8 Tools the Modern Real Estate Agent HAS to Have... #1

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty

OK, these are presented in any specific order... but over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting up useful tools for real estate agents to utilize in a Web 2.0 world.  There are so many tools, sites and technologies... and every day there are new ones entering our sights. 

For many here, the first tool is going to seem like a no-brainer... 


There are three aspects of Active|Rain, and I think that a real estate agent that wants to compete in a Web 2.0 world needs to leverage all three in order to accomplish that goal.  Each has a specific purpose, and while there certainly is overlap, each fulfills a specific purpose that is beneficial to agents in a different way... 

Let's start with Incredible Learning Opportunity...

Active|RainThere is no secret among those that have surfed around the site for more than a minute or three that there is a LOT of great information... free for the taking... right here on Active|Rain.  There are scores of the greatest minds in real estate sales right here... EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Bryant Tutas, Lenn Harley, Brian Brady, Midori Miller, Ken Cook, Jon Washburn, Jeff Turner, Pat Kitano, Missy Caulk...  and I could list 100 more.  And this isn't like some "MasterMind" seminar where the interaction is minimal.  These people are here, they are on FaceBook, Twitter and other sites.  They are interacting with everyone that chooses to interact with them.  They are at the REbarCamps, they are at REtechSouth, NAR Conventions or other events.  I have met (like in person) most of the folks on that list.  Whether it is technology, sales techniques, presentation tweaking... just about anything... these folks have the inside lines.  Even the free membership has full access to all of these people and more...  And writing "Member's Only" posts allows you to not only share, but ask the community for help or advice. 

And then there is Google Dominating Blogging Opportunity...

One of the future tools I am going to cover is WordPress... but for now I think we need to spend a few minutes talking about Active|Rain RainMaker blogs.  These things have the juice... Google Juice.  Sure, you can load up a self-hosted WordPress blog, tweak it out with a custom theme and set it up with all of the coolest plug-ins.  But after doing that, until you start getting the love from Google, nobody will know you are there.  And that takes time...  Active|Rain has the system tweaked right out of the box. 

Active|Rain RainmakerSo, you can grab your own domain, like GwinettGarageGuy.com, and have a blog that is ready to go.  It doesn't need to be tweaked, tuned or rebuilt every few months (or days).  Instead of thinking about the plug-in updates and the new version of the platform that just came out today, you can just blog.  There are some modifications that can be applied, but compared to a full-blown, self-hosted blogging platform, it is quicker, easier and at least as powerful... and FAST. 

But, one of the primary reasons to blog is because of the longtail search and attracting business through search results.  EVERYTHING that needs to be done in the background to make RainMaker blogs rank well with search engines is done...  And the staff of Active|Rain, the Ambassadors and even the other bloggers will share all of the tips about writing content that you could ever want... content that WILL get you to the top of the search engines for the terms you want to target. 

But wait, there's more...  Localism Opportunity...

Maybe you've seen it... maybe not.  But there is a part of Active|Rain that is strictly consumer facing.  I think it still needs a little work, but the concept IS where the web is going...  The web is going local.  It is kind of funny... when the internet first started to show its muscle, the allure was that everything in the world was at our fingertips.  We could use it to learn about strange and exotic locations half a world away.  And now we are finding that one of the most powerful things about the World Wide Web is that we can find out what is happening around the corner and even in our own neighborhood. 

LocalismAnd Localism is a network built on thousands of neighborhoods.  The neighborhoods are networked into towns, the counties and states.  Consumers can surf through neighborhoods and find out about them, see what is happening and even pictures and videos.  Maybe they are interested in buying... maybe they are just keeping a pulse on where they live. 

Being a RainMaker opens up Localism to posting.  Sure, sponsoring a community is a way to crank it up another notch, but writing quality, local material is the way to reach consumers, and Localism is another way to showcase that material... pointed towards the communities in which we work. 


ToA|R Ambassador compete in the RE.net, in a Web 2.0 world, Active|Rain is an indispensable tool.  If you aren't a RainMaker, you should be...  Talk to your local Ambassador.  And yes... I am an Ambassador.  If you are in GA, feel free to give me a shout.  If you are already a RainMaker, and want to ratchet up your performance, talk to your local Ambassador...  I am working on setting up a local seminar on tweaking Active|Rain for better results.  I haven't even touched on the benefits of tuning your profile...


***See comment #5 for an update...

New posts in the series... 

Impress With WordPress... Tools for Web 2.0 Agents, #2

8 Tools #3A "Sweet Embeddable You"... before

8 Tools #3B "Sweet Embeddable You"... after

Also possibly of interest... 

Do you FBML?

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Vickie Nagy
Palm Springs, CA

I looked at your comment number 5 and see I may be guilty in not including photos in every other blog.

Aug 16, 2009 04:21 AM #49
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

Hi, I will park and listen.. I do love ACTIVE RAIN!!!!  I have found so much information, and the people are just awesome!!! Everything you ever wanted to know is here, from all the educated individuals.. I will book mark this, and will read all your blogs...thanks for sharing!!



Aug 16, 2009 04:40 AM #50
Caren Wallace
Premier Property Group LLC - Tualatin, OR
Portland Caren Real Estate

Lane, I wholeheartedly agree with ActiveRain being the #1 tool for the real estate agent! We Rock!

Aug 16, 2009 04:42 AM #51
Brenda Caruso
Simply Vegas - Henderson, NV

I'm new to AR and love it!  It's addicting. I always appreciate learning more and this is the place to do just that!

Aug 16, 2009 05:03 AM #52
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Brad - I almost called you about this post before putting it up... I didn't want to overstep my bounds as an Ambassador. 

Vickie - There should be images in every post... and I am not as good as I should be about that either. 


Aug 16, 2009 05:03 AM #53
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Thanks so much for the reminder and I look forward to reading the rest.

Aug 16, 2009 05:41 AM #54
Donna Webber
ArcRealty Inc., Real Estate Brokerage, Toronto, ON, Canada - Thornhill, ON

Hi Lane: I recently joined Active Rain and this is the first response I have left and hope to master the art of blogging in the near future.  I agree that Active Rain is a valuable tool for every realtor, even those of us who are not based in the USA and I look forward to checking out the other 7 tools yet to come.  I live and work in the Greater Toronto area in Canada and find most of the blogs I read on Active Rain useful.  Fortunately we have not had the same real estate melt down that you have and so articles on short sales, foreclosures, and listings on the market for eons have not been relevant to our current market. 

Aug 16, 2009 06:25 AM #55
david crowe
live urban real estate - Denver, CO
hey lane, just wondering why you are putting an "l" on the word "active" in "active rain" throughout the post? (i visit the site only a couple times a week so i may be missing something!)
Aug 16, 2009 09:46 AM #57
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Hey...I love  AR...

It's #1 in my book.


Patricia Aulson/portsmouth nh real estate

Aug 16, 2009 11:48 AM #58
Tina Abraham
Coldwell Banker Seacoast Realty - Wilmington, NC
Broker, SRS, Realtor, Wilmington NC Luxury Real Estate

Great Article!

Aug 16, 2009 12:07 PM #59
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

You hit the nail of the head -  AR is definitely, first and foremost an "Incredible Learning Opportunity..." and for that alone I'd have to agree, it's the #1 tool that all agents should have

Aug 16, 2009 01:18 PM #60
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Three incredible reasons to be a part of Active Rain.  I love my outside blog and I love Localism too.  They are the coolest.

Aug 16, 2009 03:20 PM #61
Vanna Siackhasone
Real Estate Brokers of Alaska 907-720-4663 - Anchorage, AK
Anchorage Real Estate 907-720-4663

Lane, thanks for the series. I'll be sure to follow it. It's amazing what I've learned from other Active Rain members. Every real estate agent should be on AR

Aug 16, 2009 05:18 PM #62
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

OK Lane, teach me something!  You are right about AR, where can you find so many people that are willing to share ideas & offer up great information to help you with your business?  I look forward to Wordpress 101 from you.  Congrats on the newsletter feature.

Aug 17, 2009 06:48 AM #63
Susanne Novak, ABR, FIS, GRI
RE/MAX 24/7 - Columbus, OH

I love AR, it's great to connect with so many fellow professionals from all around the country. Looking forward to future posts!

Aug 18, 2009 06:31 AM #64
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Thanks Everyone.

Donna - I wouldn't hold my breath that isn't a crash coming in Canada.  Hopefully you guys will escape it though. 

David - I'm old school.  There used to be a | (seperator) between Active and Rain... I think.  I just do it out of habit, now.  The | isn't al l, though. 

Lyn - It was more of an overview...

Aug 18, 2009 01:46 PM #65
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

I'd still not clear on the difference between an AR blog and and outside blog either. Since I started blogging here when it was still free, does that mean I have an outside blog?  I don't have the icon for it by my pictures.  I'd also love to know the benefit of sponsoring localism. The majority of my posts are to localism but the current sponsor of my chosen areas doesn't seem to blog at all. What does sponsoring do for him and what would it do for me?

Aug 23, 2009 03:11 AM #66
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Jenny - For you, you would get a "Raindex" blog (the outside blog).  It would cost $19/mo.  you DO have a public facing blog, though. 

Sponsoring allows that person to maintain a presence on the front page of the community they sponsor... nothing else.  I sponsor a community, and will continue to do so.  I think it is a good investment.  But, if YOU are the driving force of content, YOU are going to get more benefit than the sponsor...

Aug 27, 2009 02:28 PM #67
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I am still trying to understand this outside blog thingy and I think you have done a good job of it. I am going to looking to getting me one.

Sep 01, 2009 02:02 PM #68
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Charles - it is a great platform.  And pretty easy to deploy. 

Sep 03, 2009 08:49 AM #69
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