Real Estate News

Office Tool to Use Dropbox

Store, Sync, and View Files from Anywhere with Dropbox

Remember the days when you had to store files on your computer? Though cloud computing technology has really only gained momentum and mass popularity within the past year or so, it seems like a decade since you had no choice but to store your files on your computer.

To share you had to e-mail different versions back and forth, and, worse yet, to access from another computer you had to upload the file onto a zip drive and physically carry it with you. Or, for a real flashback, files had to be attached to a 3.5 inch disk and before that one of those actual 8-inch floppy disks that were like a bendable CDs that you slipped into those paper sleeves (as if that thin paper protected them).

Thankfully now file sharing and file storage is as easy as having access to the Internet, and with Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and all the technologies that keep us connected, youd have to be either in a cave or on an airplane (oddly cloud computing does not work from the actual clouds) to not be connected.

Though there are many cloud computing companies at Andrew Mitchell we use several, including Google Docs and our internal Concierge Dashboard for agents one that is quickly gaining popularity is Dropbox, Inc.

This cloud computing company, founded in 2007, offers both free (up to 2GBs of storage) and paid versions of its Web-based program that can be accessed from any computer (compatible with Windows, MAC OS X and Linux) or, more recently, from iPhone, iPad, Droid and Blackberry mobile devices. So, not only can you access your files from any computer, you can also do this from your smartphone.

In case you havent heard, heres a brief overview of what you can do with Dropbox:

  • Drop files into your Dropbox folder to store them,
  • Drop photos in and create galleries,
  • Sync your computers and your phone to always have the latest file version,
  • Share live files with friends and coworkers,
  • Undelete files and have backups for mistakes,
  • And, encrypted technology for security.

Rebranding

In real estate there are essentially only three ways that you can boost your annual gross commission income:

1) You sell more homes.

2) You charge more for your services.

3) You sell homes in a higher price range.

However, when you really look closely at this list, the third option is really the only feasible one among the bunch if you are already working at your full capacity and if the market conditions are anything less than desirable.

To be more specific, unless you are only a part-time agent or you still have a lot of free time, the number of transactions that you can add to your annual work load is likely minimal. Your plate is probably already full with your current number of clients, right?

And, you cant likely charge a higher commission rate for your services because then potential clients would run in the opposite direction for the hundreds of agent offering their services at the going-rate, 5%.

So, that brings us back to #3. While we agree that it is difficult to move from a comfortable lower-end market where your client base is very familiar with you to a higher clientele that may be skeptical of your new proposed higher-end knowledge and services, we think it is still within reach. And, what this boils down to is rebranding.

We arent talking about a new suit, a slight revamp of your website or even new business cards and marketing materials we are talking about a complete rebrand. In fact, many large companies that appeal to the masses have tried to slightly rebrand, trying to hit a more affluent client base by changing their logo or even adding a new name, with limited success.

One recent example that comes to mind is Comcast. While they are a big player in the TV and Internet business, and everyone knows their name, a big name only gets you so far. So, what is their real image? The company must not have felt it was very positive among high-end markets, because they chose 11 upper markets (including Boston) and rebranded themselves as Xfinity, still coupled with the Comcast name, but adding higher prices.

Despite your opinion of Comcast, I think we can all agree that the new name in front is not likely going to erase public opinion (positive or negative) about Comcast and new markets probably wont open up their arms to this mainstream provider. They are still the same brand, are they not?

The same is true for your brand in real estate. If youve spent years in a particular market developing a name for yourself and an opinion of expertise, suddenly trying to take that brand and market it to a new audience will be met with a great deal of resistance.

Despite the fact that we cant completely role out resistance (you will still be you with the same resume, of course), a complete rebrand could be just the change of image you are looking for, and Andrew Mitchell & Company can help you do that. We can give you a high-end brand to stand in front of, as well as a brand new high-end web presence and a suite of great online and mobile search and information tools to impress your clients, which will, in turn, move you up the ladder in terms of your image and your success.

Nearly Half of All Online Leads Go Unanswered

We all know that the future of real estate is interwoven with the future of the internet, social media, mobile apps and the wealth of online information because that is where more than 90% of homebuyers are starting their searches.

But, the bigger question is, have real estate professionals, as a whole, stayed in sync and kept up with this quickly expanding trend? Not according to recent research published by the National Association of Realtors and conducted by PCMS Consulting in Atlanta and One Cavo in Denver that concluded that half of online leads go unanswered.

More specifically, the study examined 715 responses to Internet leads by real estate sales associates at 56 brokerages. Half of the leads were specific to a certain sales associate, and half were through IDX sites. About 50 percent of the sales didnt respond to the leads specific to them, and 46 percent of the IDX inquiries also went unanswered. And, about a quarter of the leads that did receive responses, those replies came on average 8 hours after they had initially inquired.

This should throw up a huge red flag for real estate agents everywhere. Why? Because we live in an instant gratification world where consumers are used to having instant access to property photos, information, maps, comparable properties, neighborhood information as well as the contact information for an agent that can help them in their buying process. Because of this, it becomes extremely important that agents complement this trend with quick responses, or the lead will just walk away and find another agent who will respond.

In fact the research even goes as far as to note that consumers have come to expect a response within a little as a couple of minutes. Now, you can definitely argue that crosses into a little bit of an unreasonable expectation, but you cant argue with the fact that in order to provide the best service and win the most clients, real estate agents need to follow consumer/client trends and shift their business in a way that moves with technology advancements and new trends.

Information is Everywhere

This is an understatement. With the constant stream of online data available on your computer and even your mobile device, we have access to information at practically anytime and anywhere.

Have you ever been asked a question by a friend and responded Im not sureGoogle it. Probably. We are in a society of instant gratification where we can get information on almost any topic with a quick search.

Want a quick recipe for dinner? Google it. Want to know what that computer error is all about? Google it. Want to know if you have the common cold or the flu? Google it.

This is how we live, and real estate is no exception. The vast majority of home buyers start their property search from the comfort of their home using a wide range of property search sites and advanced IDX systems, like the one here on the Andrew Mitchell Real Estate homepage.

While some real estate agents might cringe at being bypassed. At Andrew Mitchell, we dont think this is a bad thing. It just means a shift in who holds the information. While years ago the broker held under lock and key access to market properties, now access is wide spread.

However, while clients can (and should!) get an online head start on being informed about whats out there on the market. As people who are passionate about real estate, we still think theres absolutely no replacing what a skilled and knowledgeable real estate professional can do for you. And, hey, while you might browse Web MD, you wouldnt ever want to diagnosis yourself, right? Youd want doctor with the proper training to take over where you started. Real estate is no different (well, theres fewer germs).

A real estate sales agent or broker has the full-time job of knowing whats on the market, how to price a home correctly, how to prepare a home for a showing, and how to negotiate a sale, sometimes in very difficult circumstances and difficult markets.

While people who try to sell their home on their own may think they are cutting out an agents commission from their expenses, they actually could end up spending more money. This is because going at it alone, you will have to do your own marketing, manage calls, appointments and any advertising on your own. Also, while you could be saving the sellers agent commission fees, you likely arent going to be cutting out fees from the buyers agent (this is usually a seller expense).

Money aside, the average client may not be fully ready to tread through a difficult negotiation process. Real estate contracts are tricky business. When you think about it, dont you feel you have more knowledge in your profession than an outsider? You likely do, and its probably a combination of your education, training, professional licenses, and on-the-job experience, etc.

Lastly, real estate professionals, and in particular licensed Realtors, are bound by laws and codes of ethics in terms of what they must disclosure and how they represent you.

Contact us today at Andrew Mitchell to start working with an experienced agent and see what they can offer you in terms of knowledge, resources and professionalism.

Written by Andrew Mitchell staff.

Too Cool for School

It seems like kids today are just born with a working knowledge of the latest technological advancement. No manuals needed, they just sort of 'get it'. If you were to hand me the manual I'd tell you it was harder to figure out then a set of Ikea instructions. So how do you bridge the learning gap?

If you don't want to employ your children as tutors there is hope. Sites like Skill Share and Grovo offer online classes ranging in a wide variety of topics. Here's a bit more about them.

Skill Share:

  • Offers hundreds of classes and lectures by people who are the top of their field.
  • Explore programs such as Adobe Photoshop, or Wordpress
  • Drill down into Digitial Photography or SEO and Digital Strategy
  • 7 day free trial period
  • $9.95 a month after that

Grovo

  • Offer over 1000+ videos on getting familiar with Online Marketing, Social Media, and Blogging.
  • Also offers focused training on popular websites and apps
  • Individual Access pass is free!
  • Team Access is a 14 day free trial with access to content more suited to group training
The best part of both sites is that all this learning can be done at your own pace and from anywhere! It's learning on your own time. So what's stopping you from taking advantage of these great tools? We've even taken some of the classes!