Technology

Rob Chrane: ‘People, not technology, support my daily responsibilities’

Down Payment Resource president and CEO talks people power and tech
Published on Jul 8, 2015

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by CareyBot

Inman is interviewing real estate professionals in every area of the field to talk about technology use. Here’s Rob Chrane, president and CEO at Down Payment Resource and an Inman contributor.

What model phone do you use and why?

IPhone 6 — quality, familiarity and loyalty to Apple.

What are your top three apps on your phone?

Tough question because so many boost efficiency and help me travel light. Ranked based on the assumption that everything good starts with physical and emotional energy:

  1. Headspace for mindfulness
  2. ITunes to pump emotion
  3. Wahoo Fitness for efficient workouts

How do you split your digital time: how much mobile, how much desktop?

At home base, 80 percent laptop, 20 percent mobile. On the road, 70 percent mobile, 30 percent laptop.

Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?

As CEO, my job is to keep casting our mission and vision while glancing into the future for new opportunities and threats. Once that’s in place, I need to establish and monitor priorities, make my best guess with input from the team as to when to adjust strategies and tactics and when to stay the course.

Give the team the best support, encouragement and direction possible along with the space to do what they do best. Stay engaged with prospects and customers while developing new partnership opportunities and think about creative solutions to our challenges.

I do some combination of these activities every day while praying that I don’t drive it into a ditch. We have an unbelievably talented team of highly motivated self-starters, and that makes my job much easier. It’s people, not technology, that support my daily responsibilities.

Our company is virtual, so some low-level technology is vital to our communication and efficiency. It’s easy to overrely on email and I fight to remind myself to just pick up the phone every once in a while, whether to talk with colleagues, customers or prospects.

Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?

I see what’s working for others and try not to get distracted with every shiny new bauble.

What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?

Finding data to quantify the efficacy of our product. Tracking the funnel steps we do have access to proves without a doubt that Down Payment Resource (DPR) is the most powerful lead-gen tool in real estate, but we don’t have visibility into what happens before and after agents and consumers use DPR.

Right now, we’re manually reverse-engineering closed transactions in order to connect DPR clicks on those properties by consumers and agents when they were active listings. The results are exciting, but just the tip of the iceberg. Once we find the right combination of data, we’ll source it then automate the process.

We’re also developing new partnerships with enterprises conditioned on sharing that type of information with us.

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What do you think is the biggest overall challenge facing the real estate industry? Will technology be able to address it?

Volume of information and fragmentation of its sources and distribution. This overwhelms real estate professionals and consumers alike. A strong-willed and masterful designer will employ a “less is more” approach and recombine existing technology and data to create a simpler path to homeownership.

How do you feel technology is changing the real estate industry? Are these changes making the industry better or worse? Why?

The abundance of technology and data has changed the industry by making its service delivery even more chaotic and undisciplined than ever. The tools and information currently available should be making it easier for homebuyers to understand their full range of choices and optimize the financial transaction and its ongoing effect.

This may be true in some cases, but we’re still seeing too many consumers overwhelmed and driven into the arms of whoever promises them the path of least resistance. Too often, they end up worse for it.

What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?

Outlook and Gmail. Maybe it’s because I’ve used it so long, but Outlook still seems more flexible and easier to navigate.

Do you use a calendar app? Which one? What do you like about it?

Transitioning to Google Calendar. Syncs automatically with iPhone better and easier to coordinate with colleagues’ calendars. Bad experience trying to sync with iCloud and Outlook.

Do you use digital documents, which one? Why?

Transitioning to Microsoft Office 365. With over 63,000 files, I’m pretty much stuck with Office. It upgraded to the latest versions, runs really fast and gives me the flexibility to access it anywhere. For docs that need to be signed, I use Adobe because I’m most familiar with it and don’t do a high volume.

Do you own a camera? What kind? What do you like about it?

Mostly my iPhone, but I have a Sony RX100 for leisure travel when I know there is going to be once-in-a-lifetime scenery and wildlife. Fits in my pocket and takes awesome photos even in low light and a wide array of easy-to-use special effects.

What kind of laptop or tablet (or both) do you own?

HP Envy and an iPad.

Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?

No.

Do you play games on any of your devices?

No.

Which websites do you visit every day? Why?

  1. Inman.com, of course! Best chance to keep up with the industry and stimulate new ideas.
  2. Google News.
  3. LastPass because I’ve forgotten at least one of my logins.
  4. Yahoo Weather on my phone.

Which social media app do you use the most on your phone? Your tablet? Your computer?

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook

What’s on your technology wish list — for yourself or for work?

Nothing right now.

Where do you get most of your leads: portals or other sources?

Realtors, MLSs and mortgage lenders who read about us in the media, our newsletters or find us searching for down payment information.

What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?

Wahoo Bluetooth heart rate monitor and BlueSC sensor linked to Strava app while cycling or running.

What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?

Playing with or walking our dog, Sophie.

Read Rob Chrane’s article “Pairing new agents with first-time buyers pays off.

Would you like to participate in Inman’s technology profile? Email amber@inman.com.


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