long-term health of the market and the interests of clients is wrong no matter which way you spin it. Now onto something else—in one of the commentaries I read, the idea that the MLS enables software innovation was floated. We disagree. In fact, we think MLS software development inhibits innovation by brokerage firms. Simply put, there are too many cases where a brokerage firm develops and/or acquires interesting new software tools and after successful deployment (in the search for a sustainable competitive advantage) finds its local MLS developing and/or acquiring a competing or complementary software tool which is then offered to all the members, often at a lower price. This results in no sustainable competitive advantage.
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