The constant churn of new apps, software and services available to real estate agents presents new opportunities to boost productivity — or create distractions that prevent things from getting done.
Three agents who have figured out how to use technology to simplify their work and personal lives will share their secrets at a panel titled "Using Technology to Simplify the Transaction — and to Simplify Your Life" at Real Estate Connect New York City, which runs Jan. 16-18 at the Grand Hyatt New York.
Greg Fischer, broker-owner of Fischer Real Estate in Fort Worth, Texas, together with Kendyl Young, an agent with Los Angeles-based Teles Properties, and Katie Wethman, principal of the Wethman Group, a Keller Williams Realty affiliate in McLean, Va., will open up about the tools they use and how they use them on the Connect panel.
Kelly Mitchell, the founder and producer of Agent Caffeine, a popular weekly business, real estate and technology podcast tailored to agents, will moderate the discussion.
"Technology is as useful as you are willing to make it," Fischer said in a pre-Connect interview with Inman News.
For contact management, Fischer relies on a lightweight customer relationship management software program called Highrise.
Fischer, who is currently pursuing an MBA, uses Evernote to keep organized across the various devices he uses, and records audio notes throughout the day about things to revisit when he has time.
Fisher said his iPhone is the core of his personal life, allowing him to keep track of business, school and life using multiple calendars and the phone’s integrated technology.
Young, who’s sold more than 600 homes in her real estate career, echoed Fischer in the importance she places on her phone.
"The centerpiece of my day is my iPhone," Young said. "It allows me to collect all the bits of information (I) encounter everyday — notes, contacts, pictures, even video — and allows me to organize the data for near-instant retrieval anytime, anywhere."
Young said she has totally embraced the cloud, which allows her to sync information across the devices she uses because it’s stored on external servers and not on the devices themselves. She uses Evernote to track tasks and transaction management software Cartavi to complete transactions.
"Evernote is the dashboard of my life," Young said. "It houses and organizes nearly every aspect of information management, in nearly any format."
Wethman, who led a team that closed 60 transactions worth $25 million last year and was named a top producer in 2009 and 2011 with a Keller Williams Realty-affiliated office in McLean, Va., says her smartphone is also the key technology in her life.
"My smartphone is absolutely critical," Wethman said. "I can search for properties and set up appointments on the fly using our local multiple listing service mobile app; email or text clients; video(-record) problems at an inspection or walk-through; read PDFs of offers as they come in; and even digitally sign contracts via DocuSign," she said.
Using cloud-enabled apps that allow her to sync her email, calendar and Evernote information also has helped her immensely to stay organized, Wethman said.
E-signature provider DocuSign helps contract paperwork move smoothly and quickly, she said, and her contact management system through Top Producer allows her to efficiently manage drip marketing campaigns and follow up with past clients.
Real Estate Connect New York City takes place Jan. 16-18 at the Grand Hyatt New York.
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