technology

The iPhone® Turned Ten in June and Changed How Real Estate Agents Operate

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Whether you are an AndroidTM fan or an individual like myself who could not bear to part with the iPhone, the disruptive impact that smartphones have had on many industries has been proven time and time again. Steve Jobs described the first iPhone as a “truly magical product.” Looking back, as well as into the future, it’s hard to imagine another device that will ever be more readily used each day by the majority of the population than our smartphones. In 2016, Apple® stated that the average iPhone user unlocked their phone 80 times a day and checked their phone over 150 times a day!

The mobile phone started as a way to increase communication and now the idea of owning just a “mobile phone” is considered ancient. It’s not only mobile phones that were replaced by the invention of the smartphone. Think of cameras, personal computers, GPS devices and even Apple’s own product, the iPod® – all have been replaced by smartphones. It’s not hardware makers alone that have been affected; new industries emerged and disrupted other traditional businesses with the invention of smartphone applications. You now have a computer, video camera, gaming device and movie studio in the palm of your hand. With those capabilities available on our phone, it is easy to get distracted. What are we doing when we constantly check our phones?

Yes, we still spend a lot of time talking and texting on our smartphones, but for many our phones have replaced our computers for website searches, email and have become the main vehicle for interacting on social media and with our community, in general.

A great deal of time and money has been spent by real estate brokers and agents to make their websites mobile friendly and responsive to help facilitate the interaction with buyers and sellers. This shift to mobile responsive websites was caused by the majority of real estate searches being performed on mobile devices. The amount of online research that potential home buyers and sellers conduct continues to increase each year as connectivity and the smartphone ease of use improves. Mobile search and key terms are definitely critical for an agent’s online success. But with the easy access to information and time on our hands, another search category has developed.

Home buyers and sellers are no longer looking at real estate properties, neighborhood demographics and valuation trends alone, they are researching prospective agents extensively too. Two out of three people interested in buying a home are researching prospective agents comprehensively online prior to working with them (see graph below).

It’s no longer enough for a REALTOR© to be proficient at their trade, they now need to pass the Google® test and be seen as the most competent choice online. The first step in this new process is being certain you, as a REALTOR©, dominate a consumer’s search. How do you accomplish this? First, you should own your own website domain with a personal URL and have a website with relevant content. You also need to have a professional profile on dominant national consumer real estate websites, a presence on social media (i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook) and participate on consumer review sites.

The next question to ask yourself is, have you shifted your mindset to that of a media company? The reality is that when you are being extensively searched online, you are your own brand! With the mindset of a media company, you move past checking the box and being found on the Internet or social media and move towards properly promoting and managing your brand. This means you have to develop content, distribute content and be readily seen as a market expert – you have to be someone people want to do business with. The impact of the smartphone will continue to be felt by all brands. Take this opportunity to promote your real estate brand beyond what your competition is willing to do. The rules for winning at this brand game have been already determined. You need to fully commit to the new personal promotion strategy to win.

As you finish this article, take a moment to search yourself using your smartphone and see what results appear on the first page. You would be prepared for an in-person meeting with a client – you need to be prepared for the client meetings that are happening online without you. Be certain to be Google and smartphone prepared because your customer base expects it.

Check out the United Intranet for the latest training on building your brand presence.

Peter

United Real Estate Partners with DocuSign

Complete your real estate transaction more efficiently with DocuSign.

Complete your real estate transaction more efficiently with DocuSign.

The real estate customers you serve are digital. The vast majority of real estate agents recognize that the home buying and selling process starts with a consumer going online to educate themselves about market conditions and the home buying/selling process. A real estate agent having an online presence is not the same as having a digital strategy and transaction management plan. This requires an agent to have an appropriate mobile technology strategy and a user friendly way of sending contracts and receiving legally binding documents with approved electronic signatures.

A good description of digital transaction management as it pertains to the real estate industry would be: A new category of cloud services designed to digitally manage document-based transactions. It provides a way for real estate agents and brokers to manage a real estate transaction which involves multiple individuals and documents to create a faster, easier and more convenient process for all parties involved. At United Real Estate, we have embraced a paperless transaction management and storage system through our Paperless Pipeline system. As the consumer demands for communication efficiency increases and the advancement of technology allows this to be accomplished, we at United Real Estate will add the services to meet our clients’ needs. The expectation of the consumer will not be just greater ease of access to information but also greater efficiency in handling the documents required to close a real estate transaction. United Real Estate has the services to meet the ever changing needs of our clients.

With estimates of up to 77 percent of the adult online population using smart phones and the majority of them using them for real estate searches, we proactively changed our websites last year to be mobile responsive. This redesign was done to adapt the layout and interaction of the sites to work optimally across a wide range of mobile devices and screen densities. The next step for real estate agents to embrace and stay current with their tech savvy customers is moving towards a digital transaction. Anyone who has experienced the ease of use of digital technology and digital transaction management knows this is the future of our industry.

We are happy to announce that United Real Estate has signed a preferred vendor relationship with DocuSign, the leading and most respected company for sending, managing and executing legal documents. DocuSign is the best product to use to digitize the real estate transaction, especially as more and more consumers review documents on their smartphones and tablets. The ease of use of the DocuSign product is unmatched, as is their training and support.

United Real Estate Launches New Office Websites

The team at United Real Estate is proud to announce the launch of new office websites.  After many meetings, lots of review and even more strategizing, we’ve launched new office websites to make home buying and selling even easier for each of our offices. The real estate industry has changed tremendously over the past few years, as technology has empowered people with a plethora of new tools and access to information at all hours of the day. These changes have redefined what it means to have a positive real estate transaction – and we’re here to tell you that we’re on a mission to provide you with the best experience we can.

With the launch of our new office websites, we’re hoping we can make the home buying and selling process a little easier for our clients – and for our brokers.  United’s buyer- and seller-centric technology, paired with the most trustworthy and accessible real estate professionals in the business, allow us to serve our clients better than the competition. Our office websites provide significant value to our brokers and demonstrate our commitment to providing the newest, most innovative technology tools to our stakeholders.

In 2015, we’ll also be launching redesigned agent websites, to help our agents better serve their clients and to help clients better find the home of their dreams. Have questions about what we’re doing or suggestions about how we can do it better?  Let us know. We’re here for you.

United Real Estate Unveils a New Website

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The team at United Real Estate is proud to announce the launch of our new website.  After many meetings, lots of review and even more strategizing, we’ve launched a site to make home buying and selling even easier for you. The real estate industry has changed tremendously over the past few years, as technology has empowered people with a plethora of new tools and access to information at all hours of the day. These changes have redefined what it means to have a positive real estate transaction – and we’re here to tell you that we’re on a mission to provide you with the best experience we can.

With the launch of our new website and blog, we’re hoping we can make the home buying and selling process a little easier for you. As our company continues to evolve and our agent base continues to grow, we spend each day trying to accomplish the following goals for our clients:

• Earning a high level of trust with every interaction

• Promising to be responsive to client needs

• Delivering differentiated real estate experiences not available through other companies

We’re on a mission to make the home buying and selling process simple. And we do so by being the most responsive real estate company in the world – both online and offline. United’s buyer- and seller-centric technology, paired with the most trustworthy and accessible real estate professionals in the business, allow us to serve our clients better than the competition.

Have questions about what we’re doing or suggestions about how we can do it better?  Let us know. We’re here for you.

Get Up To Date Home Listings With URE iPad App

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    app II

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Buying a home is generally a time-consuming process for most people. Fortunately, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by making use of convenient home listing apps for homebuyers. 

United Real Estate offers an app designed for use with iPads. As long as you have iOS 4.0 or higher, you can download this app and use it to start searching for homes. This app makes it quick and easy for you to look through available properties and narrow down your options. It provides you with a number of benefits, including:

  • Up-to-date and highly accurate information on available real estate properties
  • Map that shows all homes for sale in the location you choose
  • Advanced search features that let you search by square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price range and lot size
  • Ability to search homes based on price reduction and newest listings
  • Views on property details
  • Close to 40 points of interest shown in your chosen location
  • Ability to save your searches
  • Convenient one-click access to United Real Estate representatives

Need more help finding your new home? Contact United Real Estate, and visit our Facebook page.