Thursday, April 3, 2014

Working with Millennials and Digital Natives

         I recently did a story for one of the state associations on attracting and working with “digital natives”— the tech-savvy Millennials who will be tomorrow’s mainstream buyers and sellers.
Heading into it I thought my discussions with Realtors would be about cool tools to engage and impress. There was a little of that, but much more about services to meet new expectations digital natives bring to the real estate process.
Some Key Points:

Theirs is a Mobile World: Everything you do, from your website to video tours on the fly, has to be optimized for display on their mobile hardware and platform of choice. The smartphone is their primary PC, the essential device always within reach.

They Expect An Instant Response: He or she who is first to respond to an incoming query from these buyers has the best chance of winning them as clients.  “Right now,” is how one Realtor jokingly described when they expect an answer. But  he speaks truth: get back immediately, if only with an auto response, or risk losing them. And, if they they contact you by email or text, respond in kind.

They Do Their Homework: As another agent noted, by the time these buyers initiate contact they’ve already googled you. They also check agent review sites, social networks, your website and blog for a sense of who you are, why you deserve their business. All cited blogging as especially useful for enhancing your presence and boosting  search engine placement while these buyers are in self education mode. But it’s all you do 

They Know What’s Available, But Not the Neighborhood: As masters of the Web, and real estate search portals, these buyers, more than their parents, already know what houses are for sale before they an engage a Realtor. They may even have a particular home or two in mind. What they need is a good negotiator who also  knows everything about the neighborhood they can’t easily discover on their own. Being “hyper-local”—a resource of insight on schools, taxes, utilities, shopping, etc., etc.— resonates.

Comfortable in the Cloud: You don’t have to explain to these buyers what a digital signature is and why electronic forms make sense. They also appreciate the convenience of 24/7 to everything they need to know about progress toward closing through Web-based transaction management system.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Free ebook on Mobile Essentials for Real Estate

     Back in 2010 I put together an ebook, compiling all I knew on the various tools, services and software which Realtors use in their careers. As the name implies, Essential Mobile Technology for Real Estate provided a quick study on core technologies empowering your careers. 
     As fast as tech advances, I updated the book in 2012 to reflect the changes had taken place in those two years.  And again, I tried to focus more on the underlying technology than on any specific products to make the book a useful resource. It was a considerable undertaking in time and effort, for what has proven minimal ROI. 
     So rather than invest that time again, the 2012 version is available for free download, from here forward. I’ll use this space to update that information or expand the focus as needed, over time
     I still think the information there can be of some help to anyone who needs a good grounding the essential tech tools, and how they can serve you and your clients. 
     The biggest change of course, is the consolidation of many of these tools in the palm of your hand, in your smartphone or tablet. For a somewhat humorous perspective at just how much smartphones have changed things, take a look at this 1991 Radio Shack ad and article.
     At any rate, Essential Mobile Technology for Real Estate is now available in popular ebook format through Smashwords Just click this link for the download. If you experience problems, please let me know.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When To Upgrade To A New PC?

As this year’s update of Realtor magazine’s computer buyer’s guide shows, there’s plenty to choose from if you’re in the market for a new computer. But, as most real state professionals already have a primary computer system--either notebook or desktop— the bigger concern may be deciding when and if it’s time to upgrade.
You still need a real computer, at least for the foreseeable future. While there’s abundant real estate apps for tablets and smartphones, real productivity software is still targeted at PCs, and most for Windows machines. The larger screen size, keyboard, and faster processors found on notebooks and desktops also make for a more comfortable user experience, whether running software or using cloud services.
So, if you’ve already got a computer, when does it make sense to trade it in for one of this year’s models. If any of the following rings true, there’s no better time than right now.
An older system—one bought three or more years ago—seems sluggish when browsing the Web or running programs;
Essential real estate software you use has been updated for a newer version of the operating system, and your present system doesn’t meet the recommended requirements for the OS;
You want to go fully mobile, and require a new notebook powerful enough to replace a desktop system;
You’ve finally decided to migrate to an iMac or Macbook after watching others successfully make the transition from Windows to OS X hardware;
You have the budget to re-invest and take advantage of the latest improvements in performance, features and functionality. 
Any system bought today should serve your needs for the next two to three years. By then, who knows, the technology may evolve in ways that stretch our present notion of a primary system. For now, though, your next PC should look and perform much like the one you’ve been using, albeit it much faster and sleeker.