Technology

Greg Eckler: ‘I don’t let the new and trendy get in the way but explore them for new ideas’

A Denver broker-owner and former programmer talks real estate technology

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Inman is interviewing real estate professionals in every area of the field to talk about technology use. Here’s Greg Eckler, broker-owner at Denver Realty Experts and an Inman contributor.

What model phone do you use and why?

Android — Galaxy Note 3. Over the years I really haven’t had a good choice in phones. I was with Sprint for a long time, and the iPhone wasn’t offered. I switched to Verizon in 2013 and the iPhone was so small I didn’t think it was a good choice. This coming December, I’ll be in a position to try the iPhone and may just do that.

What are your top three apps on your phone?

Phone, email and text — not sure those are really considered apps, but if I count other apps, I would include: Flashlight, CRM and voice recorder.

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

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I would say 95 percent desktop — I’m so good with a keyboard and mouse that it’s hard to spend much time on a mobile device. When I’m not at the office in front of a computer, I try to tune out and only do what is required and save the rest for when I’m back.

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

I’m a Realtor/broker/owner — I’m a former computer programmer for IBM and am very good at systems. If I can create a system or process, it has been done. I don’t let the new and trendy get in the way but am always exploring those for new ideas.

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

I’m an early explorer but not an early adopter — usually the price point of adopting early doesn’t pay off.

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

Being greener. I still use paper for my buyer showings. I don’t have a mini tablet and my iPad 3 is too big. I like how the paper is easy to read while driving (next address) and just ready for use without turning on and finding the doc I need. It’s not too broken, so I haven’t spent too much time fixing this one.

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

Agents are too fragmented. We do too many things and are inefficient. Technology will help a little, but not enough. Once we let go of tasks and let others help, this will improve.

The barrier to entry is too low. Appraisers need a four-year degree but agents (in Colorado) need about $1,500 and a few weeks of time. I feel there should be an apprenticeship for real estate — there are many people who rely on us for advice and guidance, and the base level is training is very lacking to help prepare a homebuyer or seller for their next steps.

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

Technology has helped consumers in major ways. For agents, technology is just a tool — we get to decide if it is the right thing or not. Each one can make an agent better or worse, but we need to make smart decisions, not just the decision that it looks good or what the “cool kids” are doing.

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

Exchange with MS Outlook. I don’t need to be efficient on my phone — that is just for scanning what has come in. Outlook is a good desktop tool, and I spend most of the email time on a desktop.

Which CRM do you use? What do you like about it, and what feature do you wish it would add in the future?

Zoho CRM — I have customized it and made it exactly what I want. Anything I need, I add or change. I have never found an out-of-the-box solution that gets me what I need. Being a former programmer, I know what is possible and Zoho lets me do it.

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

Zoho CRM comes with a calendar and it works well.

Do you use digital documents? Which one? Why?

For document sharing, I use Sugar Sync (desktop and app). I use a lot of PDF documents and since Colorado has a great cloud contract software (CTM eContracts) I don’t have many other needs. Never really tried DocuSign, but I would if our contract software went away.

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

No. I hire a photographer and use my phone for basic needs.

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

Laptop (Windows) but only really take it out of my house when I leave town. IPad is mostly for watching movies on a trip.

Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?

No – I’m not cool enough for that.

Do you play games on any of your devices? Which ones?

No.

Which websites do you visit every day? Why?

Inman, insiderealestatenews.com, denverinfill.com/blog.

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

Facebook gets the job done for connecting with my clients. I don’t tweet and I don’t know much about the others. I try to reduce the noise in my life and a lot of social media is noise to me. I’m pretty introverted and like to disconnect as much as possible.

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

Better television and on-demand. I’ll watch commercials but not four to five minutes of them during each break. Let me watch when I want without needing to record anything. If commercials were like the Web — 30-60 seconds, I wouldn’t need to fast-forward.

Real estate technology is in a good place – what I have now works well. Since this is a service industry, the service is the main aspect I focus on. More technology might help, but I don’t see a major need.

Read Greg Eckler’s post, “Why the Broncos could be responsible for the chaotic Denver real estate market.”

Would you like to participate in our technology profile series? Email amber@inman.com.


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