While I believe it's more important than ever to know your technology we are still in a people business so the tools we select should help us do what we're good at which is to connect with more people. However, there are some basics that every business needs such as a computer with Microsoft Office. MS Office has just about every software tool you would need in business. Since we are in a business that requires ut to constantly be on the go I believe a laptop is preferable to a desktop. This allows you to do work anywhere, at home, the office, your local coffee shop or an open house.
In my opinion, the one "can't do without" technology tool you need is a smart phone. You need the ability to contact clients quickly and today's smart phones are much more than just a device we use to call and talk to people. I synch my phone with my contact manger so I always have my most up-to-date client list and schedule with me at all times. I can also text or instant message a client or access my email. In addition, my phone is my MLS Ekey which I use to access properties. I can even check my phone to view showings on my listings. I have a mortgage calculator that I frequently use. My phone even has a camera. It's not the best quality but I use it to remind myself of repairs items. I also frequently use it when previewing a property for a buyer that I think he or she will like. I'm able to take photos and email them immediately. There is so much that today's phones can do.
A high quality digital camera is another important tool for today's real estate professional. These have come down in price and gone up in quality dramatically over the years. You want your listing with lots of photos online as soon as possible. Studies have shown that the more photos you have on your listings, the longer a consumer will stay online looking at it.
Your website and personal email address is another must have. It's simply become a standard for any business. How many times do you find yourself asking for a company's website address instead a phone number? Your real estate business is no different. Your website is an online brochure for your business. If you do not have a professional looking site, you will not be viewed as a professional agent by a majority of the consumers out there. There are many companies that offer template real estate websites that are reasonably priced and look great...get one!
Another item I do not want to ever live without is my GPS. Many cars offer this feature or you can buy a handled device that attaches to your dashboard or windshield. These are relatively low cost and no matter how well you know an area it's easy to get confused while showing multiply properties and trying to talk with your client at the same time. A GPS can save you lots of embarrassment by keeping you from getting lost when you're with a client.
Many areas use Zipforms(TM), these are online real estate forms and I highly recommend them. With Zipform, also called Winforms, the contract can be typed using any computer so you can access it anywhere and more importantly, it's legible. I no longer have to try to decipher another agent's handwriting on a contract. It's also easy to email to clients so you do not have operative info to fax contacts as often, which can get messy, and if you sign up for DocuSign, your clients can even sign online. It's beautiful
Finally I recommend getting a good contact manger that will synch with your smart phone. I use ACT and have been using it since the early 1990's because it has served me well. There are numerous good programs out there including Outlook. Top Producer is also well regarded and is geared specifically towards real estate agents. Top Producer is much more than a contact manager, it has escrow tracking, email marketing, flyers and much more. Without a way to maintain and track your client database you will not be able to effectively market to your most valuable resource which is the people who know and trust you enough to refer business to you.
There is much more technology out there for you and your business. The key thing to remember is not to get so tied up in the technology aspect of the business that you spent all of your time with your computer and lose focus on your clients. Buying or selling a home is still the largest single investment most people will make and they want to deal with you directly, not your computer.
Innovations in technology are taking place at a much faster pace these days then they used to earlier. New models of gadgets with interesting features are being launched on a daily basis in the market. But identifying a model with the latest features within your budget is next to impossible if you do not follow tech news on a regular basis. Once you start following technical blog sites, it will be much easier for you to select the best model available in the market. The factors which make technical blogs the best source of information on all technological developments taking place around the world are mentioned below:-
Technical blogs can be accessed for free
Tech blogs can be subscribed without having to pay any money as subscription fees. You can follow as well as take part in these blog sites by commenting on any topic related to technology. People from different walks of life share their views and ideas on how the features and quality of gadgets can be improved. So products of better quality are launched.
Simple language which is easy to understand
These blogs are written in a simple language which is easy to understand for people who do not have a sound idea of technology. Bloggers do not usually use any technical or scientific terms in their blogs as they are well aware that readers may get confused if they come across too much of technical jargon.
Blog sites are updated regularly
Technology related blogs have one thing in common with SEO blogs. They are updated on a daily basis with fresh, informative content and as a result readers as well as search engines make regular visits to them to find out the latest updates on new gadget models which have been launched in the market.
Tech blogs can be navigated easily
Technical blogs have a better navigation as compared to company websites. So you can get all the information you require without having to read the content of too many web pages.
Models with the best features can be identified
These blogs can be used to compare the prices and features of products. You can easily identify the gadget with the best features within an affordable range once you go through these blogs. Often the authors mention the names of retail outlets or websites where gadgets of the best model are available. This in turn helps you to save a substantial sum of your time and money.
Blogs can help you repair gadgets on your own
These blogs can be used to repair and maintain gadgets without anyone's help as they provide useful tech tips. So you don't have to depend on anyone for repairing. Neither will you have to buy a new one. You can resolve the issues on your own and increase your gadget's durability.