Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Worth a Look...

One of my original goals for this blog was to use it to shine light on lesser known companies, and easily missed solutions, tools and ideas which might benefit real estate professionals

Because of the work I do for Realtor, I get email from start-ups and entrepreneurs with a new product or service they want to promote. Sometimes they’re just looking foran unbiased opinion or suggestions. I hold onto these with best intentions to write them up. But. it’s not always easy to find the time to give them their due and point readers in their direction. With this entry I hope to rectify that by highlighting just a few

Some innovative solutions are developed by Realtors themselves, although it can be a while before their great ideas reach the mainstream. When a real estate pro can harness technology to address a particular challenge, or provide a better model for disseminating information, there’s more potential value than when someone outside the industry proposes a better way of doing things, without really understanding the nature of your job and challenges you face..

So support these fellow Realtors and take a look at hat they’ve been doing

Last week I got an email from Frank Borges LLossa, broker owner with Frankly Real Estate, Alexandria, VA. He’s pioneered what he describes as “the World's First WIKI MLS.” Follow the link, he explains it better than I can here. The idea of a “wiki”— a deepening well of user-driven information on the topic, in this case listings— offers one more example how you can tap the reach, access and immediacy of the Internet to disseminate and share timely information and insight. His wiki won’t be the last.

In the Chicago area, Doug O’Reilly took it on himself to devise a mobile solution for retrieving listing information via smartphone. mEstate takes a feed from the MLSNI and delivers it, with photos, to most smartphones, including Blackberries, Treos and iPhones. Enter mEstate’s URL on a Web-powered phone and you can search the database by address, price range or MLS . WIthin seconds you’ve got the essentials, including contact info for the listing agent. This is a labor of love: O’Reilly developed and delivers the service for free. What a welcome precedent to set!

Out West, Philip Farrar brought a background in accounting, finance and computer systems to his real estate career with Windermere Real Estate Capitol Hill, Seattle. When he started keeping the books for himself and his wife, also a Realtor, he was surprised there wasn’t an easy answer to financial management for real estate agents.
So, Farrar partnered with a programmer to develop Wallaby as a Web-based solution. He designed Wallaby so agents can adapt it to how they run their business and manage finances. He’s got 100 subscribers so far, primarily in Washington state, and is putting the final touches on version 2.0.