As we are moving into an era that demands that top agents and companies are proficient at both real estate marketing and sales and in technology to support those efforts, I am including the development of a technology plan as part of my goal setting in 2009. There are five parts to that plan 1)Developing a Mobile Office, 2) Evlauation of Using Virtual Assistants, 3) Development of Mobile Listing Presentations, 4) Developing Technical Tools for Warm Market and Social Networking, and 5) Websites.
My plan spans a 5 year period, not just one year, as cost of technology is expensive. Also, after completing the ePRO course, I decided to put to full use what I already have as part of the time investment required to be effective.
I started developing a mobile office 2 years ago. My first goal was to become a Mobile Agent. Then second goal was to connect with my company team. The ultimate goal was to sit in a clients home and conduct Seller Consultation, close the deal, write up contracts and sign on the pc screen, put signs in yard immediately, put brochures in the home, and have a listings ready to show in the 2-4 hour period needed for the Seller Consultation. Once this capability exists for a Seller, it contains all the components needed for Buyer Contracts. Also, being in a car a lot, I wanted to be able to check & respond to emails and texts frequently during the day, which I'll cover in Part 4 Developing Technical Tools for Warm Market and Social Networking.
Summarizing what I've Done so Far...To achieve first goal of being a Moblie Agent. Your mobile office plan involves both hardware and software choices. My first purchase was a PC with docking station for autobackup. After evaluating the RedTablet, approach, I opted for a Hewlett Packard Tablet PC to allow for future ideas I planned to develop, even though I initially used it just like any PC. The case studies given in this link will help you visualize where you want to go. Tablets allow signing on the screen and printing handwritten documents. It was self-contained and not internet dependent. If your interested in Tablet PC, join the Active Rain Group Tablet PC's, the New Age or a Dinasour? I selected a Verizon Wireless card so I wouldn't be dependent on free wireless networks not always available. For software I added Office Pro 2003, which contained Outlook for integrating my emails, Publisher and Word and Power point for presentations and e-broadcasts and newsletters. Active Rain has an Outlook group where you can pick up all kinds of ideas. I also added Hewlett Packard's HP Real Estate Marketing Assistant to allow me to sit with a client and create brochures from photos I took while at their home. Then with a mobile printer HP Deskjet 460, I had brochures ready to leave at the end of the listing presentation. This printer operates on battery and blue tooth so I can print in my car or in a clients home.
Finally adding an eFax service I could send documents out of town and out all over the world. These were items I accomplished in 2007 and 2008. Plug into some of the Active Rain technology groups that have a wealth of information...e-PRO Internet Technology, Making Real Estate Better with Technology, Technology,
My next 3 year plan includes connecting with other agents and my team. We are evaluating mobile sales meetings using systems such as CallWave that connects BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Nokia, with Apple Fuze Conferencing. We all have different PDA's and it would be desirable for us NOT to have to be in any office for a meeting. (Maybe we'd be on vacation in Hawaii) :-)
Also in the next 2year plan is evaluating online notary services like the one used by USPS, that authenticates online signatures on contracts, as cut and paste causes legal issues in many states.
Now the last step will be to find creative, interactive virtual tours that will allow us to "show" homes online without stepping a foot in the door. So far nothing quite replaces that in person visit.
I'd be interested in knowing what others of you in the Active Rain are doing to create a Mobile Office.