01 Sep Ep. 27: Real Estate Technology
In this episode, Adam talks with his podcast and video producer, Joey Vosevich, about all things related to real estate technology.
Email questions to Podcast@HermannLondon.com
3:05 9/22 is the Hermann London company picnic
4:20 Two new Hermann London agents are actually doctors
5:24 A quick summary of the types of technology Hermann London uses
6:40 Making lists, staying organized, Google Drive, Google Keep, Evernote, & Trello
7:50 The podcast, Audacity, Adobe Audition, Podomatic, iTunes, OTranscribe, WordPress, Youtube, royalty free songs, Reddit
12:30 Making calls, Mojo, Landvoice, MLS (Multiple Listing Service), MARIS (Mid-America Regional Information Systems, TheRedX
14:09 Getting listings to all of the real estate websites, MLS, Wizah
15:25 Social Media, Facebook, Facebook Live, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, HootSuite, & SproutSocial
16:00 The proper way to use Facebook, Facebook Ads, & Facebook Analytics
19:45 Databases, RealtyJuggler, TopProducer, SugarCRM, GMAIL, & Google Contacts
21:51 Property search, IDX (internet data exchange), IDXbroker, BoomTown, RealGeeks, & Wizah
24:45 Drones, DJI Phantom, Youtube.com, FAA regulations, virtual tours, & commercial property
29:30 Email Newsletters, MailChimp, Hermann London Blog, IFTTT (if this then that), Zapier, Google Analytics, CDOM (concurrent days on market), monetized Youtube videos, MarketVolt, ConstantContact, & spam laws
36:24 Printed marketing materials, flyers, postcards, letter head, sign-in sheet, editable Adobe Reader files, USPS (United States Postal Service), & EDDD (every door direct mail),
39:40 Cloud storage, iCloud, Google Docs, & Google Photos
42:24 File review, formsRus, EchoSign, Docusign, PaperlessPipeline, & DotLoop
44:20 Supra Box by General Electric
47:12 iPad and tablet vs. printed documents
48:32 Technology can make agents lazy
49:32 CMA (comparative market analysis), Zillow, Realist, AVM (automated valuation method), & RPR (Realtors property resource)
51:40 Matterport Camera, Matterport online hosting, virtual tours, & giving a minimal amount of information so the buyer will like it and visit
56:20 Taking professional photos & DSLR camera (digital single lens reflex)
57:25 Reflective yard signs
58:08 Floor plan layouts with MagicPlan
59:58 New technology comes out every day
60:34 Use the best software to get the job done and don’t settle for just one
Adam-Welcome to the Hermann London Real Estate Group live from the rooftops. This is the St. Louis Realtor podcast episode number 27. Today is August 30th. We have our most special guest ever. We did have Than Merrill one time which is pretty cool but today we have Joey Vosevich and who has scooted outside of the screen. We are live on Facebook which is a new experience for me but we thought we’d give it a try since today we are talking technology and you’re my technology guy, Joey.
Joey-I am one of them. I know you have I.T. guy and Gerri who takes care of the phones. I’m the YouTube and drone guy.
Adam-We have I.T. guy. Graphic design guy.
Joey-I like graphic design guy.
Adam-He is a good guy. You got to meet him the other day. We’ve got all sorts of different people who take care of our websites, storage, and this and that. Today we are going to talk about technology for Realtors. I’ve made a whole list of stuff that took me about 5 minutes to write up and it has about 40 different technology services that we take advantage of. One of the reasons why technology for Realtors is interesting is because a Realtor gets their license because they want to sell homes. They like real estate and tell me they loved looking at homes when growing up, are interested in rehabbing, or went to some investing class, but one of the things they find out quickly is they had better become an expert at social media, graphic design, photography, videos, web analytics, and not to mention learning the town well and being strong enough to put signs into yards. Realtors quickly go from loving houses to becoming technology experts. Before we jump into that I did want to make a couple quick announcements.
Joey-The announcements part of the show is my favorite.
Adam-We are going to the Gateway Grizzlies game tomorrow night. You are coming right?
Joey-I actually went to a game last week and got a hat so now I’m going to look way cooler than everyone else there.
Adam-We have a box there so we have free food and drinks which I’m excited about. September 22nd we have our annual company picnic. We always go to a park once a year and get together. A lot of the Realtors are out running around most of the time so they don’t get to know each other which is why we have social events. We like to have a little washers tournament. At the company picnic we are going to announce our next sales contest which will run from the picnic to the bowling event in November. We currently have a CMA contest ongoing. I was wondering how to train the agents on how to price property properly so I came up with this CMA contest where we have active properties from the MLS and the agents have to bet what they think they’ll sell for. Once a couple of them sell the contest ends and whomever was closest wins the prize. We got some new agents and 2 of them are doctors.
Joey-What? They’ve got free time?
Adam-One of them is an anesthesiologist and I’m not sure what the other one is. They are having fun coming up with some cool quotes and names for their company. It is interesting to me that someone could be as ambitious as they already are to become doctors and then also be interested in real estate.
Joey-I guess they are curious about protecting that money. You make a lot as a doctor but you may not know what to do with that money.
Adam-They have to have hobbies too. They could go golfing or ride bikes or they could start another business. I think it’s been fun for them as a husband and wife team to have a project to work on together. I organized the technology into a bunch of different categories: phone calls, websites, social media management, databases for clients, property search functionality, emails, agent websites, task managers, flyers and printed material, cloud storage, file review, electronic signatures, CMAs, showing property, and marketing.
Joey-You are organized. Do you use a list making app?
Adam-I’m a big Google Drive guy.
Joey-I use Google Keep and Evernote.
Adam-What is Evernote all about?
Joey-It’s like all the other list making apps but you can also take a picture of a file and then it turns it into a searchable pdf.
Adam-I use Trello.
Joey-We use that to organized the podcast.
Adam-I picture Trello like a big board on the TV show Rob and Big and they had a wall with post it notes all over. When they did an idea they would move the note over to done.
Joey-It makes me think of Saturday Night Live trying to fill the schedule with sketches.
Adam-We can start talking about some stuff that you are involved with. You do the podcast. You have the hardware like the microphones but what other technology do you use to edit?
Joey-At first we started off with the free route. Audacity is a free editor. I work in radio too so the pro one I use is Adobe Audition. It depends on if I’m on my computer or my mom’s. If I need to I will download Audacity and edit. If I’m at work editing while on the clock and getting paid twice I’ll edit with Adobe Audition.
Adam-I hope your boss isn’t listening.
Joey-Of course I’m going to send this to him. We transcribe the show by typing it out on Google’s oTranscribe. I can slow you down by 3 times and then you sound drunk. There is no real way to send audio to an app and make typing come out perfectly.
Adam-And you post it on our WordPress website.
Joey-We go into the back end of Hermann London’s website.
Adam-Tell everyone your login credentials.
Joey-We should let people put their own stuff up on the Hermann London website. Why are we always telling people what they should be reading.
Adam-You also post it on YouTube.
Joey-I’m really big into finding out what YouTube does to make money and the people who are popular on it. I watch a lot of YouTubers to find out their secrets and use them for our channel. Consistency is number 1. We do a lot of videos and podcasts. We put a lot of tags on the video for the relevant topics. Having a great thumbnail is also number 1.
Adam-You make a great thumbnail.
Joey-Thumbnails are my specialty.
Adam-You also had to find the theme song for the podcast.
Joey-I found some royalty free music and they guy who made the song asked that I put his name in the description of the video. I use a lot of royalty free music. There are some great YouTube channels out there. For our drone videos I know you like the techno music so I like to pick songs that Adam can dance to.
Adam-You always get me going when I turn on the podcast. Do you do anything to analyze who listens? You know aunt Marzey listens.
Joey-I take a piece of chalk to the wall and mark down a 1 because I know aunt Marzey is listening. We use a free podcasting service called Podomatic and that is great because it is by file size instead of minutes so I make the file sizes really small. It also tells us everyday how many people downloaded the show, and no offense, but I’m always amazed at the numbers. I will see that 60 people downloaded the show yesterday, and I think, “Why”? Where are they from? Are they from St. Louis?
Adam-If they are on iTunes and search Realtor podcast will they find it?
Joey-Yeah, we are way up there because we have a lot of reviews on iTunes so that helps with the popularity search and the amount of downloads helps too. If someone types St. Louis or Realtor it should come up.
Adam-The doctors said they had listened to a few podcasts.
Joey-Oh my gosh. I feel honored.
Adam-Hopefully they weren’t listening while they were working on someone.
Joey-I should get some of that commission whenever someone calls about the podcasts. I post on Reddit which is my favorite website. I post on there all the time about how great the show is.
Adam-Reddit is another thing that gave you the idea for this topic today because there are people on there who talk about real estate.
Joey-I’m subscribed to the real estate sub-reddit and there was one guy that asked what gadgets a Realtor should have and I sent that to you and you seemed intrigued as well.
Adam-Did you want to talk about hard gadgets?
Joey-I’d say his thread wasn’t full enough with content and we are fleshing it out.
Adam-Calling. When I say calling I don’t mean just talking on the phone to ask a question. We have people that make calls to expired listings or call for sale by owners or call an entire neighborhood to let them know about an open house. They use a few different services. Generally they use the MLS and our local one is called Maris. It feeds into a service we pay for called RedX. Do we have some questions on Facebook Live?
Joey-There are a bunch of people saying hi and a few likes. Phillip Vincent and my dad say hi.
Adam-Phillip Vincent is probably one of our most loyal listeners. He is trying to pick something up. The MLS feeds to RedX and that feeds to Mojo. A competitor to Mojo is LandVoice. Mojo is what the agents use to make a lot of calls at once instead of physically dial every single number. The back-end of Mojo is where the agents can keep notes about what the people said. If a homeowner says they can’t talk because it is their kid’s birthday then the agent can leave a note to call back tomorrow and ask how the birthday went. The homeowner now thinks the agent is really thoughtful. Websites. When we have a listing we put it on the MLS. I do this drawing for clients showing that all Realtors put the listing into the MLS and the MLS feeds out to all other real estate websites. That’s how Hermann London can put a listing into the MLS and then you can find it on Gundaker’s website or Realtor.com. At our company we made a seperate agreement with a 3rd distribution company so that our listing go to all the regular sites but then it also goes to a bunch of other sites that you may not have heard of. We always tell people that they will not be able to find a real estate website that their house is not on. Where did you and your one true search when you were searching for homes?
Adam-Wizah! That’s a good answer?
Joey-Why would you go anywhere else but Wizah? I love seeing John Charlton’s face welcoming me right when I get there.
Adam-Social. Evenyone knows about Facebook? Have you heard about it?
Joey-We are on Facebook Live right now.
Adam-Realtors need to be active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram,and Snapcat. You can also use these other tools like HootSuite and SproutSocial to manage all of that social media stuff. To me a Realtor should never go on Facebook and tell people to call them if they are buying or selling a house. They may as well write that they are desperate and don’t have any business. I think it’s better to share some information or having fun. If I go to a house and there is a crazy sink I’ll take a picture and make a witty comment. Since Phil Vincent is listening, he is really good at using Facebook. He posted a picture yesterday of a van that pulled up next to the house and they built around it. The van was turned into a living room that was connected to the house. What people saw was that Phil Vincent is in real estate, active and out selling houses, fun to work with, and he is successful. That’s what they saw but he didn’t have to say any of that.
Joey-I feel like so much of Facebook is lacking in original content. If you scroll through all of your family and friends it is usually reposts so I pay attention to people who are posting their own videos and photos. That is what you guys do so great.
Adam-We do try to keep it interesting. If you are a Facebooker and you want to try and take it to another level then you need to learn about Facebook ads which there is a 101 level where you can boost your ads. There is 301 level ads where you can serve to specific people from your email list. There is a lot going on with social media so with our company we try to make it so a Realtor can focus on sales and let us take care of the technology stuff. You get your license and are ready to sell but then you find it you have to go to Facebook school and learn how to Facebook. We always say that we cater to our agents so they can cater to their clients.
Joey-Do Facebook ads work? They do provide analytics that come with it, right?
Adam-It’s nice to get the numbers and it works. Because they are showing you the numbers you can see that it works. If we are having an open house I can pay Facebook almost nothing to run an ad from Friday to Sunday for almost nothing. They then show how many people would have seen it if you didn’t pay. I do see that there is value in it because I like to know and we got more exposure for the company and the open house. I can also let my seller know the value we are providing. I like knowing that it wasn’t the marketing’s fault if an open house isn’t successful.
Databases. I go to networking events and I often ask Realtors what one thing they would change if they could go back in time to when they first started and a lot of them say they wish they had kept a database. I’ve seen Realtors who have been in the business for 20 years that don’t know who their past clients are or what homes they’ve sold. They are not keeping up with these people at all and that’s crazy to me. It should be sales 101. You form a relationship with these people while showing them homes or helping them sell their home. It is overwhelming so you need to have a tool for it. Most of our agents use RealtyJuggler. Other examples are TopProducer and SugarCRM. Our property search function has a database tool on the back end. A lot of Realtors don’t like to spend money at all so they’ll try to find ways to not spend money, maybe by using Google contact through their GMAIL but it doesn’t function as well. I’m getting married and I use RealtyJuggler to keep track of my wedding list of who I am inviting. There is all sorts of value to having a database. If I want to mail out my Christmas letter I can choose friends, family, and past clients, and it will print out all the labels immediately.
Let’s talk about property search because a lot of Realtors have property search features on their website. There are a lot of different services out there but it’s complicated. Everyone puts listings into the MLS and the MLS feeds that data out. It’s called an IDX or internet data exchange. A Realtor can’t just take that data feed and make their own website. I tried a couple years ago when I was part owner of a web company and our guy said it was the most complex and huge file of data that he’s ever seen and it was a challenge to parse the data and make it into a searchable thing. It’s easier to subscribe to a service like IDXBroker and BoomTown. We use RealGeeks. Our Wizah platform is built on RealGeeks and I think it’s one of the best.
Joey-I didn’t think you’d be involved with something called RealGeeks but it must really work if you are not afraid of the name.
Adam-I’ve been with that company for a very long time. It’s frustrating because of the owner of it. They all live in Hawaii and I was in Hawaii on vacation a couple of years ago and I went and visited him because it is that important part of our company. It’s frustrating because the guy who owns the company has a huge family, a monster house, and his office looked out over these tetons and the ocean. This guy is living my dream but they do a crazy good job. Through RealGeeks our agents have their own website on Wizah so that makes it so they can promote their listings through Wizah and the traffic and the leads will be given to them. Our agents don’t want to promote a website and then give the leads to someone else.
Let’s talk about this drone thing for a little bit because I need to have a mental break. We got this drone a few months ago. Is it a good one?
Joey-It is the Phantom 3 by DJI, and because the 4 just came out, the 3 price went way down and you even got one that is refurbished and I can’t tell the difference between it being brand new. It’s amazing. The Phantom 4 can do a lot more amazing things than the 3 but for someone that is learning and never had a drone, I’m in love with it.
Adam-You can go to Best Buy and get a $100 drone. Those are crap, right?
Joey-The GPS positioning and the motherboard in these DJI’s are amazing because they can do things with the touch of a button. The cheaper ones are harder to control and will fly into a wall immediately. The DJI has some autonomous features that will blow your mind.
Adam-Would you consider this to be a professional base model drone. I know you can buy one for $5,000 if you want.
Joey-It can’t carry a DSLR or cinema camera but the built in camera is HD quality. It is perfect for YouTube.
Adam-I’ve noticed a lot of other people have started using drones. I’d like to think we were on the front of that and now we are one of a few. I wish they wouldn’t have caught up so quick.
Joey-I think people are really keeping track with the FAA regulations, and starting yesterday stuff went into effect and people actually know what the laws are and people feel more comfortable with getting one.
Adam-I think the drone is a great example of something that we do to try and market a property, get it some exposure, please our client, but real estate technology in terms of websites haven’t really caught up with the drone. If you search on Trulia, Zillow, or Redfin videos don’t have a place on their website.
Joey-Sometimes I can’t even find the virtual tour button. It’s not in the slideshow which is front and center. It’s hidden sometimes.
Adam-When we put our listings on the MLS, the photos go out to all of those websites but the video hasn’t caught up. It is up to us to market the video. We put it on YouTube and Facebook and use our Facebook ads to bring more traffic. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t show up on all those other sites because the people searching on Zillow are the ones I’d love to see the drone video but the people that are actually seeing it already like Hermann London on Facebook. We still do it but maybe we need to keep doing it until the websites start to catch up.
Joey-It should catch up. So many Realtors want to use this technology to sell their properties. With commercial property, you can’t really take a picture of farmland and sell it. If you can show all that farmland and then go up in the air and show all the million dollar homes that were built right next store, it’s going to give developers a better idea of what’s possible.
Adam-It’s going to help us market to home builders without making them drive out there. If you drive out to a field you might not even see if it is near a major intersection. The drone is good for that kind of exposure.
A lot of people are using email newsletter. We use MailChimp which automatically sends an email to my database and it automatically fills in with the content from the website and the blog. A blog is important. An email newsletter is a good way to keep up with best clients and it’s one of the best and easiest things an agent can do. We pay for that here at Hermann London. What I’ve found is that if I’m at a party, a lot of times someone will say they got my real estate email and it starts up a conversation. I’m not expecting tons of people to open the email or read all the stuff in it but it’s a monthly reminder that I’m still in the business and it’s lead to a lot of other referrals.
Joey-I didn’t know that it grabbed automatically from the blog. That is incredible that you don’t have to work too hard on the newsletter.
Adam-What we work hard on is having quality content for our website and it serves all these other purposes. We used to spend an entire day once a month on developing our newsletter and it was wasted time because not that many people open these newsletter and we could just be reusing our content.
Joey-You also use If This Then That where if you set up a formula, it will grab your blog post and send it to Twitter. It’s about creating that free time to go on showings while still getting the content out there.
Adam-I was talking to past guest Alicia Sierra and she says that as the technology grows you’d think we’d have more time but the more technology that comes out the more work we have to do. People think they have to make posts for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter but it’s really just created all this extra work. Some things like Docusign has made things easier but a lot of it has created extra work. We truly try to optimize and automate what we are doing. IFTTT is a great one. We use another one called Zapier which pulls data from our property search website and pulls it into Mojo and brings it back and forth so we don’t have to enter the data twice.
Joey-It’s good to have some Google Analytics connected to your website so you know which social media site is getting you the most clicks so you are not wasting time on something that is not worth it.
Adam-I used to spend a whole lot more time looking at our Google Analytics but as an agent and company owner I’ve let our web guys focus on the analytics stuff. I know one of the most viewed pages on our website is this frequently asked question we wrote 6-8 years ago about CDOM, which stands for concurrent days on market. You will see it on property search websites and people don’t know what it is but it’s the number of days a house has been on the market. People across the country are Googling what it means, find out on our site, and then leave. Some guy from New Jersey found out what CDOM means but it doesn’t really mean anything. If someone didn’t know how to evaluate data looked at that they would tell us to write more articles about CDOM.
Joey-Something that we did with that is we saw that it was the most popular page on the site so we put a YouTube video on the page also explaining CDOM and monetized it and now that video has hundreds of views.
Adam-I wasn’t aware of that, Joey. What have you been doing with that money?
Joey-It’s linked to my bank account. I don’t know if you knew that. I couldn’t get into your bank account and hack the mainframe.
Adam-We use MailChimp. Some other people use MaketVolt and ConstantContact. Some people try to use GMAIL for that and they end up getting blocked because they send emails out to hundreds of people. If you are going to use any of these systems, be crazy detailed about who you email and have they given permission because the spam laws are pretty intense. These companies will kick you off in a heartbeat if they think you are spamming and you could end up getting fined. Just be careful of all that.
As an agent you need to have hard marketing materials like flyers, postcards to mail out, sign in sheets for the house, letterhead, stuff to pass out to buyers when they come to your open house. What we’ve done is use a graphic designer that custom designed a bunch of flyers, agent bio sheets, postcards, listing presentations, buyer guides, buyer consultation packets, and all these other tools that Realtors need. We custom designed all that stuff over the years and then we use some sort of software to make it so all of those things are editable in Adobe Reader. We then uploaded all those files to our WordPress site and all our agents can login with a password and download that flyer, open it in Adobe Reader, and then click and change all the stuff like the picture, header, and price. It’s made it so they can make a flyer pretty easily. They can’t really mess up the format. Other designers wanted me to do this all in Microsoft Word but you could hit enter and then the format is all messed up. This Adobe Reader thing was really important to me but it’s great that we have it because I’ve seen Realtors waste a lot of time on a flyer. There was one guy who spent 3 or 4 days one time trying to design a flyer for a listing he didn’t have yet. He’d design a flyer, print it out, crumble up the paper, and throw it on the ground. It was ridiculous waste of time. He was a sociable guy that should have been out being sociable and making contacts instead of wasting time on a flyer.
If you want to make your own flyers then you probably need to get the Adobe Suite or just Microsoft Word and MS Paint. RealtyJuggler give you flyers but we don’t think they are that great.
With postcards we had to design them in different sizes because if you want to use USPS’ EDDM service, which is every door direct mail, they have to be a certain size and they have to have certain little markings on the back. We had to be careful about how we designed them and we had to find a printer that would print them that size.
I want to talk about cloud storage, file review, and e-signatures all at the same time. When you were buying a house with Hermann London and we had you electronically signing all those documents, do you wish I would have driven over to you to have you sign a document or would you have preferred and email that you had to print off and fax back?
Joey-No. I’m on the computer 8+ hours a day and it felt natural.
Adam-For storage, people use some stuff like iCloud, people who are behind on technology and use Apple stuff, and you always see those people posting of Facebook that their phone crashed and they lost all their date. Why don’t they go to Google? I just switched from Sprint, to Google Fi, and now I’m with Verizon. This all happened within the past 2 weeks. Every sing picture and contact is on my phone and it’s automatic. Are you a Google man?
Joey-I am a Google man.
Adam-Glad to have you. We use Google Drive so that if I’m going to make a spreadsheet or write up a document in Google Docs. I can make a document on my computer and share it with anyone who also wants to edit it and now we only have 1 version because the edits show up in the same place. Also, if I trip and fall and my computer falls into the abyss I can go to another computer or another phone and there is my document and I didn’t lose anything. It’s amazing.
In terms of file review and getting all that stuff, our local Realtors use FormsRUs. That’s where we get our most updated contracts and forms. Some people use FormsRUs to fill out the forms and get signatures. I think their signature thing is called EchoSign. At Hermann London Real Estate Group we take the forms from FormsRUS and imported them into Docusign and we have a company Docusign account where we have created templates with every sing one of those forms so if any of our Realtors needs to fill out a counter-offer form for example, they don’t have to take the tedious time to fill out counter-offer numbers. It is automatically in there so it is super fast for them to type in numbers. We then use Docusign to get the signatures. Some people would then use Docusign to store their files. We don’t do that. We use PaperlessPipeline for the file storage and contract storage if we ever get audited again. We were just audited recently and we were able to give him a login to PaperlessPipeline and tell him to have fun versus having to give him stacks of paper or login to each person’s Docusign account.
A competitor I don’t like is called DotLoop. I don’t like it because it is not as easy to use in my opinion and you also have to be in the loop. When a Realtor sends me an offer using DotLoop I have to sign up to use it which I don’t want to. DotLoop is owned by Zillow and I’m part of the Zillow resistance. Nothing is good about DotLoop.
Let’s talk about the Supra Boxes.
Joey-When we were looking at houses I saw you hold your phone against a big lock on the door and the door just opened and I didn’t know what was happening. I looked it up just so I could seem smarter when I talked to you.
Adam-When you list a home you have a few options. One is to use a Supra Box which GE owns and it’s those blue boxes you see. Another option is to buy a lock box from Home Depot that is coded and the numbers turn like a bike lock. Some people have built in deadbolts with a code. I’ve seen some sellers give out that code which I think is weird. The worst case scenario is where the seller is home. No one likes that. If you are a seller, don’t do it. The cool thing about the Supra Box is that the Realtors can open it with their phones or a Supra Key. It tracks who opens it and when. If a Realtor leaves the air conditioner on for a showing and then forgets to turn it off for a week and the seller gets a huge AC bill, they can track who did it and make them pay. The Supra Box can only be opened by Realtors. Some Realtors who use other lock boxes with tell the buyer the code and they will go over by themselves but they are not supposed to do that. The Supra Box doesn’t allow that. You can set that Supra Box to automatically email anyone. Not only is it good for security but we use it to email the seller when the box is opened so they can go home sooner instead circling the neighborhood waiting for a 2 hour window to pass. I always say that the little things make a big difference.
Some Realtors will use an iPad or tablet while out showing listings to pull up their listing sheets. I used to do that but now I print out the sheet and I prefer it. I can look at it, write notes, and I have a system that I follow with it. I don’t have to worry if my iPad is low on battery. One of the worst things is being low on power or gas. If your iPad crashes, it gives your clients a terrible experience.
Some Realtors that are listening to this may be overwhelmed but the idea at our company is that we manage and think about this stuff so the agent doesn’t have to. We teach classes and they can learn what they want to learn. You only need to be as tech savvy as you want to be. Sometimes I think this technology has made agents lazier. They think all it takes is to make a couple Facebook posts instead of going to the networking event or meeting a client face to face. I always tell people to go to the event.
CMAs. When someone calls us and says they want to sell their house and they want us to tell them what it’s worth. I use experience. I know the houses and what people are looking for in the area. We also use technology. I will reluctantly see what Zillow says it is worth because I at least want to know in case the seller looked it up so I can explain to them why Zillow is wrong. We use Realist which pulls from the tax records and has data about the house. If a house has never been listed then we won’t otherwise know how many rooms it has. We also want to know who owns it. If Bob calls to sell a house but the tax records say Rebecca owns it then I need to figure out who this Bob guy is and what he’s up to. Realist gives an AVM which stands for automated valuation method or an estimation of what they think the property is worth. There is a new function of the MLS called RPR (Realtors property resource) which has a pretty through CMA and gives charts and graphs. Mainly we use the MLS and it has a CMA function and that’s how we look up to see how much other homes in the area have sold for, their features, and the price per square foot. I’m a big price per square foot guy.
All of that stuff is things that we use to get by in life but there are a few extra things we can do to market ourselves and property. You’ve heard of the Matterport?
Adam-It is this $5,000 camera that makes it so you can do a true virtual tour.
Joey-It is like a dollhouse effect. If you pull off the wall on a dollhouse and look in, that’s what these cameras can do, and you can flip the house in any direction you want.
Adam-When virtual tours first came out you had to set a special camera up in each room but now people use the term virtual tour to refer to a slide show of regular pictures with music. Matterport is like Google Earth and Street View inside of a house. I don’t know if buyers, sellers, and agents like it but I assume they do if they are using it. I personally don’t like the concept of a true virtual tour. In my experience of watching buyers look through listings online is that you want to give them a minimal amount of information to interest them so they will actually come to the house. I’ve watched buyers look through photos and when they see a bathroom with pink tile they move on to the next house. If that picture of that pink tiled bathroom hadn’t have been there we might have gone to that house and they might have liked it. They would have seen the rest of the house and realized they could easily change the tile. That same guy was looking through houses a long time ago before the MLS required listings to have at least 1 picture and the guy came across a listing with no photos and he said it was interesting and we went to go look at it. Sometimes too many photos can turn a client off but in this case doing a bad job by having no photos turned this guy on.
When doing photos I always use a professional photographer but I like to have a minimal amount of photos to get people over there. The Matterport is going to cause more people to not go to the house. You can spin things any way you want. The Realtor will say less time will be wasted but there is nothing like driving up to a house, seeing the neighborhood, the neighbors, and walking through the house. I don’t like the Matterport. Have I made that clear?
Joey-I believe it is also a few hundred dollars a month just to host these 3D files online. I think if you stop paying the hosting costs then the file disappears.
Adam-It is crazy expensive and I don’t think it is helping a seller sell a house. The Realtor is spending a bunch of money just to impress the seller client but not actually sell the house. If you do a Matterport video where are you going to post it? It doesn’t show up on the MLS and the real estate websites very well.
Professional photos are great. Some Realtors try to take pictures with their phone and sometimes they don’t even get out of the car. Some Realtors do get out of their car to take the pictures but they just aren’t that great, mainly because they are not professional photographers so the lighting isn’t right and they don’t have a wide enough angle camera. Maybe the Realtor has a good camera and they can take good pictures but they shouldn’t be taking their own photos because they should be trying to sell property and getting more listings, not editing photos.
We started using reflective signs so when you are driving down the street at night you can read them. A lot of our signs are ink on corrugated plastic but now we are spending the extra money so that when headlights hit it you can see the sign and the agent’s name. That’s a great example of something we do to give the Realtor exposure and not necessarily the house. It’s good for the Realtor.
You’ve been doing something for us, Joey, with floor layouts.
Joey-I think you had heard about it from someone, it’s an app called MagicPlan. You told me to download MagicPlan and learn how to use it. It uses your phone’s camera, you point it at the corners of the room, and it creates a floor plan. It will tell you the square footage and how many doors are in the house. I read that police use it to recreate crime scenes or missionaries use to figure out how much materials are needed to build a church. We’ve been using it on these interesting houses that have hidden rooms like a shotgun house that may be confusing from the outside. I think it really helps to visualize what you are working with.
Adam-You are right, I asked you to learn how to do it because I shouldn’t be out there doing it. I shouldn’t be the guy out there learning how to use the app and making floor-plans. We’ve got a great guy right here that can do that so why not leverage your time. The other cool thing about the floor-plans is that we put them with the rest of the photos so they do show up on every real-estate website. I think a lot of people are visual and they like to picture the layout of the house and a lot of people are tearing down walls and it helps to see how big a room will be without that.
That’s all I’ve got for today, Joey. Anything else you want to talk about?
Joey-There is always going to be something new.
Adam-I would always dive into these new things but every day I would get 3 new emails telling me about this service or technology and it became very overwhelming. I think it’s nice to have someone else figure it out for me and try to find out what is the best and use it.
You may have noticed that I went through all these different catergories and all these different services. That is our company’s philosophy. Some brokerages try to use one software that does all these things and in my opinion doesn’t do any of them all that great. We’ve found that it’s better to find the best thing for each problem.
Joey-I love that you use this to create more time for yourself.
Adam-It’s hard because I’m interested in all the web stuff and the analytics. Our web guy can get frustrated because I’m always giving him my input and he probably thinks I should be listening to him. I like it and I want to be involved with it.
That’s it. That’s all I have for you today. Thank you for being here today. 27 episodes in and first time on the show. I will see you on episode 54. Take care!