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Top 5 Tech Tools for Savvy Brokers

October 17th, 2017

The new iPhone X is building quite a buzz in real estate circles, in particular because of its Augmented Reality Kit. Some reviews have been so bold to call it “the future of the smartphone.” It’s not surprising because future technology always draws strong interest from brokers and agents. We saw this at the technology sessions at our recent Florida Realtors® Convention, which were packed.

There was a plethora of new tech and future tech talked about at the Convention. Let’s take a look at some of the hottest tech tools today for savvy brokers. They’re designed to help them better organize their lives, increase productivity, and improve their work/life balance:

AirBar: Bringing touchscreen to MacBooks Air
If you are a Mac user and also have an iPad, how many times have you touched your Mac screen? Almost everyone has, and that’s a problem solved or MacBook Air 13.3” users buy AirBar. For $99, this USB plugin attaches to the bottom of your MacBook Air. It gives it a touchscreen, working just like an iPad (or similar to a Microsoft Surface Pro). Check out the video demo here.

[ Link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-4fFaWLnlQ ]

BeLive: Facebook Live broadcasting organized
Real estate firms are scrambling to figure out how to get engagement through video. And they are now turning to Facebook Live, which is rapidly growing in popularity. But how do you best use this new video too? Savvy brokers are turning to BeLive (www.belive.tv) as a more organized way to create a Facebook Live broadcast with a lot more features. BeLive allows you to do a solo broadcast or conduct a split screen interview with another person. You can even host a “Talk Show” with up to three people live at one time with a total of 10 guests, the rest waiting in your virtual “lobby.” Most importantly are some powerful extra features. You can embed Screen Comments to interact with your audience, it provides an Agenda feature that helps you organize your Facebook Live broadcast and screen, and it offers photo share capabilities. There’s a free level, then prices ranges from about $12-$20 a month for more frequent users. Remember: the key to Facebook Live is all broadcasts are recorded. Then you can share that link with others to see your Facebook Live broadcast anytime in replay.

Receipt scanner app
You may never have to touch a copy machine or separate scanner again. You can now collect, copy and process receipts for an expense report with an app. Smartphone camera technology today is so wickedly smart, scanning is now actually easier with your phone than with a machine. Apps allow you to straighten out a crooked document, change the brightness, turn a color document to black and white, and instantly convert the image into a PDF or CSV file and email it to yourself and more. Use an expense report app like Smart Receipts, and your phone becomes a receipt scanner, mileage tracker and expense report generator all in one. Smart Receipts is available in both in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Amazon Echo or Google Home
You can discover the awesome power of voice control and use it to help organize your life and your home. Just purchase the Amazon Echo or Google Home. The Echo and its Alexa Voice Service has a huge lead over Google Home, with a 76% market share currently. For most people, the setup is fast and easy. For a busy broker, you can have Alexa wake you up with a celebrity voice in the morning, turn on your smart coffee maker, play the morning news from NPR, and read you your Google Calendar appointments for the day. Alexa will even start your day off with a smile by telling you a joke. In the kitchen, tell it to set a timer while you make that perfect 3-minute egg and to add milk and eggs to your shopping list, and then just before you head out door, Alexa can give you a traffic update, then open up your smart garage door.

New iPad Pro or Surface pro
This is a case where bigger really is better. Both are big – 12.9 inches for the iPad Pro and 12.3 inches for the Surface Pro. It’s a powerful business tool with high impact for giving presentations to a small group, or just meeting with staff. Because you don’t see too many giant tablets in most businesses, it catches your eye when you first see one in person. Keynote or PowerPoint presentations pop off the screen. Both screens display beautiful high definition images, grabbing your audience’s attention. You can play a video, share a Matterport tour of one of your listings, or show off a new brochure you just created. There may be no better way to make a powerful first impression than with one of these tablets. And when you are on the go, just connect a keyboard and you have nearly full desktop computer functionality when you are out of the office.

A Holiday bonus
Two more things every savvy broker should consider: The new iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note 8, along with the new Apple Watch 3. All of these are pretty big leaps in technology. The phones debut everything, from face recognition and built-in waterproof features, to more powerful cameras and wireless charging. This next generation of Smartphones really does put something more than a supercomputer in our pockets. As for the Apple Watch 3, the Dick Tracy watch of 1931 becomes a reality with a first: standalone, built-in LTE mobile phone capability. The downside is you can only make an hour worth of calls before the watch goes dead. But if you have ever forgotten your phone at the office when you left for an appointment or lunch, you’ll especially appreciate this new futuristic tech tool as that hour could save a deal. Two other standout features: it’s advance workout app and you can stream 40 million songs from Apple Music.

It will be interesting to see what the next big tech thing will be that will help make broker’s lives even more productive – and hopefully less stressful – in 2018.

Tricia Stamper is director of technology with Florida REALTORS®, which owns Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.

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Cheapest, Fastest Way to Caption Your Videos

September 25th, 2017

Captioning your videos is one of the untapped marketing treasures for real estate agents today, as it delivers two huge, immediate benefits. First, it puts you in compliance with the intent of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Canadian CRTC Caption Laws and potentially helps you avoid getting caught up in a potential lawsuit when your videos are in compliance with web accessibility standards by including closed captions.

Second, and more importantly, you can tap an untapped market and potentially reach more buyers and sellers when you close caption your videos.

Now before your fret over the thought of how painstaking adding captions to your videos will be, there is a shortcut that can help you save time, money and a lot of frustration. It’s YouTube. Yes, the world’s largest video library – and also now the world’s second largest home for search, believe it or not – will automatically create closed captions for narrated videos you upload to your YouTube channel. Most importantly, it will time-code the Captioning and it will allow you to edit the mistakes that its automatic translation engine will most likely make.

But here’s the biggest thing: YouTube‘s automatic captioning is getting better and better over time, and it is often faster and easier to edit what they create for you than it is to start from scratch and create your own. However, if you have a video that was produced by someone else and already comes with a closed caption file, then YouTube also allows you to upload that file directly and use that version instead of these.

Read more…

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Do This One Thing, and You’ll Double Your Business Next Year

September 20th, 2017

Research tells real estate agents that they already have the best leads and often don’t even realize it. It turns out that leads from an agent’s sphere of influence—past clients and referrals—offer the best return on investments compared to any of the online leads an agent can buy, according to a study that surveyed nearly 300 real estate broker-owners and franchise leaders nationwide.

The “Thought Leader” study that the marketing technology firm Imprev conducted found that among the list of most valuable lead sources, an agent’s sphere of influence ranked first, followed by the broker’s website, and then local marketing (flyers, walk-ins, signs, open houses).

Yet, many broker-owners say one of the biggest challenges they face is getting their agents to stay in touch with their book of business. So it’s not surprising to learn that the National Association of REALTORS® reported in the past that 88 percent of buyers said they would use their agent again or recommend their agents to others, but only 22 percent of buyers do. That appears to be a really big—yet missed—business opportunity that very well could be caused by agents simply not staying in touch with their clients.

Getting organized Read more…

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Author: Categories: Real Estate, Technology Advice, Uncategorized Tags:

What to do when your smartphone falls into the water.  

August 30th, 2017

Kerplunk! That may be the most dreaded sound a smartphone user can ever hear. If your cell phone has ever dropped in the water, you know exactly what I mean. Here are some things you can do when your smartphone decides unexpectedly to take a bath.

Step 1.Get it out of the water – and fast! The faster you remove your smartphone from the water, the better, because the longer it’s in contact with water, the more likely it is to never recover. Just be sure to stay safe while you do it – be mindful of where it fell and whether it is connected to an electric power supply.

Step 2. Turn it off. Power down your smartphone completely as quickly as you can. If you have an iPhone, hold down both the Lock Button and the Home Button for 5 seconds, and that will create a “Hard Shut Down.” The fastest solution for Android phone users is to simply remove the battery as quickly as possible. Keep it powered off and do not turn it back on.

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Knowing What These Tech Buzzwords Mean Could Save Your Real Estate Business

August 7th, 2017

Malware. Phishing. Vishing. Smishing. Pharming. Spoofing. Ransomware. Spyware. Virus. You probably recognize some of these cyber security terms, perhaps even most of them. But understanding what these words mean and how these scams work could help you prevent serious damage to your computer, your smartphone and even your real estate business.

Let’s understand this tech terminology, and what you can do to protect yourself and your technology from being exploited.

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Author: Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Photos Taking Up Too Much Space? A Few Tips to Compress

July 24th, 2017

When you see a warning that your storage is 90% full, you might begin to panic. And you probably know exactly what’s causing your problem: your photos. For most real estate professionals, photos and videos have become both a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing because powerful visuals help sell homes. But they are also a curse because they are data hogs.

Yet, there are ways you can use less space on your device without losing all the luster of your great photos. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to reduce the amount of space your images are taking up on your phone and your laptop. Read more…

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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Google Could Do for You

June 27th, 2017

It’s not often that a company provides a service so popular that it becomes a verb, but you probably have heard the phrase “Just Google it” many times. Doing a search using Google has become part of most people’s daily routine: 4.4 billion worldwide searches every single day.

But did you know that Google is much more than just a search engine? It is also a highly complex math calculator, a real-time currency converter, a sophisticated multi-lingual translator, a digital dictation machine and more. In fact, Google has so many hidden talents built into its search bar, these five may be only scratching the surface of what Google search can do for you effective.

Here are 5 things that you can do with Google search shortcuts that you may not know about, but may save you an enormous amount of time.

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Does your MLS or Association provide tech support? It should.

June 26th, 2017

Technology in the real estate business is truly ubiquitous. Think about how many times you used your smartphone today related to your work. If you are like most agents, you probably used it to check your email, set an appointment and contact a client before you even stepped foot in your office. Or perhaps you didn’t even go to your office now that technology has enabled most agents to be able to work from almost anywhere.

We have become so dependent on technology in real estate that if we misplace our phones or our computers crash, we are likely to have a panic attack, right? Real estate agents and the real estate industry rely on, as never before, technology to power our transactions and our day-to-day operations.

So why doesn’t every MLS and/or REALTOR® trade association provide technical support for its members?

Read more…

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The 5 Tech Tips You Can’t Live Without

June 5th, 2017

Let’s face it: our lives are now tech centric. Think about this: In 2011, only 35% of American households had smartphones, but that number is now 77%! And three-in-four Americans ages 50-64 now own smartphones, a jump of 16% in just one year. The day in the life of a Realtor® relies upon dependable technology and dependable technology needs upgrading.

So, what are the must-do technology tips that every real estate agent and broker needs to protect themselves and their businesses? We turned to our experts at Florida Realtors® Tech Helpline, the real estate industry’s #1 tech support service, created by Realtors® for Realtors®. Collectively, our technical advisors have over 250 years of technical knowledge, and they specialize in supporting real estate brokers and agents.

Here are their Top 5 Tech Tips: Read more…

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How To Make A Video People Will Actually Watch

May 29th, 2017

Video is one of the most powerful forms of communications. And today, your smartphone and your laptop together make the production part of video easier than ever. The hard part is still finding a way to create videos that people actually want to watch.

So what can an agent do to create a video that people actually want to watch?

Create a community close-up
The secret to a great real estate video, say the experts, can be found in creating content that homebuyers want to see that they can’t easily find elsewhere on the Internet. That’s why videos that include content that profiles a neighborhood or is a close up of a community are so effective.

Video tips

Here’s how to put together a great community close-up or neighborhood profile:

1.    Collect “b-roll” video footage all year round. “B-roll” is simply video that you shoot that you can later narrate. You see this all the time on the nightly news. When they do a story on the Federal Reserve raising mortgage rates, they show people shopping for homes, For Sale signs, and signing loan documents. All of those video shots are “b-roll.” Read more…

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