Tools to help the Real Estate agents.

So Today at the Windermere’s 40th anniversary symposium we unveiled a new Ipad application called Touch CMA. This program is very robust and I thought I would just show you some of the screen shots of its functionality.

Cover page of your CMA

Map of comps around your home that has been GEO located.

Draw a circle or outline of the neighborhood you want to search using your finger.

Great Display pages.

A world class CMA presentation tool
An efficient and powerful CMA authoring tool (in the same app!)
A robust feature to construct and send PDF copies to yourself and your client (right from your iPad!)
An automatic generator of trends, graphs, and charts to get the outcome you want
Presenter of marketing materials that support the brokerage, the agent, or the region
Highly usable and simplified user experience that any agent can pick and use from the first minute
A search-by-fingertip function that allows the agent to draw right on the map and find matching listings
A customizable Seller’s Net Proceeds worksheet that clearly demonstrates the use of proceeds from a sale and more!

This is available today on the Ipad app store. To find out more e-mail info@windermeresolutions.com

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Real Estate Related, Technology | Tagged , , ,

Excellence vs mediocre, your decision.

I recently watch a video from the Inman confernece in New York where Chris Smith was interviewing Phil Libin the CEO of evernote.

There were two things he said that really stuck out to me. The first was that there are some amazing sites out there for searching real estate, however he did not mention any broker’s site but instead mentioned the big non brokers sites. His comment was that they seem to really understand the UI and that the traditional brokers sites seem to still be living in the 1990’s when it comes to search.

What this means to me as a traditional broker is that we have to step up our game and be transparent, give the customer all the info we possible can and then be the most knowledgeable person in the room. There are sites out there today that work great but I’m still amazed at the lack of marketing that an agent will take to get their site out to the masses. We have to take all that great info that we carry around in our brains and get it up and living in the digital world in a very easy and user friendly package.

Phil actually said he was dreading making the contact with an actual realtor. That doesn’t speak well about how we are showing up.

The second thing he said was that with Technology today it is much easier to be excellent and mediocrity is becoming less and less tolerated.

What I take away from this message is that we as the traditional brokers in the room need to look at our tools we use today and ask ourselves if we are showing up and being on top of our game. Are we connected via smart phones, Ipads? Do we have the ability for instant communication and document delivery? Are we micro connected with our customers? If we aren’t then we need to re-learn what the customer is looking for today.

Windermere is very excited to be offering a class at our Windermere symposium next week that will address this need to get your business and relationship building skills up to speed using lots of different types of technology available from tools like evernote and many others.

Posted on January 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, customer services, Real Estate Related, Technology | Tagged , , ,

Be Smart when using a QR code.

So there seems to be a big buzz these days about QR codes. I’m seeing them pop up all over the place. The idea behind the QR code is great but I’m finding that Realtors aren’t really thinking about the content behind the code.

Let me give you a few examples.

So  you have a website that you love. You just found out that you can now put a QR code on your news letter that you mail out monthly. Great this is going to be so cool!

Ask yourself this question when you scan a QR code. “What device am I using?”  Yep, you got it your using a hand held smart phone in most cases.

So has that great site of yours been mobile optimized? What will your site look like on my Droid when I snap a shot of the QR code? What will the experience be for me? Will I be able to read all your great info?  Will I be able to see great high res pics of the homes you have listed?

Many times web pages look great on a computer screen but transfer them to a mobile device and they look horrible. Many companies today are making sure that they are building mobile optimized solutions so the experience the customer has when they find your QR code will be the best experience on the device they use to view your site.

Here is a good article that talks about some of the points I make in this post. Popular! But are they effective?

BTW Mark has done a good job making sure his site has been mobile optimized.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Keeping up with Mobile computing in Real Estate.

I sat through a great presentation by  Matt Dollinger. His presentation was all about “The Future of Computing in Real Estate?”  He gives you some great ideas as it pertains to mobile computing and connecting PC and Macs to mobile devices such as I pads and smart phones. If you have some time I strongly recommend you watch it. Here are two links for you. One is the actually power point on Slide Share.

NAR Mobile Web, iPad, and Tablet webinar

The other link is for the Webinar where you can hear  him give this presentation.
Posted on May 4, 2011 at 11:44 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Interesting stuff, Real Estate Related, Technology | Tagged , ,

A blog vs a website!

As  Windermere solutions gets ready to launch their new agent.com tools set there will be lots of discussion on the topic of blog vs website. 8 years ago a website was a good idea. Today that has shifted especially when it comes to having a website that lives in the world of Real Estate. Today we are seeing a greater need for both living under one URL.

Lets do a comparison between what a website can offer you vs what a blog can do for  you.

The typical website today tends to be very static, techterms.com states that a static website is the following “A static website contains Web pages with fixed content. Each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor. Static sites are the most basic type of website and are the easiest to create. Unlike dynamic websites, they do not require any Web programming or database design. A static site can be built by simply creating a few HTML pages and publishing them to a Web server.” Many of the sites I see today are static with the addition of a data driven IDX search tool embedded into the HTML code. This is a bit better but still very uni directional when it comes to interaction with the end user.

A blog on the other hand combined with a dynamic website can  offer  much more.

A blog is interactive and it allows you to have a voice that you get to control while at the same time allow others to contribute to that common voice. Blogs are immediate and if done correctly they build loyalty because then tend to bring together other individuals with common interest.

They are a great way to build content for social media and they give you content that helps to create great conversation.  They can also be a gateway into SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)

Where I tend to see blogs fail is when they do not have a focus and are not offering the reader base value as it relates to the specific topics.  Many times you will see a blog start up but die a slow death because the creator didn’t stick with it. I think the most successful blogs will be very focused, up to date with relevant information with interactive linking off to useful sources of like information.

I have attached some helpful articles that I have read recently that give you some good idea and specifics on the  differences.

Should I change my website into a blog?

Blog vs Website whats the difference?

The online debate blog vs websites?

Posted on April 27, 2011 at 11:59 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Interesting stuff, Real Estate Related, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Why is Windermere investing in technology?

A recent article form Geek Wire talked about Windermere and Brett Eddy the new CTO for the new company Windermere Solutions. After reading the article I began to read the comments. It was amusing to me to see the wide gap between the individuals that want to change the way we do real estate and the existing companies who have been successful in real estate for some time now. I’m included in the latter.

For everyone else who read this article I just wanted to make sure that the direction of Windermere was understood.  There were claims that we are behind the times, that we only want to hide information from the customer so  we can continue to run our old school ways of doing business.

I want to step back in time to 1997 when real estate wasn’t on the Internet and the Internet was in it’s infancy. Windermere was the reason for (IDX) Internet data exchange.

The  NWMLS was the first multiple listing services  in the US to get the brokers together and share  listing data and display the address. At that time this  was (Crazy talk).  With the help of John L. Scott and CB we all agreed and became the first region in the US to share listing data  on the Internet. From there it opened the flood gates and frankly IDX was the catalyst to the new breed of companies like Trulia, and Zillow, and many others.

Windermere is of the mind set that the more information for the customer the better. However lets be smart how we deliver that information and make sure it provides value. We are and always will be a company that keeps the customer in the front of our minds as we push forward to be creative and ever changing. I remember how exciting it was back then, and how driven we were to do something different. Well that time is here again and with new technology and our amazing ability to create strong everlasting relationships with the communities we serve will prove to be a successful combination.

I understand the proof is in the pudding but make no mistake we do not see technology as the silver bullet, there are many components to being successful in the business today  and technology is just  one of the corner stones to a strong and successful real estate company.

Posted on April 2, 2011 at 8:58 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Things I learned from the Inman Connect in San Fransisco.

July 13th to the 15th I attended Inamn Connect in San Fransisco. I had a great time seeing a lot of new things. Also some not so new things, and then some things that didn’t impress me at all. The 3 things I came away with were..

1. The Real Estate Industry as a whole needs to work on our Customer Services. Today the customer demands a lot.  Not that they haven’t in the past but their attention is being pulled in many different ways, and their options are many.  As Brokers we live in an independent contractor world so keeping customer services consistent can be a challenge at times.

Brokers I would take a close look at your client surveys and even a closer look at your agent’s as to what level of customer services they perceive they are providing and compare it to what the customer’s feels they are getting. Also what is the customer services level your agents feel they get from you. Yes I’m in the hot seat as well, what level of customer services do owners feel they get from their franchiser? We all need to make sure we are exceeding expectations.

2.Local, Local, Local! The information we are providing today to our customers needs to be hyper local, and packed with great content. The days of a static listing search websites  are becoming a thing of the past. Social Networking and Twitter are taking front staged backed by a content rich very local company blog. Here is good example of an office doing just that. Whidbey Island Windermere

3. Mobile! Mobile! Mobile! and yes Geo location. Sites like foursquare, pegshot, Fwix, and others are really pushing the Global position concept. I-Pad is popular, and according to a Morgan Stanley report smart phone sales will surpass PC’s and laptops by 2012.

It was great to listen to speakers from inside and outside our industry, not sure why we keep having Craig Newmark talk. He is a bright guy and very interesting but every year he pretty much says the same thing. Would be nice to get some fresh perspectives next year. Love what you do Craig but it’s time for new material.

Great stuff from Microsoft Live Labs. Pivot, Seadragon, and Photsynth. Lots of new vendors with some very interesting concepts. Peep.ly is something worth taking a look at. If you attended please share what you got out of it.

Posted on July 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Interesting stuff, Real Estate Related | Tagged , , ,

Don't be a real estate Dinosaur, 5 ideas for 2010!

So it is 2010 which means it is time to analyze your business and make sure you are relevant with technology in the eyes of your customers. I have broken this down to 5 items.

1. Do you understand the power of social media? Are you engaged in the world of Facebook, and Twitter? If you aren’t then watch this video.

2. Phones... Take your phone out of your pocket or purse, look at it. If it can’t browse the web, send text, take a picture, sync with mail, be used as a GPS, and open attachments then you need a new phone. Here are my recommendation. Blackberry, Droid, or Iphone. Think about this for a second. I’m a buyer and I walk into your open house with my I-phone and you are armed with a base line phone that can only make a call or text, if that is the case then who has more info in the room at that point? “The person in the room with the most information wins.”

3. Laptops…. Desktop computers are a thing of the past. In real estate today you need to live in a mobile environment. Laptop computers with a wireless air card is your best bet.

4. Professional Photography. Why do agents still take their own pictures of their listings? Your job is to display this home in its best light so that it looks great to potential buyers. Your a real estate professional not a professional photographer.  It would be like your heart surgeon saying “hey we are going to save you some money today. I happen to have my own anesthesia machine so I’ll just do the surgery and anesthesia today sound good?” NO! Hire a professional. Read this article.

5. Listing Syndication. Are you able to articulate what listing Syndication means? Do you know where your listings are syndicated to? Do you understand the value of syndication. If you aren’t then I suggest finding out if your company supports syndication and if so they should have some information available for you to use to better educate your sellers. This tool alone can help you get that new listing.

PS:  here is an extra that I decided to throw in at the last min. Get a Flip camera. This thing is awesome.

It is that simple.

Thanks for taking the time.

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related | Tagged , ,

Don’t be a real estate Dinosaur, 5 ideas for 2010!

So it is 2010 which means it is time to analyze your business and make sure you are relevant with technology in the eyes of your customers. I have broken this down to 5 items.

1. Do you understand the power of social media? Are you engaged in the world of Facebook, and Twitter? If you aren’t then watch this video.

2. Phones... Take your phone out of your pocket or purse, look at it. If it can’t browse the web, send text, take a picture, sync with mail, be used as a GPS, and open attachments then you need a new phone. Here are my recommendation. Blackberry, Droid, or Iphone. Think about this for a second. I’m a buyer and I walk into your open house with my I-phone and you are armed with a base line phone that can only make a call or text, if that is the case then who has more info in the room at that point? “The person in the room with the most information wins.”

3. Laptops…. Desktop computers are a thing of the past. In real estate today you need to live in a mobile environment. Laptop computers with a wireless air card is your best bet.

4. Professional Photography. Why do agents still take their own pictures of their listings? Your job is to display this home in its best light so that it looks great to potential buyers. Your a real estate professional not a professional photographer.  It would be like your heart surgeon saying “hey we are going to save you some money today. I happen to have my own anesthesia machine so I’ll just do the surgery and anesthesia today sound good?” NO! Hire a professional. Read this article.

5. Listing Syndication. Are you able to articulate what listing Syndication means? Do you know where your listings are syndicated to? Do you understand the value of syndication. If you aren’t then I suggest finding out if your company supports syndication and if so they should have some information available for you to use to better educate your sellers. This tool alone can help you get that new listing.

PS:  here is an extra that I decided to throw in at the last min. Get a Flip camera. This thing is awesome.

It is that simple.

Thanks for taking the time.

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related | Tagged , ,