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Blog :: 04-2014

Being Green

Technology isnt the only new hype thats taken the real estate industry by storm. Another trend goes hand-in-hand with real estate being green.In fact, many Multiple Listing Services added green categories. Agents can now add specs like energy efficient appliances details, Energy Star ratings, and LEED certifications, which have become increasingly important even trendy.

To do our part, we at Andrew Mitchell & Company have developed many of our business systems and tools to align with green initiatives. From a business standpoint, this amounts to saving tons of paper, oil and overall making environment a little greener. And, it just so happens that these practices not only save natural resources, but they also save time another extremely valuable resource, if you ask us!

Our Five Steps toward a Greener Brokerage:

1. E-signatures and E-forms According to our e-signature provider, DocuSign, 85 percent of U.S. adults are interested in going BeingGreenpaperless. Weve done this by providing real estate forms online through TrueForms and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and facilitating legal e-signatures for all necessary documents. First, imagine the savings in paper alone. Next, dont forget this also slices document waiting time, the gas driving to and fro, and its much easier/ more readable to fill out documents with your keyboard rather than cramming all your information into those tiny boxes with a pen.

2. Online Filing Systems through GoogleDoc While sometimes its necessary to keep hard copies, weve found it saves tons paper and space to store documents online with Google Docs. This way, we not only cut out walls of filing cabinets and the hassle of printing every document, but we also can share and edit documents from anywhere. In fact, the Pew Research Center predicts its only a matter of a decade or less before cloud computing is the norm.

3. Faxes Sent via E-mail Think of your typical fax: First, you print out your documents and sent them in your fax machine. Then, your recipient receives the documents, immediately printed upon arrival. That means two people have wasted both document and coversheet paper. Instead, weve gone with a Voice over IP address phone system that sends all our faxes straight to e-mail. This way, we read faxes on our computers paper-free.

4. Remote Working Capabilities While you may think of tons of benefits of working remotely i.e. comfy slippers at home, enjoying your favorite latte at a coffee shop, or just plain setting your own work schedule we also think a main benefit is the gas savings. Having a business model where agents can work from anywhere at any time allows them to save time, money and leave a much smaller carbon footprint. So, instead of driving into our office every day to do work on their computer, they can access all our documents, tools and databases from anywhere and save the driving for meeting up with clients or driving them to properties.

5. Listing Flyers via Text Message Lastly, we have decided to have our listings have text message instructions on their lawn signs for instant property information via text message. This completely eliminates the old-fashioned need for printed flyers outside the property. And, when you consider that Nielsen Mobile reports that the United States has about 68.7 million text users, thats a pretty big market of users.

Agent Reviews: The Importance of Transparency

In a nutshell, modern consumers have come to expect and even demand a very high level of transparency and accountability. Whether they are looking for a new place to grab lunch, an auto body shop for car repairs, or a real estate agent to help them on one of the largest purchases of their life, websites like Yelp have made interactive and unfiltered user reviews the norm. In fact, there arent many goods or services you can purchase that dont have some sort of public feedback to help you along in your purchase/hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, many brokerages and real estate agents are not following this trend, and that can often times mean a skeptical level of distrust from the public.

More often than not, we see the ever-popular copied and pasted client testimonials on agent pages, but we have to ask, what is this really accomplishing? The modern client knows that the agent has carefully selected these reviews and placed them on his/her site. So, they have to wonder, wheres the accuracy?

And, since an agent website is the new storefront, you may be weeding out potential clients without even knowing it.

So, while we know this high level of transparency puts the agent on a vulnerable display, we agree with the Geek Estate blog (where the original posting came from) that the benefits far outweigh the risks. In order to be successful in the real estate industry or likely any industry for that matter we have to follow the trends, not fight them.

Feel free to contact Andrew Mitchell & Company to learn more about how you can achieve success through transparency in both our Andrew Mitchell website tools as well as other popular consumer sites: 877-51-GetReal.