How Virtual Are You Really?

Real Estate Agent with inactive - license is on ice with State of MN

My mother broke her hip the Friday before Christmas, and had surgery to replace it the next day. This was quite a shock to 83 she stands tall, works out daily, prunes her own trees, lays sod (yes, really!) and you have to pry her off their Harley on trike

Mom and Dad live in Texas, and my husband and I live in Minnesota. We were planning to be in Texas for the holidays anyway, and I wasn't too worried about an avalanche of client inquiries over Christmas. I packed all my equipment and felt pretty much like I could handle things remotely.

Now that I'm going on my 3rd week here, I've had a chance to test my "road worthiness." I've been a road warrior for years -- I am fairly well set up to do business anywhere. (As REALTORS we have to be.)  Still, see if you notice what's missing from this list:

  • Notebook PC with built-in wireless
  • Anti-virus software and firewall for protection when using wireless "hot-spots" (like most Starbucks have)
  • An all-in-one place email account
  • Automatic text alerts and emails for new prospects
  • Sprint Broadband wireless card (seems almost as fast as DSL)
  • Wireless mouse
  • Flash drive to copy files off computer for backup or portability
  • A subscription to so I can log into my office computer from anywhere at any time
  • e-fax so I can send and receive faxes from my email account
  • Treo 650 phone so I can call, text, and carry my Top Producer database and calendar with me (and sync to Top Producer servers)
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional (to fill out and save PDF contracts on line)
  • Wide angle digital camera
  • Tom Tom GPS system
  • A car charger for everything, AC adapters, and/or a power inverter (more universal charging in the car)

Sounds like I've got the bases covered, right? Well, there's one critical thing missing: a small printer/scanner.

While I've been here I've had to do listings and offers remotely.  The only drawback is that at some point I have to sign a few of the docs myself. That means I need to print them. And then I need to scan them into the computer to send them on.

Thank heavens for Kinko's.

Will I get a little printer? Probably. Eventually. For about $99 it would be a good investment, but they are still kind of bulky and one more thing to haul.

For now, I am content to watch Mom zip around the house with her 4-wheeled walker (complete with handbrakes) and help my folks adjust to making a few changes (that really means Dad is going to have to do a LOT more around the house). And throw in a few side trips to Kinko's.

I'll be home soon. We have in-home care set up for Mom: a physical therapist, plus a house cleaner and a sitting service (the "sitter" comes in as often as you like and helps with daily chores like showering, cooking, organizing and such).

We'll return to Texas every a few months to see how things are going (phone calls don't tell the whole picture).

And I think I'll buy that little printer and leave it here. :)

Virtually yours,

Posted by

Barbara Charlton, REALTOR, GRI
License voluntarily ON ICE with State of MN
Cell/Text: 612-414-6721
Office: 952-898-5800
Fax: 612-677-3710


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Scott Wooters
I am happy your mother is recovering well -- she is a positive role model for all of us.  It Sounds like you could use a service to coordinate showings on your listings.  You can comfortably travel without having to ask (and possibly share $$) another agent to cover your listings while you are gone.  Check out OneCall Home Showings - we'll coordinate your listings' home showing requests and request feedback on the showings.  We email all confirmed showing requests to you so you can stay in the loop.  We hope we can help you - we're at your service.
Jan 09, 2008 03:36 AM #1
Barbara Charlton
inactive - license is on ice with State of MN - Lakeville, MN
Thanks for the kind words! You offer a valuable service. We use a similar one for our entire office, and I love it!
Jan 09, 2008 03:49 AM #2
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX
Hi Barbara! I just had the opportunity to read about you from Karen's post. This article is great! When you asked what you had forgotten, the only thing I could think of was a toothbrush!!! I will look forward to hearing more from you here in the Rain! Diane made a great choice. Deb
Feb 06, 2008 07:57 AM #3
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Karen sent me here too.  If this is your first post - that's fabulous!

Welcome to ActiveRain.  You will do well here.  Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Feb 06, 2008 08:13 AM #4
Debra and Georgina

Deb and Georgina:  Thank you so much! I am deeply honored at your (and Karen's) kind words and welcome. This was my first little attempt at blogging (I love reading other blogs so much, I don't often stop to write).

A quick update on Mom: she is back to 99.99% of capacity, and often leaves her walker in another part of the house -- she just refuses to make it a part of her identity. I think that attitude is a key piece of her recovery. 

Have a fabulous day!


Feb 06, 2008 08:30 AM #5
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Barb

Karen sent me over to read your blog. I have also subscribe to your blog now. Heres a big Welcome to ya to the Active Rain community. Your going to fit right in to the community for sure.

It's good to know there are still thoes that will look after their mom and dad.

Have a good one


Feb 06, 2008 08:58 AM #6
Kim Wood
The Tech Byte - West Chester, PA
Kim Wood ~ The Tech Byte

I stopped by from Karen's recommendation!

Great post - I have most of your list.... thank you!

Feb 06, 2008 09:45 AM #7
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Barbara, you are so much the office on wheels you have to get the printer. Very good how mobile you've become. Karen sent me here too and I look forward now to your posts.
Feb 06, 2008 01:51 PM #8
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
Barbara - I also came from Karen Hurst's post.  I look forward to seeing more from you as time goes on.  Your mom sounds like a great lady!
Feb 06, 2008 03:08 PM #9
Cynthia Tilghman, RealtorĀ® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Barbara,
Being able to work away from the office is a bonus.  I'm pretty mobile too and it's great.  Your Mom sounds like a firecracker.
Feb 08, 2008 12:18 PM #10
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