It is imperative that Realtors use today's technology tools to help manage their business. Think about what tools your Realtor uses in their professional trade. Are they upgrading their tools or still hanging onto their original equipment like they are their "professional" personal photo from their high school prom on their business card?
Just having the right tools will not make you a great Realtor any more than having the best tools will make you a great carpenter or mechanic. However is your agent still using a Juno or AOL email address? If so, their laptop may look like this:
I remember when I first bought this luggable (not portable) computer back in about 1985, when I managed the marketing efforts for the Eastern Regional Office of the Buildings Division of a Fortune 100 company. I loved that I could bring my computer with me and work from home. There was a three hour time difference to our corporate home office so this really helped me. This state of the art computer had zero RAM, no hard drive and a monochrome monitor. Another "feature" is that it weighed in at about 12 pounds so I was in better physical shape carrying it around back then. I must admit however, that my iPad Pro with a Zagg Bluetooth Keyboard is much easier to bring to my listing presentations or to client meetings.
I knew when I became a Realtor that one way I could differentiate myself was via mobile communications. I started off carrying a digital pager. I thought I had jumped into hyperspace when I had my radio phone hard mounted into my business vehicle. It wasn't long before that became obsolete as well because I could carry a phone the size of a brick with me instead and not be tethered to the car! When the Treo line of cellular phones came out, I even bought special software and a dongle that I could attach my laptop to my phone to use as a hotspot. Could it ever get any better I thought?
I ended up going to work for a real estate company that didn't mind investing in technology and became their Regional Director. We were opening up offices though out the state and used a central server in Boise that each of our agents could tap into. The company bought every agent a desktop that tied into the office so we could have centralized files and great security measures. We were using VOIP phones some of which even had video. Our Direct Inward Dial (DID) phone line doubled as fax number and emailed our faxes directly to our inbox online. If you don't know what a fax is, you can Google it. That was only about 15 years ago and now even that major investment would be obsolete. Ironically, I still use the same IT support person for my company, however he has never physically ever seen my computers since he does all my updates and support remotely.
Working remotely has taken on such extremes that you can use cloud computing to work from almost anywhere, especially if you have access to the Internet!
Digital photography is a major benefit for Realtors trying to showcase their listings. I recall thinking how ahead of the curve I was when I acquired my first digital camera over 20 years ago during a CRS Sell-a-bration trade show to enhance my real estate listings. Even back then I paid about $500 for my Epson PhotoPC which would take high resolution photos in 24 bit color..
It is hard believe that that even in the time I have been buying and using these "antiques", that my current mobile device (aka phone), the Pixel 2 XL, has a 12.2 MP camera and 128 GB of storage plus unlimited online for photos if bought through Project Fi (Google). It switches automatically between Sprint / TMobile / US Cellular and WIFI so I can start a webinar in one location and stay online with it as I drive across town and back to my home office. I am extremely pleased that this technology and accessability actually costs me less than what I was paying Sprint directly.
Even though the camera on my Pixel 2 XL is better than what many people use for their real estate photography, it is still not good enough for me. I invested in a Matterport 3D camera that cost me about $4,500 plus accessories and monthly hosting fees. It does an incredible job of capturing photos inside the house and creating floor plans and doll house views of the home, but that still wasn't showcasing everything I knew I could do so I went out and bought a Phantom 4 drone and a few pairs of Virtual Reality headsets to help showcase the tours.
Thanks to using all these professional business tools, my business is doing great. I actually have the best work life balance I have ever had in my 28 year career as a Realtor since I can work effectively almost anywhere. When people ask me where I work out of, I love to tell people my trademarked phrase "Located Virtually Everywhere!" ™
So if you think all Realtors are created equal you might want to ask them what tools they use for their profession. If they don't own these tools, are they at least willing to invest in a professional photographer, etc. that does? You might want to Google them or their most recent listing to see what shows up. Are they a member of the Chamber of Commerce? How are they rated with the local Better Business Bureau?
Please keep in mind that most Realtors are independent contractors so they all have their own way of doing business. Do they practice what they preach? Do they own their own home and/or investment property? Buying and selling real estate is one of the largest investments many people ever make. Therefore, take your time, do your research and choose the right agent for your needs!
If you know of anyone looking to buy or sell real estate in the Boise, Idaho area, I would appreciate the referral! I can also help them find good agents to interview in other parts of the United States and internationally.