There has been a lot of talk in the industry about the virtual office and how many agents these days are opting to work from home over the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ real estate offices. In fact, just the other day I was attending a real estate power breakfast in
It’s no wonder these days, especially in light of tough economic times, that many broker offices are actually consolidating. Ironically, I received a newsletter from the National Association of Realtors the day following the power breakfast, which highlighted several offices across the country that outwardly admitted to closing many of its branch offices, saving as much as 40 percent in operating expenses.
One broker/owner agreed that the brokerage office has become less of a focus these days, especially in light of technology advances, both in mobile communications and the internet. Today, technology is no longer viewed as the final marketing piece to get clients to the broker office door. However, it does allow for the agents to get into the client’s door…further perpetuating the argument against the need to sit in a real estate office and wait for the client to come to you.
The technology tools available to real estate agents these days are endless. If you are looking at even attempting to take the office to your house and still be successful at client outreach, here are a few suggestions…
No real estate agent should be without a smartphone, and I don’t think that many are. Growing in popularity across many professions, the smartphone is an excellent multitasking solution for any road warrior looking to stay in touch. Many of the smartphone devices these days have email, text messaging, internet capabilities, and come complete with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, as well as GPS navigation and onboard cameras.
Speaking of cameras, a good digital camera is an absolute must. New twists in digital cameras these days, outside the growing mega-pixel numbers, are built-in support for Wi-Fi enabling agents to quickly, and wirelessly, download to the internet, a computer, or a client waiting to view a drive-by inspection. My two year old camera, old by technology standards, is a 6MP camera that can also capture video, a great tool that has come in handy on numerous occasions when touring a client or reviewing past properties.
The obvious need for a decent computer will factor in greatly to your success on the road or at your home office. If you travel a lot, like me, you may want to opt for the smaller, lightweight versions. I find, however, that with the smaller notebook computers, the keyboard is often reduced in size as well, which tends to cramp my hands if I am using that computer often. My tip, go for the smaller notebook computers with the normal size keyboard, you will be glad you did.
The PowerMat Wireless Charging system was recently introduced at the CES show in Vegas last February. This is a great idea for anyone trying to figure out the maze of wires and chargers they may have for every new technology device they use. Touted as a magnetic induction recharging station, simply plug the mat into an outlet and recharge your electronics by laying them on the mat’s surface. Cool, huh?
Okay, one last bit of advice…back up your computer or laptop. Since my laptop is earning about as many frequent flyer miles as me, the obvious pitfalls of that laptop getting stolen or lost and never returned are very real. I use an online backup called Carbonite.com, which runs in the background and backs up everything on my computer on a regular basis. If my computer is ever lost or stolen, it is easy to recover the contents.