How To Use Google Drive And Evernote For Real Estate

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Real estate agents have increasingly become interested in the cloud and the many benefits that cloud services offer. Especially for agents on the go- if you're too busy to sit at a desk all day, meeting clients, showing properties, answering phone calls and endless piles of paperwork, then the cloud is definitely for you. There are numerous cloud services that offer higher efficiency, cost-reduction and time-reduction for real estate agents. In this article, we will take a look at two of the most popular premier cloud services for real estate agents. 

Google Drive

Google Drive has many useful features for real estate agents. Not only does it offer one of the best document management suites, but it also offers simple file-sharing and integration with many other Google services.

One of the best features of Google Drive is the document management and collaboration. Documents can be easily created, revised, shared, signed and stored, all directly within Google Drive. If documents need to be collaborated on by real estate agents, clients, investors or other relevant parties, Google Drive offers the ability for up to 50 users to collaborate on a single file simultaneously.

Files that need to be shared can be dropped into the Google Drive PC app, mobile app or Google Drive website. So you can create a legal document in Google Drive and send it to the client, who can then use signing software such as DocuSign to legally sign the document online, and then they can send the document back using Google Drive.

Evernote

Evernote is a real estate agents third arm. It performs all the tasks that real estate agents wish they could do, but normally can't because of busy schedules, no  handy tools (pen, paper, recorder, camera, etc), or simply being away from the office for extended periods of time.

Real estate agents that are working remotely or traveling can use Evernote to quickly jot down ideas, create appointments, make checklists such as to-do lists, create and save audio clips, take photos using the mobile device's camera and save them to Evernote, and much more. And Evernote has a revolutionary tagging system that allows users to save any of these files with keywords so that they can be easily searched and accessed at a later time. Evernote can even search inside of photos for text, so if your photo contains text, Evernote can find it based on a few words contained in the photo. 

Integration between the two cloud services

The problem between cloud services is competition. Rival cloud services such as Evernote and Google Drive do not offer users the chance to integrate the two services. However, there is a third party cloud service that has now made this possible- cloudHQ.

The cloudHQ service takes all the Evernote notes and stacks and replicates them to other cloud services, including Google Drive. So if you create documents, checklists, to-do lists, etc, and you want to access them through Google Drive, they will be there waiting on you any time you check, because cloudHQ works automatically and replicates files in real-time.

One of the best features about an Evernote to Google Drive replication is that cloudHQ offers the ability to export Evernote to PDF format. This is a feature that not even Evernote offers. You can also save files in HTML, text, Microsoft Word, and practically about any format available.[i]

And if you want documents created in Google Drive to be accessible in Evernote, this is no problem. CloudHQ will export all documents into Evernote so you can have simple and efficient organization of files and tasks.

Google Drive and Evernote are two cloud services that make life simple for real estate agents. Organization, backup, replication and integration are just a few ways that cloudHQ helps agents attain such high levels of efficiency, while saving time and money.

*Pro tip: If you need to share large files, you may wish to add Dropbox to the list. Dropbox has no file size limits and has instant drag-and-drop sharing, so large files can be easily shared and accessed by both the sending party and the recipients.

[i] If the file format you wish to export Evernote into is not listed, simply contact the cloud professionals at cloudHQ and they will take care of it for you.

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The Efficiency Of The Cloud

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The cloud has revolutionized a variety of industries, including legal professionals, real estate agents, teachers, and many other business professionals, small business owners, large enterprises and even governmental departments. In the real estate industry, the cloud has been a huge part of turning agents into mobile workers, performing transactions on the go. Now agents have the flexibility to choose the locations and the hours that they work. 

The conglomeration of mobile and cloud

Mobile and cloud trends have pushed real estate technology to new heights. Now documents can be created, shared and signed from any location that has internet access. Other cloud apps allow agents to instantly share large files such as presentations and video files. Mobile apps allow agents to update blogs, websites and listings from any location as well. Real estate agents that use cloud and mobile together to perform their everyday tasks find that they can save money, as well as save time, which increases the overall efficiency of their business. 

Cloud risks

There are always risks that come with increases in availability and accessibility, and the cloud does have a few vulnerabilities that could potentially result in data loss. Accidental deletions, malicious deletion, loss of account access, and other factors can be disastrous for real estate agents that are trying to close out transactions, create contracts or update websites when suddenly all of their data disappears. 

Cloud backup offers real estate agents full protection from data loss

The cloud backup professionals at cloudHQ offer a service that allows real estate agents to back up all of their data to a separate cloud account. This replication is automated, and updates instantly, as soon as changes to data are detected. All new files or revisions to existing files are instantly replicated to the backup account so that even if an unwanted incident of data loss occurs, the files can be quickly restored and the agent can instantly return to real estate duties as normal.

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Top 3 Mobile Finance Trends For Real Estate Agents

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Mobile finance is quickly becoming the standard for many types of payments. Mobile payments provide flexibility and faster checkouts at many in-store locations. Internet mobile use is increasing every year and is expected to overtake desktop use within the next year.

Mobile allows us to have our entire lives at our fingertips- we can track our kids, shop, connect with old friends and make new friends through social networking, sell products, advertise real estate business, manage financial accounts, and much more. Nearly all real estate duties can be performed directly from mobile devices- connect with clients and investors; create, share and sign documents; order supplies (signs, business cards, brochures, etc.) and manage appointments. In this article, we will take a look at the top 3 mobile finance trends for real estate agents. 

Go Cash-Free

Cash is becoming rarer these days, especially since it can be stolen without any way to trace it. Mobile payments are more secure than cash and there are always records of every transaction. If your mobile device is stolen and used to make fraudulent transactions, these records can be used to track the payment and identify the perpetrators. Many real estate agents are going completely mobile- working from virtual offices and performing their real estate duties remotely. Using mobile payments makes it easier, faster and much more efficient to perform business when you're on the go. 

Make payments anywhere

As mentioned above, real estate agents have become much more mobile in recent years. The lure of working from home in pajamas is too much to ignore for many agents. Other agents prefer coffee shops or other locations with internet access. The internet already makes it simple to make payments using credit cards and bank accounts, but mobile payments can be made from anywhere- driving down the road, sitting on your back porch or watching the waves roll in while you relax on the beach. 

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps bring the art of mobile payments to your fingertips. Practically every reputable service has a mobile app, and mobile payments can usually be made directly through the apps. Other mobile apps from cloud services such as Evernote can be used to upload and store financial records for easy searching and access if needed. Cloud and mobile apps often work together to make the completion of real estate tasks a much faster and simpler process.

Mobile is the future

Cloud and mobile trends have been pushing real estate technology forward for several years now, and the results have been fascinating. As mobile use excels and cloud apps are accepted by more companies and enterprises, we will see mobile payments excel. It's an added bonus to agents who have decided to migrate their real estate business to the cloud and who are performing most of their duties from mobile devices. In upcoming years, mobile finance will become much more widely accepted and may become the way most financial transactions are performed.

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Malicious Mobile Apps Driving Real Estate Agents To Cloud Backup

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Mobile trends have driven real estate agents to work remotely more often and to depend on mobile apps for their remote real estate tasks. Mobile app use is becoming more prevalent among real estate agents, but security is often overlooked. Malicious mobile apps are apps that purport themselves to perform a useful function, while hidden inside the software is a nasty bit of malware or other malicious code that can steal information or cause harm to the mobile device.

According to Webroot, in 2012, mobile malware families increased 58% and accounted for 59% of all mobile malware. 32% of mobile malware apps steal information, 15% track the movements of users, 13% send content and 8% reconfigure the mobile device.

As bad as the stats are pertaining to the number of malicious mobile apps reported, the problem is actually far greater because of the number of malicious mobile app attacks that are never reported.

A recent study shows that 74% of the time, the IT department is not even notified when a mobile device has been rooted. Even more often, the mobile user is unaware of the malicious mobile app that is stealing sensitive and confidential information without their knowledge. 

Malicious mobile apps can cause data loss in the cloud

The largest amount (32%) of malicious mobile apps steals information and sends it remotely to the attackers who will use it to infiltrate company systems and accounts. Once the attackers have accessed a cloud account, they will attempt to use the information it contains for their own personal gain. If there is no information they can use, they may just delete the information. Even if there is information they can use, they may delete all files in the account in an attempt to cover their tracks.

Other malicious mobile apps will change settings and can cause corruption on the mobile device. This corruption can be harmful to the cloud account if the real estate agent has their cloud mobile app synced to the online account. If files are deleted on the mobile app, then once the app syncs with the online server, the files online will be automatically deleted. If the agent has no cloud backup system in place, these files may be gone for good.

Cloud backup can save the day

The possibility of losing data can be a horrifying concept to a real estate agent as they deal with legal documents, contracts and other transaction documents on a daily basis, that, if lost, would be a major setback and could possibly cost the agent a lot of business and money.

But with cloud backup, the possibility of data loss drops to practically zero. By adding a competent cloud backup service like cloudHQ, all files stored in the cloud are completely protected from malicious mobile app attacks.

If a malicious mobile app somehow sneaks onto your mobile device and causes data loss on your cloud account, all files can be quickly restored from a backup account where cloudHQ has a complete secondary copy of all of your data. This secondary cloud account is not connected to your main account in any way except through cloudHQ so there is no possibility of the attacker gaining access to both accounts from your mobile device or from you main cloud account.

Don't be the real estate agent who wishes they had cloud backup AFTER a data loss incident, be the real estate agent who was prepared for such an incident ahead of time. Be the real estate agent who experiences minimal disruption to your real estate business and doesn't even miss one day of work because of a malicious mobile app.


 

Real Estate Agents In The Mobile Cloud

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Real estate agents and cloud technology have been coming together over recent years to form a dynamic relationship that allows agents more flexibility, efficiency and mobility. The key to all of this is accessibility in the cloud. Having access to data anywhere you are is imperative for real estate agents, as they spend a lot of time on the go. Traveling from home to home, meeting with clients, setting up signs, taking photos, creating videos, creating websites and listings, managing real estate social media marketing, and possibly even managing real estate blogs- the real estate agent is always a busy worker. But with cloud and mobile trends exploding in recent years, real estate agents' lives have become able to be much more efficiently managed. Now agents can work remotely by using their laptops, smartphones and tablets from any location with internet access.

The mobile real estate agent

Mobility is a strong aspect of the real estate agent's work load. Sitting around in an office all day and driving around to show homes is the old way of doing business. It will still get sales, but it is far less effective than the real estate agent that has taken advantage of the latest mobile trends. Real estate cloud apps are allowing agents to get much more work finished and also helping them reach out and contact far more people than before.

The use of tablets and smartphones in the business is growing exponentially. This allows agents to work from any location with internet access, cutting out the need for a costly office and office furnishings/tools. Cloud storage providers have reduced, and even eliminated in many cases, the need for paper storage. Toss out the bulky filing cabinets and download Dropbox or Box. Documentation can be created and managed on the fly with Google Drive. Organization and note-taking can be managed with Evernote. Complete project management is available through Basecamp. The cloud is full of little tools like these that allow agents to take their entire real estate business on the road with them.

The virtual office real estate agent

Many agents have not only tossed the office gear, they have tossed the entire office. Working from mobile devices allows agents to work from a virtualized office- anywhere they wish to work. Paperwork can be scanned and stored in the cloud to help create a paperless office. Contracts, legal documents, receipts, photos- it can all be stored on cloud servers, safe from natural disasters and easily accessible from any location with internet access. Portable printers and online faxing have also helped agents throw away clunky office gear that is no longer needed.

When you commit to a virtual office, your office goes everywhere with you. You carry the tools everywhere you go, as the cloud is practically omnipotent. Accessibility is a key factor for agents moving to the cloud, and with such high availability of files and documents, agents can watch their efficiency levels rise in the mobile cloud.


 

Integration In The Real Estate Cloud

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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?

How to integrate your cloud

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 and real estate

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.


 

An Introduction To Real Estate Video Marketing

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Video is one of the most effective marketing features a real estate agent can use. Agents can create websites, blogs and social media accounts to spread their marketing videos and gain audiences of viewers, as well as numerous leads and sales. But there is more to making an effective real estate marketing video than just holding a camera and shooting scenes. Videos must be professional, relevant and informative or it will just be ignored. There are many factors that can figure into the making of real estate marketing videos and in this article, we will take a look at some of the best practices and methods that ambitious real estate agents can utilize in order to increase their leads and sales.

Video Type

The first thing a real estate agent must decide is what type of video to use for the video marketing. Do you want to create videos that are instructional and "How-Tos?" Or perhaps you want to create a testimonial video by getting comments from past satisfied clients, or a promotional video showcasing your current listings. Or perhaps you want to make a combination of any of the above ideas. 

Be Professional

No matter what type of video you are ready to create, it should have a professional feel to it. That doesn't mean it has to be 100% business, feel free to throw in a little relevant humor and have fun, but maintain professional quality and try to imagine yourself seeing the video from a potential homebuyer's eyes.

Use the highest quality video that is available to you. HD video cameras are extremely affordable these days and you may even have HD recording on your phone.

Watch other real estate videos if you need some ideas. If you are highlighting a single property, you may wish to start your video from the driveway and slowly walk the property as if you were seeing it for the first time. You can narrate the video yourself, or have someone narrate it for you if you don't think your voice is professional enough.

Social Media

Social media marketing is extremely effective for real estate agents because it connects agents with an unlimited supply of potential homebuyers, investors and other real estate agents. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are goldmines containing thousands of potential clients. Facebook and Twitter can be used to reach the largest amount of people possible, while LinkedIn can be used more effectively to connect with relevant users. YouTube can be used to create a channel for your real estate business, where you can gain a virtually unlimited amount of viewers based on the creativity and informational value in your videos.

Frequent Updates

Don't just make one video and try to survive from its success. You should create new videos frequently, especially for social media and blog purposes. You can even make a series of instructional or informational videos to keep viewers interested, and create discussions whenever possible to keep viewers talking about your videos.

Search Engine Optimization

Frequently updated video marketing will boost your SEO rankings as well. Google penalizes sites that do not show updated activity, but it rewards sites that are frequently updated with photos, videos, relevant content, proper keyword use and backlinks. While video are just one piece of the huge SEO system, it is a very effective piece.


 

Real Estate And Cloud Computing

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Real estate and cloud computing together have changed the way that real estate agents operate. Smartphones and tablets have brought an array of various benefits to real estate agents. Mobile trends are now pushing real estate agents to perform most (if not all) of their work remotely. Some agents have even tossed the office and went completely remote and paperless.


The mobile real estate agent

Technological advancements in the smartphone industry have produced a slew of mobile real estate agents. With new apps and features, real estate agents can now stay on the road much longer than they could before. This makes multitasking a much easier chore as agents can now perform real estate duties as they pick their kids up from school, have lunch with friends or even while they are vacationing at the beach. Real estate websites and online listings can be managed from mobile devices, while homes can be searched from apps and websites. Nearly all aspects of the real estate business can be performed directly from a mobile device.

The paperless real estate agent

Sometimes just being a little more mobile isn't enough. Many real estate agents are kissing the office goodbye and heading out on their own. Completely paperless, agents can perform all their real estate duties through mobile and cloud computing. They can use cloud storage such as Box and Dropbox for their files and documents. They can use Evernote to take notes, photos and audio clips, as well as create to-do lists and maintain organization. Google Drive is practically a complete virtual office with the Google Docs suite of document creation and editing tools. It can also be used for file storage and sharing, and has the best collaboration features of any cloud service available.

By using these tools, real estate agents can perform all real estate duties from any location that has internet or mobile service. Documents can even be created and shared with clients. By using another app, DocuSign, documents can even be legally signed. Going paperless definitely has its advantages, and not just that agents can cut costs by not having an office and all that equipment. Time-management is a huge benefit as there is no drive to and from the office each day. Agents can actually perform their duties as they travel. By using numerous photos and video, agents can even sale some homes before the buyer has ever seen it in person or set foot on the property. But perhaps one of the greatest advantages to going paperless is that the filing cabinet is no longer relevant. Now instead of searching through paper folders and files, a simple search will find what you are looking for in seconds. Mobile and paperless both have their advantages and can save agents time and money.



 

Top 5 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Acquire Mobile Leads

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Tech trends such as mobile have vastly improved the real estate industry overall. As the majority of internet searches for homes for sale come from mobile devices, real estate agents are finding themselves forced to embrace mobile in order to keep up with the changing times. Yet a recent study has shown that only 25% of all brands have a mobile strategy in place. With mobile use expected to bypass desktop use within the next year, real estate agents should have a complete mobile strategy for their brand. In this article, we will look at the top 5 ways real estate agents can gain sales through mobile use.


Marketing emails

The days of simply sending out mass emails to a list of contacts are long past. Marketing emails must be properly configured for mobile use as the majority of users will be using a mobile device to check their emails, especially if you send your emails during work hours. Your ultimate goal is to increase your leads, which, in turn, increases your sales. If your emails are not configured for mobile, it will simply be deleted or ignored...neither one of which is good for your real estate business. Email marketing can still be one of the best tools a real estate agent uses, even with technological advancements in website design, social media marketing and apps. 

Become the local "expert"

Many homebuyers are searching for the local expert in the area, someone who is "in the know" and has the inside scoop on the best deals. Be sure to include enough local information that touts you as being the expert that the homebuyers can trust. You also need to optimize your website with SEO that pushes your site toward the top of the rankings for local searches. This ensures that people find your site first, and since the vast majority of searchers don't ever click to the second page of Google results, it is in your best interest to be on the first page.

Ask clients to provide you with testimonials that you can post on your site, and create paid ads that promote you as the local expert in the area. 

Social networking

Social networks can help agents reach out to prospective homebuyers and investors quickly and efficiently. SEO can be used on these sites to increase your visibility. Social media groups that are geared towards real estate professionals, homebuyers and investors can greatly improve your visibility and reachability, as well as helping you connect with other real estate agents to share information and ideas. As the majority of social media users access social networks from mobile devices while they travel, or are at school or work, the better your chances become of gaining leads from social networks. 

Mobile web

Optimizing your real estate website for mobile use has many advantages. Not only does it help you gain an advantage with homebuyers that are searching the web on their mobile devices, but Google has recently announced that it will start penalizing websites that aren't properly configured for mobile use in the search rankings. So if your site isn't optimized correctly for mobile use, you may see your rankings drop, which can cost you visibility, which can cost you leads and sales. A misconfigured mobile website can cause web pages to load slowly or not at all, which will cause frustration for the users and they will likely move on to the next website.

Mobile backup

Mobile backup is extremely important for any real estate agent. A Symantec study shows that in 2012, web attacks increased by 30%, target attacks increased by 42%, while 32% of all mobile threats resulted in information security breaches. Phishing sites which steal usernames and passwords to gain unauthorized access to accounts increased 125%. A total of 415 new vulnerabilities were discovered in mobile operating systems.

In case your real estate website is targeted, or if one of your coworkers falls for a phishing scam, a mobile backup solution such as cloudHQ can help prevent any data loss from such attacks. CloudHQ backs up all data from cloud accounts, so if you keep your data stored in a cloud account, or back up your website to a cloud account, cloudHQ will keep a complete secondary copy of the data in a separate cloud account. If you fall prey to a phishing scam, or if a hacker gains access to your site and deletes data, you can simply log in to the secondary account and restore it within seconds. CloudHQ runs automatically and invisible to users, so that agents can work uninterrupted as cloudHQ continuously runs, silently backing up all changes or additions to the backup account.



 

Top 3 Tech Trends For Real Estate Agents

Social media

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Social media trends, led by Twitter and Facebook, have been on the rise for several years. As more people and companies are understanding the powerful marketing features of social media, it is becoming more prevalent among real estate agents.

A Twitter account has the potential to reach an unlimited amount of users by utilizing the "Retweet" feature. By posting relevant and interesting tweets, you may start seeing a high number of your tweets retweeted. And from there, they can be retweeted over and over again. But the tweets must be informative and interesting with a catchy headline.

A Facebook account is the next-best marketing strategy to Twitter. While Facebook does have over 1 billion users, it also makes users pay to reach all of their followers or friends. So if you have 10,000 followers, you can expect about 1,000 of them to see your posts unless you pay Facebook extra money. It's still a very effective marketing method, especially if you are willing to shell out the extra money to have your post seen by thousands of people.


Mobile

Mobile trends have exploded in recent years with the introduction of smartphones and tablets to real estate agents. More efficient apps have been developed which add to the surge. Mobile has allowed real estate agents to toss the office life and go remote. With the rising use of tablets among real estate agents, more work can be completed away from the office, allowing much more freedom and flexibility. Combined with cloud computing, it also allows agents to go completely paperless. 

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing trends have possibly had the most effect on the real estate industry. Combined with mobile and social media trends, cloud computing has changed the real estate market forever. The advantages of cloud services such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive and more have practically revolutionized the industry.

Agents use Evernote for a variety of uses- from taking quick notes to creating checklists and to-do lists, audio clips and snapshots. Evernote has excellent tagging and searching features for agents to keep their notes, audio clips and photos organized by using keywords which are easily searchable. Skitch for Evernote allows agents to quickly take a screenshot of any web page and even allows users to select the portion of the web page they want a photo of. Evernote allows searching of text within photos so you can search for saved articles and web pages easily.

Google Drive is a mini-office all wrapped up in a single mouse click. Agents can use Google Drive to quickly create documents on the go, as well as edit existing documents. These documents can be stored and shared with recipients. Agents can create documents such as contracts or other legal documents, spreadsheets and presentations from their mobile device, laptop or computer.