Technology is GREAT! I remember when our local Board of Realtors went online with our multiple listing service. We used to meet weekly at a local restaurant and handed out data sheets of our new listings. We had mls books but they were outdated when we got them. The first day we went online, ED Yancey listed a house on Hayes Street, Searcy, Arkansas and it was exactly what my customer wanted at the time and I sold it that day. Before, I wouldn't have even known about for a week or so. It is great! I feel sorry for the board that do not have a mls system.
Then you look at the internet. We are able to do a myriad of things on here. We blog, build website, provide virtual tours and the list goes on. The cost of each of these are very reasonable and every Realtor should be doing all of them. I had two other partners and we brought the internet to the Searcy, Arkansas area many years ago so I have had a lot of experience but I am still learning new things. I have had a website for about 12 years and it has evolved much in that same time frame. I do my own programming and feel that since we are in rural Arkansas, there are still a lot of people out there that are on dial-up and I try to program my page to help them with the content. It uploads quickly and the content is direct. I had a major change about three years ago on my website. I thought about what drives people to my real estate site. I came to the conclusion that they are there to see listings! I use to have a fancy front page and let them know why I am so great and they should work with me. Boy, was I surprised! If you ask anyone "why do you go to a real estate website?" they will tell you that they want to see properties. They can care less how great we are or how many designations we have etc... They want listings! I now give it to them! I even have agents that call me about my listings at so-and-so. I ask them what they are talking about and they tell me that one of there clients has brought them in a sheet with my info. I describe the printout and then tell them that it is another agents listing. They say thanks and I guess call the listing agent. If you are not on the internet, then you are falling behind. (But, if you are looking at this then you are on the internet, ha ha)
About two years ago, I purchased this neat little scanner. It is about the size of a loaf of bread and it sits on my desk. It will scan 15 pages, full color, both sides in fifteen minutes. It is great! It will scan to a pdf or jpg so it works great for scanning in pictures as well ( I know you're thinking, scanning pictures? but there occasions I ask the seller to give me pictures of the azaleas blooming or of the pool last summer etc... and I will need to scan them in). It is a Fujotsu ScanSnap. One of the many stories why this is so helpful. I was working with a client that lived in Florida and they wanted to move to Searcy, Arkansas. They came up in December and I showed a house that a local builder was building. They said they liked it but could he build it on another lot and have it ready in August. We wrote a contract and they went back to Florida. They wanted to change the layout in the kitchen and we were having a little problem describing what they wanted. This scanner just came in and was still in the box. While on the phone with them, I drew out a plan that I thought they were describing and asked if they would give about thirty minutes, I will e-mail them something. I hurriedly hooked up this scanner and scanned in my drawing and created a pdf file. I e-mailed the drawing and I called the buyers back in Florida. While on the phone, they pulled up the pdf and they were able to look at what I had in front of me. We made an adjustment and were finished. I scanned in a General Addendum to their request and e-mailed it to them. They printed it out and signed it and the next morning they went and had it faxed to me. All of this in less than 24 hours and really no cost. I have many other stories that this is a good investment. I completed three transactions last year where I never met the buyers until closing because we did everything over the internet. Scanned contract (with signatures) scanned covenants, survey and the list goes on. It is a good investment.
Our state association came out with our real estate contract software where we can save them in a pdf format. This is great also. Instead of printing it out, then scanning them, they are already in that format. I had a deal the other day where the buyer wanted to write a contract and wanted me to drop by and get her signature. That was great! I completed the contract online and saved it in a pdf file and e-mailed it to her. I called her to let her know it was in her e-mail box and that I will print it out and stop by for her signature. I wanted her to have time to read through it before arriving so every one in her office wouldn't have to know what is going on and listening to our conversation. Plus this saved alot of time.
We can't talk about technology and leave out my Treo SmartPhone. I went to our state convention and attended a seminar about palm pilots. The instructor was Dick Betts, a national real estate speaker, and he convinced me to go right out and buy a palm device. Then the smart phones came out and i purchased one of them. These Treo's are a mini computer and make life alot easier, once you learn how to use it. Dick Betts can help you with that part.
In closing, don't run and hide your head in the sand when it comes to technology. These things can put more productive activity in your life and make things simpler. Take a class now and then and you to will be doing some of these things.
I am a Realtor in Searcy, Arkansas and I sell new homes, existing homes, commercial property, farms and land as well as manage and own rental properties. If you are looking for real estate for an investment or a home, I will be glad to assist you! You can call my personal cell number at 501-278-7659 or e-mail me at Larry@Searcy4Sale.com.