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Chicago Agent Magazine Sept 2015 featuring Marki Lemons-Ryhal


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The Best in Technology for REALTORS.

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Chicago Agent Magazine Sept 2015 featuring Marki Lemons-Ryhal

  1. 1. 12 | CHICAGOAGENT • SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 • CHICAGOAGENTMAGAZINE.COM THE BEST IN REAL ESTATE HELPING YOU STAY AHEAD OF THE TECH GAME MATT DOLLINGER President and Founder Gearbox Consulting The pace of new technology coming onto the market is dizzying and almost impossible to keep up with, especially when it comes to real estate. Many agents are constantly wondering if there is some new app or site they don’t have or know about that could give them a real competitive edge. To help you stay on top of the tech tidal wave, we asked a panel of savvy industry experts to give us their very informed opinions about the best tech options in key categories that mean the most to your business. It’s our way of helping you stay dialed into what technology is really working, and what will help you stay on top of the ever-expanding tech sector. PANEL OF EXPERTS NOBU HATA Director of Member Engagement National Association of REALTORS® KATIE LANCE CEO/Owner Katie Lance Consulting MARKI LEMONS-RYHAL Founder Marki Lemons Unlimited, Inc. JEFF LOBB Founder and CEO SparkTank Media MICHAEL PRICE Editor AMY SMYTHE HARRIS Broker/Owner Urban Provision REALTORS®
  2. 2. CHICAGOAGENTMAGAZINE.COM • SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 • CHICAGOAGENT | 13 COVER STORY BEST TRANSACTION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE Winner: Dotloop Dotloop, which was recently acquired by the Zillow Group, takes online document signing to a new level through a highly collaborative, cloud-based interface that allows all parties to end the practice of emailing and uploading PDFs. The software generates online workplaces, or “loops,” that can be used to handle transactions ranging from rentals to home sales, and the paperwork generated by every step. Each project appears on one page, making it easy to track progress. Documents appear in real time and are shared between team members, clients and other relevant parties. Edits remain private until the user is ready to share them. All data is encrypted and stored in the cloud, making offsite access easy and secure. According to Michael Price, editor of, DotLoop’s “interfaces are superbly simple and the ‘loop’ concept makes perfect sense as a method to the madness that is the real estate transaction.” Jeff Lobb, founder and CEO of SparkTank Media, describes the software as “a one-stop, completely mobile solution that is simple and so effective in keeping everyone ‘in the Loop.’” Price: From $29 per month for a personal account, or $299 per month for businesses. A premium business edition is available starting at $540 per month. Where to buy: BEST CRM Winner: Contactually For the third year in a row, Contactually’s full-press approach to customer relationship has made it the winner in this category. The flexibility offered by its mobile options, a daily dashboard organizer designed to keep users on point, email integration services and a novel relationship organization systems called “Buckets” make Contactually an appealing and easy to use option. A library of templates, as well as customizable email and sequencing programs, allow users to make the software their own. Katie Lance, CEO/owner of Katie Lance Consulting, says she likes it most for its “social media integration,” and Amy Smythe Harris, broker/owner of Urban Provision Realtors and a technology instructor for the Houston Association of Realtors, advises agents to “find out what you want a CRM to do first before deciding, but I chose Contactually because it fit my needs.” Nobu Hata, director of member engagement at the National Association of Realtors, describes it as “simple to use, plugs into most Web and email solutions for marketing purposes and gamifys your client outreach.” Price: Starts at $29 per month. Free trials are available. Where to buy: Runner up: Realvolve Realvolve strives to make running its CRM software as intuitive and easy to use as possible with an intentionally simple and practical design. It builds on technology that agents use daily through its integration with Google apps, email, Facebook and the Web. Rather than offering a drip campaign feature, Realvolve provides a workflow platform that enables agents to build custom follow-up campaigns for any type of lead or contact. “Bordering more on the cusp of a Social CRM, Realvolve fits the bill for most agents that are running a ‘by referral’ business and don’t need to be bogged down with huge price tag CRM softwares,” says Matt Dollinger, president and founder of Gearbox Consulting. “Send emails, SMS and social media messages direct from the application, integrate your calendar and tasks, pull in listings and transactions and even set up workflows for you and your team. And it’s a fraction of the cost of big ticket CRM’s out there.” And Lobb calls it a “simple solution with real estate specific language and workflow.” Price: Starts at $37 per month. Where to buy: BEST AGENT WEBSITE CREATOR Winner: Placester Placester’s website solutions for agents give users the tools needed to build a sleek, attractive online home. A setup wizard is available to help you get started, allowing more time to build your brand. Multiple site designs provide an intuitive, user-friendly experience. An advanced search tool allows agents to filter searchable listings to a particular audience and lets users save their favorite properties. Social media options, blogging and diverse lead capture tools help agents increase their visibility and bring in more potential clients. “You pick a template, then let your imagination run wild,” Hata says. “My favorite features are that it’s Wordpress-based, making Google-friendly content creation a snap; the customizable map- search feature allows you to save home searches around points of interest, for example; and it’s mobile responsive, meaning you don’t need an app. Plus it’s cheap!” Price appreciates that it gives agents “the ability to have an IDX-powered site that is responsive with exceptional customer support at extremely reasonable costs.” Price: From $10 per month. Where to buy: BEST PROSPECTING SYSTEM Winner: SmartZip Prospecting comes easy through the hyper-local algorithms offered in SmartZip’s SmartTargeting platform. The predictive marketing technology looks at big data on neighborhoods, homes and homeowners to prognosticate who will be selling. The platform helps agents target these potential clients through consistent branding and persistent, multi-touch marketing campaigns. Agents can map their own exclusive territories to maximize their commission potential. Lance says, “Their predictive marketing formula is unlike any others I have seen before, and really helps agents narrow their farm down into a very precise area.” Dollinger calls it “the smartest analytical marketing system available,” and Lobb explains that, “Besides having a personal relationship and networking, strategic data and geographic farming is where the future of prospecting will be. SmartZip gets that done.” Price: Demos are available, and for pricing please contact the company. Where to buy: BEST SITE TO MARKET YOUR LISTINGS Winner: MLS In this category, our panel’s consensus was the industry standard – the MLS. Not only does it provide unmatched access to real estate professionals, but it also allows agents to emphasize their properties’ unique characteristics, including: additional rooms, the Elmspring works to accelerate real estate innovation By Rachel Mazanek In 2013, Tom Bretz and Adam Freeman, operators of Century 21 Affiliated’s Chicago office, began receiving opportunities to invest in disruptive technology targeted for the real estate industry. They used those offers as the impetus to create the first seed-stage real estate and housing technology accelerator in the country, dubbed Elmspring. Headquartered in Chicago, their organization brings together real estate professionals and technology startups through the Elmspring Accelerator. The three-month program invests in early-stage companies with leading-edge ideas for real estate and housing technology. “Any time you increase innovation in an industry, you benefit the market as a whole,” Bretz said. “Technology makes it easier for your audience to find you and your offerings, it makes it easier for them to find what they need in an efficient manner and it makes it easier for you to engage with them. We can help make that happen faster.” Those accepted into the curriculum- intensive program receive $20,000 in cash and mentorship from leaders in real estate, technology and business development, as well as access to office space in Chicago’s digital technology hub, 1871 Chicago. The technology accelerator provides startups with a comprehensive course load, guides them through investment meetings and connects them to the real estate world. The three months end with Demo Day, when each company has the opportunity to pitch its product to accredited investors. Elmspring has set itself apart from like- minded groups because of the types of companies with which it chooses to partner. “We distinguish ourselves by establishing one very important selection criteria: we only accept companies that we know we can help,” Bretz said. “Each company selected into our program is graded against a set of selection criteria that includes the leadership ability of their CEO, the market size of the product or service, the technology being created, and the rationality of the business plan itself. At the end of that, we ask ourselves if they meet these criteria, and then we ask ourselves if there is something that we can do to actively accelerate that company during our program.” Elmspring’s portfolio currently includes 12 innovative real estate concepts. Among these is ReaLync, “a real time video platform that connects agents and consumers to tour real estate.” On the horizon are three apps currently completing Elmspring’s program. Property Carnivores, a lead generation tool, helps agents effectively engage with their Twitter followers. Alpha Lead, another lead generation tool, features “real-time, geo-targeted leads.” And CondoGrade provides a rating of a condo association’s financial health to help real estate professionals evaluate, price, market and finance condo units.
  3. 3. 14 | CHICAGOAGENT • SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 • CHICAGOAGENTMAGAZINE.COM COVER STORY property’s age, nearby schools, parking, lot dimensions and disability access, among dozens of other options. To top it all off, the MLS offers exclusive, timely reports, and syndication agreements guarantee a listing will appear on many other websites. As Lance puts it, “Why wouldn’t you put your listings everywhere?” Price: Varies, depending on what your local association charges Where to Buy: You receive access to the MLS as a member of your local association. BEST EMAIL MARKETING SOFTWARE Tie: HappyGrasshopper and MailChimp HappyGrasshopper HappyGrasshopper’s email marketing tools are designed to get the best results for salespeople. Users can choose from among the friendly and fun messages provided by the company’s copywriters to keep in touch with clients. Custom, lead-response email campaigns can also be orchestrated to convert leads into buyers. Basic service includes a custom signature building, delivery and open tracking and a contact upload service. HappyGrasshopper fully guarantees its services, even offering 100 percent refunds. Lobb says, “Most email marketing is canned and annoying. Happy Grasshopper creates conversation marketing that gets responses. Getting more responses from your current emails and ones that have been non- responsive turns into more opportunities, and more opportunities equals more money.” Dollinger is also a fan, commenting that “no one does email to leads, past clients and your sphere of influence like the folks at HappyGrasshopper. This isn’t just another bulk email, market update, canned crap offering. The HG team schedules kickoff calls and interviews to get to know your style and voice, custom writes your communication to reflect this and integrates with every lead source you can think of. Extra bonus – they’re awesome people that really like to help agents make more money!” Price: Plans start at $19 per month. Where to buy: MailChimp Personalization features are becoming the standard among marketing software providers, and those offered by MailChimp continue to keep the company at the top. RSS to email service, a Chimpadeedoo app that collects email addresses from MailChimp lists even when you’re offline, customizable templates, geolocation tracking that lets you know not just when but where an email is opened and autoresponders make the software an attractive option. Lance says it’s “Easy to use, great on mobile, helps agents create and send email marketing quickly and manage their email marketing efficiently.” And Price advises that “MailChimp is hands down the most effective platform to create and maintain email marketing campaigns. It’s priced reasonably and has tremendous customer support. And its easy to use web interface works well with small and large campaigns.” Price: Free to start, and certain features are available with paid upgrades. Where to buy: BEST APP/SOFTWARE FOR SHOWINGS Winner: As the name simply implies, ShowingTime provides software specifically focused on helping agents handle showings. Lance calls it “very well respected in the industry,” and Price says it “has a great analytics and mobile platform.” Dollinger says ShowingTime is “affordable for almost everyone, has coverage directly integrated with MLSs across the nation and continues to refine the product every year.” Programs offered include the ShowingTime Appointment Center, which answers calls as if from your office; LeadCoordinator, which functions as a virtual staff for managing prospect calls and general inquiries; ShowingTime Analytics, which provides reporting tools for measuring showing benchmarks; ShowingTime for the MLS, which functions as an online request system for MLS websites; LeadAlert, which captures buyer showing requests from your website; and ShowingDesk, which is intended for front desk functions. Price: Prices vary; demos available online. Where to buy: BEST LEAD GEN SOFTWARE Winner: BoomTown BoomTown’s suite of programs are designed to be highly adaptable to many kinds of real estate operations, from single agents to entire brokerages. Branding options are available through a design Patch of Land: Real Estate’s KickstarterBy: James F. McClister On March 4, 2014, Kickstarter, the now-popular crowdfunding website, surpassed $1 billion in pledges just shy of its five-year anniversary. Adoption of that model into more specific industries became all but inevitable in its successful wake. It’s already happening in real estate. “We wanted to let more or less normal people invest in real estate – something that’s traditionally difficult to do,” said Brian Fritton, chief technology officer for real estate crowdfunding site Patch of Land (POL), which he co-founded with his brother Jason Fritton and tech entrepreneur and real estate developer Carlo Tabibi. In 2012, well into the crowdfunding phenomenon Kickstarter incited, the Fritton brothers, who had been hashing out business ideas since the age of 10, found themselves in a position with stable jobs, healthy savings and an ambition that hadn’t waned since childhood. “We were looking to get into real estate, and with Kickstarter being as big as it was and is, and us having technology backgrounds, it was an easy decision to try and marry the two,” he said. An Idea Not Without Risk The three founders came up with an idea to fund real estate debt and repackage it to investors through the crowdfuning exemptions of the JOBS Act and SEC regulations: Title II, Reg D 506(c) (something Jason Fritton had actively lobbied for prior to forming POL). The exemptions allow for immediate, peer-to-peer investment, but only involving investors who have been accredited, which is something POL is charged with verifying. “We don’t want people risking too much just because they’re excited,” Fritton said of POL’s accreditation process. “We follow FCC regulations and operate similarly to a bank. To be accredited, we ask four questions about your personal finances; it’s called self-accreditation.” Fritton clarified that investors are unable to see a borrower’s credit score and income. Privacy rules bar POL from releasing such information. However, POL does assign each borrower a risk profile for investors to view, which Fritton described as both quantitative and qualitative. “It includes a temperature bar for the local market, the borrower’s payment history and a description of any unique risk surrounding that particular loan,” he explained, adding that they also have an internal scoring and risk management system that works off approximately 4,000 different data points from dozens of different sources. Cyber Safeguards Like a typical crowdfunding site, potential investors are able to use POL to browse possible real estate projects, and if interested, invest in them. Fritton admits the investment itself is risky, but assures that POL has taken steps to ensure the investment is as “recoverable and secure as possible,” including shoring up cyber vulnerabilities. “We have identified plenty of attempted attacks and handled them proactively,” he said. “We review every single launch through manual and security audits. We do daily malware scans. We have the same security you’d see somewhere like” Apart from the built-in safeguards, POL has done extensive penetration testing with all its developers to push and define the limits of its anti-fraud system. In a worst-case scenario, he said, POL has cyber security insurance. A Threat to Lenders? Real estate crowdfunding is still very much in its infancy, but Patch of Land, and other companies like it (i.e., Fundrise and Realty Mogul), are transforming the lending option into an industry mainstay. Already, POL has found success in several major markets, including Chicago, where Fritton says POL has helped finance six or seven deals ranging in value from $150,000 to just under half a million. They expect to expand further. Fritton explained that the company’s primary draw right now is in smaller residential notes, but said that he and his partners were not ruling out expansion into other sectors. “We’re planning to move a whole lot,” he said, pointing out that POL recently began commercial lending and will soon be extending operations to Boston. With its toes mostly dipped in the lower end of the residential pool, large lenders have yet to target real estate crowdfunders as a potential disruption to their business. And, in fact, Fritton admitted that many banks are opting to partner with POL to provide customers with loan options they themselves might not be able to provide. “They’re institutional investors,” he said of traditional lenders. “They want to be involved and be in this world and help their customers.” Fritton said that he cannot rule out POL moving into “the big, $20-million lot type of lending,” which is where he fears real estate crowdfunders will start feeling push back from big box lenders and banks. But for now, the markets POL has launched in are embracing crowdfunding, and the website’s three founders are excited for the future.
  4. 4. 16 | CHICAGOAGENT • SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 • CHICAGOAGENTMAGAZINE.COM COVER STORY library, and automated marketing tools provide the means to reach out to potential leads. Automated data sorting and analytics services free agents to cultivate their leads and build relationships with clients. Dashboard tools can track interaction, while mobile options allow agents to respond to leads using tablets or smartphones. According to Dollinger, “BoomTown has long been considered the ‘Gold Standard’ of lead generation for good reason. First of all, they offer killer mobile-optimized websites with all the bells and whistles you’d expect. Second, their integrated backend CRM allows you to schedule automatic follow-ups, track communication and see users’ activity throughout your site. Best of all, they can handle all your PPC, Adwords, content generation and Facebook spend for you so you can focus on selling homes. Last, their user community is one of the most rich I’ve ever seen, providing tips and insight from fellow BoomTown users across the nation.” Lobb essentially agrees with that sentiment, calling it an “elegant solution for brokerages and teams to manage, generate and nurture leads.” Price: Contact company directly; some demos available. Where to buy: BEST OPEN HOUSE APP Winner: Open Home Pro Winning for the fourth time, Open Home Pro lets you run all of your open houses from Apple or Android interfaces. The app’s functions include the ability to create listings pages, manage walk- ins, follow up with leads and export data to Microsoft Excel or a CRM system. You can run slideshows, ask buyers to sign in on your mobile device and even send thank you messages after the open house. Price praises it for “its strong mobile-first platform for managing open houses. It also features automated follow-up with great social integration, and a freemium version to test it out before upgrading to the very affordable, feature- rich premium platform.” And Hata likes it “because of its flexibility to add relevant content from the MLS before an open house starts. Pro-tip: Get people to SIGN OUT rather than sign in. Signing out means you’ve built some rapport with a potential prospect.” Price: Afreeversionisavailable,andupgradesstartat$14.99. Where to buy: Available at iTunes and Google Play BEST PHOTOGRAPHY APP/SOFTWARE Winner: Instagram Over the past year, Instagram has undergone a number of changes to give users more artistic control over their images. In addition to adding a grid option for posting multiple photos in one post, users are now able to change specific image settings, such as the brightness and sharpness of a photo. With those additions, along with the ability to share posted photos across various social media sites, the mobile app remains extremely popular, especially with agents. “Think about the 25 photos you just took at a listing appointment that you want to share with the world,” says social media expert Marki Lemons-Ryhal, founder of Marki Lemons Unlimited, Inc. “Instagram allows you to share those photos with five additional websites – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare. If I add a few ‘recipes’ from the terrific task automation app IFTTT (“If This Then That”) I can also share those photos on LinkedIn and additional Facebook Business Pages from the tap of my mobile device.” Price: Free Where to Buy: Available at iTunes and Google Play BEST SAFETY APP Tie: Guardly and Verify Photo ID Guardly A runner-up last year, Guardly takes a piece of the top spot thanks in part to its instant activation and simplicity. The emergency communication platform puts users in contact with emergency personnel and their own personal safety networks with a single tap, while also enabling organizations to send out mobile alerts based on users’ locations. Its indoor positioning and global positioning systems enable security operators to easily locate users within buildings. Specially designed for people who often work alone, as many agents do, the app also lets users determine how to organize and prioritize their own contact groups. Price appreciates that “ has a lone worker application designed specifically to send a silent alert in an emergency situation.” Price: Free to $1.99 per month, or $19.99 per year. Where to buy: iTunes, Google Play Verify Photo ID Designed with agents in mind, Verify Photo ID lets you check out prospective clients before getting into a car with them. The app checks photo identification in three simple steps, beginning with an agent sending the prospect a link via text message. The prospective client then uses their mobile device to take a picture of their identification and upload it, allowing the agent to review the information and decide whether or not to confirm an appointment, refer the client to someone else or take a pass. “Safety is the utmost concern for agents,” says Lobb. “This app allows drivers license scanning and verification along with other cross-referencing features for other public records available, delivered to the agent on a mobile device.” Price: Currently available through invitation only. Where to buy: BEST NEIGHBORHOOD APP Winner: Nextdoor Broadening the definition of what a neighborhood social media site can be, Nextdoor provides agents with a hyper-local forum where they can answer questions from consumers and buyers interested in their areas and become active participants in their communities. Agents can use their connections within a network to provide more information to their clients. People must live in a neighborhood in order to be connected, and users within each network are therefore well informed and up to date on what is happening locally. Lance enthusiastically describes it as “connecting neighbors via social media!” And Price explains, “As a user of Nextdoor, I’ve found it to be a tremendous resource in my own neighborhood engagement. When it comes to neighborhood content as a strategy for Realtors and brokers, I am a strong proponent of the creation of unique community content at a granular neighborhood level. It’s what consumers are looking for and it’s one of the ways a real estate professional can establish their unique brand proposition.” Price: Free Where to buy: five Fresh, Vibrant Real Estate Apps for 2015 by Peter Thomas Ricci Here is a list of fresh apps in 2015, all of which benefit agents’ business in intriguing ways. MileIQ: Car and truck expenses are the most claimed tax deduction for small businesses, and few professionals spend more time behind the wheel than real estate agents. Thankfully, MileIQ greatly eases the process of tracking mileage for deduction purposes. The app automatically detects and logs drives, calculates driving distances (and corresponding deduction values) and stores them on the cloud. MileIQ also stores complete drive history, and sends regular reports on driving habits. The first 40 drives of every month are free, but users can upgrade to $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year for unlimited drives. Cloze:Apersonalassistantforprofessionalrelationships, Cloze pulls from a smartphone’s apps and automatically creates a profile for every person and company. The profile includes their contact details and communication history, along with every correspondence, such as e-mail, phone calls, meetings, notes, documents, even social media posts. Once that information is in place, Cloze then uses detailed algorithms to figure out which contacts are the most important, and will offer reminders to reach out to those contacts. The app is free to download and use, but Cloze Pro, which includes greater support and synchronization with other apps, is either $19.99 a month or $159.99 a year. Dashlane: Few things are more aggravating than remembering passwords for the various apps, websites and accounts that smartphone use entails, but thankfully, Dashlane eliminates those frustrations. Protecting password data with the industry-standard AES-256 encryption, Dashlane uses auto-logins and autofills to simplify the smartphone experience, and also offers breach alerts for those passwords and accounts. Additionally, Dashlane utilizes Touch ID technology for its own log-in, and should someone lose their smartphone, nobody can access the phone’s data without the app’s master password. Dashlane Premium, which syncs with other electronic devices, is $39.99 a year. Vert: Real estate is an industry of numbers, and Vert is a highly efficient app for converting units and currencies. With more than 1,000 units in 34 categories, Vert offers a considerable number of features for just $2.99, including: 164 currencies, which are automatically updated to correspond with exchange rates; compound units, such as foot, inch, pound and ounce; clothing and shoe sizes; Chinese/Japanese units; angle; area; and length/distance. So whether it be an international client from England who is curious about how many pounds a home costs, or a first- time homebuyer who wants a more accurate rendering of a home’s square footage, Vert has you covered. Carrot: Undoubtedly the sassiest app on this list, Carrot brands itself as “the world’s first to-do list with a personality.” WithadesignreminiscentofHal9000from"2001:ASpace Odyssey," Carrot is a feisty female AI that aims to keep people on task via both rewards and criticism – rewards through a leveling system and 500 unique prizes (such as fortune cookies), and criticisms through sarcastic berating for procrastination. For instance, a less-than-productive smartphone user may receive this message: “Reach level 11 to unlock your completed items list. Then you’ll be able to look upon your meager list of accomplishments and weep for your wasted life.” All of those features come with a decidedly un-sardonic price tag of $2.99.
  5. 5. 18 | CHICAGOAGENT • SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 • CHICAGOAGENTMAGAZINE.COM BEST MISCELLANEOUS APPS IFTTT An abbreviation of “If This Then That,” IFTTT lets users build chains of simple, conditional statements called “recipes,” which are set off when changes are made within other Web services, such as Pinterest or Instagram. “Whether you are connected to the Web via your laptop, Android or iOS device, IFTTT can save a Realtor time by automating simple tasks,” Lemons says. Price: Free Where to buy: Matterport This app presents immersive, high quality three-dimensional renderings of interior spaces. Use an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to capture rooms, then upload to the Matterport cloud for processing. “From agent safety, listing security and broker marketing, the ability to virtually walk through a home has wide ramifications for real estate now, and into the future,” Hata says. Price: Free Where to buy: iTunes COVER STORY What Tech Savvy Chicagoland Agents Rely on Most By James Bellandi With technology ever evolving, best utilizing both new and old technology to keep in contact with clients and to market to prospective clients is a key to success. We talked to six tech-centric agents around Chicagoland to figure out what their favorite technology is, and what technology best helps their business. Periscope This live video-streaming app offers agents a platform for creating real-time virtual walkthroughs for clients in distant locations. Users can make their videos public or restrict them to certain viewers. Lance says the app “is changing the way agents can market themselves and bridging the video gap. The ability to live stream anywhere and connect with the global community in a whole new medium is really exciting. I’m seeing some exciting results from agents already!” Price: Free Where to buy: iTunes RealSatisfied Getting feedback from clients can be a drain. RealSatisfied’s customer service platform provides detailed surveys specifically for agents so they can ensure a quality customer experience, share client ratings and identify their biggest boosters as sources for testimonials. “Testimonials will always be one of the most important methods of generating new business,” says Price. “RealSatisfied has developed an awesome platform for their tracking, display and distribution.” Price: Free, with paid upgrades available. Where to buy: pricing_and_signup.php Business cards are a staple of networking, and Storyapp makes them available on mobile platforms. With one tap, users can call you, send an email, text or download your contact information. Lobb says, “This app takes the content of the paper business card and brings it together with all of your digital and visual content. Your social media, websites, contact info, bio and any other links that tie to your online brand and online reputation come together in one mobile website with one domain name.” Price: Free Where to buy: provides a digital personal assistant – “Amy” or “Andrew” – who schedules meetings for you via email by accessing your Google Calendar function, covering the back-and-forth of setting up a time and place to get together and later reminding you of the commitment. Dollinger calls it “an artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant that schedules meetings for you. Gone is the ping-pong back and forth emailing to try and find a time – takes care of it for you just like a real assistant. It’s amazing how quickly it learns, and how much time it can save.” Price: Free Where to buy: Ilsa Conover Real Estate Broker, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty Favorite technology: “I really like Snapchat. It’s really fun because you can do short little videos and send them to people. I have clients that are on Snapchat, so I can send them a ‘Congratulations on your closing!’ type of thing.” What tech helps your business most: “DocuSign is probably number one. You can upload any kind of documents that need a signature, and you can write over it. Before I would need around 24 hours to get a document signed from my clients. It makes their lives easier as well, since they don’t have to take time out of their workday to print something out, sign it and then fax it back to me.” Charles Potter Real Estate Broker @properties Favorite technology: “Pointdrive. It’s one of the things we’re using at @properties that I like a lot. It allows me to see the metrics and analytics that I’m using in real estate, which I can put into Excel and share with others.” What tech helps your business most: “Facebook and Facebook advertising. From a social media perspective, getting the word out there and sharing stuff with my clients is very important. The analytics engine can tell me what I’m getting out of the advertisement. It’s very user friendly, and very helpful.” Stephany Oliveros Owner and Managing Broker CHI Properties Favorite technology: “My Samsung Galaxy S5. A majority of what I do is done on my phone. We also subscribe to a website called ConvertIt, where we’re able to target potential sellers and buyers. I can use the site through an app on my phone.” What tech helps your business most: “We’re doing heavy Facebook marketing right now to boost our listings. Everything we do we post on Facebook, whether it’s a recent posting, a new listing, recognizing one of our team members or even just sharing some of the articles we have on our website. We want them to go back to our website, so we’re capturing people interested in real estate that way.” Michael LaFido Realtor CONLON/Christie’s International Favorite technology: “My Samsung Galaxy. Real estate is still a people business, and sometimes you need voice to better articulate your message.” What tech helps your business most: “Bombbomb for video emails with images and links. It helps to show body language, and helps differentiate me from other Realtors.” Stephanie LoVerde Realtor Baird & Warner Favorite technology: “Social media, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It allows you to stay in contact with people that you don’t normally connect with on a day-to-day basis.” What tech helps your business most: “The Google platform in general. Before I take a listing, I have a Google Doc that I’ve created with an information request. I send that to the seller so they have a pre-created form, and they can go into the document and tell me specific details about the property. I put that data back into my Google Spreadsheet, and use that to create both the listing in the MLS and speaking points for myself and other agents. Sometimes I use Bitly to link back to the Google Doc from the MLS if the property has a lot to offer.”