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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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5 Places to Find Tech Support
It's late in the evening and you have come across a problem with your software. Who do you call? Normally the answer would be the Ghostbusters, but I don't think they can help you with software problems. If you are like me, I always seem to have issues at the oddest moments and can never find tech support when I need it. Look no further! Below is a list of five places that you can look to when you need technical help. The Tech Company's Website Check the company's website for a phone number, email, or chat. This is the most simple solution, but it is not always available. This might seem a bit crazy in 2021, but not all companies make support easily accessible. When looking at a company's website, there are a few things to look for. First, a phone number should always be on their website. They should also have a link called support or a chat bubble for you to click on. As an example, check out Delta Media Group's website below. Your MLS's Tech Support The second place you should always look for tech support is your MLS. You should note that any MLS that you are a part of should provide you with access to help with tech support. If not, then you should begin shopping MLSs. MLSs are similar to technology companies; it being 2021, they are supposed to provide you with a great service. If you believe you cannot change from one MLS to another, that is 100% not true. In 2018, NAR implemented a new rule called MLS of Choice. You have every right to be part of ANY MLS that you choose. If you have questions about this, I recommend you reach out to your state association, or you can shoot me an email at [email protected] and we can discuss this further. As an example of providing great tech support, check out the screenshot below for Greater Southern MLS out of Louisiana. Notice that support is available not just during the day, but late into the night when agents and brokers may still be working. Tech Helpline Tech Helpline provides tech support to approximately 650,000 individuals across the US and Canada. Chances are, this service is already available to you as part of your association or MLS fees. Not only can they help you with technology tools provided by your association, MLS, or brokerage, but they can also help you with other forms of technical support, including spyware removal, virus protection, and software repair. To get a better understanding of how you can benefit, take three minutes to watch the video below. Your Brokerage Ask your broker! Unless you work for yourself, turn to your broker. They should be happy to help. Remember, your broker was once an agent; they have needed help with listing presentations, websites, etc. If they cannot solve your problem, they can at least point you in the direction of someone that could help. You can also check out your brokerage's website. Companies such as Keller Williams provide a place on their site dedicated to support: https://answers.kw.com/hc/en-us. Chances are another agent has asked the same questions as you. Google Last, but not least: Ask Google. Google doesn't know everything about real estate technology, but Google does know a lot. If you ask the right questions, Google can help you find the answer. Your Turn You might be thinking, "I don't need tech support right now." This might be true, but it is best to know where to find help, even when you don't need it at the moment. For the next 15 minutes, I'm asking you to do the following to help: Bookmark this article. Visit the website for your most commonly used software and try to find their support information. Bookmark those pages and note the hours they are available. Visit your association, MLS, and brokerage's website and do the same thing. If your MLS doesn't provide tech support when you normally need it, reach out to them and ask if they can expand their hours. If they say no, it might be time to consider finding a new MLS. Come back next week to learn how to find a technology solution that works for you. If you have any questions about how to find tech support or have suggestions for other articles, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
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Why You Should Call Tech Support First, Not Last
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Are iBuyers Good for Consumers?
The real estate industry has faced disruption before, but remains extraordinarily relevant. Why? Because the work of agents and brokers help individual sellers maximize the value of their homes at points of life transitions, and help individual buyers achieve the valuable goal of home ownership. An open, publicly accessible, and transparent market for residential real estate remains a cornerstone of financial self reliance and familial stability in America, now more than ever. But what should we do when we encounter an existential threat to home ownership? A threat that could also destroy the fabric of the real estate industry and its ability to help consumers? We read it in the news every day: For-Sale inventories are declining and prices are exploding. Cash-rich corporations are out-gunning desperate individual consumers with all cash offers to snap up more and more of the fewer and fewer homes available for sale. Voracious and insatiably hungry, these corporations are now increasingly soliciting sellers directly and buying homes before they ever reach the MLS. And increasingly these corporations are selling these homes to corporate landlords, off-MLS, and without ever making them available to families seeking homes to buy. Once these homes are converted to single family rentals, they rarely come back to the home ownership market. The end result: Home sellers are often denied the fair market value for their homes, and would-be home buyers are denied the opportunity to achieve home ownership. In the process, these corporations are undermining the listing agent, their broker, and the MLS. The resilient system of cooperation and compensation that has delivered unparalleled consumer access to homeownership for generations of Americans is at risk of being eliminated. Before we look at the numbers, let me address the most common responses. Corporate buyers offer home sellers fair value for their homes Perhaps, but when sophisticated corporations buy homes directly from individual sellers who are not represented by experienced listing agents and brokers, the power imbalance makes it very difficult for such sellers to negotiate a fair deal for their home. While the initial offer price may be fair, negotiating with a sophisticated corporation demanding large concessions after the offer is accepted can be very hard for most consumers. Think of an anxious consumer in need of fast cash and a certainty of sale, accepting a cash offer...which is then quickly followed by a demand for large concessions. Without representation by an experienced real estate professional, how likely are they to push back on the concession demands and negotiate a fair value for their home? The "bird in hand" psychology of loss aversion makes it very hard for an unrepresented consumer to walk away from a cash offer they have already accepted, and push back on a predatory demand to negotiate a fair deal with a sophisticated corporation. Traditional home buyers can successfully compete with corporate buyers and achieve home ownership When corporations buy homes directly from unrepresented sellers and sell them to corporate landlords, inventory levels of homes available to the public through the MLS shrink. How can would-be home buyers compete with all cash offers made by sophisticated corporate buyers, who reach sellers before they even talk to a listing agent or list the home on the MLS? While brokers and MLSs struggle to create and enforce pro-consumer policies, such as the Clear Cooperation policy, to eliminate pocket listings and improve social fairness in housing, the rapidly growing numbers of single family homes "pocketed" by corporate buyers can readily dwarf the number of listings "pocketed" by agents and brokers. The cost of so many homes never getting listed on the MLS is not "merely" the inequitable exposure to the select groups of home buyers, but the "locking out" of numerous consumers from the opportunity to achieve the American dream of homeownership. Now for some numbers. Almost one in four of all sales in Houston and San Antonio are iBuyers and other corporate buyers, according to a new Investor Mania 2.0 report. In Los Angeles, one in five homes were bought by institutional investors, and in Seattle and Nashville, it is nearly one in six. iBuyers may control as much as half of all home sales in markets like these within their buy box. iBuyers are driving the explosive volume of pre-MLS and off-MLS sales. Bloomberg reports that one investment firm managing 24,000 rentals bought 200 homes in the first quarter: 138 were from OpenDoor, 52 were from Zillow, and 28 from Offerpad. "The pipeline to Wall Street from Silicon Valley often means the homes never hit the open market," Bloomberg notes. iBuyer business methods are not just cutting out listing agents and denying consumers representation by a professional fiduciary; they are putting first-time home buyers on the endangered species list. During the Great Recession, institutional buyers bought the least desirable homes, often foreclosures in poor condition. Today they are buying the most marketable homes, those most sought by would be home buyers. Thousands of these homes are being turned into rentals, removing first-time home buyer inventory at a record pace. That's kicking first-time home buyers in the head as they are already lying on the ground, and all of this is happening in the name of serving consumers by arguing that fast cash is better than fair value for your home. Like off-MLS consumer purchasing, institutional purchasing also fuels systemic inequity in homeownership, but on a far more massive scale as large numbers of homes are not exposed in the MLS to everyone. (Read this column by Redfin's Glenn Kelman about what happens when listings skip the MLS.) Perhaps the greatest tragedy in this vicious cycle: taxpayers, through the Federal Reserve's low interest policies, are subsidizing the low-cost of capital that Wall Street is using to beat tax-paying consumers in the competition for homes. Social policies designed to help every day Americans get through the pandemic, are also supporting Wall Street firms as they out-compete home buyers and turn homes into single-family rentals and erode homeownership. The industry is in a fight for its life as these companies try to eliminate exposure in the MLS. As Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, told Bloomberg, "In that sense, the investors are an obstacle to the everyday buyer." This battle is just beginning. Bloomberg reports that JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s asset-management arm, Nuveen Real Estate and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., have committed "billions in new capital to single-family rentals since the pandemic began." The impact is widening. As Redfin's Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather observed, "Flush with cash, investors are able to snap up the homes that are available, and then turn around and rent them out to folks who can't find a home or are priced out of homeownership. This is likely making the housing shortage even worse, and also means that individual homeowners sometimes end up competing with investors in bidding wars." As more corporations buy pre-MLS and sell off-MLS, the value of the MLS itself – which is often woefully underestimated – is further eroded. There are many different views on the MLS, but it is hard to refute the consumer value the MLS industry creates by facilitating Broker Reciprocity – a massive "peer-to-peer" marketing platform for agents to market homes for sellers at very low cost. Sellers in most other countries must pay large fees to market their homes because they have no MLS. When corporate buyers cut out the listing agent, they create an unfair negotiating disadvantage for home sellers, but they also tear the fabric of Cooperation and Compensation – the low cost foundation of equitable access to homeownership. The BPP's mission is to help brokers and agents provide an exceptional consumer experience, and to do so, we must support the listing agents and brokers' ability to represent sellers and help them get fair value for their homes. We must also support the MLSs so they can continue to facilitate Broker Reciprocity and deliver fair and low cost access to homeownership. Brian Boero at 1000watt once told a story about how people may lose their business but can retire with dignity because they owned a home. In America, we believe in homeownership because it offers every person a path to self-reliance. That's why we put the tax breaks for real estate in place – not for Wall Street to exploit. Please share your comments and thoughts on this topic by sending us an email at [email protected] Alon Chaver, Chair of the BPP Board, is a serial entrepreneur, long-time industry tech executive and thought leader. Alon most recently served as the Chief Information Officer at HomeServices of America, following highly successful exits as Trulia's Vice President of Industry Services and iHomefinder's Chief Executive Officer.
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Integrating 'The Flood Discussion' into Your Real Estate Practice
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PropTech: What Does It Mean for the Real Estate Agent?
Technology is advancing the way real estate agents communicate value to prospective clients. It plays a huge role in assisting in transactions and is changing the way you do business. From artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) to virtual reality (VR) and new 3D tour technology, proptech trends are slowly but surely making their way into your daily routine. But the question remains for a lot of agents: is proptech spawning a new era or is it disrupting a legacy system? The Resistance Real estate has not always embraced property technology advancements quickly. The industry as a whole is resistant to change. It operates on a legacy method. As an agent, you do what you have always done. Why? Because it works. But what if you could work better? What if you could give more value to your client and continue to fill the shoes of your predecessors? Proptech can open virtual doors, build your brand, and provide valuable information to home buyers and sellers. 3D Tours: Use Them or Lose Them The past year has certainly seen a jump in terms of how virtual tours have played a huge role in your real estate marketing plan. This proptech has changed home buyers' behaviours dramatically. When you want to market a property and get it sold quickly, surveys indicate you need to incorporate a virtual tour for your buyer to view from the comfort and safety of their current residence. You could risk losing a deal before you even make a connection if your buyer can't connect with you online. Proptech and Communication Consumers are seeking information before they contact a real estate agent. Advancements in technology give the consumer multiple ways to contact you – email, social media, direct message, Zoom meetings and more. How can you get more leads and referrals? Offer potential clients as much useful information as possible. Use property technology to showcase floor plans, 3D tours, and interactive ways to cater to the clients' changes in behaviour. Buyers are searching online and according to NAR, several buyers are placing offers before visiting the property in person. Keeping Up with Drones in Real Estate A popular proptech addition to 360° tours is drone footage. What better way to have a great view of a listing than to get a bird's eye view? Using drones adds another level to your listing presentation. For your seller, you are offering added value to your marketing plans, and for your buyer, these additional virtual tours help build an emotional connection to a property. Though drones are readily available, they come with a few regulations, so it's best to have your professional real estate photography provider get your aerial photos. Stick to what you do best so you don't end up flying your newly purchased drone into the neighbour's open window. According to NAR, one of the biggest challenges real estate agents face is keeping up with technology. Big players in the real estate industry, like Zillow and Redfin, are using data to offer their services and give insight into current market trends. Don't miss out on some great opportunities by skipping out on information that can help you and your clients. Property Data and Analytics Use proptech to analyze data. Information offered by your MLS' property data/tax tool is a window into the future as well as a way to analyze past trends. Accuracy is key. Presenting the whole picture with data from the markets helps you provide the best service to the consumer. How do you know what is happening in the current market? By monitoring economic, geographic, and demographic data, real estate agents can use this information to predict sales and provide a more accurate valuation of a property. What if you could use data to target specifics by narrowing down precisely what a buyer wants? Advanced analytics will soon be able to get you up close and personal with all your buyer's desires. By inputting things from desired floor plans and room dimensions to distance to schools and Walk Scores, you will be able to narrow down the ideal property. Not only does this provide value to the consumer, it saves time. The Future is VR Virtual reality gives the consumer the ability to see before they buy and, in fact, can now let them see before the brick and mortar has time to set. Proptech advancements in VR can let the consumer walk through a property before it is even built. At the pre-construction stage, you can visualize various upgrade options, get a realistic view from every floor of a multi-level property and experience how an adjustment to the proposed floor plans would flow. The world is changing and every industry is adapting to technology. With the Internet of Things (IoT) giving you ways to access your home security camera while on vacation or to get a ride in a self-driving car, the future definitely looks tech-friendly. As one of the largest industries in the world, real estate and proptech go hand in hand. You don't have to give way to AI chatbots as the only form of communication with the consumer. Instead, embrace technology as a new partner in business. Keep your human connection, your coffee meetings, and your personal approach to your clients because as humans we all crave that bond. Use technology as a complement to your real estate marketing approach. The bottom line is, if the experience leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction, proptech is good.
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Leading Real Estate Vendors Now Offering Access, a 'Pay at Closing' Option for Agents
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zavvie Launches zavvie Pro to Help Agents Create Inventory, Turning Homeowners into Sellers
A decade ago, homeowners thinking about selling their home had limited options. Today, those same homeowners have the opposite problem--between iBuyers, buy-before-you-sell bridge solutions, and listing on the open market, they have more choices to sell a home than ever before. Yet homeowners often lack the information necessary to determine what choice will be the best one for them right now. The modern real estate agent now brings all selling options to the table, helping their clients choose their best option. zavvie, the first end-to-end real estate brokerage platform encompassing all selling solutions, is launching zavvie Pro to help modern real estate agents turn homeowners into sellers. A new nationwide service, zavvie Pro empowers the modern agent to show homeowners apples-to-apples comparisons of all the different selling options available in their market. zavvie currently powers a custom, centralized selling solutions platform for leading real estate brands coast-to-coast that connects agents, home sellers, and solution providers. Participating brokerages give local homeowners the ability to see instant offers from iBuyers, buy-before-you-sell options from bridge solution providers, and compare them to how much their home could sell for with an open market listing. The new zavvie Pro program is an advanced system for the modern agent and teams. zavvie Pro agents gain access to enhanced seller lead generation tools, personalized branding within the selling solutions platform, and a groundbreaking new service called OfferFax. OfferFax is a proprietary selling options report that provides agents an objective, apples-to-apples comparison of all available selling options to help agents guide their clients, including data-backed graphics that rate each offer based on current, relevant criteria. "zavvie Pro keeps the modern agent at the center of every sales transaction, no matter what the homeowner decides," said Lane Hornung, zavvie co-founder, and CEO. "We built zavvie Pro to help the modern agent generate more seller leads, win more listings, and always earn a commission," he added. Agents upgrading to zavvie Pro receive personal branding that puts them "front and center" as their name, photo, and contact information are all prominently displayed on all web pages and printouts. Enhanced seller lead generation tools to include a customizable main landing page, and the iOffer Estimator widget that an agent can add to any website page they have access to, as well as an exclusive customizable iOffer Estimator Landing page. With the customizable iOffer Estimator Landing page, once a homeowner enters a property address, zavvie's proprietary data platform returns an offer estimate instantly. Agents can then immediately follow up with this new seller to share additional information about all their sales options. "Consumers want to see all of their choices," said Hornung. "We know it's hard to find, submit, analyze and advise a homeowner about the multiple seller options in today's marketplace. Many agents don't work with different solution providers, so they lose out on converting homeowners into sellers. "Zavvie provides today's modern agent with the tools and dedicated support so homeowners can see all their selling options, giving them confidence when they decide to sell their home," Hornung explained. Hornung noted that zavvie's new OfferFax would give many homeowners the kind of insight and information at a glance that they currently lack. "OfferFax will encourage more homeowners to become home sellers," he said. In a single report enhanced by easy-to-understand graphics, OfferFax shows all solution provider property valuations and offer prices; all solution provider fees in dollars and cents; the average repair concessions typically requested by solution providers; estimated net proceeds for each seller option, including listing on the open market. OfferFax also numerically rates every seller option's strength relative to current, local market data and conditions. And it provides each option's actual time to sell according to current, local market data and conditions. A video overview of zavvie Pro is available below. More details on zavvie Pro are available on its website at zavvie.com/zavviepro.
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iBuyers: The Pros and Cons Your Next Seller Should Consider
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Profiting from the iBuyer Trend
It's no secret that iBuyers are expanding their reach in the real estate market, often causing agents to worry about their place in the industry. In the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Anthony Lamacchia shares his secrets for working with iBuyers in "Worried about iBuyers? Well they aren't going away!" Lamacchia is the Broker/Owner and CEO of Lamacchia Companies in Boston, Mass. He also owns Lamacchia Property Management, Lamacchia Development, and REAL Training Systems Inc. As an advocate for real estate-related topics, he is an expert in the industry. In 2018, Lamacchia was nominated for Inman's Most Innovative Broker/Owner for his REAL Training program and expanding platform of "how-to" videos for agents. In his Secrets webinar, Lamacchia shows what agents and brokers can do to thrive during the growing iBuyer phenomenon and get a cut of the marketing trend.
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8 Ways to Generate Free Real Estate Leads with IFTTT
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Are iBuyers Competition?
It's like selling a car. You have choices. You can FSBO it or you can take it to a dealer. It's common knowledge that you'll get more for the car if you sell it yourself, though. It's also a hassle to DIY a car sale. Those who want to avoid having to clean and repair the car, be available for showings and test drives, haggling over price and dealing with all the paperwork choose the dealer option. Basically, that is what iBuyers are – the dealerships of the real estate world. Just dump your current home and turn your attention to the new one. That's a bit simplistic, but you get the general idea. As with trading in a car, the big disadvantage to selling a home to an iBuyer is that the seller loses money on the deal. For many, that equity represents years, maybe decades of paying a mortgage payment faithfully, even in tough times. To trade that money for "convenience" just doesn't make sense. Which is likely why iBuyers aren't catching on with real estate consumers. Sure, home sellers are contacting them in droves. Out of those contacts, only about 1 percent of all requests end up in successful Zillow Offer. If you're feeling a bit intimidated by these "algorithm-powered home flippers," as Curbed.com's Jeff Andrews refers to them, get the facts. Arm yourselves with knowledge of how they really work, not what they promise in their marketing. "Zillow Offers buys and re-sells homes at full, fair market value" That is but one of the lofty and (so far) untrue marketing messages on Zillow.com. Yes, the homeowner won't need to make renovations or repairs or clean the home. That, however, doesn't mean that those tasks won't need to be done before resale. And, the cost of that will be deducted from the original offer. Depending on the home's condition, and the iBuyer's markup of costs, it could (and has) run thousands of dollars. "They offered around $298,000, with about $20,000 in repairs and fees, so I would have only walked away with about $276,000," one would-be Zillow Offers client reports to Jaclyn Allen of TheDenverChannel.com. Then, they'll deduct their fee, which is "around 7 percent," according to Zillow's website. But that's just Zillow. Others operating in the iBuying space may charge up to 10 percent. Are iBuyers the enemy or the inspiration? Hassan Riggs at Forbes.com claims that iBuyers are the inspiration, not the enemy. "Rather than trying to beat them at their own game," he suggests that "agents must instead focus their efforts internally, on evolving their approach, strengthening their relationships and leveraging technology to better serve today's changing buyers." It's not so much the buyers buying the iBuyer homes that seems to intimidate some agents we've spoken with, but the sellers who sell to iBuyers. Other listing agents aren't feeling at all threatened. After all, the iBuying process appeals to a very narrow segment of the seller pool. I have a friend who was tasked with selling her deceased mother's home. Her parents had lived in the home for more than 50 years and, sadly, Dad was a bit of a hoarder. When my friend flew home to clean out the house she was appalled. Even worse were the results of a home inspection. The home was basically a tear-down. It was also about three seconds away from foreclosure. After working with the bank to give her more time to sell the home, she hired an agent to sell it as-is, at a rock bottom price. It did sell, in less than a week, to another local agent who was buying it and planned to completely gut it for her daughter. That friend would be the ideal iBuyer client. She didn't want to clean the home, had no intention of staging it or making even one repair. She just wanted it sold, as soon as possible. So, relax. Not many homeowners are willing to part with huge hunks of equity in exchange for a chunk of time, regardless of what these iBuyers think. If you feel you must compete As a listing agent, you should be working overtime populating your website, newsletters and other real estate marketing vehicles with the truth about the iBuying process. Because, right now, all potential homeowners know is the hype they read on the iBuyer websites. Be honest but unflinching in your reviews. Give the pros as well as the cons. Create a static page on your site about common mistakes home sellers make when agreeing to sell to an iBuyer. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Not knowing their home's fair market value. Not being clear on who will pay for the mandated repairs/renovations. Taking the first offer. Counsel your iBuying clients to get offers from more than one company. Then, compare all aspects of each offer. Signing a contract they don't fully understand. Not understanding that the iBuyer will add a fee, and it will be higher than an agent's commission. Failing to take the time to add up all the expenses and the fees charged by the iBuyer to determine how much they will net at closing. It's time to change your approach Presenting your services in a more positive light will go a long way in combatting the lure of convenience and the "hassle-free" process that iBuyers promote. Sure, selling a home is somewhat of a hassle. Remind potential listing clients that with the right agent, it can be a smooth process and bring in top dollar, quickly, for the home. In researching iBuyers for this piece, the one thing that stands out overall is the positive sales spiel they present. They contrast, succinctly, what they offer with what you offer: "convenience, certainty and a hassle-free process," according to Zillow. Offerpad invites home sellers to "Skip the usual stress of home-selling," and Knock promises "a painless process," without "the hassle of repairs, listing, showings, and months of uncertainty." Notice how easy, breezy it sounds, especially when compared to what confronts a home seller on many agents' websites. "Selling your house can be one of the most stressful events of your life," one agent says. Reminding sellers of the nightmare that lies ahead, he warns them that they're "facing the daunting task of moving in the (hopefully near) future, and you're worried about the finances of selling your home." Then, there's the very well-known East coast agent who wrote an entire blog post about the challenges sellers face. "When selling a home, there are many different challenges that can arise throughout the transaction and even before you've listed your home for sale," he cautions. He then adds that some of these include "handling unrealistic home buyers [isn't that the agent's job?] and handling the emotions of selling a home." After reading the iBuyer sites and several agent sites, I think I'd seriously consider selling to an iBuyer. Either that or age in place. Fear is a common sales tactic, but it won't fly if you're competing against the unicorn and rainbows marketing of iBuyers. Vow to change your tune when writing content for your website, newsletters and social media posts. Become more positive about the process. After all, if you're truly offering amazing customer service, working with you to sell a home isn't quite as daunting as those other agents make it out to be.
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3 Reasons Why Every Agent Must Embrace Digital Transformation
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Leveraging Google Calendar for Real Estate
One of the most important skills any real estate professional can master is time management. And that is a lot easier when you have the right tools to keep you on track and record what you need to do and when you need to do it. That's where Google Calendar comes into play.
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New Technology for Real Estate Agents
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Doomsday Preppers: How to Get Ready for Future Tech Changes
Technology is advancing at a rate that can be overwhelming, confusing, and downright scary. As an agent, you need to be able to keep up with the technology changes happening around you in order to be competitive and grow your business. There are massive shifts happening in real estate, some of which seem to be looming, ready to take over any moment. For those of you who are worried about what the future holds, here are a few things you should be aware of and what you can do to prepare.
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10 Things You Probably Didn't Know Google Could Do for You
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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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Top 4 Personal Digital Assistants to Try Today
The typical real estate professional juggles many details. On a day-to-day basis, responsibilities vary and can range anywhere from administrative tasks and responding to leads, to venturing out into the field with clients. A major roadblock to success for most real estate professionals is keeping everything organized AND keeping in touch with clients at the same time. In the end you find yourself busy, but not very productive. While it may not be feasible to hire a personal assistant, there are many digital assistants available to help you boost your productivity. Here are four to try today: 1. Siri If you're an iOS user, you've more than likely used Siri for one thing or another. This voice-controlled virtual assistant can do much more than crack a joke. According to CNN tech, "Siri is the best at understanding natural language. It can pick up on multiple ways of asking the same questions, so you don't need to worry about remembering the exact phrasing for commands." You can use Siri in a number of ways, like asking for directions, setting reminders, posting to social media, and searching the web. Did you know you can also set location based reminders? Here is an example: say you want Siri to remind you to follow up with a new lead when you arrive at the office. Simply enable the feature with the steps below and tell Siri. Enable location services for reminders under Settings > Privacy > Location Services Add your work or home address to your contact card in Contacts. Then go to Settings > General > Siri > and tap My Info. Tap your contact card to add it to My Info. Tell Siri, "[Contact] is my home" Repeat for work, school or any other frequent location Now Siri can do reminders for when you leave or arrive somewhere
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5 Real Estate Tech Tools in 5 Minutes
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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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5 Awesome Brand Builders You Can Get for Just Five Bucks
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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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Best of 2015: Hate Writing Listing Descriptions? This App Does It For You
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in October and is #6 in our countdown. See #7 here. For many real estate agents, writing is a dreaded, but necessary, chore. There are listing descriptions to write, market reports to draft, and even blog posts to create. If you're not a person to whom writing comes naturally, these tasks can be a massive time and energy drain. Fortunately, there's a new app that takes that pain out of writing--by doing it for you! Wordsmith from Automated Insights can take data from a spreadsheet, like market analytics or property information, and automatically generate a reader-friendly article, report, or listing description, among other options. Here's how it works. Let's say you need to write several listing descriptions. Rather than slaving away at each one individually, put the property details for each listing in a spreadsheet, like in the image below. Once the data is structured--with individual columns for address, square feet, number of bedrooms, etc.--the user then uploads the spreadsheet into Wordsmith. The next step is to create a template for your content. This gets at the heart of what makes Wordsmith successful--it knows that much of what we write is fairly formulaic already. Listing descriptions always mention the number of beds/baths, square footage, the local neighborhood, etc. Market reports typically talk about the latest sales data and compare it to the previous period. By creating a master template for each type type of content, generating future content becomes as easy as uploading a spreadsheet.
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Resources to Maximize Your ROI in 2016
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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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Best Online Tools and Apps for Real Estate Agents
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How to Use Trello to Stay on Top of Your To-Do List
This article is about the popular task-scheduling app, Trello, and how to use Trello to increase your productivity and organization. How do you manage your to-do list? How do you manage your to-do list? Pen and paper is a classic method and a great one, although this method runs the risk of disorganization or data-loss when your workload gets heavy. Many agents successfully use Outlook or the calendar app of their choice to keep track of meetings and daily responsibilities, however your calendar should include high-priority, prescheduled chunks of your time, often devoted to time-sensitive engagements with other people. Your to-do list is typically more personal, more cluttered and more fluid than your calendar. Why you should use Trello It's ideal to find a happy medium between your pen-and-paper notes and your calendar items, for those personal tasks that need to remain on your radar but don't justify turning your calendar into a jungle of information. This is why I personally incorporate Trello into my daily organization routine. Trello is a lightweight and easy-to-use time management app that can be accessed online and on your mobile device. How to use Trello Trello is very simple to use. First, you must create an account for free. You will start with the default Welcome Board, which is worth investigating as it contains very useful starter information about how to use Trello. Take a look below:
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How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 2
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How to Create the Perfect Real Estate Marketing and Lead Cultivation Platform (a Tutorial) - Part 1
I've been fielding lots of questions from Realtors® wanting to know how to pick the right tools to put their own end-to-end solution together, how to make "tool A" work seamlessly with "tool B" and even "Where do I start on this and how to I figure out what I need?" Truth be told, there can be tons of things you can add to a system, but if you are setting out to build an effective, easy to manage and work platform, part of the art of constructing it is knowing "when to say when" and only putting those things into the platform that are uniform and in keeping with your original vision. Today, I thought I would run through a list of key elements you should consider putting into such an end-to-end marketing system, along with warnings about potential pitfalls that may jam you up along the way. I am going to share a total of seven things I believe comprise the key elements to the success of a project such as this. In order to keep things from getting too long, I am going to split this article into two parts. One published today, and one next week. 1) If it doesn't make you comfortable, skip it This is one of the most important, yet most overlooked considerations. As you put together your end-to-end system, you are going to be subscribing to many different products to make your platform. It is understandable that there is going to be a little bit of a learning curve as you sample and decide upon these different products. The thing to never lose sight of is that if you sample a solution and still aren't 100% comfortable with it and have reservations, do not choose that product as a piece of your platform. Go on to the next option and explore it instead. If you stick with something you aren't comfortable with, eventually the platform is going to get too frustrating, you will stop using it, and then you are right back to square one. Additionally, remember that since you are going to be selecting many different products from many different developers, only look at those products that are flexible and can be integrated with each other. You never want to get in a situation where you are manually having to move data across from one product or service to another. Disjointed products do not make an end-to-end platform.
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How a 72-Year-Old Realtor Embraces Technology
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Top 10 Tech Tools to Help You Sell Your Listing
It's important to keep up with the latest trends and developments if you want to be successful in any field, but especially in the world of real estate. Here are some excellent tech tools you should consider to help sell your listing. Maps - Google Earth is perhaps the most popular version of this tool, which allows buyers to check out the street view of the home, as well as the surrounding area to see if any nearby services or stores are major eyesores. Intuitive search tools - A large percentage of buyers use sites like Zillow, Trulia, NewHomeSource or other real estate portals to find a home that suites their taste and budget. Some sites like CLRSearch even allow you to further customize your search by using parameters such as foreclosures only, new homes only or even by school district. Professional photographs - With an increasing number of people using professionally taken photographs for their home listings, it's important to get high-resolution images that are up to the current standard. Floor plans, preferably 3-D - Potential buyers want to know how a home is connected and what the layout feels like to walk through. One of the best ways to provide for this need are interactive floor plans that allow users to virtually tour a home with just a few clicks.
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The Technology Habits of Successful Real Estate Agents
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Real Estate Technology is Not an Expense. It is an Investment
More and more these days, when doing product demos and trainings, I am hearing from real estate agents how expensive it is to be in business and how whatever piece of technology they happen to be looking at is just going to be an additional expense. I agree and disagree with this statement. First off, I am keenly aware of how expensive it is to be in business. I am, at the end of the day, responsible for all my employees, the company overhead, and ultimately, making sure our company is going down the correct path. This is incredibly stressful at times, as I am sure running a real estate practice can be. What I completely disagree with, though, is technology being looked at as an extra expense. Technology should never be looked at as an expense. It should always be looked at as an investment. There are multiple reasons I think this, but the most important one is that if you look at any piece of technology as an investment, you are instantly going to begin thinking about what your return on investment will be (e.g. how much more business is that piece of technology going to allow you to do?), and at that point, thinking of things in those terms, you can never lose. First, For The Doubters So if you are wondering why technology is nothing more than just another expense, like your car or a laptop, let me explain it to you like this: You most likely have some sort of assistant working for you. It could simply be a transaction coordinator, or maybe a full fledged assistant. Those people do things for you when you aren't there, out out of the office, focusing on other things. These things they do for you make you more productive and therefore give you an opportunity to do more business. Clearly you wouldn't consider these people an expense. They are people. They are people that are contributing to the growth of your team. You are investing in them and they in turn are investing in the growth of your real estate practice. Technology works the same way. If you are looking at a piece of technology and it can't do the same types of things above, then it's not really a technology platform worth considering. If it does do those types of described things, even though it's not a human, it is something that you are investing in, that will be working towards the common goal of making you more successful.
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Spotlight on Real Estate Tech: Our Top Product Reviews from 2014
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Your Guide to Real Estate Technology in 2015
Over the past several months, we've been publishing weekly guides that focus on a single type of real estate technology. Each article offers an overview of that category, helpful articles, and questions to ask before considering a new purchase. With a new year on the horizon, now is the time to start setting goals for 2015. For many agents, achieving these goals may require new the help of new tech tools or services. If you are looking to add or upgrade technology products, the first step is to thoroughly research your options. Kick off your research by choosing the type of product you're interested in learning more about from the list below: Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) Online Marketing Market Analytics Electronic Signatures Real Estate Websites Document and Transaction Management Lead Generation Lockboxes Mobile Apps Website Analytics IDX Websites Online Reputation Management
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11 Gift Ideas for the Techie You Love
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Automate Your Business with zipForm® Plus and Zapier
Most people have heard the devil is in the details, and to achieve success, the goal is to eliminate that devil. For real estate professionals, these smaller details--like keeping address books synchronized--can become a large nuisance. To help with this, zipForm® Plus has integrated with Zapier. Zapier specializes in connecting web applications using 'If This, Then That' automation. This enables anyone with basic knowledge of multiple applications to easily connect them by defining a trigger. Currently, 360+ of the most common applications are available to connect immediately in ways that can make you a champion of multi-tasking. zipForm® Plus has joined the large group of web applications that is ready to connect within a few steps. Some of the applications that are sure to be the staples of real estate professionals are LinkedIn, Twitter, Office 360, Gmail and Exchange. Just imagine the ability to add a contact to your Gmail account, then have that information delivered to your zipForm® Plus address book only saving it once. Each connection created is called a 'Zap' and creating these connections is simple. See some of the following 'Zaps' are waiting for you in Zapier today: If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then an invite is sent to connect on LinkedIn If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then add that contact to Contactually If a new contact is added to Gmail contacts, Then add the contact to the zipForm® Plus address book If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then create a Evernote note for that contact
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4 Digital Basics Every Agent Should Master
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How to Score the Latest Tech Tools Without Breaking the Bank
It's easy to be distracted by the "wow" factor of the latest gadgets and overlook their frequently hefty price tag. But before you break out the plastic (or break your budget), know that there are ways to make your dollar stretch further. As with many things in life, timing is crucial. For example, did you know that there are times when certain products are available at a substantial discount? We've done a little digging to find the best times to buy new tech tools: Digital cameras - February. The latest models have just come out, and the older one are on sale. Computers - Older models go on sale in July and August in order to make room for new models. You can usually get a good deal on new laptops in August and September, thanks to back-to-school sales. Phones - It's usually best to wait until you're eligible for an upgrade to get the best price on smartphones. Can't wait? Consider switching to a different carrier to take advantage of new customer incentives. Tablets - When the newest iPad (or Android or Windows) tablet is still only a few months old, it's a great time to buy the previous model at bargain. If you're only interested in the latest and greatest, consider holding off for Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts during the holidays. Other ways to preserve your bottom line are purely psychological. Think of that new phone or software program as more than just a toy, but as a tool that can help your business grow. In order to decide if a potential tool is a worthy investment, ask yourself if the benefit gained is greater than the money spent. Does it save you time? Will it streamline your workflow? Is it something that you will use frequently? If it's something that you will only use once or twice, consider holding off.
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30 Top Tools for Agents in 30 Minutes (8/19)
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2015 Technology Guide: Find Tools that Profit Your Business
RE Technology's fifth annual Technology Guide is fresh off the presses! Released in time for NAR Midyear, this free resource helps agents and brokers find the right technology solutions for their business. Trying to navigate the crowded sea of available tech tools can be a daunting task for real estate professionals. With so many options to choose from, things can get confusing fast. By providing detailed information and points of contact for dozens of products in multiple categories, the 2015 Technology Guide is a valuable reference during your research process. Use it as your starting point whenever you're considering a new tech purchase. How to Use the Guide The guide is simple to use. You can download the entire guide as a PDF or thumb through it right from your browser. Below are a few tips for navigating the web-based version. Choose whatever method is most comfortable for you. Turn pages like a book: Love the feel of turning pages in a book? You can do that with the guide, too! Just click and drag the top or bottom page corners to move forward or back. Use the arrows: Click the arrows on either side of the guide to move forward or back. Click to turn: Double click the top or bottom of any page to go to the next. Jump to a specific page: Know exactly where you want to go? Just type the page number in the input field to view it instantly. Use the Table of Contents: If you're looking for a specific product or category of products, use our table of contents to find it. From there, just click on the page you're looking for and you'll be sent there immediately.
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Do You Use the “Tie-Breaker” Advantage?
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7 Tools For Working With Clients Remotely
Have you ever had to work with an out-of-town client? If you have, no doubt you've thanked your lucky stars for digital tools like digital signatures and transaction management software. Sometimes, however, your buyer or seller may need a more personal touch. So what's a far-away agent to do? Consider looking into web meeting applications. Most solutions will let you share your computer screen with clients, or chat face-to-face using a webcam. You can use these programs to review documents in real-time with clients, or simply to add a human touch that remote digital transactions can sometimes lack. There are a variety of different web meeting apps on the market, both free and paid. We've rounded up a few of our favorites below. To Download or Not to Download? That is the question and, next to price, it's probably the biggest consideration when choosing the right meeting app for you. Web meeting apps come in two flavors: those that require you to download and install software before joining or hosting a meeting, and those that work right in your browser, no installation required. Those that require installation typically offer more robust features, like the ability to record a session. However, if those features are not important to you, browser-based apps may be the way to go. GoToMeeting - If you've ever attended one of RE Technology's webinars (or most of these), you're already familiar with this program. GoToMeeting is one of the most widely used online collaboration tools. It offers desktop sharing, high-def video conferencing, the ability to record sessions, and more. The program requires software installation and a monthly subscription fee. However, there is a new free version with fewer features and no installation required. This version only works in Google Chrome for up to three participants.
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10 Ways Technology Can Save Agents Time and Money
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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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Agents, Teams and Technology
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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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Top Product Reviews from 2013
We encountered a lot of great tech products in 2013. Some were new to the real estate sphere, while other solutions received significant updates. In order to help you choose the best products for you in 2014, we've rounded up a list of our product reviews from the past year, arranged by category. These are all agent-centric products--stay tuned for a list of broker reviews in the coming days! If you'd like more advice on how to evaluate products, see our series of articles on questions to ask before choosing a solution. Market Analytics / Video MarketVideos.com - A video content solution that delivers localized market videos to agents every month. The videos educate viewers on local market conditions, including popular statistics like active inventory and median listing price. Agents can share the videos with their database via a branded email newsletter or embed them onto websites and blogs. See more Market Analytics / Video Services in our Product Directory. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Top Producer - It's not the destination that has changed at Top Producer, just the routes you can take to get there. The goal behind the CRM is, as it has always been, that an agent can log in and immediately know what they need to do that day. The difference is that this can now be accomplished from any Web-enabled device and done with even greater ease and efficiency. IXACT Contact - A full-featured CRM with robust marketing capabilities. The program can help agents stay organized and in control, keep in touch with prospects and clients, strengthen client relationships, convert leads into clients, and manage their active business. See more CRMs in our Product Directory.
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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Real Estate Solution
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Will Google's New Helpouts Affect Realtors®?
If only we could predict the future....I would have known to buy more stock in Apple when it was down around 70. I would have paid more attention in my writing classes in high school and college. I wouldn't have....well, nevermind. There are so many things I would have done differently, I can't even begin to count. Sometimes, a new technology or a way of thinking comes along, and it slowly fizzles out of existence while you waste your precious time trying to implement it or, maybe, it skyrockets to the moon while you sit on the sidelines. It's hard to predict when technology is involved.
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The Cloud is for Collaboration
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REach™ Accelerator Class of 2013 to conclude at REALTORS® Conference & Expo
This year the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®' investment arm, Second Century Ventures (SCV), launched the REach™ technology accelerator program to bring the latest cutting edge technologies to the real estate industry. The inaugural class is set to conclude at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco in November. During a panel discussion just before the Expo opens, some of the industry's top executives including Rick Davidson, CEO of CENTURY 21, Pam O'Connor, CEO of Leading RE and Errol Samuelson, President of realtor.com®, will discuss how they are using technologies from the REach™ companies to streamline communications, deploy social media and enhance their brands. Following the panel discussion, the REach™ companies will demonstrate their products and the progress they have made throughout the program. Meet the REach™ Class of 2013 at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco: BombBomb: Get more listings and recruit more agents with the power of video email. BombBomb provides a complete e-mail and video marketing platform for developing, sending and tracking results of traditional and video e-mail campaigns from any device.
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"It Pays for Itself with One Sale"
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How to Set Up Your Virtual Office on a Shoestring Budget
A real estate business requires a cadre of software to run the various aspects of the business. From financial software to tools that manage the intricacies of the transaction, it is hard to find tools that work well together, and sync with various mobile devices. Because most real estate professionals spend a large percentage of their time outside the office and in the field, or working from home offices, it is important to be able to run your business no matter where you are or where your customers are. This is where the benefits of cloud computing can be a life saver! They can help you run your business efficiently no matter where you are or what time it happens to be. They will help you maximize your time, enhance your productivity, connect with your clients, manage your transactions and save you money. Steps to Set Up Your Virtual Office The Benefits of Cloud Computing With traditional software, sales associates saved data on their laptops, USB drives, or portable hard drives. Computers get stolen, programs are rarely backed up properly and many times updates are not done in a timely manner. Access to the most up-to-date information was limited. The benefits to cloud computing are many. Because the majority of programs available to real estate professions today reside on the web, there is no longer a need to install new updates to your computer. If updates are made, they launch when you open the program online.
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Real Estate Agents finding innovative solutions from REach™ Accelerator Companies
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7 New Technology Companies to Innovate the Real Estate Industry
Technology is everywhere – changing the way people communicate, work, play and do business. To bring the latest cutting edge technologies to the real estate industry, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and its investment arm, Second Century Ventures (SCV), launched the REach™ Accelerator Program. This unique program was developed to help technology companies connect to the more than 1 million REALTORS® driving the U.S. real estate market. After receiving more than 130 applications last year, REach™ selected these seven innovative technology companies for 2013 with products or services that can benefit both REALTORS® and the real estate industry: BombBomb: Get more listings and recruit more agents with the power of video email. BombBomb provides a complete e-mail and video marketing platform for developing, sending and tracking results of traditional and video e-mail campaigns from any device. Lumentus Social: Social media made easy and effective for real estate agents and brokers. Lumentus Social gives companies a measurable edge in identifying, understanding and engaging social media communities keeping social media communications on brand and on mission.
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Friday Freebie: Free Tools from realtor.com®
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Real Estate Software/ Technology: What to Invest In
A common question many REALTORS® grapple with is which real estate software / technology tools to invest in and which ones to, well, leave on the sidelines. Technology perhaps hasn't been a focal component of your business and you may not be very tech savvy. But you know that social media and real estate software, such as real estate CRMs, have emerged and have proven themselves vital to running a business in a competitive marketplace. Important tools for your business can include a social media management dashboard, such as Hootsuite, a digital document signature service, such a DocuSign, a blog, a powerful IDX, and/ or a tablet, such as an iPad. However, one of the most important pieces of technology for an agent is a real estate CRM. There are ones that are easy to learn and use and offer many benefits to help you stay organized and "top of mind" with your contacts. For example, you can send a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter, nurture your leads with customized drip marketing campaigns, and manage your listings and all the associated "to-dos," easily and simply. But of everything that's out there, how do you know which tools to invest in?
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Find the Right Tools for Your Business with our 2013 Technology Guide
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9 Holiday Deals to Start 2013 Off Right
With 2012 winding down, so is our series of Holiday Deals. We've searched high and low to bring you the best real estate tech giveaways and discounts over the last month. While some of the deals we've found have already ended, others are still available. If you've made resolutions to improve your real estate business in the coming year, our roundup of Holiday Deals can help you put your best foot forward in 2013. But hurry! Some of these deals expire on December 31st. Last Chance! The special pricing on these real estate tech tools ends when 2012 does. If you've been considering adding any of these great solutions to your business arsenal, act now! By January 1, it'll be too late. Showing Suite HD IDX Search - Get this turnkey IDX search solution free for 60 days with a waived setup fee. WolfNet Property Search - Mobile optimized and complete with lifestyle features, this IDX property search comes with 3 free months and 50% off setup costs. eMerge Total Market Dominator - Worry less about your online marketing in 2013. eMerge takes care of it for you. Try your first month for (appropriately!) $20.13. Market Leader Professional - Buy now and save for life! Market Leader is offering a permanent rate of $99 per month when you sign up by December 31st.
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A Day in the Life of a REALTOR® Geek
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Follow the Leader: Top Agent Justin Havre on the Value of Technology
Justin Havre is a real estate agent from CIR Realty in Calgary, Alberta. CIR is the largest independent firm in Canada with about 650 agents. With his team, Justin Havre & Associates, he has been number one or two in his brokerage over the last three years. To put that in perspective: in 2011 they were number one, closing 171 sides with an average price in Calgary of about $430,000. I sat down with Justin recently at a technology conference put on by his web technology provider, Real Estate Webmasters, to find out how technology fits into his success. One thing that became clear immediately was Justin's intent to make technology an integral part of his business from day one. Before real estate, he worked in the cable industry on the technology side, but, after some time, decided that he wanted to make a change. He set his sights on real estate. He chose CIR Realty (Canada's largest independent brokerage) because of the great virtual tools they offered and their overall commitment to technology. Everyone in their office, he pointed out, does their own documents online, manages their deals online--including deal processing--right down to payment of commissions. It was exactly what he was looking for.
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Is That Tech Investment Worth It?
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Video: Making the Most of RE Technology
Today, Maya talks about RE Technology! Check out her latest video here.
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Thank You to Our January Sponsors!
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Friday Freebie: Clikbrix
Let's face it – mobile is BIG right now. In fact, experts predict that by 2013 more people will use their mobile devices to get online than PC's. If you haven't already, it's time for you to "get your feet wet." We've got a great way to do it – Clikbrix is offering a free mobile website and QR code platform for real estate agents and brokers that engages homebuyers with much more than basic MLS data. Free Agent Account from ClikbrixThe Free Agent account from Clikbrix equips agents with features such as: Your custom-branded, device-optimized mobile website that includes your professional profile page, plus 3 property listing pages Innovative tools that speak to the 'lifestyle' needs of your homebuyers including, Neighborhood Insider, What's Nearby, Seller's Story and Google+ Virtual Open House, plus Mobile Video integration Open house scheduling One-touch lead generation contact page One-touch social network sharing OnlyCode™ Individual property listing codes Full screen photo gallery Map/"Get Directions" Real-time reporting Tech support Opportunity to purchase designer QR codes If you fall in love with what Clikbrix has to offer, you can upgrade to a paid account and gain access to unlimited property listing pages, MLS/IDX integration (in select locations), and property search functionality. To register for the free account, click here.
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Friday Freebie: Housing Trends eNewsletter
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The Top 5 Technology Stories of 2011 and the Lessons Learned
It was an unbelievable year for technology in 2011. There were many big stories in 2011, from the passing of Steve Jobs to the IPO of Groupon. Below, I have listed my top 5 technology stories that impacted the industry and the lessons we can learn from each. 5. Resurgence of Tech IPOs: It was also a huge year for tech IPOs (Initial Public Offering). We saw LinkedIn, Zynga, Zillow, Groupon, and many others go public. The results, however, were mixed. Companies like LinkedIn and Zillow who went public earlier in the year saw their stock take off and the investors of these companies performed quite well. Even moving into 2012 these stocks are still trading well above their IPO prices. Other companies have experienced problems. For example, Groupon started strong gaining over 30% more on its first day of trading, since then it has fallen yet managed to remain above it's IPO price. Zynga has struggled since it went public in December to get back to its IPO price of $10 and Pandora, the online music station, has taken a huge hit this year. What's crazy is that 2012 could be an even bigger year for tech IPOs if Facebook and Twitter decide to go public. There is no doubt that 2011 was a big year for tech IPO stocks. What we can learn from this story is that the general public takes more care in buying technology public stock these days. Individuals want to see more value for their investment and make money where they are able to.
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Thank You to Our December Sponsors
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Top 10 Articles of 2011
We’re counting down the most popular articles of 2011. These articles are chosen based on their total number of page views. What do you think of our top 10? Are there any other articles you thought would make the list?   Let the countdown begin! 10) Do’s and Dont’s of Text Messaging for Real Estate Agents By Emily Williams There's a time and a place for text messaging. It can be a helpful tool – or a totally inappropriate misuse of technology. Here are just a few pointers about how to use text messaging appropriately. As with all our articles, we'd love to hear your comments about your own experiences. 9) Real Estate Agents: How to Crack Craigslist By Suresh Srinivasan of ReachFactor It’s probably part of your process: After securing a property listing or re-listing a vacant property, you post it on Craigslist. And depending on how many other tasks you’ve had to complete at that sitting you might not give this one your very best effort, especially observing the often minimal real estate listing ads already on the site. 8) Tired of Your Smartphone Dying? 7 Quick Fixes By Emily Williams Two months ago, I finally gave-in and purchased a Smartphone. Given how long I'd avoided taking this step, I was determined to feel ambivalent about my new tool. Instead, my Droid and I have been getting along swimmingly. Except for one thing: it keeps dying on me!   7) Smooth Operators: Android vs. iOS By RE Technology Okay. You've made the wise decision to buy a smartphone. Now what? You're going to be offered several options (determined largely by your cell service provider). Which smartphone, with which operating system, is right for you? Today, I'm going to discuss the main contenders: Android and iOS. These aren't the only operating systems you'll find running on smartphones, but they're the two I've been reading the most about lately.
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Technology Leaders Make Forbes "30 Under 30" List
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The Recipe for Repeat Rental Business
If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere – New York City! RentJuice followed Frank Sinatra’s wisdom as they gathered data from renters in NYC. The whitepaper generated by this data is rich in helpful insights and recommendations –for rental professionals nationwide, not just New York. The nice folks at RentJuice have allowed us to offer a few highlights here, but we recommend that you check out the full whitepaper for more – it’s free from this page on RentJuice.com. Renters Want to Use the Same BrokerWe had to include this image – it’s just so clear and unambiguous. Better yet, it’s good news for rental professionals. Renters want to give you their repeat business; you just need to earn it. That’s where the next findings come in. What matters most when renters are choosing a rental professional?
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RE Technology is Making New Friends!
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Friday Freebie: Cartavi
We’ve seen a wonderful response to our Friday Freebies series. By popular demand, we’ll continue to share the free and trial versions of products so that you can find the right solutions for your business. Today, we continue with Cartavi.   Cartavi – Free VersionCartavi is a cloud-based document management platform designed specifically for the needs of real estate agents and professionals – think of it as Dropbox for real estate. It provides a simple and secure solution where you can store, manage, and share real estate documents from your desktop or mobile device.   The free version features:  1 GB of online storage  The ability to create up to three “Transaction Rooms” for online sharing  “My Docs” private storage for your personal docs Real-time activity notifications sent to your iPhone, iPad or Anroid smartphone Click here to experience the free version of Cartavi today. To learn more about Cartavi visit their website (www.cartavi.com) or our product directory.
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Friday Freebie: ForeclosureRadar
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How Skype Ruined My Morning (And How You Can Avoid a Similar Fate)
Have you ever been on a phone call and wished that the person on the other end of the line could see what you’re seeing? Have you ever wanted to review documents or MLS data with clients remotely, viewing the same screen at the same time? Well, here at RE Technology, we are “screen sharing” with others all the time. It is an invaluable tool that helps us work together with others . . . most of the time. Here is a story of a good tool gone wrong with some suggestions for free screen-sharing software that may come in handy for you. It was a Monday. The coffee still hadn’t kicked in. And I was scheduled to have a quick demo for a product review. Fate, however, had other things in mind. The company’s Web conferencing account was already being used – and could only be used by one person at a time. So, we made the ill-advised decision to give Skype a try. Bad choice. You see, my friend needed to share his screen in order to give me a demo of his product. With Skype, this meant sitting and waiting to see if we would eventually ever connect. Miraculously, I finally did see his screen . . . after 3 long minutes. However, when he moved his cursor, it took a full minute before the change appeared on my screen. This wasn’t going to work. My friend and I tried valiantly for 10 minutes, but eventually had to admit defeat. We rescheduled our demo for a time when his Web conferencing account would be available. The experience, although brief, made a big impression. I decided then and there to find a better alternative to Skype.  I began with the people I know who spend the most time on the phone – my colleagues Melissa and Victor. I asked them the same question: “What tools have you used for Web conferencing and which did you like the most?” Here are their suggestions:
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Tips to Improve Your Rental Business
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Agents, Will You Be a Winner or Loser?
We originally published this article (from new contributor Market Leader) for our broker readers, but we feel like agents can definitely benefit as well. This summer, Steve Murray, president of Real Trends Inc., and Ian Morris, CEO of Market Leader, released a book focused specifically on what the real estate industry will look like over the next five years. The book, Game Plan, takes into account a significant amount of research as well as interviews with many of you about your current business and vision for what's ahead. Murray and Morris then offer 10 trends that they expect to see come to fruition over the next five years, with a specific "game plan" to help real estate agents, brokers, and franchises succeed. If you'd like to see all 10 trends, click the link at the bottom of this article to get a copy. The following article explores the one trend that they consider to be the lynchpin to making it all work. Cloud-Based Technology PlatformsThe evolution towards cloud-based technology platforms, commonly known as "software-as-a-service," is the trend believed to drive performance and growth. Many of you are already implementing this. But brokers and franchises are often frustrated by attempts and costs to build an internal platform that keeps up with the needs of customers and agents.
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New in RPR v1.8: Saved Properties and More
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Customers Don't Jump Out of Computers
Technology has a place in the life of an agent. It supports the agent by providing access to research information, offers some marketing automation, and is a great communication vehicle. But technology does not sell real estate – agents do. There is much ado about the role of technology in real estate. We live in a world full of technology and we are connected to it every day. It is a primary resource. You can even think of your car and your phone as technology. All of these things represent the toolset of the modern day REALTOR®. I can guarantee you that customers will not jump out of your computer screen and buy a home. Social networking, online marketing, and lead generation engines serve you like advertising. They work just like the newspaper, the yard sign, and your mailers. They generate selling opportunities; they do not do the selling for you.
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Prescription for Wireless Congestion
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4 Twitter Tools Your Competition Doesn’t Want You Using
On March 21st, Twitter celebrated its 5th birthday. As part of the festivities, the company shared the following fascinating statistics in their blog: Twitter users now send more than 140 million Tweets a day (which adds up to a billion Tweets every 8 days)—by comparison, it took 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day to reach the first billion Tweets. While it took about 18 months to sign up the first 500,000 accounts, the site now sees close to 500,000 accounts created every day.
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The Queue: A Look at RETechSouth, Bob Hale, and 4 New Technologies!
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Want the Inside Scoop about 5 New Products? Be the First to Know!
In episode #2 of The Queue I covered some amazing new services and products that can really help you grow your business and improve your new media marketing efforts as a Realtor®. Real estate technology is moving faster than ever and my weekly webshow The Queue is exactly what was needed to help you all keep up!       This weeks topics included reviews of: About.Me Qwiki Pip.l Evernote A wifi digital frame from Kodak
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Missed the Boat: Six Sad Reasons Most Agents Fail
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Happy Techsgiving!
  Today is a great day for our family! Back in 2002 we were blessed with our first child, Alexandra! It will forever be a special day for us! Each of us have great things to be thankful for this year..... It hasn't been an easy year for the real estate industry, but at the end of the day the industry is growing stronger – we're getting more nimble, we're doing more with less and we're learning how to let go of some of our outdated traditions. While to some technology is not something to be celebrated, on this day I thought it might make sense to take a minute to thank the geniuses in Silicon Valley for the ways they have made our lives easier and making the world a more connected place.
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MySpace - Stake Out Your Space
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Want an Easy New Way to Share Your Expertise Online?
Real estate agents are constantly seeing things with their eyes that has value for building relationships with consumers. Agents go to open houses, talk with buyers and sellers, talk with other agents about the market, and attend seminars and other forums to collect information that makes them better professionals. In the recent surge to adopt social media, Twitter has become a tool used by REALTORS® to share real estate information with consumers. This is done in short sentences or with link sharing to blog posts or other news that they find on the Internet. Using your video enabled cell phone, you can now extend your content gathering to your real life using twitvid.
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Want to Increase Traffic to Your Home For Sale? Ask a REALTOR®
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New Apple Friend Bar Gives Customers Someone To Talk At About Mac Products
Chances are, if you know people who have bought and loved an Apple product, they have most likely been converted by what is called "Apple evangelism," or are on the path to becoming an evangelist themselves. Apple evangelists express brand loyalty like few consumer groups; they can be seen spending their Saturday mornings in the Mac store, simply to enjoy playing with the latest and greatest Apple products. We at RE Technology, Inc., have several on staff (you know who you are, Victor and Melissa). Yes, even I, devoted PC user since infancy am writing this from a 28" Mac. Go figure. If you are not lucky enough to have several Apple evangelists in your organization, here are a few signs to look out for: 1.) Inventing technical difficulties to justify their loitering habits 2.) The urge to buy the latest product 3G, 4G...just wait till the 5G. Hint: start saving now! 3.) Amazing resilience to AT&T's attacks to the iPhone, notice it's never Apple's fault, even if the phone dies!! Stupid AT&T! 4.) They visit the Apple store at least once a week, and usually go with a fellow Apple evangelist Aware that the magnetic attraction to their store locations could potentially put Apple evangelists in harm's way, as far as local loitering legislation is concerned, Apple has reached out to their devotees and has created a new innovation called the Apple Friend Bar. Watch this Onion News Network video and learn how you too can be welcomed into this elite group of Apple evangelists.
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Want to Grow Your Real Estate Business? Go International!
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Avoid Mixing Business with Pleasure
If you have a Facebook profile, chances are you are very familiar with Facebook's ability to keep friends and family connected.  You can share pictures, write on walls, send messages, poke your friends and find long lost friends and relatives.  Facebook began as a social platform to stay connected to new friends. Beginning in February 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room. The goal was to keep their freshman dorm connected with one another.  The vision grew exponentially, with over 1 million users at the end of 2004.  Current Facebook statistics include: More than 500 million active users 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day Average user has 130 friends People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook Expanding daily, Facebook has created new and exciting ways for business professionals to promote their products and services within their Facebook profile.  Facebook has recently added a new layer to user profiles, allowing users to create and maintain two images in their one profile.  Now you can separate your business image and contacts from your more relaxed image for friends and family. As real estate professionals, the ability to set up your online persona for your business without having to create a new Facebook profile is certainly appealing. The steps to take are simple.  Desiree Savory, a social media trainer, recently wrote an introductory "How-To" article discussing how to create a Facebook Fan Page and link it to Twitter.
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