Real Estate Opportunities In The Cloud


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Real estate agents can increase their opportunities in the cloud by using a variety of cloud services and gaining information about cloud services. There is no magic cloud service that performs all your duties (although Basecamp and Evernote come close) but by using a variety of services, you can increase your efficiency and save yourself time and money. 


Document creation

There are many cloud services you can use to create documents. Google Drive, Evernote and Office 365 (not free) are just a few of the services that allow users to create documents. In Google Drive, documents can be created using a variety of templates or from scratch. They can be exported in Microsoft Word format if desired. Evernote creates documents using its own format, but if you use cloudHQ, you can export them to PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Collaboration

Sometimes you need to analyze or review a document with your client, lawyer or other agents, and it can be a hassle to get everyone together at the same time. Perhaps the client even lives out of the area or is otherwise unavailable for a face-to-face meeting. In this case, you can use Google Drive to collaborate over documents or files. Up to 50 users can join the collaboration and can revise the document or file simultaneously.

File sharing

Dropbox is the most popular and easiest-to-use file sharing app, but there are others such as Box, Google Drive, SkyDrive, BitTorrent Sync and more. File sharing is made simple as many cloud services use the drag-and-drop method that Dropbox made so popular. When you drop a file into a shared folder, the file immediately appears in the Dropbox folder of every user that you have shared that folder with. It doesn't get any faster or easier than that.

Cloud backup

Data loss and security have always been a concern in the cloud, but with cloudHQ you can keep all of your data safe and secure. CloudHQ can back up all of your files, or just specific files that you wish to back up. This is especially helpful in the real estate industry as real estate agents handle confidential data on a daily basis. CloudHQ makes sure that no matter what happens to files and folders in the original cloud account, there will always be a secure secondary copy of your files that you can access in seconds.



 

How To Use SafeMonk To Encrypt Your Dropbox Files


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When you deal with confidential client data and other sensitive documents, you know you must keep them safe from prying eyes. But the many benefits of Dropbox are too great to ignore, especially for real estate agents on the go. Dropbox already offers encryption for files during transit and while they are stored on Dropbox servers. But this doesn't give the user control over the encryption, Dropbox holds that control. Well, a new encryption program has been developed specifically for Dropbox users. SafeMonk offers a second level of encryption that gives users complete control over the encryption.

SafeMonk encrypts files before they are ever uploaded to Dropbox

SafeMonk has mobile apps for iOS and Android, so you will always have access to your files. When SafeMonk is installed on your computer or mobile device, a new folder will be created in your Dropbox folder. Every file you drop into this folder will be encrypted before it is ever uploaded to the Dropbox servers. A special encryption key is needed to access the files and if SafeMonk is not installed on the computer or mobile device, the files cannot be accessed in any readable format. This extra level of encryption gives you control over all your files.

You still need backup

If a hacker is able to gain unauthorized access to your Dropbox account, he will be unable to read your files, but he may possibly still be able to delete the files. For this reason, you need a cloud backup service such ascloudHQ to ensure that you don't experience any data loss. Even if a hacker maliciously deletes files, or if you or another authorized user accidentally deletes files, you will always have a complete secondary copy of all your files backed up to another cloud service.



 

How To Use Evernote And Docusign To Create Real Estate Documents


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Evernote is a real estate agent's best friend. As busy as your life undoubtedly is, you don't have time to waste all day preparing documents, meeting with clients, or showing properties all day. I'm sure it seems like there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. But Evernote can change all that.


You can handle most aspects of a transaction using Evernote

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The Evernote app is available for iOS andAndroid, and should be installed on your smartphone and tablet. The Evernote software should be installed on your desktop computer and laptop. This way, you can sync all of your documents and files between all of your devices.

Any time you need to take a quick note (and don't we always), simply pull up Evernote on whatever device is closest to you and type it or speak it into your device. The note will be saved and you can continue whatever you were doing. If you need to take a quick photo, simply pull up Evernote, take a photo, and save it. Notes and photos can both be tagged using keywords for easy searching at a later time.


Legally sign documents using Docusign

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The Docusign app/software should be installed on all of your devices as well. This program allows users to legally sign documents from their device. This can come in handy when you need to have documents signed, but you are working out of the area, or your client lives somewhere else, is on vacation, etc. If your client has a smartphone or tablet, they can simply download the app, sign the document and send it back to you. This can save a lot of time and travel costs, as you would otherwise have to travel to meet with clients and fill out the paperwork. Time is money, and anything that can help you save time, is helping you save/make money. This gives you time to focus on what's important- gaining new clients, making more sales or spending time with family.


Export Evernote documents to PDF

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You can create or upload documents to Evernote, send them to your client, have them sign the documents, then return them to you. Then you can print the document or store it, whatever you need to do with it. Notes and documents can be exported from Evernote into several different formats. However, they do not currently offer the option to export into PDF format. So you will need to use a separate cloud service such ascloudHQ. CloudHQ offers the ability to export Evernote notes and documents into PDF format. You can also sync all of your Evernote notes to another cloud account, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive, etc. This is helpful if you have coworkers or clients that don't use Evernote, but they do use a different cloud service, or it can be used as a backup account, in case something happens to your Evernote account and some of your files are deleted or you lose access to your account.




 

How To Use Google Drive Documents For Your Real Estate Business


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Google Docs has now become known as Google Drive and is one of the most popular cloud services in the world. Rivaling Microsoft Office, Google Drive hosts a complete suite of office tools, suitable for creating, editing, sharing, storing and converting documents. And Google Drive is always accessible if you have an internet connection. This means, even if you are out working remotely, you can quickly create transaction monuments, collaborate on them with the client, have them legally sign it (if necessary) using Docusign, and then receive it back from the client. All this can be completed directly from Google Drive.

  • If you use Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, Basecamp or other cloud services, you can back them up to Google Drive, or you can sync your Google Drive files to other cloud services, simply by using a cloud backup service like cloudHQ.

Here are some of the extremely helpful features of Google Drive that can be used in the real estate profession.


Google Drive document features

  • Convert most file types to Google Drive format
  • Invite other people to collaborate on a doc with you, giving them edit, comment or view access.
  • Collaborate online in real time and chat with other collaborators.
  • View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.
  • Download Google Drive documents to your desktop as Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF, HTML or zip files.
  • Translate a document to a different language.
  • Email your documents to other people as attachments.

Spreadsheet features

  • Import and convert .xls, .csv, .txt and .ods formatted data.
  • Export .xls, .csv, .txt and .ods formatted data and PDF and HTML files.
  • Use formatting and formula editing so you can calculate results and make your data look good.
  • Chat in real time with others who are editing your spreadsheet.
  • Create charts and gadgets.
  • Embed a spreadsheet, or individual sheets of your spreadsheet, in your blog or website.


Collaboration and presentation features

  • Share presentations with your friends and co-workers.
  • Upload and convert existing presentations to Google Drive format.
  • Download your presentations as a .pdf, .pptx, or a .txt file.
  • Insert images and videos, and format your slides.
  • Publish and embed your presentations in a website, allowing access to a wide audience.
  • Draw organizational charts, flowcharts, design diagrams and much more right within a presentation.
  • Add slide transitions, animations, and themes to create show-stopping presentations.



 

Top 5 Ways To Improve Your Website Leads And Conversion


Distinguish yourself from the competition

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You must determine what sets you apart from other realtors and use that to your advantage. Do you have a special system using tech tools that helps you complete transactions faster? How about the ability to complete transactions remotely? You can use this in your social media posts, website content, listings and videos.


Become the local expert

One of the best ways to gain success is to be the best local agent you can be. Website content and listings, videos and social media are all extremely important, but you also need to be able to control your local market. Be sure to establish yourself as the local expert in the area, know the area and make your listings stand out with plenty of local content.

Show the value up front

Every buyer wants to know what the best value for their money is going to be. Many agents try to beat around the bush when it comes to value so they can get the most money possible out of the buyer. But many buyers and investors can see right through this smokescreen and it can quickly cost you the entire sale.

SEO your way to the top

In the past 4 years, real-estate-related searches on Google have grown by 253%. And according to Google, 94% of all Google searchers do not browse past the first page of results. So you are going to have to work to get to that first page. You don't necessarily have to have the top result (although obviously this is the best spot to be in) but you do need to reach that first page. You can achieve this by using a combination of backlinks, SEO keywords, and by making sure you keep your website or blog updated frequently with fresh, unique content.

Stay in touch

As part of your system, you should have a follow-up feature such as phone calls, direct mail, email or other contact methods. You can integrate this into your task scheduler or calendar so that you don't lapse. Days of the week to follow up are important also, as a study found that Tuesday is the worst day to contact people, nearly 50% worse than the best day- Thursday.



 

How To Use Social Media To Attain Real Estate Success


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Real estate agents have been using social media in their business for years as it provides many benefits. Agents can reach out to hundreds, thousands or even millions of social media users, way more than they could ever imagine reaching without the internet. By using social media, agents are able to find prospective homebuyers, outsource work to other users, find information about real estate and share information about real estate.


Facebook

Facebook is one of the largest social media networks in the world. As a normal user, you will be able to add up to 5,000 friends. If you create a company page, you can have users "follow" you and can reach an unlimited amount of users. However, Facebook has made changes recently that only allow a certain percentage of your followers to actually see your posts in the news feed. For other users, they will have to actually go to your page in order to see the posts. This is not very effective as the percentage is usually between 12-25% of users that actually see your post. Facebook has a "promote" feature, which allows all followers to see a user's posts, but only for a fee.

Still, the immense popularity of Facebook is too great to ignore and is an extremely useful tool for reaching out to many users. Also, Facebook real estate groups can be joined to interact with other users that are in the real estate industry or users that are looking for homes to buy or invest in.

Twitter

Twitter is another popular social media network that enables users to reach a large number of other users. Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows you to reach an unlimited amount of users without having to pay to promote your posts. The retweet feature allows other users to send your post to all of their followers, which in turn can retweet to their followers and the process could continue until you reach thousands or even millions of users. Users can insert hashtags into their posts so users that are searching for specific types of posts will find their posts.

Google+

Google's social media network has many useful features. Besides allowing followers, much like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ also implemented hangouts, a video-chat feature for professionals which was quickly copied by Facebook. Google+ can be used to reach a more specific audience, and Google+ real estate groups can be joined in order to reach an audience that is specifically related to real estate.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social media network specifically designed for professionals. By using LinkedIn, users can create profiles and become friends with other users in their related fields. The LinkedIn groups are the most efficient of all social media groups for users that wish to interact with other professionals in the real estate industry.

LinkedIn also enables users to give other users recommendations based on their experiences working together. A high number of recommendations can help you excel to higher levels of success.



 

Real Estate Data Loss Contingency Plan


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Data loss is a concern for anyone, but especially for real estate agents who deal with confidential client data and sensitive files. The loss of contracts and other transaction documents can be devastating and could result in the loss of a transaction, or, at the least, it could cause a long delay in the closing period. Many real estate agents have made the decision to migrate their work to the cloud because of the many benefits- working remotely, paperless, much more efficient and quick transactions, and more. But when you place your data in the cloud, you must be prepared for whatever happens. The cloud is already protecting you from any natural disasters or other on-premise disasters, but what if data loss  were to occur in the cloud account?


Contingency plan to protect against data loss

Data loss in the cloud can be easily prevented if you are prepared with a cloud backup contingency plan. CloudHQ is the solution that offers complete protection against any data loss in the cloud. The cloudHQ service provides a complete backup of all data that you want backed up to a completely separate cloud account. For instance, if you use Box as your main cloud account, you can back up all files to another cloud account such as Dropbox or Google Drive. It also works as synchronization from popular cloud services such as Evernote and Basecamp to other cloud services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc. The replication is automatic and runs completely in the background so you can access files and documents in the cloud and work on them without any interruption. The backup is also continuous so it backs everything up as you work. If you add new files, they are backed up immediately. If you make revisions to existing files, the backup is instantaneous. If disaster strikes, restoration can be completed quickly so you can continue your work as though nothing happened.



 

Real Estate In The Cloud: Dropbox Or Hard Drive?


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Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage providers, boasting over 175 million users. As its popularity continues to surge, many users, including companies and real estate agents, are switching to the cloud in a quest to become paperless. So is Dropbox replacing the hard drive? For many users, the answer is "yes."

"We are replacing the hard drive. I don’t mean that you’re going to unscrew your MacBook and find a Dropbox inside, but the spiritual successor to the hard drive is what we’re launching," said Dropbox CEO Drew Houston.


Dropbox showcases new features at DBX

At a recent conference, DBX, Dropbox unveiled many new features to the wildly popular platform. Houston started the event saying, "Today, the hard drive goes away." Some people may be shocked by such a bold statement, while others already use Dropbox as their hard drive, took it a little more literally.

New changes to the platform include new plugins (Dropbox calls them "Drop-ins") that allow developers of websites to enable "Save to Dropbox" and "Share from Dropbox" features. Houston explained the new features as "kind of a save button for the post-PC world."

Back up Dropbox

You wouldn't use your hard drive without a great backup plan, you shouldn't use Dropbox without the same. This is wherecloudHQ steps in and becomes the ultimate solution to prevent data loss and cloud synchronization. CloudHQ provides backup from Dropbox to a completely separate cloud account such as Box, Google Drive, etc. This backup runs automatically in the background so users can continue to work and access data without interruption. Backup is continuous so new files are instantly backed up to the backup account. Any revisions to existing files and documents are instantly backed up as well, so even if you are working on a file and something happens, you will not lose data.



 

How To Survive In A Frenetic Real Estate Environment


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Success can be rated in a variety of ways in the real estate industry. Sometimes it's based on how many houses you sell per month, sometimes it's based on how much money you make per month and sometimes agents base it on personal goals and factors. When you are working in a high-paced, frenetic real estate environment, you have to raise your game to be successful- even to survive in such shark-infested waters.

When every good lead is snapped up by other agents, you need technology on your side. I've seen real estate agents that have been successful for years, suddenly being out-performed by "rookies" to the business, just because they understand technology and how to make it work for them. Even if you aren't the most technological-minded agent on the block, you can still take advantage of the many apps and programs specifically designed for real estate agents.


Information you need, when you need it

The best real estate companies have apps- such as Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com. The Street recently comprised a list of the best iOS apps from the Apple store although many of these apps are available on Android as well. Smartphones and tablets are now standard tools for real estate agents that wish to be successful. When information is presented, it needs to reach you as quickly as possible. When you need to find information, you need to be able to access it immediately. There is no time to browse listings or search Google to find your information when you need it.

If you sit in a real estate office all day and make phone calls and drive clients around showing them listings, that's great. Except that your rival real estate agents are using apps on smartphones and tablets to access information quickly and they have the ability to work remotely- from their home, while they are on the road, while they are out eating dinner, from practically anywhere they are. This is the new real estate agent. Not bound by a centralized office, they can work from their homes, automobiles, coffee shops, friend's homes, on the beach, or anywhere else they have internet access and mobile service.

Tech drives real estate agents to success

While some real estate agents are taking the information their clients give them and then driving clients around to look at a slew of houses, the successful real estate agent is collaborating with them over Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud apps that allow real estate agents and clients to collaborate over documents and files. While some real estate agents are creating documents and setting up meetings with clients to sign the documents, the successful real estate agent is creating documents in Google Drive or Microsoft Office, sending the documents to their clients through Dropbox or Google Drive and having them legally sign the documents using Docusign. Real estate agents using technology are successful and more efficient because they can access information more quickly, they can complete transactions over the internet without travel and other expenses, and they have a complete toolkit that allows them to get past the little things much quicker.



 

Tech-Savvy Real Estate Agents Are Getting The Results


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Home-buyers are letting their real estate agents know one thing clearly- we want agents who are tech-savvy and knowledgeable on the latest technology. Home-buying is no longer the elongated process of getting an agent and following them around from house-to-house until you find one you like. Successful agents have web sites complete with listings or links to listings, videos, social media accounts and more. Why? Because that's where home-buyers start looking now. With advances in internet technology and real estate technology, social selling is becoming more prevalent than ever. If a real estate agent doesn't have a web site or social media account, they are not going to be as successful as they could be.


Faster processing gets faster results

Home-buyers, whether they are investors or looking for somewhere to live, are not usually very patient. Selling a home is already a long, drawn-out process that can take months at times. These buyers are not looking for agents that are not on top of their game. They want to be able to find what they are looking for, at the price they want, in a hurry. Driving people around all over town is great if they are not in a hurry and have already told you what they are looking for. But it's a waste of gas, time and money, as the buyers should be able to search online, find what they are looking for and have the agent give them additional information about the property and take them to see it when they are ready.

There is no magic fairy dust that can make buyers purchase your property, even when it sounds exactly like what they are looking for. But with the right combination of website listings, social media accounts, videos and informative posts, you can get a leg up on the competition as long as you are fast, efficient and technically sound.