Technology

3 tech innovations that solve real estate problems

Technology-based solutions for common daily disruptions

Close the door and have a seat. We’re going to talk about your problems. Well, not all your problems, or even most of them, just three real estate-related ones — and how these three nifty new solutions can help.

Problem 1: You’re opening doors instead of closing escrow.

You have a fantastic property. You have a seller. You have potential buyers who want to tour this fantastic property, and you have only one key. So you head to the nearest home improvement or drugstore and hand the physical key over to a nice lady or gentleman who proceeds to copy the key for you, maybe a few times. Then, you go about distributing the keys to the people who need to show the property.

There goes your power lunch hour, not to mention precious mileage, gas spent on the drive, and an hour or two you could have spent making your clients happy or watching cute videos.

The solution: KeyMe

What it is: a company that allows you to copy and distribute keys securely without leaving your desk.

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Who will use it: agents, brokers and anyone else who needs to provide daily access to multiple homes.

How it helps: Scan a key on your smartphone using KeyMe’s iPhone app. Upload the file to a secure database, and KeyMe will cut a new key and send it out to as many recipients as you designate within three to five business days. The technology also allows you to share the key file (again, securely) with other interested parties (think: agents and property managers) who can then place orders themselves.

Need it faster? KeyMe kiosks, which allow users to scan and print keys on the spot (without needing a physical copy of the key), are expected to pop up all over the U.S. in the coming year. Several are already available in major retailers in New York, with a few rolling out in San Francisco this month.

Problem 2: You see the potential in a property, but buyers can’t quite visualize it.

You’re marketing an overseas development or home that hasn’t been built yet. You have a 3-D model and computer-assisted design (CAD) renderings of how the space could look … but nothing to convey the experience a buyer would have as she walks through the space. You’re trying to describe, in the most powerfully convincing language possible, how beautiful and useful the new space will be, but words are getting in the way. You needed a compelling visual experience, and you need it yesterday.

The solution: Floored

What it is: a virtual program that allows the user to tour a space before it’s even built.

Who will use it: developers, agents and brokers representing or selling properties in the planning phase or under construction.

How it helps: Thanks to CAD, we’ve seen the future, and it looks pretty darn good. Thanks to Floored, we can walk around in it. Floored’s technology goes beyond a flat rendering, allowing the user to move through a home virtually — like a gamer in Minecraft, but with way better graphics. (Seriously: They’ll set you up with an Oculus Rift virtual headset, if you want one.)

Floored also enables a seller, marketer or developer to send a link to a potential buyer or embed a file on a property’s website that allows the recipient to view a virtual rendering of any room in the home and to take a virtual tour of that rendering. Users can navigate through a property, observing how all its rooms look from various vantage points.

Problem 3: You want to be a rainmaker, but too much tech has you waterlogged — and bored.

You’ve tried every new customer relationship manager (CRM) and productivity software program on the market. The time you’ve spent trying to figure out how to use each one is matched only by the valuable productivity hours you’ve lost in the pursuit. In the process, you’ve become the perfect living, breathing, walking, talking embodiment of situational irony. Shakespeare, Sophocles, the universe and your high school English teacher are all laughing at you from the wild blue yonder, and you don’t think it’s funny.

The solution: Carrot To-Do

What it is: a to-do-list app that packs some personality while recording and managing your tasks.

Who will use it: anyone who likes a little entertainment (and a lot of snark) in a to-do app.

How it helps: Carrot gives you the kick in the pants you just might need to really finish all those tasks that you’ve been putting off. And because the program acts like a fickle robot whose moods swing on a dime, Carrot keeps you interested, motivated and entertained (if you like that sort of thing). Create to-do items for yourself and, as you check them off, Carrot rewards you with points you can redeem for prizes, such as compliments, jokes and quotes. Fail to complete your tasks, however, and Carrot can get a little sassy. She might even hurl an insult or two your way.

Sounds harsh, we know, and the universe was already laughing at you and your futile attempts at productivity. Why add insult to injury? Because, in the end, if you do as Carrot says, you’ll toughen up and win the long game.

As founder and CEO of RUHM Inc., a luxury marketing firm based in Irvine, California, Mark Fitzpatrick seeks to revolutionize the way properties are branded, bought and sold.