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Making Technology Your Friend, Not Foe

by Georgia Meacham, PMN

GeorgiaMeachamLet's face it. Not all REALTORS® are excited about technology. However, with NAR reporting that Internet usage by real estate home buyers and sellers in their home search rose to 92 percent in 2013, what successful agent can afford to turn his or her back on what is certainly not a fleeting trend?

Tech savvy agents have the advantage, so why not decide to make technology your friend rather than foe.

Making the Right Choice

Like the "Big Bang Theory," technology choices have exploded in recent years, from CRMs to social media platforms. Choose what works for you; it's just that simple. Basically, look for a product you can personalize, use regularly and is not so complicated that you dread opening it.

If you ask a dozen REALTORS® to list their favorite mobile apps, you will probably get a dozen answers. Don't let that hinder you. Kerri Hartnett, PMN, of Portland, OR, lists Dropbox, Googlevoice, Zipforms and Docusign as apps she can't live without. Another tech-savvy agent from Idaho Falls, Lisa Brown, names Google Analytics and Picsart as her must haves. What is the best app? There is no right answer.

Adapt your technology learning at your own pace and enjoy the process. Technology is not something you conquer. Ironically, as soon as you learn a program it will most likely get an update. Technology, just like real estate, is an ever changing process.

Ways to Increase Your Tech Ability

  • Ask other agents about their favorites. You'll find the list is constantly changing.
  • Be on the lookout for classes. Many associations/designations offer webinars or classes to help build your tech confidence. Check out some upcoming live sessions from Women's Council.
  • Don't get caught up with "download dilemma." Many apps are free or offer a free demo. Try it. If you don't like it, delete it.
  • Put the time in. Gaining a level of confidence takes times. Set aside time to devote to advancing your skills. You don’t learn to play golf by thinking about it, and technology is the same.

Continually Changing

Technology continually changes, and so does the list of favorites. Look for ease of use and for products that fit your style. Remember, even social media and websites can build your brand and should fit into your marketing. Check to make sure the app or website allows you to personalize your "message." Some of my current favorites include:

  • Bombbomb.com is an easy way to send a video email. Send a personal greeting using the camera on your computer and seamlessly email the results.
  • Camera+ for iOS is designed to improve photo quality with exposure and focus settings, as well as versatile shooting modes.
  • Punchbowl.com is a greeting card and invitation website to make staying in touch with past clients easy.
  • Evernote is a suite of software services that can easily sync all your devices to handle photos, files, notes, recipes, articles, favorite websites, emails or just about anything you need to keep track of. Get a book on this one. There are so many useful ways to implement this into your business. You'll find it worth exploring and consider upgrading to Premium. At five dollars a month, it is worth it.
  • Flipsnack.com is a flipping book software that allows you to turn your PDF into a flipbook. It's fun to use in an open house to showcase the home or the agent.

Rate Your Favorites

The National Association of REALTORS® recently launched REpurposedApps.com, an online community dedicated to helping REALTORS® learn from each other which apps are the most useful for real estate. The website lists both iOS and Android apps in various categories. Additionally the site includes a "member showcase" where selected members can list their favorite apps and give an explanation what the app does.

"These are members who've been huge advocates for technology in the real estate space and have proven to be evangelists in the mobile space," said Chad Curry, managing director of NAR's Center for REALTOR® Technology, which developed the website.

It's Just Good Sense

You don't have to be the most advanced or tech savvy agent in your MLS. Making technology your friend just makes sense. Work to adopt technology practices that improve the real estate experience and service you offer to your clients. You’ll increase your professionalism and your business, too.

Georgia Meacham, ABR, CRS, GRI, PMN, SRES, of Boise, ID, is a real estate educator and advocate. Having been a REALTOR® for more than 25 years, Georgia is known for using her real estate experience to bring life to the classroom. Having served on local, state and national boards in REALTOR® leadership, and having been honored as “REALTOR® of the Year” for Idaho in 2008, Georgia is passionate about the real estate industry.

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