[php function=1] In April 2010, my real estate team piloted the notion of bringing the digital search experience and the real-life, in-vehicle experience together. The initial searches went so well, I decided to invest in more equipment, formalize and “sell” the process and take it into full effect.
There are two reasons I think adding a Real Estate Buy-Fi to your business world makes sense. First, liability. No matter how intensely you educate your buyer prior to hitting the neighborhoods, those questions still tend to fly. ”How safe is this neighborhood?” ”What are the schools like?” Since REALTORS® ascribe to fair housing, we leave our consumers with the same stock answer. ”You will need to research that on your own.” Having the Buy-Fi system in place and giving them the potential sources immediately stops those questions. In fact, just a few weeks ago, one of my male buyers started to ask one of the no-no questions and stopped himself. It was a pleasure to hear him say, “Hey Brian. How safe is….oh wait. Nevermind, I’ll get it here,” and then see him start surfing the web.
Second, it goes back to what this original posting says about the buyer need. Today’s buyers are the most lifestyle active and tech savvy we’ve ever seen. Value must be added at every step of their process. Investing in your buyer’s knowledge base and employment by providing her the tools to continue her daily work is an amazing customer service. So, now that you are intrigued by the benefits, let’s talk a little about what you will need to go forward.
- A large, comfortable car. The program isn’t at its best when buyers are crammed with computers, wifi, coolers, etc. in a sedan style car. Two, separate back bucket seats are optimal.
- In a perfect setting, you’d have two MacBook Airs. On those machines, you’ll create a second profile by going under System Preferences>Accounts. Click on the lock. Then click the “+” sign. Add an account called Buy-Fi, or whatever you want to call it. Log off the “administration” side of the computer by clicking on the Apple icon and then clicking “Logout.” This will place you to a screen, giving you the option to sign in to your admin side again or sign in to the new buyer profile platform. Once you are signed in, change the desktop background to your branding. Open your internet service. Add the following sites or types of sites to the main bookmark bar.
— MLS search page
— A lifestyle search site (i.e. Yelp)
— A school rating website
— A crime or police reports website
— A walkability site
— A mapping site
- While obviously, a PC does the job, too, I prefer Mac because of (1) battery-life, (2) portability, (3) fast-booting and most importantly (4) most of the consumers I work with and want to attract are Mac users. This is the screen you will want your buyers to see as soon as they open the computer.
- A strong internet device like a Verizon Mifi or a Sprint HTC EVO. The Verizon-type card will allow three devices on at a time. The Sprint HTC EVO allows up to eight devices in 4G (where available). You will want to set up the laptops and/or iPads to automatically default to this internet service, entering all passwords, etc.
- A portable two-outlet portable AC/DC three prong auto inverter.
- Power cords, connection cords, camera and any item that the consumer might need.
- Optional: Motion sickness medication
Go over the process and the benefit with your buyer, telling them everything they should expect with the system. If they don’t want to use it, that’s fine. Just have it available. Also, it’s great to turn all your showing sheets, property condition disclosures, home information books, etc. into one simply PDF and place on the desktop. Encourage the buyer to take photos and upload to their friends and family in a private platform. Also, ask the buyer if they would like to take a one long work break or a few small quick work breaks during the search day. Finally, remember always be the source of the source. While legally you walk a fine line on any information and medium for providing that information, please consult your attorney and brokerage to see what disclaimers are needed for this type of system.
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