Get Organized With the “Swiss Army Knife” of Realty Apps

I have yet another Real Estate App update you all you. This time I’m focusing on the basics. Through an article, I have discovered an app that covers just about everything  a Realtor needs to be successful in this industry. It’s called BlueQub and it can easily be equated to the ‘Swiss Army Knife‘ for Realtors. There’s a lot that this app can do so let’s focus on some of the essentials.

To start, this app is a great Organization tool for Realtors.

Keeping track of multiple files can be frustrating but with BlueQub, the Realtor can see everything about a file or contact in one place.  You can see all the property information, the people associated in the transaction, the notes, events and documents for the file, and all of your deadlines all on one simple page. This seems like a no brainer but I’ve yet to find an app that does this as seamless as this one. Organization is key to success!

In addition to the organization, BlueQub also supports many MLS markets across the Unites States and the IDX search functioned quite well when I tried it out. The photos can be displayed full-screen in the mobile app, and all of the traditional listing data is included. The article I read also stated that BlueQub currently supports more than 140 MLS areas serving most of the major metropolitan areas around the country and are adding new MLS feeds every week. Which means that your clients will never hit a dead-end when searching for a home in a particular area.

Advertisements

3 Features That Your Realtor Branded App Should Have

Todays’ technology makes it easy for Realtors to work remotely but having and maintaining a mobile application can be a little frustrating.

It can get overwhelming when deciding what features your personalized agent branded app should have.  While many apps have great features, some may have too many which can leave a buyer confused and disoriented.

The more features your app has the more places it has to glitch up and crash. The key to preventing your app from constantly crashing, confusing a user, and preventing you from having a constant headache is to simplify with these 3 features.

Mobile MLS Mapping – Most applications have this as a standard feature. When building your own app this is a must have. This feature allows the user to search for property from a “Google Maps” platform. It’s extremely user-friendly and anyone who has a smart phone (if they don’t they’ve got bigger issues) can use it.

Agent Branding –  This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised as to how many apps do this incorrectly. Agent Branding is simply making sure the app is clearly about you. You should have features that allow the user to contact you (by phone or email) regarding a property they find on the app directly from the app. This also leaves no room for another agent to get your client!

Home Spotter – I put this on the list simply because I think it’s extremely cool! This home Spotter feature allows the user to hold his/her smart phone or tablet up to a property (as if they were taking a video or picture) and get all the info for that property. Price, listing agent, how many rooms, everything is virtually displayed over the property! This feature is just for bragging rights. You can bet the other agent doesn’t have it on his/her app and it will definitely impress your clients.

 

Take Your Real Estate Marketing Online

A lot of Realtors consider themselves to be “Old Skool” (yes that’s school with a k). I’ve had many Realtors express concerns about the effectiveness of online lead generation.  The question they ask is, “Can we compete in our market without implementing an online or web 2.0 campaign?”

Of course it’s “Possible”. However, as you continue the practices that you’re used to, you can be sure that your competitors are venturing in areas that you are not. As I’ve mentioned in earlier post, most people searching for a new property start by searching online. Here are two statistics for you to think about when considering taking your marketing campaign online.

  • According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process. Real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253%  over the past four years.
  • NAR studies show that 52% of buyers turn to the Web as their first step in the home buying process.

So what does this information tell us? It tells us that almost all home buyers went online at some point in their home buying process, and over half did so before they even turned to a broker. The majority of people buying homes today spend time searching, learning and taking information online before they even think about speaking with a broker.  This alone is enough to consider expanding your marketing efforts online.

Real Estate Report Card

There are a lot of Real Estate companies with applications that claim to be the “best choice for your Real Estate needs”. I’ve just recently come across an article that I feel accurately describes and grades a few of the major Real Estate platforms. It goes without saying that each review should be taken with a grain of salt. Most of these applications give you the same MLS listing results, so the majority of the reviews focus on design and touch user interface. The only way to find out which one is right for you is to try them all!

“Reposted from 1000watt Blog.” 

Zillow

Zillow announced that it will be the first publicly traded company to take questions from investors via Twitter and Facebook. It also re-launched its mobile apps, moving all the search options under the “hamburger” icon and integrated its Mortgage Marketplace into the experience.

Grade: B+

I think Zillow’s openness on social media has done wonders for its brand and I like the new design… but I don’t love it. Somehow it feels like it has lost a bit of its personality. Maybe I miss the green from the new all-blue look. (Too Trulia for them, perhaps?) Also, I’m really beginning to think that the map is not the best view for real estate listings on mobile. More on that in another post, though.

Trulia

Trulia’s suite of consumer products, its website, mobile apps and iPad app all got face-lift too. Photos got bigger. The design got flatter. And in the case of the search results page on their website, they lost the left rail altogether and moved to a two-column layout.

Grade: A

I like the direction that Trulia is taking its design. Deep-sixing that left rail of refiners is like a blast of fresh air across the page. Trulia was the last holdout of the major portals on this front. Vendors and brokers, if you’re still desperately clinging to that wall of drop downs and form fields on your website, do yourself a favor and move on.

Realtor.com

Realtor.com released school search in its iOS and Android apps this month. The feature lets you quickly find properties within specific school districts or boundaries with a quick tap. Great school ratings are integrated, as are important data points like teacher/student ratios. Parents everywhere rejoice.

Grade: A-

I love all the innovation coming out of “Move” on the mobile front. They were first out of the gates with a draw-to-search feature, which still feels like magic. School search is a such a no-brainer and their execution here is fantastic. I love the speed and responsiveness. My only hesitation in awarding them an A grade this month is that the app itself is starting to look a little tired, with feature upon feature being piled on. I think this is an app that is screaming out for a UI refresh.

Redfin

Redfin pushed out a major design overhaul of the company’s website a few weeks back. They buried the previous design’s “cadaver blue” and splashed the wall with Redfin red . The company’s tree logo also got felled. A quick survey of the comments on the blog post announcing the change shows people were none too happy with the change.

Grade: B+

The new identity and red makes a ton sense. After all, the color is in the company’s name. I really like the cleanliness of the new site too, but its mobile apps still look like they’re the walking dead.

Use QR Codes and Make it Easier for Buyers and Sellers

By now we all know that the easier you make it on a Buyer or Seller, the more business you’ll get. However, some Realtors are not aware of how easy you can make it. With today’s web 2.0 technology almost all the information a person could need  about a property is at their fingertips. Most of us do our research before visiting an open house or commercial property (most of us). But what about those who just happen to be interested when walking or driving by but are too lazy to go in? Put the information in their hands with a QR code or SnapTag. One of these slapped on a Real Estate sign makes it easy for someone to scan and visit your site or information right from their mobile device.

 

0211jk-sme-code

Quick Response Code (QR) – Got their start in the automotive industry by making it extremely easy for shops to identify vehicles. The usefulness of these bar codes quickly caught the business worlds eye and now they can be found in almost every industry. The appeal of the QR code is obvious. These guys can be encoded with almost anything  and link you to  just about everything with a URL attached

 

Unknown

SnapTag – You either love it or hate it. The idea behind SnapTag is to encode a logo with any data that can be encoded into a QR code. Its main premise is that QR codes can be ugly and what better way to promote your business than with your own logo. Simple enough. However, the technology hasn’t exactly caught on and some critics say the tech doesn’t work as well as it should.

 

The benefits of these codes are simple. They make it easier for the Buyer or Seller to access your information, in turn, increasing your chances of nailing that listing or selling that property. As for which one to use? I’ll let you try them both out and you can be the judge.

 

Benefits of Info-graphics on Your Website

Info-graphic or Information graphic, are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends. The process of creating info-graphics can be referred to as data visualization,information design, or information architecture………Sounds boring doesn’t it?  Of course it does, but it can actually stand to make your website more exciting. To put the above paragraph in simpler terms an info-graphic takes data (usually numerical, statistics, ratios, etc.) and puts it into a fun and easy to understand picture.  Here is an example of an info graphic depicting Social Media use as it relates to the Real Estate industry.

 

social-media-marketing-for-real-estate-infographic-02

Simple, to the point, and most of all it’s interesting! What took me an entire page of text to explain can be done in seconds with a simple picture. We live in world of instant gratification. People want you to get to the point immediately or they’ll lose interest. Placing an info-graphic on your website will not only help you organize your information into an easy to understand format but it will also help you keep the reader’s attention.  Chances are the info-graphic in the center of the page is the first thing you looked at and from there you decided to read the text. As a Realtor you should use this to your advantage.

So how can you as a Realtor use info-graphics? Any way you want to. I’ve seen them used to announce new listings, community updates, and used to chart a certain Realtors success for the past few years. The uses are only limited to your imagination.  Here are a few sites that will help you design an info-graphic quickly. Each has its own unique graphic generator but all create quality info-graphic. Try all and see which one you like the best!

-> Infogr.am

-> Visual.ly

-> Piktochart

 

 

Real Estate Tech Trends : Part – II

Last month I gave you guys a list of trends relating to technology and how buyers and sellers use it to find a their agents. So today I’m gonna give you a few more statistics for you to use in your daily hustle and bustle.

Why Buyers choose their Agent:

24% Say they chose a Buyer who is honest and trustworthy.

21% Say they chose a Buyer based on their reputation.

15% Say they used an agent that was a friend or family member.

12% Say they chose an agent based on their knowledge of the neighbor.

9% Say they chose an agent because they thought the agent had a caring personality.

6% Say they chose the agent because they received a timely response.

5% Say it was the Prestige of the firm.

4% other.

Expected Response time <VS> Actual Response Time:

SELLERS:

77% of seller expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes of an inquiry.

45% of sellers expect an instant reply from their agents after an inquiry.

Only 24% of Agents respond to sellers within 30 minutes of initial contact.

BUYERS:

88% of buyers expect a reply within 1 hour of inquiry.

42% of buyers expect to be contacted instantly.

Only 30% of Agents respond to Buyers within 1 hour of inquiry. 

Response Time importance:

6% of buyers say response time is somewhat important when selecting their agents.

94% of buyers say that response time is Very Important when selecting their agents.

All Say that Response Time was important.

Repeat Business:

74% of buyers say that they would definitely use an agent that was recommended to them by others.

15% of buyers say that would probably use an agent recommended by others.

5% of buyers say that they would probably not use an agent recommended by others.

4% of buyers say that they would definitely not use an agent recommended by others.

2% of buyers said they don’t know.

Only 10% of buyers actually used agents they had previously used.

This is only Part II of Real Estate and Tech Trends. Part III will be coming soon and focuses on how Buyers & Sellers use and respond to both new and traditional marketing tactics!

Real Estate makes its way to Google Glass

Image representing Trulia as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

With the premier of Google’s new futuristic wearable computer, Google Glass, industries have been trying to figure out how they can capitalize on the many  uses of the device. The Real Estate industry is no exception. With features like photo/video capture, Google Map navigation, live video sharing, etc. the Real Estate industry stands to gain the most from this invention.

Imagine being able to share the video, photos, layout, price, and listing agent of a property just by looking at it? Talk about streamlining a process?! That’s exactly what Real Estate social media company Trulia plans on doing. Trulia has recently announced that it is developing an application for Google Glass. The app will allow the user to not only get photo/video of the property, but it will also give directions to the property as well as allow the user to call the listing agent directly from his/her device. I’m sure as this device becomes more common in society, so will the need for Realtors to make thier listings Glass compatable.