Is 2011 The Year To Dump Your Desk?!?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

 

It's 2011...Well, almost...

It's time to think about your future. Do you need that office space? Really NEED it, I mean?

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. (Isnt that what Starbuck's is for?!?) 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 Droid...maybe 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 (great) 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. The new HD Flip cam is awesome...and the Kodak Z3x or Z8i are great ones.

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.

 

If you would like more information on how we can help you get more clients, please contact Clint on Twitter. Or, hit up the fan page on Facebook!

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 12/27/2010 01:44 PM
  2. Cheryl Ritchie 12/27/2010 01:48 PM
  3. Barbara Hensley 12/28/2010 01:26 AM
  4. Eileen Murphy, Curtis Lee "The Murphy-Lee Group" 12/28/2010 06:48 AM
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Rainmaker
421,409
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Clint, 

There really is no excuse to not be very mobile.  We opened a small boutique firm 9 years ago.  I've only had two folks in that time ask to meet at my office.  

Bricks and sticks models are rapidly disappearing, as the overhead is too high.  Also, it's just not a necessary for real estate.  90% of our job is out in the field. 

What about the iPAD?  I was thinking that is my next big purchase in 2011.  

All the best in 2011, Michelle

Dec 28, 2010 01:42 AM #40
Rainmaker
189,766
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Michelle -- I mentioned in one of my comments above, if I had to write this again, i would have included an Ipad. For sure. Get one. You wont be disappointed.

Dec 28, 2010 01:50 AM #41
Rainmaker
1,421,577
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Clint, I can see where technology is evolving to where this will become a future necessity. Thanks for the info.

Dec 28, 2010 02:03 AM #42
Rainer
94,133
Vince McEveety
Gilleran Griffin Realty - Sherman Oaks, CA

great post - interesting points - where will we be in ten years?  more or less desks?  how many people want to come into an office and what does that add from a client's point of view?

Dec 28, 2010 02:48 AM #43
Rainmaker
554,765
Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN
SpousesSellingHousesTM

We agee Clint....The days of the dog n pony show ( big brokerage building ) are going fast...We opened a Virtual office concept brokerage mid 2009 and our agents keep much more $ and all work from home - we meet monthly for round table disucussion but call/email or text/skype/twit/facebook as needed for support. Our market has primarily agents who won't part with their corner office, water cooler environment routine yet complain about high splits or desk fees? change is hard for those who have this behavior pattern engrained in them for years - it's the younger generation of agents or the minority who "get it" that we want to attrack anyway:)

Dec 28, 2010 03:10 AM #44
Rainer
139,235
John Zappia
Maine Custom Realty - Portland, ME
Maine Custom Realty

I have a nice balance going between my home office and being mobile...I do a lot of the work at home but when I'm out I'm connected enough to keep things moving...I'm seldom more than a half hour from my home anyway when I'm in my market area...I don't have any dedicated space at my firms' office.

Dec 28, 2010 03:34 AM #45
Rainer
153,175
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

Time to get a mobile printer. I've got room in the trunk for it. Everything else is checked off the list!

Dec 28, 2010 04:29 AM #46
Rainmaker
144,833
Maria Peace
THE BROKER NETWORK OF CENTRAL OREGON, LLC - Bend, OR
MBA, GRI

I have been doing this pretty much for the last couple years and love it.  I have everything except the portable printer, but I just go home or stop by the office to print or scan and email the stuff to clients.  There is no value to me as a seasoned broker in paying a desk fee or other fees besides MLS fees and small overhead fees.  I think a lot of companies could be more profitable if they just had virtual agents that did not require desks or equipment, smaller buildings and lower costs, then all the overhead would consist of E&O insurance which is a lot cheaper than most people think, and dividing up any other overhead costs attributable to those agents.   I also just got my principal broker designation so I can go into business for myself.  Where I live, it costs about $3000 for a one time fee to join MLS, then you pay your regular 45/mo dues, and E&O insurance which I am told is under $1000/year.  People don't come to you because of where you work, but because they are in your network and you work that network and have built up a reputation.  The big box companies are so preoccupied with making money off of your work and getting the credit while charging you for growing their business, so not for me.  I was with a good firm and am now changing because they turned into a franchise of a big box firm and this is what is happening.  Just in case things don't change as I think they will where there will be more virtual agents, I have my principal broker license in hand as a backup.  I really think this is the way of the future. Love everyone's comments.

Dec 28, 2010 04:39 AM #47
Rainmaker
846,576
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Clint -- This is SUCH a great post.  Your recommendations are excellent. I am just shopping now for a new computer and you are so right that you should get more than you need.  I need to get up to speed with Docusign, and I like the idea of the portable printer. Do you have a recommendation for a good one? 

Dec 28, 2010 05:34 AM #48
Rainmaker
531,363
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

A portable printer is the only piece that I am missing right now.  I think that being completely mobile is not for everyone.  It takes some getting used to.  One of my inspectors has a portable printer and the clients love it!

Dec 28, 2010 02:56 PM #49
Rainmaker
926,706
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

I have never had a "desk" or a building.  I guess I'm lucky.  But, without a smartphone and a laptop, I'd be done.  Well-written.  Thanks.

Dec 29, 2010 12:14 AM #50
Rainmaker
52,487
Hank Spinnler
Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA - Hoschton, GA
Atlanta Home Inspector

I would also include a good GPS with up-to-date maps. I keep a top-of-the-line radar detector plugged in to minimize the chances of having my day ruined.

Dec 29, 2010 10:54 AM #51
Rainmaker
42,052
An Bui
DocuSign - Seattle, WA

Wow Clint - great blog post and lots of comments :)

I just wanted to chime in - Nogui (#6) brought up an interesting point about a tablet and DocuSign. You can use DocuSign from a laptop, desktop, iPad or tablet. You don't need a tablet to use DocuSign - any internet connected device will work :)

If you want a tablet, that's a different story - I just wanted to clarify that DocuSign works on anything with an internet connection!

-An, DocuSign Social Media

Jan 03, 2011 07:50 AM #52
Rainmaker
146,615
Nogui Aramburo
Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® - Raleigh, NC
Real Estate Professional in the Raleigh Area

Hi An, I only mentioned tablet because there are still some knuckleheads that insist on a siggy, even if its scanned. But yes Docusign does not require a tablet and you can initial AND sign anywhere. I am very familiar with Docusign and Zip Forms, they are both top notch program.

Another point is the earnest money. You can simply take a picture of the earnest money and submit that with an offer. Theoretically speaking, its the same as a scan. Has anyone tried this?

Jan 06, 2011 11:18 AM #53
Ambassador
2,305,947
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

These seem to be standard issue for real estate agents these days..

Well written and good info.

Jan 18, 2011 12:56 PM #54
Rainmaker
262,384
Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

Clint - Check, Check, Check, Check, Check, Check, and Check. I'm ready - let's do this! :)

Jan 20, 2011 07:36 AM #55
Rainer
129,136
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

I'm with Christianne, Check, check, check...except for the MIFI.  That is the final piece for me.

Feb 16, 2011 02:33 AM #56
Rainer
12,399
Paulette Teel, San Antonio Real Estate North San Antonio Homes for Sale
PEARSON REAL ESTATE-San Antonio Homes for Sale - San Antonio, TX

I can't imagine doing this job without my Iphone, Ipad, Docusign, Zipforms and Centralized Showing Service (lockbox appt service).  In the old days, I had a Mapsco, MLS book and quarters for a pay phone.  Brokers with high office fees need to rethink their strategy to meet today's way of doing business.

Feb 19, 2011 04:56 AM #57
Rainer
212,105
Tim Peterson
Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes - Madison, WI
Realtor Safety Training Classes
Hi Clint. Thanks for summarizing this for us. I think the hardest part really is making certain you understand how all the paperwork functions now using docusign.
Feb 19, 2011 07:00 PM #58
Rainmaker
194,013
Brett Fagan Bozeman Montana Real Estate
Taunya Fagan Bozeman Montana Real Estate - Bozeman, MT
Boutique Luxury @ ESTATE House, Bozeman, Montana

Get well Clint! If you're reading this, check out Lance Armstrong's video to Clint: http://youtu.be/ZyVdt7W5MBI

Jun 29, 2011 08:27 AM #59
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