Ask An Agent - Technology

Art Vibulakaopun

My first year as an agent, I learned a lot about how to help buyers and sellers achieve their goal of buying or selling a house. Contracts were written out on paper. Measurements were taken with measuring tape and the only real technology that I saw in my first year was the photos being taken with digital cameras and not film.

I grew up around computers. My first computer was an Apple 2e back in 1983. From this point forward, there wasn’t a time in my life that I didn’t have or own a computer. So in my 1st month of being an agent, I bought a Windows laptop. Back then, a lot of the software and websites didn’t work on an Apple operating system. Also, I bought a very expensive color laser printer.  I soon became the tech guru for my office & known around the company as someone to consult with about using technology.

Today, where technology stands, it allows me to be the best agent that I can be. Here is a list of today’s technology that I use on a regular basis and recommend your realtor use as well:

  • Apple MacBook Pro
  • Apple iPad with cellular data plan
  • Apple iPhone 5s
  • Panasonic Lumix ZS40 camera
  • Fujitsu Scansnap 1500M
  • Neat Receipts
  • Craftsman Digital Measuring Device
  • Sony Cybershot DSC-V1 digital camera with interchangeable lens and dedicated flash
  • Skyslope
  • Online Forms
  • Numerous iPhone & iPad Apps
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional
  • Snapheal by Macphun
  • Microsoft Office for Mac

When I go out with a buyer, I usually start on my MacBook Pro. I start looking up properties that the buyer might be interested in and email them a list. With the updates in our local Multiple Listing Service, emailing properties to clients is easy. A lot of this can be automated with the technology.

The iPad makes writing a contract for a buyer or any listing paperwork for a seller so easy! I bought an iPad with Cellular Data capabilities. I never knew if I was going to be close to a WiFi hotspot or not. So being able to send offers over the cellular network would make writing offers as easy as turning on the iPad and being in cellular range.

I use 2 digital cameras for specific tasks. My Panasonic Lumix is primarily used when I am with a buyer. It takes great photos. It also takes great movies. It is equipped with a wide angle to zoom lens. It has Wifi capabilities so that I can transfer any photo or movie clip to my iPhone or iPad to show my clients. The Sony digital camera is primarily used in taking listing photos. It has a very nice wide-angle lens that can capture any size room. Also, the dedicated flash that I use with this camera insures that I have the correct lighting for my photos. I use a tripod with this camera to capture the best photo with no blurriness from movement.

The Craftsman digital measuring device allows me to take any measurements of any room without having to drag a measuring tape along your floors. It is so quick and easy to use. The Fujitsu Scansnap allows me to scan any document or photo to a client without having to go into my office.  This device helps me eliminate having to store any hard documents in my office.

My company has given us new technology services that really help me become less dependent on paperwork. We are now using Skyslope as our electronic transaction coordinator. I can upload any document for the transaction into Skyslope and it will be there when I need it. Also, I can send any document that I have in Skyslope to be signed digitally. As long as a client has an email address, they can sign any document digitally on a computer or smartphone.

With technology today, I am always able to be in communication with a client. There should never be a reason that a client feels a lack of communication with their agent. With a smartphone, you can talk, text, email or even Skype or Facetime (depending on your OS system).

As good as the technology is today, I imagine it is going to get better as we move forward. I heard recently that you will be able to take 3-D images & movies on your iPhone! Can’t wait! You do have to learn how to use the technology, so practice using it and make sure your agent knows how to use it as well. Or if you are lucky, find the technology guru in your office and buy him/her lunch in exchange for some tech time!

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