“If I know someone who has used the technology successfully, I’m much more likely to jump on board earlier rather than later,” says Rayl. “I love that technology can make our lives easier, and I look for any way I can to implement that into my business and in my everyday life.”

Inman is interviewing real estate professionals in every area of the field to talk about technology use. Here’s Brian Rayl, co-founder at Home Value Leads and an Inman contributor.

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 adopter of tech that I’m familiar with. I got the iPhone 4, 5 and 6 on the day it was released. I have upgraded several systems in my home to be automated/connected (WeMo, Nest, etc.). I love that technology can make our lives easier, and I look for any way I can to implement that into my business and in my everyday life.

When it comes to “unproven” technology, I hold out but keep a close eye on it. If I know someone who has used the technology successfully, I’m much more likely to jump on board earlier rather than later.

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

I am an active real estate agent, as well as an entrepreneur, and I run an online lead generation business. Technology is everything for me. In my personal real estate business, I utilize technology to make things easier and less frustrating for both my clients and myself.

For my lead generation business, my business partner lives in Los Angeles, and I live in Dallas, Texas. We have never met in person, but we have a registered corporation and corporate business accounts. Facebook chat is our boardroom, Google Drive is our filing system, and our private Facebook group is our customer support center.

Technology not only enhances our business, but it also actually made our business possible.

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

As I stated, my business partner and I have never met in person. There are certain difficulties when you can’t sit down and discuss something eye to eye. Utilizing technology like Skype, Google Docs and Facebook Chat has allowed us to run our business as if we were in the same office.

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

The biggest challenge facing the real estate industry today is fragmentation. Agents today don’t have a singular voice. NAR may be a national organization, but that is then broken down into hundreds if not thousands of local boards and MLSs, all with different rules, messages and technologies.

Technology may be the only way to fix this because it is going to take a very loud, national voice to get change to happen.

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

Technology is certainly changing the industry, both for better and for worse. Technology should make our lives simpler and give our clients access to more information and tools than ever before. The problem is when agents start using technology as a substitute for themselves — technology is supposed to enhance the relationship with the client, not replace it.

What model phone do you use and why?

IPhone 6 — upgraded from iPhone 5, didn’t like the huge size of the iPhone 6 Plus.

What are your top three apps on your phone?

Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Google Voice — and while it’s not an app, I LOVE the “do not disturb” mode!

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

I’m on my desktop or laptop about 70 percent of the time and about 30 percent mobile.


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

I’m a late adopter to Gmail, but I love it. I’ve been a Google Apps user now for about two years. The simplicity of having everything in a single location (and accessible via mobile) is priceless.

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

For my real estate business, I use Follow Up Boss. It is run by a great team, and they are constantly adding new features, like the ability to send text messages as part of a scheduled follow-up campaign.

What I would like to see added to this is the ability to send direct mail and postcards directly through the system.

For my online lead generation business, we use Infusionsoft. It definitely has a steep learning curve and is probably more powerful than the average agent would need in their own business. But the ability to trigger campaigns based on actions taken by the email recipient are great, and the integration with our billing systems and site make it invaluable.

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

I use an app called Pocket Informant. It syncs with Google Calendar so my schedule is always synced across every platform. I can share my calendar with my family and my business partner (and they can share their calendar with me) so that we can always be on the same page and know exactly what’s going on.

Do you use digital documents, which one? Why?

Google Docs for creating and editing documents and Google Drive for storing documents. I travel a lot so having access to documents at any time and in any location is priceless.

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

My iPhone 6 or my iPad are my primary cameras because they are the ones that are always with me. I do have another camera that is a combined video/still camera, but I almost never use it now.

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

I currently have an HP laptop, but that will be replaced by a MacBook when it dies. I also have two iPads that I use frequently.

Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?


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

I will occasionally play games. Sometimes you get bored or just need a break. (Don’t worry, I don’t send game requests — unless you send me one first!)

Which websites do you visit every day? Why?

Facebook, Gmail, Infusionsoft and Follow Up Boss are definitely daily stops for me because that’s where all the work gets done!

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

Facebook and Facebook Messenger on all of the above.

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

I’m all about computers, so those are always going to be top on my list. A 27-inch iMac, a new iPad and of course the Apple Watch are high on my wish list.

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

The majority of my leads for both my personal real estate business and my lead generation business comes from Facebook. I also get a lot of word of mouth advertising and referrals. Gotta love happy clients. =)

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

I enjoy using all technology. One of my favorites right now is my Sleep Number bed!

What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?

As much as I consider myself a tech geek, sometimes you need to unplug. I really enjoy seeing live musicals and have season tickets to two different theaters here in the Dallas area. I also enjoy nature and getting out into the peace and quiet. I’m planning an Alaskan cruise this year.

Read Brian Rayl’s article, “Why offering discounts for real estate services is smart for business.

Are you a tech user who’d like to participate in our profile series? Email amber@inman.com

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