Paperless ‘real estate cafe’ to serve technology with lattes

'Mobile workspace' aims to bring agents and their communities together

stewartstownOffering the latest real estate technology, a new cafe-style real estate office serving agents and brokers in Pennsylvania and Maryland will be nearly paperless and will provide agents and their clients with around-the-clock access to transaction documents.

The cafe will be run by Jack Gaughen Realtor ERA, a brokerage that employs about 300 agents in 11 offices throughout the region. Many of those agents are already handling their business remotely, said Barbara Schmidt, the agency’s president. The cafe is a logical extension of that business.

“If we are able to make this model work, we can increase our geographic footprint in other communities,” Schmidt said.

Real estate agents can use the cafe — referred to as a “mobile workspace” — to access Wi-Fi, download apps and materials, and meet with clients in a professional environment. Presentation space will be made available, with high-definition monitors.¬† The firm will use HomeBase, an online transaction management system powered by Realogy that provides clients and agents access to real estate transaction documents at all times. Additionally, HomeBase inTouch turns online property inquiries into voice mails, which are sent to agents’ cellphones, enabling them to answer Web-initiated questions. The cafe also has a conference room and lounge.

“There are no assigned desks, just work spaces,” Schmidt said.

The firm’s motto for the cafe is “less square-footage and more high-tech,” she said. In the last five years the firm closed some offices in less populated areas, but didn’t want to let the space go to waste. The cafe, in rural Stewartstown, Pa., is near the Maryland border. It opened March 14 and has a coffee bar, treats and community art.

“We can hold events that will affect families,”¬†Schmidt said. “We can make it a community place.”

In a world where technology can often cut us off from one another, one brokerage is using technology and a co-working space to bring agents and their communities together. Even if you start small, by adding a few simple touches to your office, you can put other agents and clients at ease, help them feel comfortable, and seal the deal with technology and lattes.

Kyle Murphy is an account executive at Propertybase, a cloud-based customer relationship management platform for brokers and property developers.


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