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Big Conventions Are Back, Believe It or Not: A look at the Builders Show in Vegas
I had an immediate pandemic flashback as I looked around at the thousands of people that filled the Las Vegas Convention Center at last week's National Association of Home Builders annual International Builders Show. I remember asking colleagues on virtual conferences at the height of the pandemic if anyone thought we'd ever have major, mask-less conventions again. The consensus was "no way." Yes, way. In fact, it was rare to see many masks at the latest builder show. And I probably saw more reporters wearing masks in the press room than in any other location. And this Builder Show was massive, just like the ones that have drawn 100,000 attendees. It featured towering exhibits that filled several exhibit halls. If you haven't been to an IBS, think NAR Exhibit Hall but Texas style: exponentially bigger. Why attend IBS? One of my clients, Ben Caballero of HomesUSA.com and the No. 1 ranked agent in the U.S., works with over 60 builders. So this show gives me great insight into this audience. Plus, every time I attend, I get two other great opportunities: to put on my journalist hat and discover and write about the new home tech on display and to meet fellow National Association of Real Estate Editors members, as NAREE typically hosts an event. Here is what I discovered on both fronts: Smart tech in new homes making the same mistake In 2016, just as Amazon's Alexa was starting to become the smart home standard, I attended IBS for a press luncheon that NAREE was hosting on smart house technology. I listened to several experts from the home builder tech industry, all promoting their own siloed brand of smart home tech. I couldn't believe the disconnect. Where was the interoperability with the fastest-growing home tech at the time, Alexa? I finally asked Andrea Medeiros from TecHome Builder, who gave an overview of what was happening in the smart house space about Alexa, as none of the technology discussed integrated with Alexa. She agreed that players like Amazon and Apple would win because "people feel like they can trust them" to be around when other tech firms go away. To me, the home tech industry not focusing on Alexa was an obvious miss. I also wrote that it was game over for these folks in a March 2016 blog post: "Digital Dawn: Amazon is creating the smart house for the rest of us." Guess what? These technology firms and their tech are either gone or have fully embraced Alexa and other top smart tech like Google Home. So, this year, as I journeyed through the Startup and Next exhibits at IBS, I noticed the same unfortunate pattern. But this time, all the software firms offering builder smart tech packages were hawking their interfaces: custom smart displays. The problem was that they were all vastly different; once again, there was no standardization. Can you imagine buying a home with this new smart tech, then learning and getting comfortable with the idiosyncrasies of the display, only to move to another home with a completely different display and dashboard? Sure, all these systems integrate with all the smart tech standards. In fact, most boast "Alexa built-in." However, these vastly different hubs reek of making the same mistake: thinking your tech is better, so your display should be what the consumer uses. To me, that's the failed vision of a lot of tech, streaming back to Betamax vs. VHS tape. Beta was a better tech, but VHS was standardized. Sony held its tech too tightly while VHS was offered by more vendors and became more popular, aided by the fact you could tape more hours. VHS became the standard. Better technology does not automatically trump a more widely used standard, which helps it become more popular. Often, popularity counts more. Amazon Alexa and Google Hubs dominate smart house tech because they created and shared widely adoptable standards that are easy to use ­– and are getting even easier. My guess is that most homeowners will set everything up with their Alexa or Home software and talk to their tech, forgoing the displays altogether. I imagine these firms are collectively investing millions in creating these displays with their proprietary software. Once again, it seems like a misstep and a missed opportunity. Where are the innovations? Sadly, I found very little new tech. Some of the ones that caught my eye included various garage charging stations for your new EV. I can see most new homes eventually offering these as a standard feature, not an upgrade. I was also pleased to see the extensive use of sensors to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of home temperature control and energy use. I wrote about sensors and the future of tech in 2017, and now they are impacting our homes more and more. One example: your thermostat will know when the oven is turned on and not overact to the temperature change, which is more intelligent management of your energy use. Energy storage systems are bringing the "grid" to the home. With solar and other alternative power sources, firms are developing advanced energy management systems that change how we think about energy consumption. In some cases, homes are creating more energy than they are using. These new grids can monitor and manage power in a whole new way. However, on the whole, I saw a lot more iteration than innovation. Of course, iteration is vital – it makes our innovations better. But I've seen the smart toilets lift their lids and turn on their lights as I walked by before. I was hoping to see something really new – like the window tech I saw at the last builder show I attended that adjusts to the sunlight like an automated tinting system to improve energy efficiency. If something cutting edge was at this IBS, I missed it… Except for the Tesla-ride via the Las Vegas loop that shuttled me between the convention halls. No driverless cars, but the experience was a huge time-saver. A 20+/-minute walk from the North to the West Hall was accomplished in a few minutes through a coolly lit tunnel. Now that was hot tech. (See video here.) IBS + NAREE What I did not miss was attending a NAREE event at IBS. It was so good to be back with a winter event. I've been a NAREE member for more than 25 years. I probably attended more than a dozen IBS shows as well. IBS draws a much different crowd of attendees and reporters covering real estate. At IBS, I immediately bumped into perennial NAREE attendees, including Eileen McEleney Woods at the Boston Globe (Chair of NAREE), Mary Doyle Kimball, NAREE Executive Director, Ralph Bivins at Realty News Report, and Clare Trapasso, News Editor at realtor.com. A few other NAREE members I usually see at IBS planned to attend but didn't make it as airline groundings and other unpreventable circumstances prevailed. NAREE Past President Lew Sichelman, current NAREE President Jason Hidalgo at the Reno Gazette-Journal, and Jeff Collins at the Orange County Register/Southern California News Group were unable to attend. I am sure there were others, as winter storms caused a slew of cancellations. There was even snow in the Las Vegas area the day before the convention began. As a result, thousands of flights were canceled. I arrived in Vegas from Seattle, flying my favorite airline (Alaska). It was a breeze for me. However, getting to the hotel took longer than usual and was twice the typical fee. I later discovered I could have cut the cost of my hotel trip in half if I had used the taxi app, Curb. I used it in New York at Inman Connect the week before, but did not realize it worked in Vegas. Pro tip: The Curb app does not have the surge pricing you'll see on Uber or Lyft. It's great to use as an alternative for price comparison. It works great in NYC and reasonably well in Vegas. The highlight of IBS was the NAREE event. They hosted a reception on the High Roller Observation Wheel. The 30-minute ride included a hosted bar with a talented and personable bartender and unlimited beverages. It was a fun event and a great way to socialize and see the lights that blanket the Vegas skyline from a helicopter view. Not long ago, I thought I might never enjoy a tight space like the High Roller capsule packed with people and no masks. I was wrong. We all enjoyed it (at least those of us not afraid of heights), proving that being face-to-face with others is something tech can't replicate – or replace. Now excuse me, as I must take a COVID test. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity May Be Coming to a Conference Near You
Team members from Tech Helpline, real estate's top-ranked tech support service, and Form Simplicity, the only Realtor association-owned top digital transaction management solution, are hitting the road. With more agents working remotely, tech support and digital solutions have never been more vital. That's why Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity representatives may be coming to a conference near you to showcase its technology services and solutions for real estate brokers and agents nationwide. Owned and operated by Florida Realtors®, both Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline are available to associations, MLSs and brokerages nationwide. Tech Helpline Check out Tech Helpline's new mobile app – available on Google Play and the App Store – that allows you to connect directly with a tech advisor while on the go. Or bring your top tech questions to the conference to ask Tech Helpline experts. Dubbed the real estate industry's "Genius Bar," the staff at Tech Helpline have a combined IT experience of 350+ years, providing support in English and Spanish via online chat, phone, and email. Form Simplicity If you're looking for a transaction management solution to help you go digital – or replace your current solution – talk to the experts from Form Simplicity to see how easy, safe, and secure it can be to go digital and paperless. Here is a list of upcoming conventions and conferences attended by Tech Helpline and/or Form Simplicity: August 24 to 25 – Florida Realtors in Orlando, FL: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will return to the Florida Realtors Convention & Trade Expo at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Their booths are in the Sebastian Foyer, and analysts from Tech Helpline will be available to assist you with any issues you might face with your devices while on site. Also, check out "Selfie City," sponsored by Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline. Most importantly, don't miss the in-person training sessions throughout Wednesday and Thursday, by Kaz Cisowski and Jason Schatz, including: Wednesday, Aug. 24: 10:00 am – 11:00 am: "Master the Paperless Transaction in Form Simplicity"3:00 pm – 3:30 pm: "Brokers: Reduce Risk and Remain Compliant with Form Simplicity"4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: "Learn the new and improved eSign 2.0" Thursday, Aug. 25: 9:00 am – 10:00 am: "Brokers: Reduce Risk and Remain Compliant with Form Simplicity"10:30 am – 11:30 am: "Learn the new and improved eSign 2.0"2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: "Master the Paperless Transaction in Form Simplicity" August 29 to September 2 – Georgia Realtors in Nashville, TN: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be exhibiting at the GAR Annual Conference & Expo at The Nashville Renaissance Hotel. September 12-14 – Arkansas Realtors in Jonesboro, AR: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be present at the Arkansas REALTORS® 98th Annual Tradeshow & Convention, including as the sponsor of the ARA app. September 13-16 – Wyoming Realtors in Cody, WY: Form Simplicity education and training expert Kaz will be teaching three one-hour classes at the Wyoming REALTORS® Conference and Expo, including "The Foundations of Form Simplicity" (1CE), "Optimizing Your Workflow with Form Simplicity" (1CE) and "eSign and Close!" (1CE). September 18-21 – Ohio Realtors in Cleveland, OH: Tech Helpline heads to the Ohio REALTORS® Annual Convention and Expo. September 19 – Greater Springfield Realtors in Springfield, MO: Kaz will be teaching several workshops, including "The Foundations of Form Simplicity," "Optimizing Your Workflow with Form Simplicity," and "eSign and Close!" at the Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®. September 20-22 – Missouri Realtors in Chesterfield, MO: Both Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be at the Missouri REALTORS® Fall Business Conference. Kaz will teach three one-hour Form Simplicity sessions. Please, check the convention's schedule for the days and times. September 28-30 – Council of MLS in Indianapolis, IN: Stop by the Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline exhibit at CMLS2022, located at JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. October 3-6 – Oregon Realtors in Seaside, OR: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will travel to the Oregon REALTORS® Fall Convention. October 4-7 – Idaho Realtors in Coeur d'Alene, ID: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline also will be at the Idaho REALTORS® Convention at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. October 5-7 – Kansas Realtors in Overland Park, KS: Kaz will provide in-person training, including three one-hour classes during the KAR Annual Conference & Expo, including "The Foundations of Form Simplicity" (1CE), "Optimizing Your Workflow with Form Simplicity" (1CE), and "eSign and Close!" (1CE). November 11-13 – Realtors Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL: This year, Florida Realtors headquarters city is home to the biggest annual Realtor event, now renamed NAR NXT, The REALTOR® Experience, at the Orange County Convention Center. Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be front and center in booth #851. Kaz will provide in-person training that includes three sessions on Friday, November 11, and four sessions on Saturday, November 12. His line-up includes: Friday, November 11: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: "Get Started with Form Simplicity"2:30 pm to 3:30 pm: "Optimize Your Transaction Management Workflow"4:00 pm to 5:00 pm: "eSign and Close!" Saturday, November 12: 10:30 am to 11:30 am: "Get Started with Form Simplicity"12:00 pm to 1:00 pm: "Optimize Your Transaction Management Workflow"1:30 pm to 2:30 pm: "Brokers: Reduce Risk and Remain Compliant"3:00 pm to 4:00 pm: "eSign and Close!" December 5-8 – Triple Play at Atlantic City, NJ: The Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline team wraps up its travel schedule with the Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Hosts include the New Jersey Realtors®, NYSAR, and the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®. If you attend any of these conferences, please bring all your questions for Tech Helpline or Form Simplicity. Our team is ready to help you or get you swiftly connected to Tech Helpline analysts or Form Simplicity experts to ensure you get the answers and support you need. And we will update this article on the FormSimplicity.com and TechHelpline.com blogs as more information becomes available. We hope to see you soon! Other topics you also may be interested in: "How Tech Helpline became known for 'Friendly Tech Support'" – July 2022 "How to Answer the Top 3 Questions Clients Have About eSigning" – July 2022 "The 5 Most Common Questions Agents Ask When They Call Tech Support" – June 2022 "Which of These 3 Reasons Convinced You to Use THE Software Tool Brokers Encourage Most?" – May 2022 Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Should You Go to a Real Estate Conference?
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Realtors Discuss Top Emerging Tech Trends Impacting Real Estate Industry
The metaverse and blockchain technology could have a significant impact on the future of real estate, according to experts at the 2022 REALTORS Legislative Meetings. Several hundred Realtors attended Wednesday's Emerging Business Issues and Technology Forum, which provided insight into the top emerging tech trends that are expected to have the biggest impact on the real estate industry in the coming years. Jane Dzielski, Google's principal analytical lead, kicked off the session with a presentation on data trends in the real estate sector. She said that prior to the pandemic, only one in 10 households moved each year. "We are now seeing a ton of moving activity," Dzielski said. "Twenty-five percent of consumers have moved in the past two years and 24% plan to move in the next year." Dzielski also said that while internet searches for buying a second home dropped in the first half of 2020 (-9%), they have surged since then (+23%). According to Google's data, the top reasons that homeowners cited for purchasing a second home were to diversify their investments, earn money renting, and use as a vacation home. Ashley Stinton, Second Century Ventures' head of marketing, discussed the recent rise in investment in real estate technology companies, explaining that over $31 billion was invested in 2021. "These are unprecedented numbers," Stinton said. "We've seen 12 new prop tech unicorns as well as over 150 merger and acquisition transactions." Stinton noted that SCV's REACH scale-up program plays an active role in shaping the future of real estate technology investment. "We find, support, accelerate, and scale the innovative companies that are going to have the highest impact on Realtors®' businesses," she said. "We then bring these technologies to NAR members so that these companies can work hand-in-hand with the Realtor® community as they build out their products and services." "Meta has committed to investing $10 billion per year, for each of the next 10 years, just on the metaverse," Weisman said. "The metaverse is going to change how we interact as a society, how we use the internet in general, and ultimately how people buy and sell homes." Dave Conroy, NAR's director of emerging technology, discussed how cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and blockchain technology will influence real estate businesses and transactions. He cited a Redfin report that said nearly one in nine first-time buyers – 11.6% – sold cryptocurrency to help finance a down payment in 2021, up from 8.8% in 2020 and 4.6% in 2019. "Blockchains are a new way of thinking about information management," he said. "They provide a verifiable and trustworthy record of events or transactions. This is a critical component of any transaction." Conroy concluded the session underscoring the importance of decentralized finance and the role it could play in real estate in the future. "Decentralized Finance, or DeFi for short, refers to financial services that exist on blockchains," he said. "With financing being a key component of the transaction, Realtors® should become familiar with the new tools that are becoming available in the DeFi landscape."
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How to Successfully Attend a Trade Show
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Your Survival Guide to Attending a Virtual Conference
The next real estate conference you are most likely to attend won't require you to drive or fly. You won't have to book a hotel or dinner reservations. Instead, you will go online via your computer or smartphone. Virtual conferences have rapidly taken to replacing major in-person meetings and conventions in every industry. Even the largest meeting of Realtors, the annual convention of the National Association of Realtors, has announced it will be virtual this fall. The NAR Annual Convention announced it will move from an in-person event that was set for New Orleans in early November to a fully virtual event online from November 13-16. Attending a conference or convention online sounds a lot easier, right? Be forewarned that attending a virtual convention for three or four days in a row can be as exhausting as attending one in person. But you can reduce the stress and strain that can come from attending a virtual meeting by following these tips before, during, and after an all online conference. Before a virtual conference Plan early: Block your calendar as if you are attending a real conference. Select your "must attend" events. And if technology fails during a must-attend session, have a "Plan B" alternative as a backup. Make sure you build in breaks – even if the schedulers appear to overlook this need – we are all learning how to adapt! Take a test drive: If you have never attended a virtual conference, before you block your schedule for three or four days, test out a half-day online event. There are many free conferences and meetings online locally and nationally that cover many industries, including real estate. Try out how it feels to attend a virtual conference – being online for four or more hours straight – you'll discover in advance if you need better equipment. You might find you need a more comfortable office chair or a large computer monitor. It's better to learn this in advance of attending a multi-day event. Be tech ready: Explore the website of the conference you are planning to attend to see if it offers a mobile app. The earlier you can download, install, and set up the app, the better. There are often built-in tools such as an event schedule calendar featuring alters, a list of attendees, and ways to connect with others. If you know the conference is going to use video, some browsers (Google Chrome, Windows) allow you to add features that can speed up video playback. Research and install these, and they might come in handy. Finally, test your viewing technology. If you are going to have interactive sessions where you can be seen and heard along with other participants, make sure you have the essentials for two-way participation. You need to make sure you have the right set up: a good video camera, proper lighting, and a microphone. While built-in cameras and mics may work fine, investing the dollars you are saving by attending virtually to better equipment can help you make a great impression. Remember to clean your screen: Smudges can make a laptop's camera blurry. Set your brightness level. Make sure everything is plugged in well in advance of your meeting. If you know you are using technology like Zoom, Webex or GoToMeeting, make sure you have the latest software installed well before you try to connect. During the virtual conference Breaks will save your back and your eyes: You need to stand and stretch – and often – when attending a virtual conference. You will not be getting up anytime soon to walk several blocks to your next session like you would at a regular convention. So, don't be stuck at your desk either. Walk around your room, and remember to exercise your eyes as well. Eye fatigue can give you headaches if you stare at a screen too long. You can learn about different ways to exercise your eyes here. Remember, breaks are vital to virtual conference endurance. Use a video playback speed hack: Most virtual conventions won't be completely live, as it takes too much bandwidth. While live sessions may be more common for smaller breakout panels and workshops, General Sessions are most likely going to be on video. There's a hack to speed up your viewing to squeeze out extra time to get all the content still but stay on top of your regular business responsibilities. The most common commercial video platform is Vimeo and YouTube for general videos. YouTube has a built-in speed adjustment found by clicking on the gear icon at the bottom of the YouTube video player. Microsoft Edge offers users a tool that adjusts YouTube playback as well. Vimeo Pro and Business accounts also have this feature built-in, but Google Chrome users can add a plugin that allows them to control Vimeo videos' speed. This can be a huge time saver when you have a presenter who speaks slow. While the average person speaks at a pace of 100-130 words per minute, our minds can fully comprehend speech at 180 words per minute. Ask questions and engage whenever possible: A virtual conference can't replace the energy one gets from being in a room with other people. Keep the Chat Box open and do your best to ask questions. Use the Chat Box to read and comment to all – or directly to others – when you have a thought to share. Being engaged online can help you get more out of a virtual conference. If you get the opportunity to participate in a live two-way session, make sure you look directly at the camera, frame your face correctly, and avoid backlighting so you can look your best. After the virtual conference Recorded sessions: If you know for sure you'll have access to all or some recorded sessions soon after the virtual conference, take advantage of it. Look at the convention schedule for potential conflicts of overlapping sessions you want to attend. If you know one session will be available for playback later, visit the one that won't be viewable. It's great when you can "attend" a virtual meeting you would have certainly missed in person. Electronic handouts: Often, a speaker will mention that they will make their PowerPoint presentation or other material available after the meeting. Send yourself a reminder to follow up to collect these items if you don't automatically receive them as promised. This often saves you a lot of time taking notes – or trying to capture a screenshot. Post-conference networking: While we can't attend a major real estate convention in person, we can try to take advantage of the fact that more people than ever are likely to participate in a virtual meeting of the Florida Realtors or the National Association of Realtors. That means a shared experience with more people whom you know. And while you may not be physically sitting next to them, think about how you might follow up with them afterward to discuss. Perhaps even hold a Zoom meeting post-conference to share what you learned and discover what others learned. The great thing about virtual conferences is that it is hard to beat the ROI — return on investment — it offers versus an in-person meet. The downside is that even the most creative attempts at hosting a virtual Happy Hour can't replace having a drink in the lobby bar with a colleague or friend. The good news is you can get a lot out of a virtual convention if you get organized, stay focused by taking breaks and creating ways to stay engaged. You still might need a vacation afterwards. And if you have any issues with your technology, remember you can always contact Tech Helpline. Your tech support team available as a member benefit at no additional cost. To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity are on the road again!
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On the Road Again: Tech Helpline May Be Coming Your Way
Tech support is often thought of as a kind of necessary evil. You will call upon it when you're stuck, but you probably dread making the call. That makes it hard for many people because we live in a tech-centric world today, which means the importance of tech support is growing, and we're going to need that crucial help at critical times now more than ever. Fortunately, nearly 50 percent of agents and brokers in North America – more than 600,000 in the U.S. and Canada – have access to Tech Helpline. Now if you have made a call to Tech Helpline before, then you know what I am talking about. We earned the moniker "The Genius Bar of Real Estate" because of our no-nonsense technical advice and warm, friendly, customer service. When is the last time you called for tech support and felt you were treated by someone who was "warm and friendly"? You get my point. It's why so many Realtor® associations, Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and real estate brokerage firms discover that of all the benefits they provide their members or agents, Tech Helpline is often their highest praised benefit. It's also why Tech Helpline has become the #1 tech support service in the real estate industry. Our Orlando, Florida-based staff of professional tech analysts have nearly 300 years of combined IT experience, and we provide support by phone, chat or email, in English or Spanish. We bet that if you have used Tech Helpline, you found the experience so much better than other Tech Support experiences that it left a lasting impression. If you haven't used Tech Helpline or are not aware of what we offer, Tech Helpline may be coming to a conference or convention near you! Each year, a small team from Tech Helpline goes on the road to meet with existing customers and seek out new ones. We wanted to share our schedule with you and invite you to meet Tech Helpline face-to-face. Jessica Smith, who manages the integration of Tech Helpline with all of our new customers, will be our chief ambassador. Other Tech Helpline ambassadors will be Marc Zayas and Caitlin Vaught. They all will be taking turns on the road, traveling from August 8 through October 10. They will all be starting locally, in Orlando, where Tech Helpline is based, at the Florida Realtors Convention & Trade Show and will travel to six more states, as far as Colorado and California. Here is the schedule for Tech Helpline and the upcoming trade shows and conventions we will attend. If the booth number is currently not available, check back closer to the event date for an update here. August 8-9Florida Realtors Convention & Trade Show - Orlando, FL (Rosen Shingle Creek)Link: http://convention.floridarealtors.org/Location: Sebastian Foyer September 12-14Rise Above Realtor Convention of the Dakotas 2018Link: https://www.2018conventionofthedakotas.com/Booth #: TBD September 16-18North Carolina Realtors Convention and Expo – Wilmington, NC (Wilmington Conv Center)Link: http://xchange18.com/Location: Jessica will be at Booth #611 on Sunday (9/16) and then at a Help Desk located in the pre-function area of the convention center on Monday (9/17) & Tuesday (9/18) September 17-18Wisconsin Realtors® Annual conventionLink: https://www.wra.org/CONVENTION/Location: Booth #49 September 25-27Virginia Realtors® Annual Convention 2018 (Norfolk)Link: https://www.virginiarealtors.org/events/annual-convention-2018/Booth #: TBD September 26-28CMLS2018 – Orlando, Universal City, Lowes Sapphire FallsLink: http://cmls2018.com/Booth #: TBD October 9-11California Realtor Expo – Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CALink: https://expo.car.org/Booth #: TBD October 10-11Colorado Association of Realtors – Refresh Expo – Colorado Convention Center, Denver COLink: https://refreshexpo.eventwaves.com/Booth #: TBD Remember to bring your Tech Helpline questions with you. If Jessica, Marc or Caitlin can't help you directly at the show, they will be able to connect you with one of our Tech Helpline analysts. We hope to see you on the road! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.    
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Hot New Tech from NAR Midyear
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Network, Brainstorm, and Energize the Last Half of 2018
Summer and fall offer agents an array of professional event opportunities The concept of "networking" to build a sphere of influence shouldn't be applied only to agents and prospective clients. Networking among other agents is a highly valuable way to gain industry insight, swap best practices, and learn what marketing tactics and technologies consumers are demanding. Throughout every year, the industry gathers at an array of professional events, some quaint and selective, others communal and celebratory. Whatever the tone, real estate conferences provide agents an outlet to share new ideas and recharge their approach to business. We've summarized here a number of diverse upcoming industry events to consider for your Summer/Fall 2018 calendar. Find one you like? Better register quickly, because the industry is changing by the day, and events like these help everyone keep a finger on the pulse.
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Six Social Media Tips to Make You a Pro at Real Estate Conferences
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Top Headlines from NAR Annual
Each year's NAR Annual conference is always a flurry of announcements and educational sessions. Judging by the way the endless news releases burned up our RSS feeds, this year's conference in San Diego was no. To keep our readers informed, whether they attended the event or not, we've rounded up this list of headlines from this year's trade show. Realtors® to Receive zipForm Plus® and zipTMS™ as Free Member Benefit Let's kick off this list with some good news--and what's better than a free, new member benefit? On the final day of the conference, NAR and zipLogix announced that all Realtors will now receive zipForm Plus and zipTMS, a transaction management solution, for free. Brokers looking to expand their offerings beyond zipForm and zipTMS will be able to purchase additional tools from zipLogix via exclusive, members-only pricing. NAR Prioritizes Member Safety in 2015 and Beyond Agent safety has been a top concern for NAR during the tenure of its 2015 president, Chris Polychron, who introduced safety classes, webinars, videos, presentations and more. NAR members can access all these materials here. RE Technology members looking to supplement these materials with practical advice for reducing risk can read a 12-part series on agent safety here. Cybercriminals Targeting Real Estate Transactions Physical safety isn't the only threat to real estate professionals. Because they handle sensitive client data, like social security numbers and more, brokers and agents are a prime target for hackers. NAR offers an online training course for professionals looking to better understand how to protect sensitive information. For more information, learn about keeping data secure or read these digital security tips.
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Following #ICSF: Day 1 at Inman Connect SF
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Following #ICNY: Straight Talk from Barbara Corcoran, Zillow, and more
Wild blizzards couldn't keep the attendees away from this year's Inman Connect in New York City. The conference kicked off its official first day with the likes of Barbara Corcoran, Spencer Rascoff, and more gracing the stage. We kept up with all the action by following conference goers via the Twitter hashtag #ICNY. Below is a sampling of our favorite tweets from day one. Jacy Riedmann - @alexisohanian "In the industrial revolution, you had to open a factory to start a business, now, you need to open a laptop." #icny Andrew Strickman - Great start to #ICNY with @alexisohanian on thinking like a startup: "Make something people want. The back button is your enemy." PointDrive - "Love your early customers." - @alexisohanian #ICNY @InmanConnect Kevin Hawkins - Alexis @reddit - The Web is simply the world's biggest water cooler #ICNY Chris Nichols - "Invest in and leverage proprietary data". What's your "ONLY" statement? Your competitive advantage? - Joanna Lord #ICNY Angela Raab - Ecosystem means participate in the industry but also participate where your consumers are. @JoannaLord #icny
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Following #NARAnnual: Conference Wrap-up
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Conferences, Conventions and Local Organizations: Are They Worth Your Time?
This post comes to us from the Market Leader blog: Every year, there are more real estate industry conventions and conferences than any one agent can possibly attend. Then, there are the local networking events, such as chamber mixers and community events that can be used (subtly) to network. All of these events can quickly fill up a real estate agent's calendar, so it's important to decide which are worth your time, and let the other ones slide. So, how to decide? It's all about the takeaways. Think carefully about what's valuable to you, and figure out which events you'll get the most out of. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your time. Industry Events Industry events such as conferences and conventions are fine for networking, especially if you specialize in relocation or are looking for referrals. They're also ideal educational arenas. Deciding which ones to attend each year can be challenging. Ask yourself what part of your business needs the most attention. What area do you want to devote more time to in the coming year? Maybe you'd like to beef up your website, take on video marketing, or become more mobile-marketing savvy. Some workshops at conventions and conferences are highly specific and specialized. The upcoming National Association of Realtors® Conference, for instance, is offering a workshop on the use of drones in marketing.
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New to Real Estate? 5 Great Ideas to Let People Know
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#ICSF Day 2: Tech Adoption, Branding, UX and...Surfing
It may just be my inner Californian talking, but a presentation that employs surfing metaphors is okay in my book. Judging by all the tweets surrounding broker Matt Beall's talk during Inman Connect San Francisco's second day, that assessment is correct. Day two featured a robust schedule of speakers and sessions, ranging from Bran Inman's interview with RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly to a panel of buyers sharing their experiences as consumers. There were plenty more hella gnar presentations at Inman Connect today. To glean the best nuggets of wisdom, we took to Twitter to follow the official conference hashtag, #ICSF. (Missed our coverage of Day One? Read it here!) *** Zach Schabot - Love this philosophy from @mattbeall "Don't leave waves to find waves" #ICSF Rosemary Buerger - What do you do in a lull? You paddle and position yourself to ride the next set of waves! @mattbeall Love this! #ICSF Jay Thompson - I wanna learn to surf. #icsf
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#ICSF Day 1: Culture, Social Media, Leads, and More
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How to Be a Trade Show Pro
It's our favorite time of year again – trade show season! After a brief hiatus for the winter holidays, real estate industry conventions are back in full force. With Inman's Real Estate Connect just one week away – as well as a host of other awesome shows – we thought the timing might be exactly right for a post on how to become a trade show pro. Because booking your flight and hotel is only half the battle. Our dedicated sales and marketing teams travel to dozens of trade shows in the US and Canada each year. So we aren't exaggerating when we say we have oodles of experience when it comes to finding the best eats, making sure your feet don't hurt and scoring the best swag. Read on for four industry-insider tips on how to be a real estate trade show pro! Make Friends with Twitter Today's real estate conventions and trade shows make use of identifying hashtags to enable conversations on Twitter. Hashtags are used to mark a tweet as belonging to a specific conversation. For instance, the hashtag for Real Estate Connect is #ICNY. If you click here, you will see that attendees and speakers are already using that hashtag to talk about what they're going to see and do at the conference next week. Because Twitter happens in real time, using Twitter to find conversations about the trade show you're attending is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. You can learn which booths are giving away the best swag, find out what events are happening next and even discover great places to eat. If you're new to Twitter, check out our Twitter tips for real estate agents and get started today.
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Did you miss it? Catch what you missed at Conference Live and Playback NAR.
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DO’s and DON’Ts of Networking Events for Agents
Do you ever attend regional or national real estate conferences? We do! Real estate conferences and conventions are great places to connect with other professionals and expand your sphere of influence. Whether you meet a fellow agent from a neighboring area with whom you can exchange referrals or a complimentary vendor you can partner with, networking is a great way to get more leads. Of course, meeting strangers at a professional event (or anywhere!) can be tricky. It's important to give the people you interact with the right impression and avoid social faux pas that might prevent you from doing business together in the future. How do you know what to say and what to do? To help you perfect your networking skills and maximize your opportunities, today we've compiled the eight DO's and DON'Ts of event networking for real estate agents and brokers. DO's Smile Is anything more intimidating than a stranger with a scowl? Invite conversation by smiling and making eye contact to let others know you are ready to interact. Avoid closed-off body language like tightly crossed arms or a downward gaze.
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REach™ Accelerator Class of 2013 to conclude at REALTORS® Conference & Expo
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5 Ways to Have a More Productive Conference
Heading to a conference, convention, or expo this month? With so many real estate events on the calendar, chances are you've got one coming up. Before attending your next event, try doing a little strategizing to make sure you get the most out of your experience. Your time is valuable and with jam-packed event schedules, a little preparation goes a long way! Below are five ways to ensure that your event is a productive one. 1. Plan your day. The plan doesn't have to be detailed down to the minute, but do take some time to look over the event calendar and choose what you'd like to see, attend, participate in, etc. Vet the speakers, break out sessions, and vendors before arriving at the conference. What looks interesting? Make a point to explore that at the event. Doing this alone is ideal since you'll be less likely to shift your plan or make adjustments for other attendees. Don't compromise on why you want to attend. It's your conference, so get what you want out of it! 2. Set goals. Before your next event, set a few goals and acknowledge what your intentions are. Do you want to learn something new? Network with colleagues? Look for products or services to grow your business? Thinking about these things and setting goals ahead of time is a proactive way to make your event a productive use of time. To take it a step further, think about how you want to feel at the event and make that a goal, too. How do you want to feel at the end of the event? By setting goals, you'll be better able to stay focused and reap the maximum benefit. Your goals may be different than someone else's and that's okay. Every attendee has his or her own agenda, but ultimately you are responsible for your experience.
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Hurry! Register now for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo and receive an MVP Reward!
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The REALTORS® Conference and Expo: A Year-Long Learning Experience
Register for a Premier Access Pass to the REALTORS® Conference and Expo and you'll get complimentary access to all education session recordings for one full year. Last year's attendees had access to more than 100 recorded sessions and nearly 150 hours of learning. No other real estate conference provides this much educational content during and after the event. The Premier Access Pass lets you pick and choose which sessions to attend at the conference, and which ones to review after the event. Agents: This is a great way to catch up on sessions you might have missed, or revisit sessions you attended for that key piece of information. Brokers: Share the sessions with your agents throughout the year to help them stay on top of the latest trends and opportunities. Last year's attendees say it best: "I will use the access to the online recordings of all of the seminars all year long to further reinforce my learning and gain inspiration along the way. That is actually the best part was that with the full conference I will have access to courses I missed because they overlapped with another one." "Wow! It's like a gift that keeps on giving! Now as I look forward to the next NAR Annual Convention I can take me time and gain additional knowledge all year long!...I am proud to be a member of the NAR and happy that I invested in myself by going to the best Conference ever!"
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#ICSF Day 2: Off-MLS Listings, Tech Tools and beyond
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Inman Connect Day 1: Robots, IDX, and C.A.R. vs. dotloop
Real estate technology conference Inman Connect kicked off in San Francisco today. Conference attendees attended panels and talks on subjects ranging from robots and Google Glass to the worth of IDX. The most anticipated event of the day, however, was the on-stage debate between C.A.R's Joel Singer and Austin Allison of dotloop. The two went head-to-head in a discussion on the security and privacy issues behind C.A.R.'s recent refusal to license its forms to dotloop. We took to Twitter today to watch all the action unfold. It's our favorite way to monitor real time updates from the conference. Below, we've compiled a few of the day's best Tweets to keep our readers up to date, as well. Read on for some great 140-character nuggets of real estate wisdom. * * * KWStudioCity - Realtors benefits when C.A.R. ensures that their privacy and security is protected and respected, comments Joel on forms usage at #ICSF Laurie Weston Davis - It's not a choice if an agent wants oranges and you are force feeding apples CAR #icsf #choice Jack Miller - Separation of Content (forms) and code (software) allow user choice. Why can't we do that? #icsf Sam Scott - High drama at #ICSF as Austin Allison and Joel Singer debate access to CAR's proprietary forms. pic.twitter.com/n4fxxWJjph
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The REALTORS® Conference & Expo Can Help You Make More Money
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Is it Important to Network With Other Agents?
We've all heard that networking is an essential aspect of strong business development. What many in the real estate industry don't seem to get, however, is that networking's sole aim is to grow and promote your business. Looked at through that lens, the value of networking for real estate agents lies in hanging out with people that can help them find clients, not those that are competing for those very same leads. Networking With Other Agents in Town It appears that the real estate industry generally conflates networking with socializing, and those are distinctly different animals. Remember, other agents in your market are highly unlikely to promote your business in any way, shape or form, so networking with them, in the strict sense of the word, is useless. Socializing, on the other hand, may be of immense value, but for different reasons. Who doesn't need to blow off steam from time-to-time, and what better way to do that than with someone who does what you do for a living? Who else understands the frustration of a listing client who insists on overpricing the home, or the buyer who lowballs every list price and wonders why his offers aren't accepted? From commiserating to sharing ideas, having lunch, cocktails or coffee with another agent in your market is good for the soul. Just don't think of it as networking, and don't waste valuable time socializing with your competition under the guise of networking.
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Big Announcements Kick Off NAR Midyear Trade Expo
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RE Technology's Guide to Midyear Exhibitors
Going to Midyear? It's a great place to network with fellow REALTORS® and hear about industry trends. We particularly like that you can find just about any tech tool to improve multiple aspects your real estate practice. Booths at the Trade Expo are the best place to find out about useful tech products. You can ask company representatives questions about their products, see live demos, and often receive special discounts or even win prizes. It's a big show, though, and it can be hard to hit every booth that interests you. That's why we've created this handy guide to Midyear exhibitors. We've even arranged it by booth number to make navigating the tradeshow floor super easy! You'll see the booth number and the company name with each entry, as well as the types of products offered. If you're looking for a CRM solution, for example, just check our list below to quickly see which companies offer that kind of product. Using our 2013 Technology Guide's custom download feature, we've also created a PDF where you can get in-depth information on each product these companies offer. Download it now to help plan which booths to visit! Company: Instanet Solutions Booth #: 109 Learn about this technology: Document Management, Transaction Management, eSignatures Company: Mobile Realty Apps Booth #: 113 Learn about this technology: Mobile Apps Company: FBS Booth #: 200 Learn about this technology: eCommerce, MLS Systems
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zipLogix to Preview Next Generation of zipForm at NAR Midyear
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Why Real Estate Conferences and Conventions are Important for Business
The cocktail parties, the dining and dancing, and the networking that goes on at the typical real estate convention or conference may all seem pretty frivolous, but the return on your investment for attending is higher than you may think. You're forging bonds with other agents from around the world – agents you can refer clients to and obtain referrals from in return. You're also getting access to hands-on training, top-notch thought leaders and business strategies that can make for smoother (and more frequent) transactions in the future. After a full year of managing hundreds of events, rubbing shoulders with the best of the best speakers and attending several of the real estate industry's top events, I see three main benefits to attending conferences and conventions: Education On the more serious side of real estate conferences are the phenomenal educational opportunities offered through workshops and lectures. Trainers, nationally renowned speakers, thought leaders, and top industry experts offer timely information on topics and issues that are valuable to agents, brokers and team leads. If you were to obtain the same training outside industry sponsored conventions, you'd pay hundreds, if not thousands, to get access to this information. Not to mention that the trade exhibit halls are packed with new technology and vendors offering ways to make your business run smoother and smarter.
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Highlights from NAR Annual in Orlando
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#ICSF: Final Day
On Friday, the Inman Real Estate Connect conference wrapped up in San Francisco. The real highlight of the day was the Innovator Awards. I found the winners – and more – on social media. #ICSF on Twitter Dan Moore @mooreds : Retechnology party at @templenightclub is hopping #icsf Chris Nichols @utahREpro : Here's your link! #ICSF Real Estate Connect Live Blog – Last Day! http://ow.ly/cIFPA Nick, Ky Realtor @nickratliff : Winner of the Most Innovative New Technology....... Zillow Premier Agent Websites!!! #ICSF Jeffrey Kershner @jeff_kershner : Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise winner is Village Real Estate Services. #ICSF Congrats! Jeffrey Kershner @jeff_kershner : Most Innovative RE Website winner is Zip Realty! #icsf Nick, Ky Realtor @nickratliff : Most Innovative MLS or RE Trade Association...... Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) #icsf Jessica Hayes @TechieJess : Congrats @akardell! Won the Most Innovative Real Estate Startup. :) #icsf Bryan Sereny @bryan_sereny : Dotloop innovator of the year #icsf Lou Mintzer @LouMintzer : :) @HomeSnap wins "Most Innovative Mobile App" at @Imman Connect! #icsf
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#ICSF: Day Two
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#ICSF: Day One
I couldn't make it to Inman Real Estate Connect in San Francisco this week; so, I'm doing the next best thing: following the conference on social media. I'll be sharing some of the highlights here for all you folks who are in the same boat. Follow ICSF 2012 If you'd like to follow ICSF yourself, you can check them out here: Twitter – also check out #ICSF Facebook RealEstateConnect.com/sf12 #ICSF on Twitter Some of my favorite Tweets for Wednesday, August 1st (opening day of the conference): pamela_kabati @pamela_kabati : Expect incremental improvement in housing markets and continued low interest rates over next year, says Inman econ panel. #icsf Lockhart Steele @Lock : Great "New Kids on the Block" lineup at #icsf: @dreamcommerce @happyinspector @homevisor @honestbuildings @lovely @revintanews @videolicious Laura Monroe @LauraMonroe : Data is like a river with tributaries running into it and there are thousands if tributaries. #icsf Chris Lambrou @MREDChris : "Real Estate Data is much like a flowing river..." [have to chime in that this river is currently highly polluted] #noSwimming #icsf RealEstateLivin @RealEstateLivin : @InmanConnect as it happens. Tune in to the Connect live blog: http://ht.ly/cF96u #icsf #realestate #REALTOR Steve Hundley @1parkplace : It's not about pins. It's not about pictures. It's about people. @Chris_Smith #icsf This is still a relationship business. More than ever! Lisa Archer @LisaArcher : backlinks are overrated. via @Chris_Smth #icsf
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Video: Tech Tuesday with Maya Paveza (Nov 8)
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Re-Connect with Inman
Some of the most popular national real estate conferences to attend in the country are Inman Connect conferences.  Packed with engaging speakers, technology trade shows, interesting topics and networking opportunities, Inman conferences provide distinct value for real estate agents and brokers.  For those of you who are on the fence about attending future Inman Connect conferences, or were unable to make the journey to San Francisco, but would like to hear a re-cap on the most popular topics this year, stay tuned.
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Agent Image at the National Association of REALTORS® Expo 2009
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