With the real estate industry evolving at the rate that it is, many agents have adapted to include the ability to be as mobile as possible. Gone are the days of meeting at the office or heading back to the office in order to get anything done. In fact, a good number of agents don’t even have an office. Their office has 4 doors, not just one…and it sports 4 wheels and bucket seats.
There is a mindset that needs to be adapted in order to effectively go mobile. You have to be really self-motivated. And, you have to realize that when you leave your house, you are working. You must also be able to be in contact at all times. And, you must be able to access anything you need at any given point in time. With that in mind, there are several things that one must possess in order to master the art of mobility:
1. A good smart-phone – Don’t be cheap! Get a good smart phone…an Iphone or a Blackberry. And make sure you have a good data plan (I prefer the unlimited versions). More important than that, make sure you take the time to learn how to use it and put the tools available to you to your best advantage! There is no point in having it if you aren’t going to take the time to learn to use it.
2. A good laptop – This pretty much goes without saying, but…when you get a computer, get something that seems to be WAY more than what you will actually need. That way, you won’t have to get a new one in a year because the cheap P.O.S. you bought isn’t big or fast enough. Get the super-gigantic hard drive. Spend the extra money for a hefty RAM upgrade. Also, invest in an external hard drive for back-up. Laptops are not that rugged…and are prone to injury. They are also prone to be lifted by unscrupulous individuals, if given the chance. Losing all your data will suck far more than losing the laptop.
3. A flip camera (or digital video camera) – These will automatically make themselves a useful tool the first time you have to preview a home or make an online tour of a new listing. I would recommend you get both a video camera…and a still frame digital camera. Both have distinct advantages depending on the need.
4. Docusign – Or, some form of reliable electronic document signing and processing software. (If you don’t know what Docusign is, hit up @Docusign on twitter. Tell her @TheRealClint sent you.) This is an absolute requirement. This way, you can sign offers, amendments, contracts, etc, right on the computer and then email them wherever needed. This way, you don’t have to worry about printing documents, having to get the required signatures, making copies, etc. From a time management standpoint, this ability to eliminate these types of useless delays is a major advantage.
5. GPS – Clients can tend to be a bit uppity when you miss appointments because you got lost on the way there. And, nothing is more embarrassing then having them sitting in your car and not knowing how to get to the next home they want to view. Besides, you’re not a taxi. This isn’t a pleasure cruise. Get them where they want to be and do so in the quickest, safest way possible. Again, avoiding useless delays will be rewarded.
6. MiFi or USB mobile broadband card – Again, don’t be a cheapskate here…get the mifi if it is available in your area. You will not be sad that you did. If not, make sure you have some form of broadband air card. You will need access to the internet on a screen larger than 2in X 3in at some point in your mobile career…and having one of these will make it much easier than trying to pirate wifi signals in hotel parking lots or having to find a Starbuck’s.
7. A portable printer – Yes, a printer. That way, you can immediately print copies of documents and provide them to all parties in an extremely timely and efficient manner. Your clients will appreciate the added touch.
Remember, this isn’t just about mobility. This is about professionalism as well. Your reputation is on the line here. And, since you aren’t in an office, you had better be as good as possible because there isn’t any coffee pot to direct them to or free cookies to have them munch on while you get your proverbial "poop in a group". Don’t attempt to go totally mobile unless you plan on NOT falling victim to inadequate equipment and preventable delays. Both of which will cost you in the long run. If you are going to be mobile, you have to be able to handle any situation at that moment (as much as possible, anyway). And, these little technological marvels will make your life MUCH easier along the way.