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Homesnap is the top-rated real estate app in the App Store. Find out why millions of people are using the app that was built for agents and is loved by homebuyers.

 

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5 Realtor Safety Apps to Help Protect You and Your Clients
Being a professional real estate agent involves working with new people you do not know, and that alone can be risky business. After all, research shows that Realtors meet with prospective clients they have never met before either at their office or a neutral location 65% of the time. Nearly 40% off all Realtors hosted an open house alone last year. Almost one in five felt unsafe when doing so. Agents who have shared their stories online about coming close to avoiding a scary situation when asked to show a home point to a common experience: Something just didn't feel right about the prospect. Calls from restricted numbers, requests to see a home on a moment's notice, or a prospect overemphasizing they will be paying all cash can be warning signs, agents have shared. Several agents have revealed that some sketchy prospects have turned into stalkers – fortunately, that landed them in jail. Fortunately, over the last decade, the National Association of Realtors, along with state and local Realtor associations nationwide, have emphasized the importance of personal, professional, and community safety. Historically, September has been Realtor Safety Month, although remaining safety-conscious is a daily task for every agent. The NAR offers a repository of safety information and tips on its website (nar.realtor/safety), including safety planning strategies, tips and best practices to remain safe, safety training videos, and personal protection resources, which includes safety apps for your smartphone. Do you need to use a safety app for your phone? Consider these agent safety study finding from Agent Genius: Most attacks took place on Thursday or Friday afternoons. Roughly 30% of attack victims are men. Most attacks didn't take place inside major metropolitan areas. About half of attacks involved guns. Several attacks resulted in murder, even though robbery was the original intention. Here are five real estate apps for smartphones that are designed to keep agents safe: 1. Forewarn $20 a month – individual agent What it does: Forewarn offers an instant background check. It lets you know in advance who you are about to work with by verifying identity, searching for criminal histories, and validating information provided by unknown prospects. It needs little information upfront, such as a phone number of the person the agent is planning to meet. Available both online and through its mobile app, Forewarn instantly can help agents reduce their risk through using due diligence upfront. In addition to a personal subscription plan, Forewarn is available through many Realtor associations as a member benefit. 2. Real Safe Agent $4.99 month – individual agent What it does: Real Safe Agent is one of the most robust safety apps designed for real estate agents. It uses Hoosfon to see if a prospect is using a prepaid phone as well as other key information that could indicate a red flag. With Prospect Link, Real Safe Agent offers the ability to request a selfie and photo of their driver's license. These tools are used to build an "Agent Comfort Index," which shows if a prospect has been reaching out to other agents and if those agents reported feeling uncomfortable. By leveraging a social networking design, it allows agents to identify individual safety "buddies," fellow teammates and partners, and other individuals to create a safety network of people who are alerted instantly when an agent feels threatened or is in danger. Agents can also use the app to ask for someone in their network to join them at an open house they are hosting alone via an "Accompany Me" feature. Other features include Drop-in Alerts, allowing you to ask another agent in your network to "drop in" if a someone is making you uncomfortable, and an Open House feature to arrange someone to join you when you are opening or closing – the most dangerous times of an open house. Real Safe Agent also offers a unique 9-1-1 Alerts feature, as it notes it is the only system fully integrated with the nation's 911 system, ensuring the correct address is provided to the 911 operator. The alert can be immediately deployed simply by violently shaking one's smartphone. 3. SafeShowings $4.99 month or $49.99 annually – individual agent What it does: SafeShowings, available to more than one million Realtors through their associations, protects agents and the homeowner by capturing facial images of prospects. It also collects geolocation information from your phone. If there is an alert involved, SafeShowings will automatically send the stat to your emergency contacts. During an open house or individual showing, SafeShowings captures a facial image of anyone who is about to enter a property. It allows you to set a timer during a property showing and if an agent is unable end the timer, an alert is instantly and automatically triggered. 4. Homesnap Pro Free for most agents via their local MLS Homesnap Pro+ is $599 a year, discounted to $499 a year for the first year What it does: Homesnap Pro has been downloaded by more than a million real estate agents nationwide. It has a safety tool built in to the app. Before a showing or an open house, an agent can set a safety timer. The safety timer can be set at the agent's discretion for the amount of time they plan to be at the property. The coolest feature is that the app uses Homesnap geolocation technology, which means it automatically populates the property address when you are within 2000 feet of the property you want to show. Homesnap Pro also has a Distress Alert feature that will automatically text to your emergency contacts your time-stamped location, which an agent can access at any time they feel uncomfortable or threatened. 5. SentriKey Real Estate App Subscription prices for its lockbox service vary based on local association member pricing What it does: SentriLock is the official lockbox solution for the NAR, and is an optional, subscription-based service that associations often offer to their members. Its built-in agent safety feature creates an automatic way for an agent to alert their designated emergency contacts in case of potentially dangerous situations. The Agent Safety feature automatically launches when the mobile app is used to open a SentriKey lockbox. The agent can select a set time – SentriLock recommends approximately 90 seconds — or a time determined by the agent — for the app to prompt for a status update. If the agent us unable to respond, the app will automatically alert the agent's designated emergency contacts if the agent does not or cannot confirm they are safe. Safety is not an accident As you can see, many of these safety apps often require a subscription service. But that can be a small price to pay for the peace of mind and comfort it can bring an agent. For more information about other safety technology for real estate agents, see NAR's Resources for Personal Protection. For help setting up or installing any of these safety apps, reach out on your Tech Helpline app, or call or text a Tech Helpline expert for personal and friendly assistance. To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline
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RPR Now Boasts a Better Buyer Tour
If you're an agent who works with buyers, you're pretty accustomed to weekend afternoon tours of homes for sale. You line up a list of homes that meet their wants and needs (and budget, of course), and then you drive around and view each one. This list can be achieved through your hard work and research, but will also often come in the form of specific addresses from your online house-hunting clients. Either way, it's a process. And that process is a whole lot easier with the RPR (Realtors Property Resource) Buyer Tour report, an app-exclusive that is only available via RPR Mobile. The app has recently been updated and improved to make your Buyer Tour experience that much better! The new and improved RPR Buyer Tour Simple in nature but comprehensive all the same, the Buyer Tour Report easily allows agents to select properties and determine an order to tour them. And under the "wait it gets better" category, it then lets agents create a colorful, client-friendly report to share with buyers. It's a great way to set up a schedule and keep a record of what was viewed, and what was liked. If you're already familiar with the RPR app and using the Buyer Tour, we've got great news: the app was recently updated and now boasts some quality enhancements! The most important (and requested) is the ability to "Add known property" to the tour you're building by address or listing ID. The ability to add properties manually, versus running a search and using the map, is a big deal in the Buyer Tour user world. This has been the number one ask from our app users, and we're glad to deliver it. The new Buyer Tour is also the only RPR report that allows you to feature more than one, single property. Watch the new Buyer Tour in action To see how the new Buyer Tour function works in the updated app, watch this step-by step video. It's just over three minutes long and will walk you through the necessary steps to properly set up a buyer tour. And if you prefer written directions, or want to print something out to keep at your side, check out our handy Buyer Tour Printable Guide. It also has step-by-step instructions and some screen grab visuals to help you follow along. Take your buyers on a tour! Reminder: The Buyer Tour is only available via the RPR Mobile app. Download and/or update your app today to experience all the new changes and features, including upgrades to the Buyer Tour function. Set up appointments and tours, add or delete properties from the schedule, then follow up with a report that includes all the homes that were viewed — all from your phone and wherever you have service. To view the original article, visit the RPR
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Tips for Buyers on Choosing Their Next Neighborhood
Have buyer clients that need clear strategies for choosing a new neighborhood? Share this article with them to help them learn how to narrow down the best area for their unique needs. Deciding to move and buying a house can be a stressful, yet exciting process. One of the biggest decisions you'll make when beginning your home search is where you will live. After you decide on the location of your new home, it's time to pick your new neighborhood. Picking your new neighborhood can be tough, especially if you have a family. It's important choose the safest and most practical neighborhood with something for everyone! Neighborhood Safety The first and most important thing to consider when choosing your next neighborhood is the overall safety of the area. At Homes.com, we know the importance of safety, so we have created the "Scores" section on every listing details page of every home for sale or rent.  On the "Scores" section, you can see the Walk Score, Sound Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score.  How Walkable Is the Neighborhood? To find the "Scores" section, go to any property listing details page and scroll past the "Transit" section. Once you get to the "Scores" section, you will see the Walk Score. The Walk Score tells you the walkability of the address and gives you a score out of 100. According to Walkscore.com, a score from 0-20 and 25-49 means Car-Dependent, 50-69 means Somewhat Walkable, 70-89 means Very Walkable, and 90-100 means Walker's Paradise. Even though a Walk Score below 59 seems low, if the score is between 25-49, your family may still be able to walk around the neighborhood, but you won't be able to run errands on foot. If you want an area that's more friendly to walkers, try to find a home in an area that has a walk score above 50. How Loud Is It? To learn about how loud your neighborhood will be, check the Sound Score. Below the Walk Score, you will see the Sound Score. The Sound Score tells you about the outside noise level at the address. The scale for the Sound Score is from 0 to 100. Zero is very loud, and 100 is very quiet. Getting a good night's rest, no matter who you are, is important, so if you are concerned about the sound near your home, it's best to choose a home with a sound score between 70 and 100. Is There Transit Nearby? To check on nearby transit for you and your family, check the Transit Score. You should see the Transit Score to the right of the Walk and Sound Score on the listing details page. The Transit Score tells you how close the address is to nearby public transit, and the scale is from 0 to 100. According to Walkscore.com, a score from 0-24 means Minimal Transit, 25-49 means Some Transit, 50-69 means Good Transit, 70-89 means Excellent Transit, and 90-100 means Rider's Paradise. Using public transit is not only an environmentally conscious decision, but it's a more affordable option than using a car every day. If you want to ensure that your new neighborhood has as many public transportation options as possible, pick a home that has a Transit Score above 50.  Is It Safe to Ride a Bike? To learn about how safe it is to ride bikes in the neighborhood, check out the Bike Score. The last part of the "Scores" section is the Bike Score section, located below Transit Score. According to Walkscore.com, the scale is 0 to 100. A score of 0-49 means Somewhat Bikeable, 50-69 means Bikeable, 70-89 means Very Bikeable, and 90-100 means Biker's Paradise. If you and your family enjoy riding your bikes together, you should look for a home with a Bike Score of at least 50 and above to ensure all of your rides are as safe as possible.   Streetlights Next, look around and see how many streetlights will be near your new home. At night, a few streetlights will help you and your family feel safer. If you see streetlights on your street but they don't come on at night, you might be required to pay a small monthly fee to your power company to keep the lights on. This sometimes occurs in areas outside the city limits. Crime Rates Finally, to get the best idea of the safety in your new neighborhood, you should check out the crime in the area. On City Protect, you can check out the nearest law enforcement agencies and see the incidents happening near the neighborhood. You can also sign up for incident updates to always be in the know and protect your family. Commute to Work Another big consideration you need to make before choosing your next neighborhood is your daily commute to work. You may find a neighborhood you love, but the commute may be over an hour to and from, and that commute could be even longer depending on traffic. Therefore, you should put the home and work addresses into Google Maps to see how long the commute will be. If the commute seems too far, you should pick a neighborhood closer to work.  Schools If you have kids, you'll likely want to check out the schools in the neighborhood you are considering. We have created the "Schools" section on every listing details page. The "Schools" section is below the "Request a Tour" section. Typically, each listing has four schools listed. With each school, you will learn its score out of 10, whether it's elementary, middle, or high school, if the school is public, private, or charter, and how long of a car ride or walk it is from that address. Homes.com gets their school's scores from greatschools.org. Greatschools.org is a website where you can search by the address or name of the school and check out the overall ranking of schools and their test scores. By learning the most about the schools in the area, you can be sure that you are sending your children to the best schools available. Amenities Nearby You might also want to consider the amenities you would like your neighborhood to have, whether it's a park, pool, gym, or restaurant. Determine what kind of amenities would be best for you and your family to enjoy. To find out more about your new neighborhood's amenities, scroll down to the "Parks and Recreation" section or the "Property Details" section on the listing details page. Having these amenities is fun for the whole family and a great resource when making new friends in your neighborhood.   Engagement Speaking of making new friends, you may want to consider the engagement of your neighborhood. Some neighborhoods host group events such as block parties around the holidays. If you and your family enjoy these types of activities, then try and find a neighborhood with a community that engages with one another. Most neighbors that have a lot of engagement usually have an HOA. An HOA is a homeowners' association that charges monthly fees to residents to maintain the neighborhood and keep engagement high. To learn more about HOAs, check out our article, What Is an HOA, or Homeowners Association? Hopefully now you know how to pick the safest and most comfortable neighborhood for you and your family. And if you ever get stuck, Homes.com is here with our Search feature to help you find the perfect home! To view the original article, visit the Homes.com
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