Note… Despite what you are about to read, I don’t think of myself as a HUGE computer geek and I hope you won’t either. I like the outside and exercise and all of that This is a very general overview but I’m happy to go into specifics one on one or in a future post (if requested).
Real estate agents and technology are a perfect pairing. With an MLS that spans the entire DC Metro area and GPS, it’s much easier to be a neighborhood “expert” anywhere we feel like going (provided we’re licensed in the state). The graphic to your right shows the places I’ve sold homes in. The red star is where I live and the blue stars are my farthest sales. So for me, a one and a half hour drive in any direction is comfortable. (UPDATE
: I just sold a home in Charlottesville which is off the shown map to the Southwest)
Next to the Multiple Listing Service, the technology real estate agents employ varies agent by agent. I’ll list my most often used technologies and gadgets and some similar alternatives. They aren’t REALTOR specific so you may find them useful too!
Phone/PDA/Tablet: About 12 years ago, I started with a Philips Nino which was a Windows based handheld PDA, which means I was an early adopter. Since then, I’ve owned the Cassiopeia E105 and E115, A Dell Axim and an HTC Tilt. All were problematic. The best PDA/Phone I’ve ever owned is the iPhone I use now but it’s 3 years old and on it’s last leg. Being a big kid, I always want to have the next big thing so I’m taking a chance with the Samsung Galaxy S II when it finally gets released on September 18′th after what seems like forever. The entire world has this phone except for the USA.
I own and use the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which has all but replaced my laptop. I really like it but the battery doesn’t last as long as the iPads. It also doesn’t have as many tablet specific apps but that should change soon since Android is working towards taking the dominant position away from Apple as they have with mobile phones. However, for someone new to the tablet form factor, I don’t think you could do better than Apples iPad.
Note taking: I use apps as a “catch all” for getting things done. They either get done or transition to my Highrise tasks. I use http://evernote.com/
which is always in sync. It doesn’t matter if I’m using a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet, everything is available. I’m using Evernote to draft this blog post. Once completed, I’ll copy and paste into http://www.notetab.com/
to strip any formatting and then copy and paste into my WordPress blog. Close runner up: http://springpadit.com
Document Sharing: Even though I’m a Google fan and I should like http://box.net/
, I like https://www.dropbox.com/
which lets me drag and drop files into a normal looking folder and it’s synchronized on the web and with all devices. I keep all documents there for active clients until the deal closes so that I can access them instantly from anywhere.
Sharing information with clients: Evernote, Springpad and Dropbox allow you to share share things with specific people but I tend to use Backpack from http://37signals.com/
. The information I share are things like a Pre-Settlement Checklist, A list of Utility Companies for the move or a list of client specific files/documents.
DocuSign: Is a great way to get things singed and initialed when buyers or sellers are out of town.
Photography: I always have professional photographs taken for new listings. Those photos go on the MLS, my web site, Flickr and either youtube, Vimeo or Animoto (all great products).
Website: I’ve designed websites in the past and they did well on search engines but troubleshooting website problems doesn’t pay my mortgage so… My Website is a Dakno site. on my site are two WordPress blogs that look just like my primary site. I have a blog and a photo blog.
Mobile website: Coming within weeks! People access websites with their mobile device 4 times more than at a desktop so I have to offer that experience for todays homebuyer/homeseller. Property specific QR codes for yard signs so people can scan and view a property slideshow based on their location is critical. Giving people the opportunity to search for homes as they drive around neighborhoods is the best way to meet their needs.
Social media: I have both personal and business Facebook accounts, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus. I secretly hope Facebook goes the way of MySpace. I LOVE Google Plus! Between Google Plus and Twitter, I’m a happy camper
I am always looking for the next best thing. I do waste some time trying things that don’t work out but I am always increasing my base of knowledge and I’m more satisfied with my ultimate choices because of that time spent. My father always said that one way to make good decisions is to first make bad ones (he wasn’t referring to technology). I think the greatest thing to ever happen to my business with regards to technology is Web 2.0 which eliminates the need for software. Now let’s get working on Transporters and laser guns!