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Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Winans Empowers Home Sellers with iBuyer Platform
Real estate powerhouse Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Winans announces the launch of their Flex Move Program. With Flex Move, homeowners get multiple instant offers on their home with the push of a button and can easily compare iBuyer offers with selling on the open market. A local professional with BHGRE Winans provides expertise and counsel for whichever path the homeowner chooses. As Dallas/Fort Worth's premiere lifestyle real estate company, BHGRE Winans is proving its commitment to bring all options to the table for its clients. These options now include purchase offers from Opendoor, Zillow Offers, RedfinNow, Perch and Offerpad—commonly referred to as iBuyers because these online firms offer to "instantly buy" homes. The Flex Move platform provides online tools that make it easy to collect offers from all active iBuyers in the market as well as a real-world estimate of selling price and net profits by listing on the open market. These industry leading tools provide homeowners with transparency, data, and professional expertise and guidance. The BHGRE Winans Flex Move Platform helps homeowners uncover all of the essential information they need for their home sale, so they can make the best choice for their personal situation—whether that's moving quickly with an instant offer or maximizing profit. BHGRE Winans developed their Flex Move Program to address two crucial aspects that consumers may be overlooking when it comes to instant offers: If a homeowner is considering one instant offer, they need to compare that offer to all available instant offers, so they can choose the best one for them. If a homeowner is considering accepting an instant offer, they need to compare their net proceeds—their profit—to selling on the open market. "The role of a professional real estate agent continues to be vital to the sale of a home, especially with the emergence of instant offers from iBuyers," explains Mark McDonough, President BHGRE Winans. "We protect home sellers by being their chief advocate, expert negotiator and skilled facilitator. With Flex Move, home sellers can confidently accept an instant offer with the agent right by their side, guiding and advocating for them through the entire transaction." BHGRE Winans partnered with zavvie, whose technology, the Offer Optimizer™ Suite, powers the iBuyer platforms of leading brokerages in markets across the U.S. zavvie provides online tools and up-to-date, market-specific data so clients of their broker partners can make informed decisions about home selling. "It's not agents against iBuyers. It's agents and iBuyers working together to benefit sellers. iBuyers are a new group of potential buyers, and for some sellers, they're a great option," said Lane Hornung, CEO and Founder of zavvie. "Forward-thinking brokerages like BHGRE Winans are bringing the iBuyers to the table for their clients. When homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth are considering selling their home, they can count on BHGRE Winans agents to give them all of their options—along with an incredible experience. Working with Winans to provide multiple offers with a push of a button is thrilling," Hornung added. Find more information at betterdfw.com.
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Realogy Launches Agent X: Voice Powered Productivity Tool for Agents
Realogy Holdings Corp. today launched Agent X, a real estate focused Alexa Skill. Agent X is now available complimentary to affiliated agents with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker NRT and ERA brands. Operating as a Skill on the Alexa platform, Agent X gives instant, voice-operated access to an impressive suite of productivity and coaching tools – from listings and client presentations, to productivity and goals tracking, to a daily digest that includes a briefing of the agent's day ahead, top industry headlines and more. As a Skill, Agent X allows agents the ability to be more efficient and productive simply by asking Alexa to "ask Agent X."
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Who Is the End User of Real Estate Tech?
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Magnificent 7 Tech Trends to Watch in 2019 and Beyond
Two years ago, I picked a "Magnificent 7" list that included Automation, Deep Learning, IoE (Internet of Everything), Intelligent Apps, Security, Digital Twins, and Ghosting. Here's my list for 2019 of the NextGen and NextLevel tech that have caught my eye and the implications for real estate.
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5 Technology Expenses to Review for Budget Season, Part Two
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iBuyer or iFlipper? Let's Look Under the Hood
This week, there was breaking news about an iBuyer receiving $325 million in series "E" funding as well as lots of talk about their business model and game plan. Given all the buzz, I thought it would be a good time to spend time under the hood to understand how this motor is put together!
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Everyone Is Moving to the Cloud
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Real Estate Leaders See Bright Future for Predictive Analytics, Big Data, and Marketing Automation
New Imprev Study Also Shows Surprises: Lukewarm Ratings for Portals and "Hot" Technologies Real estate industry leaders anticipate big opportunities coming from newer technology like predictive analytics, big data, and marketing automation over the next five years, but show lukewarm confidence in artificial intelligence, augmented realty, and virtual reality 3D tours. These findings emerged from a new Imprev Thought Leadership Survey asking participants to predict the future of real estate marketing and anticipate the effect on their businesses. The study was released today at Inman Connect, the nation's largest real estate technology conference being held August 7-11 at the San Francisco Hilton.
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3 Do's and Don'ts in Choosing a Technology Partner for Your Brokerage
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Real Estate Business Incubators: What they are and why you should care about them
You may have heard the terms 'business incubator,' 'business accelerator,' 'venture capitalist' or 'real estate business incubator' before. But what do they mean? Business Incubator: Also known simply as incubators, business incubators are programs that help small start-up companies overcome the initial challenges of starting and growing a business. Start-ups usually spend 1 to 2 years in incubators before they 'graduate.' Business incubators provide work space and services such as mentoring, networking opportunities, finding investors and much more. Many business incubators are government funded. This means companies that are accepted into incubation programs are often provided grants and receive workspace and services at the incubator for a subsidized cost.
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The Top Tech that Changed Real Estate in 2016
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Why a Smart Home is also a Danger Zone
A most provocative talk about smart homes and the dangers of the IoT (Internet of Things) kicked-off the first Hacker Connect in New York City in January. Molly Sauter, a PhD candidate and Vanier Scholar from Montreal's McGill University, gave a presentation that scared the crap out of me when she dove into the dangers of today's smart home. Now I've been a fan and even early adopter of affordable smart home tech: in the late 1980s, I had a wireless alarm system from Radio Shack and switches that allowed me to turn on lights with a remote. But that stuff turned out to be terribly unreliable. More than a year ago, we outfitted our home with Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot and have been blissfully pleased. Great product, awesome interface and we're now dabbling in more ways to make our home smarter. I even wrote about Amazon's move into the smart home space after last year's homebuilder convention, since it was being largely ignored there ("Digital Dawn: Amazon is creating the smart house for the rest of us"). Fast forward one year later, and Alexa was the star of the most recent CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and a plethora of products at this year's International Builders Show touted ties to Alexa. In fact, the popularity of Alexa is so pervasive – Amazon sold millions of units of its Echo and Echo Dot during the holiday – when Google introduced its competing product – Home – industry experts predicted that Google is simply too late to beat Amazon at this game ("Amazon's Echo is building a coffin that's custom-made for Google").
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Technology, Agent Adoption, and ROI
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Up Close with Clareity's Broker Dashboard
For brokerages looking to replace their aging intranet platform, there's a new player in town that can improve internal communication with agents and boost adoption of broker-provided tools. Clareity's new broker dashboard, known as DASH!, offers single sign-on (SSO) access to all MLS and brokerage provided tools. If that sounds familiar, it should. DASH! is an extension of Clareity's MLS-provided SSO dashboards that serve over 800,000 agents in 175 MLSs and associations. The broker dashboard is accessible as page extension within the MLS dashboard, or as a standalone offering. That's important because, according to Clareity, agents use their MLS dashboard an average of 3.4 times a day. That frequency of use makes the dashboard a superior place for brokers to promote the tools they provide to their agents. The dashboard also serves to reduce frustration in agents. According to WAV Group satisfaction research, a major pain point for agents is having to run around the web to access the dozen or more tools that they use--as well as having to remember log-in information for each. By consolidating all of these tools in one place under one log-in, brokers can vastly increase adoption of the tools they offer agents.
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Schmooze vs. Substance: What Are YOU Using to Make Technology Decisions?
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11 Real Estate Tech Tools that Will Simplify Your Life
The world of real estate tech is booming, and for a good reason. Imagine how much easier your life would be if you could do the following: During a listing presentation, you pull up a 360-degree tour of each property to show your clients As soon as someone expresses interest in your listing, you get a notification on your phone to connect with them After a day out in the field, you come back to see your social media updated with fresh content for your followers Once your buyer decides to purchase, you send over a document, have it signed and back to you within the hour Now imagine if your entire team of real estate agents could do that. You'd be running some kind of all-star brokerage. Imagine how much easier (and faster) you'd be able to rake up profits, cultivate leads and build your business. That's what real estate tech can do for you, and that's why you need to take advantage of the newest tools. In fact, according to a recent report, 45% of agents want their broker to increase the amount of technology they have. So brokers, take note of these tools. They're the ones you'll want to arm your team with. (And agents, these are the tools you'll want to forward to your brokers!) 1. Property Shark I have to say, I'm super impressed with what Property Shark offers. This tech tool gives real estate agents instant (and in-depth) info on any property. That's stuff like ownership records, past pricing, permits, etc. Imagine being able to show a report like this to a client? Even just having this library of property information at your fingertips is going to empower your team. If you believe knowledge is power, you need this in your arsenal.
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Top Tools and Apps to Get You through the Day
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6 Tips to Increase Agent Adoption of Your Brokerage Technology
Adopting a new technology can be a challenge for anyone. If you're used to doing tasks a certain way, it's difficult to change that. But, as we all know, the only thing constant is in this world is CHANGE!  Small things can go a long way when it comes to improving agent adoption! Here are six easy ways to help your agents adopt your brokerage's technology: 1. Begin with the Hiring Hire agents who can manage to learn and master simple tools. Let them know the importance of using these tools to maintain transparency between agents and your brokerage. It is important they come prepared. 2. Start Early When training new hires, make technology part of the training. If people start using it right off the bat, they're more likely to continue. Provide resources they can go back to and refer. Invest time and effort in your agents for a successful partnership.
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Smart Home Certification for Residential Properties
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What’s the Real Estate Tech Arms Race?
In the past, real estate companies have felt threatened by new technology. However, recent activity on the tech front points to upcoming real estate trends embracing technology and challenging the sector's reputation as resistant to change. Sometimes dubbed the "real estate tech arms race," the rewards are real, and both residential and commercial firms are rushing to form alliances with these new tech technologies to ensure they're not left behind. The uprising of real estate tech Up more than 350 percent from 2010, investors tossed a whopping $1.5 billion in the real estate tech pot in 2015, and they're battling all the way to the finish line to fill the void of real estate industry driven technology tools that will allow brokers to complete jobs more efficiently and effectively. An explosion of startups aimed at the industry There are 175 startups trying to change the world of real estate. Though most are destined to fail, the movement will not. The commercial sector is leading the way and the residential sector is struggling to catch up. The dragon hiding in the rafters Mega-giant Zillow is hosting hackathons to get an early read on potential ideas and consider where to invest.
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Graceful Vendor Termination
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Real Estate Tech Up Close: Our Top Broker Product Reviews from 2015
We publish plenty of tips, tricks, and general advice on how to leverage real estate technology, but what about learning more about individual technology product in more detail? Enter our product reviews column. Each review offers an in-depth look at an individual product, complete with screenshots and an overview of all major features. In 2015, we published a handful of broker product reviews, and we've rounded them up here for your convenience. Take a moment to learn more about a new technology that could help your brokerage (and stay tuned for our round-up of product reviews for agents!). Quantum Leads We first reviewed this upstart Virtual Office Website (VOW) provider back in 2013. When we went back and revisited the VOW platform this year, we were pleasantly surprised to find the promising solution had matured into a more user-friendly and intuitive program. Read this product review for a tour of Quantum Leads' new look and new features. Form Simplicity's New Broker Review Feature Realtor-owned transaction management platform overhauled their broker review feature late in 2015. This cleaner review process gives brokers visibility into a transaction's entire history, including related emails and text messages. Read our review to learn more about the new feature and how it better assists brokers in staying compliant.
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Crowdfunding Comes to Real Estate. Can It Work?
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NAR REach™ Slings 8 New Products at REALTORS®
The NAR REach™ program is interesting. It establishes a gateway where companies who wish to express their products and services to the REALTOR® family pay fees and often equity to the National Association of REALTORS®. The program plays host to annual "classes" of companies that are interested in entering the real estate vertical. Each class debuts at NAR Midyear and "graduates" at NAR Annual. Here are the soon-to-be graduates of the NAR REach class of 2015: 1. Asset Avenue - A loan finder product that is primarily aimed at helping Realtors introduce loan products to the investor community. As I went through the presentation, the first place I got stuck was the statement, "Competitive rates as low as 7.99%." The product shops property loans to institutional investors rather than traditional mortgage banks. I think that the product would be superior if it included traditional and investor backed funding sources. 2. August SmartLock – My initial instincts are that a company offering a lockbox solution will need to combat a lot of headwind against some excellent lockbox providers like Sentrilock and Supra. Those companies offer great products already deployed in every market across the USA. However, when I watched the presentation, I learned that the August SmartLock is part of a smart home solution. When you are near the lock, it works with Bluetooth to open the door. When you are away from the home, you can manage entry and access via an app on your phone. Installation on a deadbolt takes about 10 minutes. Each unit costs $250. As a backup for the inevitable "technology failure" problem, as a backup, your existing keys still work. I am a gadget guy, so I may consider this for personal use, but not as a replacement for our current lockbox system.
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7 Tech Tools to Make Brokers’ Lives Easier
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Top Real Estate Technologies Straight from Science Fiction (Part 2)
The future is right around the corner, and we are doing a second part of our future real estate tech right out of sci-fi. In case you missed the the first part, here it is. Now here is more tech that is impacting the real estate industry in a big bad way. Holograms A hologram uses light and glass to project a three dimensional image. We have seen it in Star Wars, Minority Report, and hundereds of other science fiction movies. But holograms in the movies are based on very real technology used in the real world. Shoe company Nike is the first company to use holograms as an advertising tactic, displaying their new shoe publicly at bus stops. The hologram display has great quality, running videos at 1080i resolution and storing up to 18 hours of compressed video at a bit rate of 4 MB per second. Imagine how powerful this could be in the real estate industry--being able to project high resolution images of houses to sell. Where a potential buyer can see every nook and cranny of the property with ease. Now imagine you can do this with every house you have listed. An agent and broker will only be limited by their imagination and the price tag. A basic hologram system can cost upwards of $10,000.
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Tech Tools Boost Home Sales
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Real Estate Innovations from NY TechDay 2015
Last month, Onboard Informatics joined 400+ other technology startups and innovators at NY Tech Day to exhibit Onboard Simplicity to over 10,000 attendees. Companies came together from many different verticals including finance, advertising, social impact, fashion and, of course, real estate. The showroom represented a variety of sizes from big, established and well funded firms to those just getting off the ground. Here are some of the most innovative real estate initiatives from NY Tech Day that impressed our team so much, we had to share for those who may have missed the event: Perchwell With a sleek, modern interface and advanced search functionalities this New York real estate search engine lets real estate agents better serve and expand their client bases.
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New Kids on the Block: 8 Tech Solutions for Brokers to Explore
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Forward Looking Technology
2015 and 2016 will be years of incredible change in real estate technology. For too long, the real estate industry evolved in an eggshell whereby data, applications, and presentation layers were composite to one another behind most fragile and isolated shell walls. Today, we see systems that separate these three components of the technology to maximize the usefulness of this information to the industry and the consumers it serves. We Got You "We got you" is a statement that can have two meanings when a technology provider speaks it. It can take on the meaning of "we screwed you" or it can take on the meaning of "we have your back." As the needs of MLSs or real estate brokers or agents evolve, it is important that the vendors of services are evolving with or ahead of their clients. If you vendor is not evolving at the pace of the industry, you are screwed. If the vendor is staying ahead of you, they have your back. WAV Group is seeing the division of "We Got You" play out across our client group in pretty significant ways. We saw quite a bit of it between 2010 and 2014 as the industry struggled to adapt to the mobile revolution. Many technology providers ducked their chins and excused themselves with contract babble or "we are working on that." Others were out ahead of their customers with ready-to-go applications that met or exceeded the need for mobile, well before the adoption curve grew exponentially.
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Successfully Integrate New Technology
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"Must Have" Tools for Real Estate Professionals
It's 2015--time to start using all the great technology available to you! A good program needs to be time saving, reliable, secure, and helpful. There are thousands of apps and programs to choose from, so we've decided to do some of the work for you. We've highlighted a few helpful real estate tools to utilize in your day to day. So how do you decide which tool to use? Not everything is going to work well with real estate. For one, your phone (if you have a smartphone) is going to be a huge tool for you. You can access email, social media, and thousands of apps amid a great deal of other built-in programs. If you don't have a smartphone, it's time to upgrade! Most phone carriers have some pretty good smartphones you can get for free when you sign a two-year contract. Here are our "must haves" for real estate professionals: BombBomb BombBomb is a great addition to any email. It allows you to record video messages. We like this tool for several reasons: Relatability: become a face people know and trust. Ease of use: It's pretty user friendly. You also don't have to worry about spelling since it's a recording. Lists, emails, forms, and drips add to the usefulness of this email system.
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3 Tech Tools for Fostering Business
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5 Ways to Integrate New Services Into Your Routine (or Your Agents')
As someone who uses a multitude of technology platforms, it's increasingly hard to incorporate these tools into my daily routine. However, the platforms I love are the ones firmly planted in my routine, and I can distinctly remember the people from those platforms helping me integrate their services into my day. Here are five ways to integrate new services into your routine (or your agents' routine): 1. Hold Yourself Accountable It's the time of the year where most people have set their New Year's resolutions and started chipping away on achieving them. This is where you go to gym only to realize that every treadmill and elliptical is filled with others trying to fulfill their own resolutions. By mid-February, however, the gym becomes a little less crowded as people begin to neglect their ambitious January 2015 resolutions. This year, I resolve to hold myself more accountable, and that begins with the services that I'm using as a marketer. Accountability is defined as the requirement to be responsible for something. The accountability you now hold for the new service you purchased is under your responsibility to use, learn, and/or keep track of. However, if you don't hold you own self accountable for integrating this tool into your routine, it can fall to the wayside — just like that "going to the gym" resolution.
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Static Data Can Be Boring and Stale. This Tool Can Make It Fresh!
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Tech Talk: iCloud Photo Sharing for Real Estate
Are you ready to hear about one of the greatest free tools you probably already have access to and didn't even realize it? If you have an iPhone or iPad, this post is for you! iCloud photo sharing is a free way to share your images privately with your clients using the cloud. You can share in real time from anywhere you are, making it simple for you to send snaps without heading back to the office or composing yet another email. Better still, the people you are sharing your photos with can like or comment on them, kind of like on Facebook, giving you instant feedback and the opportunity to answer any questions your clients may have in a snap. Here's the skinny: What is iCloud photo sharing? iCloud photo sharing is a free way to share photos instantly and seamlessly with a select person or group of people using the cloud. Why is it a good idea for real estate pros? Setting up a shared photo stream with active buyer clients is a great way to share photos of new listings, home tours, detail photos and more while you're on the go. Simply snap a quick pic with your iPhone or iPad and add it to the shared stream with a caption or comment (like "check out this new listing" or "here's a closer look at the kitchen"). The only people who will be able to see your pictures are the people you invite. Once a picture is added to your shared iCloud folder, an instant notification will pop up alerting any and all members that a new photo has been uploaded. Viewers can 'like' or comment on your photo.
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Real Estate Tech In-Depth: Our Top Broker Product Reviews from 2014
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Three Ways to Improve Marketing Tools and Technology for 2015
This time of year people tend to focus more on family than business. But before buying another present or heading to another party, spend a moment to reflect on your business and make some decisions regarding the year ahead. When business planning, where is the best place to put your efforts? The top 230 top executives in real estate were asked which competitive differentiators help their business the most, and 87% answered marketing tools and technology. Here are three things you can do to improve your marketing tools and technology and make sure 2015 is a successful year for your business. Sync your technology List your technology vendors and see where you can consolidate. Having several vendors with different technologies not only means administrative hassles, it can also mean less frequent updates, incompatible systems, and difficulty resolving issues when they arise. When it comes to technology vendors, the fewer the better. It is best to have a single point of contact, if possible. This way, you'll work with someone who understands your business in a more holistic way, not just in the one area they work on. As an example, if you're pulling listings, neighborhood information, school zones, and basic demographic information into your site, you could potentially have four vendors just for local data. Perhaps it happened over time or maybe it was deliberate, but managing multiple vendors and data feeds costs you valuable time and can create inconsistencies on your site. Use a single source for this technology to ensure standardization and consistency in your content. Make 2015 the year you have one point of contact, one vendor who understands your business challenges and can present solutions.
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Broker's Guide to Technology Selection for 2015
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3 Ways to Help Listing Agents Be Proactive
Guest contributor Zach Schabot of REALTOR®Mag says: Infomercial marketer Ron Popeil had a famous saying. We all know it: "SET IT annnnnnd..... (say it with me now)... FORGET IT!" But Ron Popeil was never a listing agent who had to deal with anxious home owners, was he? With the rapid rise in technology use, clients expect faster service and more marketing exposure than ever before. The pressure to perform, even in a seller's market, is increasing every year. Even with proper staging, professional photography, and well-written descriptions, making a listing active and then sitting back to wait for a buyer is simply not good enough. Here are three proactive approaches that you as a broker can encourage listing agents to take with their listings. Measure the home before it's listed. For a nominal fee, a licensed appraiser will measure a listing and provide a floor plan. This helps listing agents get accurate information to use in the MLS and provides a nice floor plan to use in marketing pieces. It's also a chance to address any discrepancies in the beginning of the transaction instead of at the end. And for you risk-management junkies, this will add an element of protection for those agents who choose to hire a professional instead of taking measurements themselves.
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4 Ways to Automate Your Real Estate
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So Many Apps! How Much You Pay for Software Might Surprise You
Everything is an app One of the more common "let's make fun of the millennials" tropes is the idea that today, people want everything personalized, and on-demand. And like a lot of tropes, there's at least some truth to this — everything from television channels to burrito options are under increasing pressure to be offered a-la-carte, so you can get what you want without paying for what you don't. The bad old days. Hope you enjoyed paying hundreds of dollars per user. The web has been a big cause (and proponent) of this, and in a lot of ways, it's been a huge advantage to small business and entrepreneurs. A-la-carte software systems allow you to quickly spin up a functional, customizable information structure in a few hours, which is pretty amazing if you ever have the opportunity to do it, as I did at my last startup. Need a toll-free number? Accounting system? Time tracking? Done, done, and done. Plus, since all of this stuff is independently purchased, if it any of it becomes obsolete, you can simply dump it without breaking the rest of your system. We've successfully commoditized functionality! In general, this was a sorely needed direction for software. The pre-web era gave us increasingly broad, ill-fitting suites of tools — here's a weird database to go with that word processor you wanted — and charged us for everything. In theory, the different applications would be conveniently "integrated", but anyone who's fought with an old version of something like Microsoft Office can speak to the unexpected challenges that came with this sort of thing. Today, integrations come in the form of at least semi-open APIs, and today, two products from different companies often work together more seamlessly than two 1990s-era applications from the same suite. It's amazing, and best of all, it gives customers options.
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30 Top Tools for Agents in 30 Minutes (8/19)
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What’s the Future of Real Estate?
In 1991, the National Association of REALTORS® made an "office of the future" video predicting what kinds of space-age technologies would change the home buying and selling process by the year 2000. Jon Coile, broker-owner of Champion Realty in Severna Park, Md., dug this gem of a video out of the NAR archives for his presentation last week at the Broker Summit in Atlanta. Did NAR get the fashion wrong? Yes. (Is NAR really known for its fashion sense?) But how far off was the video, really? Today we have AT&T Digital Life (the home automation mentioned in the video), Skype (video calls), thumb drives (mini discs), MLS with photos (home tour line drawings), smart appliances ("Microsoft Maytag software"), Siri (talking cars), and GPS (car navigation systems). "And they're still going to need an agent – they got that right, too," Coile said. So this video begs the question: What does the next decade hold for the real estate industry?
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Troubleshooting iCloud Syncing Issues
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Real Estate Tool of the Month: Google Trends
What is Google Trends? I discovered this little gem about six months ago, and have been obsessed with it ever since! Google Trends is an online search tool that allows you to see how specific keywords, topics and phrases have trended over a period of time. It graphs how often a term is used over time and where geographically most people are searching for a given term. This data can be exported the data into a .CSV file which can be opened in Excel or other spreadsheet applications. Another cool feature is that you can compare up to five terms to view their relative popularity. Why is all of this important? For a couple reasons: Mobile: More and more consumers are searching on mobile devices. And people search differently on mobile than they do on a computer. If they are typing the search, they tend to use fewer words. If they are using voice controls, they tend to be more conversational. This will an affect on the keyword phrases you choose. Change: The only constant is change, and you can be sure the topics and phrased that consumers use to search for real estate online will change as well. If you're going to go to work hard at optimizing your website and content for a keyword phrase, wouldn't you rather use a phrase that is trending UP, rather than one that is trending DOWN?
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Optimize Yourself and Your Client for This Crazy Market
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Agent Adoption: Celebrating Small Victories
We all know that getting agents to use technology tools is a difficult challenge. Many times, agents will adopt technology when it is proven to bring them more business, and it will alleviate extra work, such as paperwork. All too often, I see a company make progress getting a CRM or other tech system adopted, then slow down when it comes to promotion. This is a constant challenge and takes a commitment from the top down to prove to your agents that a new technology will make their job easier in the long run. The old saying, "no pain, no gain" is never more evident than with agent technology. Agent Adoption Three of the best ways to get agents to use their technology are to: 1. Offer incentives. Some examples of this are to keep track of logins and activity, then create a wall of fame for those using it. Monitor key metrics such as contact size, email volume or any performance based metric you can find to know if agents are using the system. Then, offer rewards. Small performance fees, centered around productive tasks that increase ROI, may be worth a periodic payout.
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What's a Public Service App?
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Top Broker Product Reviews from 2013
Last week, we shared a list of our top product reviews for agents in 2013. As promised, this week we're bringing you a run-down of last year's top reviews for brokers, sorted by category. We intend for these reviews to be a starting point in helping you decide which products to choose for your company in 2014. If you'd like more advice on how to evaluate products, see our series of articles on questions to ask before choosing a solution. Listing Syndication 1. ListHub Global ListHub Global is an extremely low maintenance solution that, once activated, acts like any other affiliate ListHub publisher. The only difference is that instead of syndicating listings domestically, ListHub Global distributes your listings to potential buyers in 19 countries. See more Listing Syndication / Global Marketing solutions in our Product Directory. Virtual Office Websites (VOWs) 2. Quantum Leads"It puts your client in the driver's seat," is how Quantum Leads explains their Virtual Office Website (VOW) solution. Fortunately, the company has provided a vehicle that both clients and your agents will want to drive, thanks to intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces that are beautifully designed. See more VOW solutions in our Product Directory. Recruiting 3. HG-RecruitsAs a real estate broker, you are only as strong and successful as the members of your team. Finding, recruiting, and hiring rock star agents is imperative; it's also one of the most challenging parts of your job. Happy Grasshopper built HG-Recruits expressly for this need, to help ease the stress of growing your roster. See more Recruiting solutions in our Product Directory.
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Centralize Agent Databases
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How to Make Technology a Business Differentiator in Real Estate
In the last decade, almost everything in the consumer and business worlds has gone digital, with all kinds of information now accessible on your smartphone and tablet at anytime. Real estate is no different. From reaching a purchase agreement with all parties on an iPhone and booking home showing appointments with the click of a button, to using social media to increase inbound leads, successful agents and brokerages are making technology a part of their larger business strategy. Adapting to this new 'digital-first' world can be a massive business differentiator if you do it right. Of course, there are hundreds of technology choices nowadays. How do you decide which are right for you? How do you ensure your organization actually makes use of them so you see the return on investment (ROI)? Here are my strategies for success: 1. Don't Fall Victim to Shiny Object Syndrome: Choose Technology That's Right for Your Business With so much technology available today, it can be absolutely overwhelming. It's the matter of sorting through the noise and finding the tools that are most effective for your business that can be the trickiest part. I've seen it all too often—fellow real estate professionals throw out their credit cards at trade shows because everyone else is and the excitement of being able to say, "Yes, I have that!" is overpowering. Of course, the problem with being swayed by a group mentality and spending hundreds, or even thousands, is not actually evaluating the product for its purpose and how it will work with your business model.
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How to Choose the Right Tech Products in 2014
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Are you struggling with agent adoption across one or more of your systems?
A common concern we see with many brokerages is getting agents to adopt new technologies. We've got a tip for you: Create digestible strategies for agents by building a scorecard or report card. Here's how: Break down your technology systems into each category. For example: CRM, Video Platform, Listing Presentation, CMA tool, etc. Take each one and ask yourself: What does it look like with basic usage? Intermediate usage? Advanced? Create a scorecard. Here's an example: Technology Resource: Customer Relationship Management Basic Adoption: Are contacts loaded in the system? Is the agent assigning contacts to campaigns or using automation for this? Is the agent assigning tasks and reminders? Does the agent have social media integrated?
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Rules When Choosing a Technology Partner
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Real Estate Tool of the Month: Postagram
This post comes to us from the Obeo blog: This is a great real estate tool for sending postcards! Now you can send thank you notes, follow ups and congratulations. Time management in this day and age has become critical and Postagram can help. What is Postagram? This application, developed for both iPhone and Android, allows you to print customized, glossy photo postcards to anywhere in the United States for only $1 and other countries for $2 per postcard (which includes postage). You can select a personalized photo and include a message up to 140 characters. People often use Postagram to send thank you cards, 'I love you' notes, greeting cards, birthday cards and invitations. Postagram has had over 11,000 reviews between the iPhone and Android market with 4.5 - 5 star ratings. Both applications allow you to send your first couple for free with a new account. Postagram – Google Play Store Link iPhone – App Store Link
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Real Estate Tool of the Month: Feedly
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Cloudy With a Chance of Disaster
Apple introduced iCloud to the world of consumer computing. The service promises to provide access to files, such as music and photos, from multiple devices. A radio advertisement touts the benefits of an online payroll system that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and is so easy to use that even a boy operating a lemonade stand can use it. The concept behind iCloud and software that is accessible anywhere is not new, but is part of a rapidly growing technology platform called the cloud or cloud computing. Cloud computing gives both consumers and businesses the ability to use software applications and input and access data on any number of devices anywhere in the world. Cloud computing is generally the ability to remotely access software and data from off-site servers and other hardware through the Internet. It is divided between public and private clouds. A public cloud services multiple clients and customers, and a private cloud, similar to traditional outsourcing that is controlled by the user, services only one or a limited number of clients and customers. Application software offered in the cloud, or software as a service (SaaS), runs on servers located off-site or in a remote location--the software does not reside on the desktop or local computer or server. Netbook computers are designed to operate SaaS because they don't need a hard drive, but instead merely need access to a browser and the Internet to operate the SaaS application. Many of us are already in the cloud with Google's Gmail, Yahoo mail, Facebook, Flickr, and Google docs. The number of business applications is rising rapidly. The economic and other benefits cannot be ignored, particularly in stressed economic times. There are several potential drawbacks, especially for business applications, however, that need to be addressed before fully embracing and launching the concept.
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Do Tech Companies Protect Your (And Your Clients') Privacy?
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SMS Marketing is Tops for Real Estate Pros
Guest contributor Properties Online says: Real estate agents rely on a lot of traditional marketing tools, such as signage, to promote their properties for rent or sale. The rise of the internet brought email marketing to the fore, but it is being rapidly trumped by SMS (text messaging) marketing. And SMS marketing is a great thing for real estate professionals. Over 5 million of the world's 6.8 million people own a cell phone, and Americans send more than 193 billion SMS and MMS messages every month. Morgan Stanley tells us that 91% of all smart phone users keep their phones within arms' reach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And one of the first rules of marketing is what? That's right: go where your customers are. Marketing via text message is one of the smartest, most effective and inexpensive options available. More than 73% of cell phone users already use their phones to send and receive text messages, and the positives only carry on from there.
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Is Technology Important for Small Brokerages?
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CityBlast and Real Estate: How it works
Social media has become a way to build relationships with a large group of people you might not have the ability to personally keep in contact with or talk to on a daily basis. We often hear that people want a presence in social media, but they don't have the time to build it. It can also come down to simply not understanding how it works, and therefore harnessing its capability. This is where CityBlast comes into play. CityBlast is the world's first and largest social media listing service. CityBlast allows real estate professionals to attract new clients within their social network and market their listings to thousands buyers, all for the price of a coffee per day. How it works CityBlast has two important functions: ClientFinder and Blasting. Both serve different purposes and those who sign up can opt for either or both of the services. Visit the next page for an overview.
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Putting the Broker in Charge of the MLS Service Offerings
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Where Are Real Estate Agents Focusing Their Technology Investments?
Among real estate professionals, IDX websites are garnering the greatest share of technology investment dollars, but there are a number of other technology tools that REALTORS® are finding helpful enough to warrant a sizeable investment. At the top of the real estate tech heap, Internet Data Exchange (IDX) services, like IDX Mashup, provide a useful service for property buyers and sellers that draws real estate site traffic and can be instrumental in turning site visitors into clients. According to a recent ActiveRain survey of 2,000 U.S. real estate professionals, 63% of real estate agents and brokers invest in IDX services, making it a top-selling real estate technology tool. Other tech tools that today's real estate professionals consider worthy of investment include marketing applications, comparative market analysis tools, customer relationship management software, search engine optimization services, and social media. 62% of real estate agents employ marketing applications that include comparative market analysis tools. 51% make use of customer relationship management software with the focus on lead-management software.
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Cloud Storage and Sharing Work in the Digital Age
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iPad: What Agents Want For Christmas
2012 was an outstanding year for real estate technology embracing mobile. 2013 will be even better. However, all of this new freedom functionality will be for naught if agents do not buy iPads. In November, WAV Group did a number of research projects that included information about the adoption of mobile in real estate. By our average numbers, 60% of agents now have a smartphone. 40% of agents have a tablet computer like an iPad. We would have served ourselves well to break out the types of devices that agents use by sorting Apple devices from Android devices, but we did not. Lots of people talk about cloud computing. The notion is that all applications and data are in the cloud, accessible from any device that can reach the Internet. Unfortunately, this is not exactly the case. As WAV Group has long bemoaned, the cornerstone of agent technology is the MLS, and many MLS systems have been slow to fully support Apple desktop and mobile devices. It is the number one complaint in agent satisfaction surveys. Sure, there are tools to work around it, but at the end of the day, many MLS systems are not fully functional on mobile. Alas, things are looking up. Most MLS systems are now cross-browser compatible or will be in Q1. In many ways, secondary applications like agent website administration, CRM, CMA, and marketing solutions are ahead of MLSs at going mobile.
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Deciphering your digital real estate decisions
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Real Estate Technology: Ready for “Make an Offer” for Real Estate?
RealtyBid.com, one of the top real estate auction firms in the nation and a CoreLogic company, has created an online offer generation capability for real estate brokers and agents. The idea was born out of RealtyBid's success in the REO space. Having successfully sold over 30,000 homes exclusively online, many real estate brokers asked for a way to use the RealtyBid online sales system – but in a non-auction format. Most brokers like the concept of online offers and online bidding. However, being very image conscious, they have been reluctant to embrace the technology because auctions in the marketplace typically imply a distressed property and that can give a negative connotation to buyers. In response to these concerns, RealtyBid created a hybrid program called the RealtyBid Make An Offer System. It allows a broker to use RealtyBid's technology for generating online offers within their own website, protecting and enhancing their brand in the process.
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Leverage The Technology You’re Already Using to Make You a More Successful Real Estate Agent
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Technology Can Help Build Connections
For decades, being able to get clients to instantly like and trust you was a must-have attribute for a real estate agent. This, in turn, required you to be personable, available and knowledgeable. However, the introduction of technology into the real estate industry has changed the once-cherished relationship between agent and client. Suddenly, loyalty is rare, because clients are now able to find homes on their own. They call agents based on availability and because the agent happens to represent the property the client is interested in. Phone calls have dissolved into text messages, and clients tend to interact more with your website than with you as a person. This societal shift has caused many agents to turn away from technology. They feel that by communicating online, they are depriving the client of the relationship that is needed to facilitate a successful deal. However, this is not the case, and we, as an industry, need to start embracing technology as a new way to create that relationship between agent and client. Don’t be afraid of technology. By using it properly, you can easily build that connection you need with your client and, often, can end up creating a strong bond.
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Be on Alert with Google Alerts for REALTORS®
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Top 10 Articles by Austin Allison in 2011
We noticed that some of the bloggers we follow have been publishing “Top 10” lists. And we loved them! So we decided to do this for some of our regular contributors. Right now, let’s focus on Austin Allison of DotLoop. These are in no particular order: 1) Social Media Penalties for the Real Estate Game There are penalties in football to keep the game as fair as possible. Players and coaches follow the rules and avoid penalties or they might end up losing yards and even games. Social media also has its own set of unwritten rules and realtors that break them can be held from advancing towards their goals or even end up losing clients. Pay close attention to and avoid these costly penalties. 2) What Does Your Website Say About You? If you're an agent working today, then you already know the importance of a good web presence. What you may not know, however, is what constitutes 'good'. If you have a website, take a look at this list to make sure you're not falling victim to technology. After all, having a megaphone is one thing; using it wisely is another. 3) You Know You're Working with a Good REALTOR® if... Buying real estate is always a major investment. Even if the property in question is relatively inexpensive, the buyer needs to consider factors such as property taxes, restrictions on development, how much it will increase in value and whether they’ll be able to sell it in the future. This major investment is highlighted by the fact that many people buy property just once or twice in their lifetime. For these reasons, finding a good REALTOR® becomes just as important as finding the right property. Here are three signs to look for when searching for a REALTOR®.
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Top 10 Showing Suite Blog Posts of 2011
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Friday Freebie: DotLoop
DotLoop’s Friday Freebie is a little bit different. Instead of offering a free trial to everyone, they’re giving away an exclusive 90 days of their full DotLoop solution, for up to 10 agents, to one broker. To enter, email your name and contact information to [email protected] The winner will be announced next week at the National Association of REALTORS® conference on November 11th. You will be informed by email if you’ve been chosen as the winner.   90-Day Free Trial of DotLoop Reward your 10 top agents with the full functionality of the DotLoop system.  DotLoop is a transaction hub that connects people  with documents in real time.   Benefits of DotLoop include:   Paperless Transactions – Saving time, storing documents, and improving user experience. Virtual Access – Controlling cost and freeing up more time in your schedule. Collaborative Transactions – for faster deals and improved accuracy. Integrated E-Signatures- improve productivity and security.   Clients will also appreciate the benefits of DotLoop.
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How to Prioritize Relationship Building through Today’s Technological Advancements
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Keys to Technology Adoption: Part 4
Today we're releasing the final installment of the white paper from Michael Audet of WAV Group. Conclusions – Some "Keys" to Consider When Choosing Technology Look at every product objectively and ask whether your “average” agent can use it with little or no training at least at some level, to get value from the product.  Too often we let techies lead us in these decisions and the reality is they represent only a small portion of the users. Try the product and let a representative sampling of the intended users try it.  Do they like it?  Are they excited about the benefits?  Can they tell you how it will help their business? When you review the product, does it adapt to your current business model, not in terms of process but in terms of language?  Can you incorporate the statuses you use today and the language you use to define transactions or do you have to learn something new? When you compare technologies ask, what problem they are solving and whether any of them  “innovate” rather than just “incrementalize”.  There is nothing wrong with improving a process but if you find one that truly innovates it will be adopted more easily. Don’t be limited by “standards”.  Some vendors will try to sell you on the concept of standards but look closely at what this really means.  Standards are great and have their place in our technology world but most of the real innovation in our technology world came from visionaries that abandoned “standards” and struck out on their own. The most important of all keys is “easy, easy, easy”, “fast, fast, fast”!  This doesn’t mean there can’t be training and that everyone will understand everything about a product on their own from day one.  But make sure you can roll any new product out easily in bite size chunks that provide real value right from the beginning.
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Keys to Technology Adoption: Part 3
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Keys to Technology Adoption: Part 2
Today we're continuing the white paper from Michael Audet of the WAV Group. We'll be releasing the white paper in a series, so stay tuned for the next 2 installments. Looking at examples of business software gaining adoption and use in our industry we see several keys worth noting. Key #1 - Easy, easy, easy – Fast, fast, fastIn the same way we say real estate is “location, location, location”, technology has to be, “easy, easy, easy”; and benefits have to be “fast, fast, fast”.   If users can’t use software successfully on their own, or with very little training and have success quickly they won’t come back.  Our attention spans have become shorter and shorter as we get inundated with data from every side every minute of our life.!  Think of all the ways your attention is being assaulted and it is entirely understandable.  By necessity, all of us review new information whether it is a blog post, a software product or an email very quickly and we make almost immediate decisions as to read it, review it or trash it.  We have to or we would never get through our day.  As a result, if something is going to be successful, especially in software, it has to be “easy, easy, easy” and “fast, fast, fast”! Software today needs to be intuitive enough that users can get benefits on their own with minimal training or at the least, training they can do at their own pace such as online videos.  Successful products engage you quickly and easily and provide immediate value.  Look at how successful iPhone applications have become and you see this principle in action.  Quick, easy and inexpensive solutions that take little time to learn and use
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The Benefits of Cloud Computing (Part 2)
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Video: New Features on RPR
RPR is constantly rolling out new features that make the tool more resource-rich for REALTORS® doing research or building customer reports. One new feature is the ability to save properties for future reference. This short video (created by Victor Lund) will teach you how to save listings and will provide a quick overview of how you may modify property characteristics to reflect the individual dynamics like market strength, view, property exterior, or property interior to modify the estimated home value.
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The Benefits of Cloud Computing (Part 1)
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The Shift in Real Estate Technology (Part 6)
Other Vendor ExamplesExamples of this technology shift we have been discussing are everywhere. Vendors like WolfNet, NetAspects and Birdview offer products today that have expanded well beyond their initial area of focus. We are seeing web product developers moving into CRM and lead generation and back office systems moving into web services as detailed in our paper "Brokerage Real Estate Technology - An Industry Needing Backbone". Broader integration is the key as products are moving beyond single areas of specialization. Technology Concepts, originally an MLS vendor, is another good illustration of the shift we have been discussing. While the still have some MLS accounts they are now focusing a good portion of their future development efforts primarily in the broker system arena with their Eventus product because they believe this is where the real estate technology is heading. With MLS vendors CoreLogic with AgentAchieve and LPS with their rDesk product already playing in the broker sector, it will be interesting to see if more MLS vendors begin to shift or add development efforts in this direction.
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The Shift in Real Estate Technology (Part 5)
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The Shift in Real Estate Technology (Part 4)
What Does the New Broker Technology Look Like? The chart below shows a "perfect world" scenario. All of the important parts of a broker's world flows through a single vendor from MLS to back office tools and 3rd party data connections providing the real estate company a common interface for their agents and a greatly simplified data world. Does this exist today? Maybe not completely, and maybe it never will due to the specialization required in some product areas but some of the heavy lifting has been done and is available today. Broker and agent technology has come a long way.
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The Shift in Real Estate Technology (Part 3)
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If a Technology Solution Isn't Simple, Is It Really a Solution?
Adopting new technology solutions for your business is never an easy decision.  With so many choices, weighing the pros and cons is essential to get the best return on investment. Many companies offering technology solutions are in direct competition with one another, therefore have many similar features with minor variances.  Some offer basic packages at little or no cost, while upgrades usually require a monthly payment of some sort. When deciding on a new solution, it’s important to remember what best serves the individual or the company.   A recent article by WAV Group suggests that a successful technology solution should have a clearly defined purpose while being simple to use.
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3 Tips For Making Your Website More Readable
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Create a New Facebook Page Tab With These 7 Tutorials
First lets take a quick look at the background: In early February, Facebook announced: “On March 11, 2011, you will no longer be able to create new FBML apps and Pages will no longer be able to add the Static FBML app. While all existing apps on Pages using FBML or the Static FBML app will continue to work, we strongly recommend that these apps transition to iframes as soon as possible.” If you have ambitions to add your own custom pages to your Facebook business page, there are now a number of credible options. Why would you want to do this? Because Facebook just made it easier to embed Google maps, videos, graphics and all sorts of other stuff, including RSS feeds. Now you can include IDX searches! Because you can embed an iframe code from your IDX provider! But rather than just write just another tutorial, here is a list of resources and tutorials that are already written.
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Gear Up for Conference Season with the 2011 Buyer's Guide
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What is the Business Value of an API?
Guest contributor Peter Goldey says: I had the privilege to present on a Tech Connect panel during Inman NYC, moderated by Dan Woolley (W&R Studios).  Dan carved the conversation into three parts:  the history of API’s, covered by Adam DuVander of Programmable Web; technology tips and tricks, presented by Andrew Mattie of Diverse Solutions; and the business value of API’s – my part. As an information services provider, Onboard Informatics is constantly looking at new sources (input) and new delivery mechanisms (output) that can benefit our clients. As Onboard’s CIO, a part of my role is to ensure that how we access and deliver content meet not only our technical requirements but also our business objectives. API’s provide an important component of our strategy to do so. There are two sides to the coin of business value here:  Why choose to publish via API? And why choose to consume via API?
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Are You Managing Your Risk?
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Top Recruiting Strategies for 2011
Since the beginning of time in the real estate industry, there has been a focus on the need to recruit. As you begin the new decade of 2010, what are your plans for recruiting solid, producing agents into your brokerage? Are you doing the same things that you have been doing the past 30 years for recruiting? If so, is it working for you? If not, I encourage you to implement one, or more, of the following recruiting strategies. Create a strong value proposition that you and your team can confidently tell others about. What is unique about your brokerage? How will an experienced real estate professional benefit by joining your firm? What are your key retention tools? Are you talking about them? Is it technology, market share, coaching support? Why do people join your firm and why do they stay?
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Want to Secure Your Website for Under $500?
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Google Yourself Now, or Your Referrals Will Die
Real estate agents need to wake up and manage their online reputation. If you don’t think that prospective clients Google you, you are surely mistaken. When you do, you may be amazed at what you find (or don’t find). What you may find is that your name does not necessarily reflect you. You may share a name with a bunch of people all with the same name. This is a problem that you need to focus on fixing. Having lots of social network accounts and pointing them all to your agent or broker or MLS profile will help with this. Ideally, you would buy the domain name of yourname.com – That works really well.
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Market Your Real Estate Business With QR Code Apparel
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The Value of Indexing for Real Estate Industry Websites
WAV Group is proud to release this property indexing white paper to explain NAR’s policy on indexing listings. The paper provides an overview of indexing, the process used by search engines to catalog information on the Internet. In order for MLSs to enforce IDX rules and regulations, they must understand indexing. Furthermore, anyone operating an IDX website needs to understand indexing and the advantages that it offers to search engine optimization (SEO) and online competition. Non-IDX property search websites like Trulia, Realtor.com and others have been indexing listings for years, and as a result - they have a significant advantage over brokers in online search results. The typical broker website may only have a few hundred pages of content if the listings are not indexed. In a major MLS market, that same broker may have 100,000 of pages of content if the IDX listings on their website are indexed.  
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Share and Share Alike: LinkedIn Share Button
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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 to Increase Traffic to Your Home For Sale? Ask a REALTOR®
Q: "My house is listed for $339,000. We bought it three years ago for $368,000. There is a house directly across the street from me similar in amenities but 1,000 square feet smaller, listed at $249,000. (They bought it for $280,000 around the same time.) My question is, I see a lot of traffic at that house compared to ours. We listed on Sept. 24, and only have 5 brochures removed from our free info box so far. That house has already received an offer, but it was turned down by the sellers. We would like to increase the traffic to our property. Aside from our REALTOR® posting it on a multiple listing site, what else can we do? Would an open house help?"
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