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When technology works, it is pure magic

Industry Observer with WideOpen Networks 250784

White Heron Lifting Off from the MarshesThis morning while I was at my home office desk, I got a phone call from two ladies who were headed south on Interstate 95.  One was the wife of someone who worked closely with me at Apple Computer. He and I remain very good friends.  The other was her sister, and they were exploring places for the sister and her husband to retire.

They wanted a place within driving distance of Washington, DC that had enough to offer that their grown children would want to come visit.  Once they told me where they were headed, I explained that I thought that they might not find what they were looking for in that location, but I suggested they needed to have a look for themselves.

All they knew was that I was a Realtor® along the North Carolina coast.  In the short phone conversation, I mentioned a couple of properties that might interest the sister who was looking to retire.  I was pretty sure that the wife of my technologically advanced friend was carrying a smartphone.

I put together a short email with links to two properties and travel guides for Beaufort and Emerald Isle that I have written. I sent the email within five minutes of our call ending.  In less than ten minutes, I got a return phone call explaining that one of the listings had really caught their eye.  They really wanted to have a look at it this weekend.

Since one of the ladies husband and I are such good friends, and we met a few years ago while I was visiting them, I invited the two ladies to come spend the weekend with us. 

We have hosted so many former associates that I once thought we should name our place the Sobotta B&B, but I did not want to confuse folks who were looking for our former home which actually is the Sobotta Manor B&B in Mount Airy, NC.  It was recently featured in a Washington Post article.

The two ladies called back later this afternoon to say that long weekend traffic coming out of Washington was so bad that they would not be able to get here until Saturday, but I told them that was fine.  All that is on our calendar tomorrow is an Episcopalian Lobster Lunch that we attend each October, and the possibility of an afternoon fishing trip.

Even I, who worked at Apple for nearly twenty years, find it amazing that I have a potential client looking at listings while they are stuck in holiday traffic on I95 south.

This caps what has been a good week for technology in my world.  I have been working hard on a project that makes it easier for buyers to visualize a home and its floor plan.  While I intend to use it now to help my sellers in marketing their homes, I hope it will turn into a business where I can sell the service to other Realtors®.  After lots of computer time, I finally got a finished product for a live listing up and on the web. It also displays well on iPhones and Droids so I am pleased with that.

I have also gotten two leads recently from blog posts. One came from my Crystal Coast Life site and the other from my Saltwater on my feet blog. It has only been ten days since I showed property to some other clients who found me through my ActiveRain posts.

While technology is definitely becoming more important, you have to use everything at your disposal.  In this market you cannot give up on some more traditional tools. One of the first things that I did after getting my most recent listing and putting a sign in the yard was to hold a Realtor® open house.  The promise of some of my homemade pimento cheese sandwiches and my wife's cumcumber cream cheese sandwiches netted us 21 Realtors®.  When those were added to the 12 Realtors® that we had on caravan the previous week, I was able to show my new client that he got maximum exposure with local Realtors®. He is obviously well covered on the web.  Now if we can just find the right buyer and sell his home.

I am even more convinced than ever that technology will eventually make a huge difference in my business. My web expertise and photography skills certainly helped me land that latest listing.

As I was putting his waterfront home on our hyper-local website, I thought back to my first real estate purchase in 1971 where I had to write letters before I got information about that first property. It took weeks not minutes. That was also back when it took a few days to get photos developed unless you used a Polaroid camera.

Times have certainly changed. I have a new I5 iMac on order so I am looking forward to seeing where it and its four computing cores along with my Droid can take me in the next five or six years.

No matter no much technology we end up using, it will be worthless unless we remain focused on creating better buying and selling experiences.


Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

Interesting that you went with a new iMAC. Wonder about that iBook? I do!

Oct 08, 2010 03:00 PM
David Sobotta
WideOpen Networks - Emerald Isle, NC

For web work, movies and photography I need screen real estate so a 27" iMac makes the most sense.  I already have an old 13" MacBook and a relatively new HP I7 laptop. 

I am still waiting to see what happens in the "Pad" market.  The Android platform is doing exceptionally well in the smartphone world so I want to see their entries before I get a Pad device.

I believe an iPad or similar device will be very good for delivering content but not very good for developing content at this point in their life cycle.

Oct 08, 2010 03:09 PM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

David - This very beautiful picture. Thank you for sharing a very good blog.


Oct 08, 2010 05:02 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

This is a great picture...

Thanks for sharing it with us.


Oct 14, 2010 07:46 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

This is a great picture...

Thanks for sharing it with us.


Oct 14, 2010 07:46 AM