How To Use cloudHQ For Real Estate Agents
is one of the most popular data replication services which many small businesses and professionals use for consolidation, collaboration and backup. It may sound complicated, but actually cloudHQ is VERY
simple to use, and it's completely automated, so you can simply set it and forget it, and cloudHQ handles the rest. But what exactly does cloudHQ do? And how can cloudHQ help us real estate agents?
Transaction Management Made Easy For Real Estate Agents
Transaction management for real estate agents can be frustrating, especially if you don't have an assistant to help you organized. There are many tools available on the internet that can help make transaction management more efficient. Basecamp
, Google Drive
are just a few of such tools. By using these three powerful cloud services, real estate agents can take control of transaction management and become more organized, saving time and money, and ensuring that you always have access to your files no matter what happens.
How Cloud Technology Is Revolutionizing The Real Estate Industry
Many real estate agents have tossed the physical office for a virtual office. This gives them more flexibility, while cutting costs and giving them more control over their work schedule. Those big bulky file cabinets around your desk, toss them too. Cloud storage is cheap, secure, and gives you anytime access to your files and documents.
- Need to answer the phone? Use your cell phone or an answering service.
- Need to create appointments? Use Evernote and/or Google Calendar to stay organized.
- Need storage for your online documents? Check out Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.
- Need document management? Google Apps has you covered.
- Need to take notes and/or photos on-the-go? Evernote is the best.
- Need to integrate multiple cloud services or back up your files? Check out cloudHQ.
Top 4 Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents In 2014
The world has gone mobile. Yes, that's quickly turning into a cliché, but the truth is that according to a recent study
"85 percent of buyers used a mobile device during the home buying process, with the majority of buyers (70 percent) accessing the Internet from their smart phones and 15 percent accessing it from their tablets."
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile use. This allows users to easily navigate your website on a mobile device. If the site is hard to navigate, slow-loading and gives errors, users will most likely click out and go a competitor's page. It's also important to optimize your real estate website due to Google search ranking penalties
for websites that are not mobile-friendly.
You can make connections by having potential clients sign up for text messaging, or have your own mobile app developed to allow you to send notifications and interact with the clients to send them information and alerts.
SAAS And Real Estate In The Cloud
If you are a real estate agent that is into technology and the cloud, you are probably familiar with Software as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud. Many real estate agents already use SaaS in the cloud
, and you probably already do in some form as well. Many real estate agents that use SaaS are wary (and rightfully so) about a number of issues and challenges including security, cost, data backup and recovery and other possible disasters that could happen in the cloud. In this article, we will take a look at what SaaS is, how it is used in the real estate office and in the field and how to prevent any cloud disasters associated with SaaS from happening to you.
Software as a Service apps are quickly becoming more popular in real estate brokerages everywhere. An SaaS app is software that is based in the cloud, so it performs the same functions as software installed on your computer, but you can access it from any device that has internet access instead of having to install software on all of your devices. Some of the most popular SaaS apps that are used in real estate brokerages today are
- Evernote: Used for taking notes, snapping photos, clipping web articles, audio clips and much more.
- Google Apps: This powerful document management suite allows real estate agents to quickly create, edit, delete, share, sign and save documents, spreadsheets and presentations from any mobile device or computer that has internet access.
- Dropbox: The most popular cloud storage provider, offering free space, unlimited size file sharing, simple file sharing, strong encryption and security measures.
- Box: Similar to Dropbox, it offers free space, but does have file size limits. It also offers the strongest security measures as it is HIPAA and HITECH compliant.
- Microsoft SkyDrive: Microsoft's cloud storage. If you have Windows 8, you are no doubt familiar with SkyDrive as much of the storage and apps are stored in the cloud on SkyDrive.
- Basecamp: That's right, the premier project management tool in the world is SaaS. Based in the cloud, Basecamp provides real estate agents with all the tools they need to successfully manage cases and other projects from any location with internet access.
Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news first: 1 out of 3 Companies Lose Data in SaaS
. Okay, so now you're thinking that SaaS is not secure, right? Wrong. The sad fact is- human error still accounts for the number one reason for data loss in the cloud. And unfortunately, security cannot predict human error and therefore it is very hard to guard against it. But there is one cloud service that stands against human error, human stupidity and even purposeful malicious human deletion. This cloud service is cloudHQ
The cloudHQ backup and replication service works by providing a complete backup of all of your cloud data to a backup account on a completely separate cloud service. So if your brokerage uses Dropbox for all of your cloud storage needs, the backup account could be on a separate cloud service such as Google Drive or Box. You choose which folders and files you wish to have backed up and cloudHQ does the rest. All new files added to the shared folders in the main account will be instantly replicated to the backup account. So now if you or your coworkers or anyone else with access to the cloud account accidentally (or purposely) deletes files or important documents, there will always be a secondary copy of all of your files and documents on the backup account. Recovering files is quick and easy and only takes minutes. Most cloud services offer file recovery, but only for short periods up to 30 days. After that period of time, your data is gone forever, unless you have a secure backup system like cloudHQ. Human error is prevalent and is still the number one cause of data loss in the cloud, but with cloudHQ, you can combat human error and defeat it easily by maintaining a safe and secure backup of all data in the cloud.
Integration In The Real Estate Cloud
As the number of cloud services and apps are growing, one thing is for certain- the demand for integration between these services is growing as well. A real estate agent's toolkit may be comprised of many different apps and services including Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Basecamp and more. However, very few of these apps offer integration with other services. Wouldn't it be great to be able to sync all of your Evernote notes to Dropbox? What about creating documents in Google Drive and having them automatically replicated to Box? Basecamp projects to Dropbox? Gmail emails to Box? SkyDrive to Dropbox? And what if you want your Evernote notes to be replicated in PDF format, a feature that Evernote does not currently offer?
By using cloudHQ, integration between all of these services and many more is possible. Evernote to PDF is possible. Having all of your files from various apps replicated to a single cloud service for easy accessibility and searching is a simple and automated process. You can choose to have all files replicated or just specific files and folders. CloudHQ's replication is automatic, so there are no manual transfers and you can continue to work in as many cloud apps as you wish, knowing that your files are being securely transferred to the cloud app of your choice.
If you want to create a portable "office" in Dropbox, but you want to use all your other cloud apps, just set them all to be replicated to Dropbox. Evernote to Dropbox. Google Drive to Dropbox. Basecamp to Dropbox. SkyDrive to Dropbox. Gmail emails and attachments to Dropbox. And the formats you can have files exported in varies as well. Evernote to Microsoft Word format. Evernote to PDF. The list goes on. All files will automatically show up instantly in Dropbox as they are created. Any revisions to existing files will be instantly replicated as well. The cloudHQ service runs in the background, completely invisible to users so they are not interrupted during their daily tasks.
CloudHQ has contacted and listened to comments, suggestions and criticism from real estate agents from all over the country. One of the biggest complaints about using apps is that they are not able to be integrated with other cloud apps. The manual transfer of data can be costly and time-consuming. CloudHQ has designed integration between many apps that real estate agents say they use in their daily tasks. This automation helps save agents time and money, so that they can concentrate their time on other important tasks. Cloud integration is here and it's called cloudHQ.
When determining whether to use cloud services for real estate, there are many services to choose from. You can use some of the most popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Evernote among others. You can also use social media in order to reach more people with your posts.
Evernote can be used to handle nearly all aspects of a transaction- documents can be created, shared and stored directly from Evernote. By using Docusign, documents can even be legally signed and then transferred back to the realtor using Evernote. Evernote works best when used in conjunction with another cloud storage service such as Dropbox.
Dropbox is one of the leading cloud storage providers and can handle much more than Evernote. Evernote has file size limits and can't be used to store large files such as videos, music and other large files. Dropbox has no file size limits and has much more efficient file-sharing capabilities. So if you use Evernote to create a document, it can then be shared using Dropbox and can even be collaborated on by both realtor and client if changes or revisions need to be made. Then if the document needs to be signed, it can be signed and transferred between realtor and client so both parties have a copy. At the end of this article, I'll show you a nifty way to sync files between Evernote, Dropbox and many other cloud services.
Social media offers real estate agents an effective method for gaining exposure, garnering leads and much more. The more people you can reach, the more of a chance you have of finding people that are looking to sell their homes.
Twitter is one of the most effective social networks for real estate agents to use to their advantage. By gaining a large following on Twitter, you can produce posts (known as tweets) to send out to garner leads or just to spread information about your business. You can reach a virtually unlimited number of followers if your tweet keeps getting re-tweeted to other Twitter users' followers.
Facebook is another great way to reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers by creating a business page. This eliminates the 5000 friend limit that is incurred on personal Facebook accounts. These posts will be sent out to all your followers who can then share the posts to all their followers and again, you could possibly reach an unlimited amount of followers. The only problem with Facebook is that now they have reduced the number of followers that your posts actually meet unless you pay per post. So, in this regard, I must recommend Twitter as a more efficient marketing method.
The best way to use multiple cloud services is to take advantage of the cloudHQ
service. CloudHQ automatically syncs files between various cloud services in real-time, as the files are created, transferred or updated. All changes to files are updated instantly as the replication is continuous and instantaneous. So when a document is created in Evernote, it is instantly replicated to the cloud service of your choice, let's use Dropbox for our example. You can even choose whether the file should be replicated as a PDF or as a Microsoft Word file.
So if a document is created in Evernote, it is instantly transferred to Dropbox. A simple drag-and-drop process can send the file to the client's Dropbox for review. If changes are needed, the article can be collaborated on and revised with both realtor and client making revisions at the same time. The document can be legally signed using Docusign by one or both parties and then it can be saved to Dropbox where both parties will have access to it.
We already know of the many benefits that the cloud brings to real estate agents. It makes their entire workload easier and makes their business run more efficiently. But does this affect the client? What benefits can a client expect when their agent has their business based in the cloud?
By using the cloud to store and send files, this enables clients to have access to the files instantly which can establish an environment of trust and professionalism. Clients don't like waiting and in real estate, the more efficient you are at getting the process moving, the more likely you are to be successful.
One of the main keys to effectively selling multiple houses at the same time is organization. Keeping track of all those files, all that paperwork, can be a time-consuming mass of confusion. But if you use cloud services such as Evernote or Basecamp, this can keep everything organized and moving along efficiently within the transaction process.
Your clients will feel a lot better knowing that their data is secured behind powerful encryption. Security is always a concern and when dealing with confidential information and records, it's even more important that the data remains secure - and even more important - that the client feels that their data is secure.
For real estate agents on the go, communication can be a huge factor in whether a deal gets sealed or not. If phone calls, voicemails, emails, text messages and instant messages go unanswered, the client may lose faith in you as a real estate agent and your ability to take their transaction seriously. By utilizing cloud services, you practically carry a mobile office with you everywhere you go, enabling you to instantly communicate when needed. A quick reply shows the potential homebuyer that you are serious about them, that you are efficient and that you are ready to get the process moving.
Cloud computing is being used by many top real estate brokers as its uses in the brokerage far outweigh the negatives. Whether it's for a small brokerage with a few agents or a large brokerage with many agents, the cloud can be used to manage all aspects of listings and transactions while cutting costs on many ends.
- Utilize the latest technology in order to more efficiently serve clients
- Cost reduction by using Bring Your own Device (BYOD) for agents to remotely operate
- Marketing enhancement, increase in leads and increased profitability
- Less dependence on an on-premise office staff
The migration to the cloud can seem like an extremely complicated and time-consuming task, but it's really only as complicated as you make it. Basically, all information that flows through the real estate brokerage will be sent to the cloud and must be directed to various locations. Access permissions must be set as some data may be fine for all agents and staff to access while other data may only need to be seen by certain workers or agents.
Faxes will be sent as emails or online PDF files. Online access for clients to access their documents should be available as well. Digital signatures can be obtained through a service such as Docusign. Communication with clients, realtors, vendors and other sources can be securely set up online along with the ability to collaborate with multiple users.
Agents and other office staff will need to be trained on the best ways to operate remotely. By utilizing BYOD, agents can operate from wherever they are without the need for a physical office or physical storage space for files.
Google Apps is a great place to start. Google offers an entire suite of useful apps that can be used for the brokerage to run more efficiently in the cloud. Some of the apps include Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. Google Drive includes the entire Google Docs suite which is similar to Microsoft Office with powerful document creation and editing tools, spreadsheets, presentations, word processing and more. There is also a complete business suite called Google Apps for Business which is more aimed at businesses and corporations.
Once you setup an intranet and complete online office through Google Apps or another similar program, you can decide what other apps will be needed. Dropbox or Box can be used for additional online storage, collaboration and sharing while Basecamp can be used to cover all aspects of project management. Evernote is perfect for creating notes and documents, snagging web articles and photos, and creating audio files.
As much of the data that is used in the brokerage is important and sometimes confidential, it is imperative that a secure backup plan is in place to protect data from accidental deletion or other mishaps. The best solution is to use one of the top cloud backup services such as cloudHQ
. CloudHQ offers a continuous replication of all data to a backup cloud account which provides a secondary copy of all data. In case an agent or other staff member accidentally deletes or misplaces a file, it can be instantly restored from the backup account. The best part about cloudHQ is that it syncs data between a wide variety of cloud services including Google Apps, Dropbox, Evernote, SkyDrive, SugarSync, Box and more. Any changes to data is instantaneous so if a realtor working remotely edits a file, the changes are instantly replicated to all other devices that have that cloud account installed.
Today's real estate agent doesn't have much in common with the real estate agent of 10+ years ago. Once upon a time people had no choice but to call a real estate agent on the phone, tell them what kind of house they were looking for and leave it to the real estate agent to find them a suitable house. Now people have access to homes on a variety of websites, they can search by area, by price, number of bedrooms, etc. And the best part- they can see photos of the house before they ever leave the house and go driving around to look at homes.
Formerly, real estate agents had nice, big offices (and some still do) but many of them now work directly from their home. All aspects of a real estate transaction can be handled from a laptop or even a tablet such as the iPad. There are even apps such as Evernote
that provide all the tools to create documents, edit them, and even have them legally signed when used in conjunction with Docusign
. Basecamp is the ultimate project management tool and has an array of tools that can be used to complete a real estate transaction. Everything can be completed form the agent's home or even a nearby coffee shop with wireless internet.
With the freedom to go mobile and paperless comes more responsibility over the client's confidential data. There's no need to store all these files in bulky file cabinets when the cloud offers so much cheap, secure storage. But as secure as it is, when dealing with confidential data you must always have some kind of backup plan in case the unthinkable happens and data loss occurs. This is where a secure, cloud backup service like cloudHQ
comes into the picture. The cloudHQ service provides continuous replication and a secure backup of all data on a separate cloud account which ensures that you always have two copies of your data. If data loss were to occur, the other account will still hold all data and the real estate transaction can continue uninterrupted.
Technology has changed the way the game is played, but it's made it much more beneficial for real estate agents on the go.