10 Reasons to go Paperless

Featured

Have you ever needed a document while on vacation? How about when you are out of the office or showing a house and your buyer wants to write and offer? You call the office and the office admin is too busy to send you the necessary documents. Or better yet, you are in the office and you can’t find the necessary documents to write an offer. If any of this sounds like YOU, then maybe it’s time to consider going paperless.

As a licensed real estate professional, former project manager, television producer, stay at home CEO” mom”, former legal assistant and secretary, I really understand what it’s like to make sure I have access to documents. I can remember having to copy documents and put them in the front of my suitcase, so I could have access to them when traveling. Ugh, who really wants to do that? If you’re not a paperless agent, it’s time to go paperless.

Today, I am managing broker owner of CarMarc Realty Group in West Chicago Illinois.  My goal was to open an office that was innovative with the latest technologies.  The agents in our office are paperless and in a constant mode of learning.  Going paperless isn’t an option.  When you work for CarMarc you must become a paperless agent.  The next gen agent wants this technology.  How about you?

10 Reasons to go paperless

1. Access your files from any Tablet, Smart Phone or PC

2. Sign Documents using your Tablet, Laptop or PC

3. Documents are always legible.

4. Share files with your affiliates, clients and office staff in one logical place—Your Virtual Filing Cabinet.

5. Easier to follow up with your buyers and sellers.

6. Email and split documents from the cloud.

7. Provides the ability to share your documents with an agent that’s helping you while you’re out of the office.

8. Write an offer from your car, in a restaurant, at the airport, just about anywhere.

9. Never lose a file again. Stop carrying that ugly bin in the trunk of your car.

10. Your Staff Will Love You!

If you aren’t paperless today, consider signing up for a paperless class with Docusign. If you’re an MRED agent, MRED will send an instructor to your office if you have 8 agents.

Advertisements

What Do You Want From Social Media in 2017?

what-do-you-want-from

Back in 2008 I remember our 20-year-old administrative assistant telling me I needed to be on Facebook.  My answer was, “No, I don’t need Facebook,  I am already on Myspace against my will.”  My goal for MySpace was to watch my 17-year-old son.  At that time, I only wanted to make sure he wasn’t posting anything that would keep him from getting a job.  So, what did I want out of social media? in 2008, I wanted to protect my son.

Our office admin insisted that I try it.  Facebook provided the ability to post listings on a personal page.  It was the coolest way to advertise with out spending a dime. Back then, I didn’t know what I wanted out of social media. What I did know was my friends were on social media and it was a great way to connect.  I signed up for Facebook in 2008 and it was the best decision I ever made.  Even if you’re not sure what you want from social media, I can help you think about what you might want.

Let’s answer the question, what do you want out of social media today? Not sure? Let’s look at a few ways to determine what you want.

  1. Do you have social media accounts?
  2. Are you a producing real estate agent?
  3. Do you have time to post and engage on social media?
  4. How many connections do you have on social media?
  5. Are you actively using social media?
  6. What are your social media goals?
  7. Are you an influencer on any of your social media pages?

Depending on how you answered is how you will determine what you want out of social media.  If you don’t have social media accounts, your goal is to open Facebook, LinkedIn or both.  Facebook is the #1 social media platform where you can connect with friends, family, your network, clients and businesses. Once you’ve created your Facebook account build a Facebook Business Page. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and gives you the ability to build your online professional identity.

If you are a producing real estate agent your goal is to build your social media presence, use advertisement, create your own content and add live video to your marketing campaign.   If you are not social savvy start with posting content 4 to 6 times a week.  Building a presence is the 1st step. The 2nd step is to focus on creating video content.

When will you add social media management to your business plan?  No time to post?  Consider using Hootsuite to schedule your social media.  Or take 30 minutes each week and schedule your social media posts on your Facebook business page.  Business pages have a social scheduler.

Connections are the key to your social success.  If you are well connected on social media the likelihood that you’ll generate a lead is stronger.  If you aren’t well connected you have homework.  Consider adding your social media platforms to your business cards, direct mail and website.  Start by inviting your sphere of influence to follow you on social media.   Add social planning to your week.   New connections on Facebook is a great place to start.

Active users on social media will build a stronger digital footprint. The more active you are on social media the stronger your footprint. When you engage with your network and the more they engage with you pushes your posts to the top of the newsfeed.  The more you share and communicate the longer you’ll sit at the top of your networks newsfeeds on Facebook.   Those that comment, share, create videos and “Go Live” dominate Facebook.

Social media goals are easier to achieve than you think.  There are so many ways to build a social media presence in real estate.   Real Estate have always had the ability to have conversation in person and social media isn’t much different.  Think about what you really want from social media.  Is it to:

  1. Build an audience
  2. Generate leads
  3. Share your listings
  4. Re-direct potential clients and current clients to your website
  5. Create content that encourages someone to act?
  6. How about all the above?

Look at the first five and build them into a marketing action plan for social media.  As real estate professionals we must building an audience.  Download my free checklist for social media marketing today.

Social Media Checklist

Influencers on social media are those that are able influence others online.  Getting someone click, share or respond online.  Your goal is to become an influencer on social media.  Create short videos showing your expertise in real estate.  Are you an expert with 1st time buyers, luxury, market stats, etc?  Whatever your expertise start building that content today.  Be the go to person on real estate education for the consumer.

What you want from social media will be different from your competition.  Don’t try to do whatever one else does on social media.  Create a plan that works for you.  Get started today.

10 Reasons Why REALTORS® Should Consider E-Signatures

Carrie’s Top 10 Reasons to Consider E-Signatures

  1. If you don’t embrace the new technology you may lose out on opportunities to list and sell—the difference between multiple offers and the only offer!
  2. Electronic Signatures are Legal in all 50 States.
  3. Choose a platform that has certification.  Proof of e-signature.
  4. Don’t force the technology on a non-tech savvy client.  Yep,  go back to the PEN!
  5. Be willing to educate your clients on the benefits of e-signatures. Great for the out of area client.
  6. E-Signatures provide the ability to go paperless and receive legible documents quickly.
  7. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac will accept e-Signatures.  However, if you start with e-Signatures you must use the same technology for the duration of the deal.  You cannot go back to a pen.  Choose wisely!
  8. Saves Time & Money. Think about the hours in the car and the amount of gas you purchase just to get signatures.
  9. As of today, HUD (HUD homes) doesn’t accept electronic signatures. Must use wet signatures.
  10. Yes, you can use electronic signatures on a short sale.  Work with the bank and ask if the bank will accept e-signatures.

Although I love being a paperless agent I recommend that agents also build quality relationships with clients.  You may need to have a face to face conversation, send an email, text and pick up the phone.  Using electronic signatures isn’t a reason to not maintain a relationship.

Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act

Illinois – Electronic Commerce Security Act

Washington – Electronic Authentication Act

New York – Electronic Signatures and Records Act

Mac or PC for Real Estate?

As a PC user many would think I would say, “buy a PC”!  It’s difficult for me to recommend a Mac or a PC.   I love my laptop but I really want a Macbook Pro.  Either product works for real estate.  Don’t buy a PC or Mac just because someone said you should.  My recommendation is that you think about what’s best for you.  When considering either of the products answer these questions:

  1. What are you currently using? If you already understand how to work a PC then selecting a PC or laptop might be the best answer.  And the same goes for a Macbook.  If you are already working on a Mac then upgrading your Mac might be the best option.
  1. Are you willing to learn new technology? If the answer is “NO”. Stick with the technology you are currently using and maybe consider an upgrade.  If the answer is “YES” then you must be ready to learn the new technology.
  1. Are you motivated by price? If not, then get what you want.  If you are on a budget then do your homework.  There are many different price points when investing in a new PC/Laptop.  You can also consider refurbished or used if a new PC or Mac Book isn’t in your budget.
  1. Are you concerned about safety? If so, then make sure you update your virus software is current on your PC.  If you purchase a Mac Book safety is built into the product.   Apple’s OS X Yosemite is built to protect your laptop.

Whether you select a Mac or PC understand that technology is changing at a rapid pace and you will have to become a lifelong learner.  “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS® Tip Two

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS®  Tip Two

Whether you’re a new agent, seasoned agent or an agent that needs to jump start their business; generating leads is key for a real estate agents success.   If you read last week’s blog post you’ve already created a list of everyone you know in an excel spreadsheet.  If not, click to review.   After you’ve created a list of everyone you know, that could be a potential lead or referral source, you’ll have the ability to upload that data into your

  • Multiple listing service
    • Many MLS’ allow you to create mailing labels
    • Email clients
    • And sort your list based on client status
  • Email marketing tools like
  • Client relationship management tools (CRM)
  • MSWord
    • a great way to create mailing labels or
    • form letters
  • Upload that data into a marketing service tool to order postcards
    • You’ll need to convert the data into CSV format. Just save it in MSExcel as CSV.
    • If your company uses a post card company use it

Once you’ve chosen the tools that you would like to upload your database to, create a plan to email, mail, text, engage on social media and call your clients.

  • Contact your Top clients monthly
  • Mail something of value to your clients monthly
  • Share market updates, local events, Real estate news and more to your social media sites at least once a day. The best times to post are 9:00am, Noon, 3:30pm, after 7pm and weekends after 10am.
  • Don’t forget to ask your top clients for a referral
  • Track your leads and where the lead is generated. Next week we will discuss the importance of your database.

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS® Tip One

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS®  Tip One

The best tip I can ever give is to “Get up, Get Dressed, & Get to Work and Start with Lead Generation”.   If you work better in the office go to the office.  If you can work from home, stay home.  If you get more work done at Starbucks, go to Starbucks.   Go to the best place where you can produce new business for your business.

Once you’re up and ready for work think about if you should check your email right away or not.  I know that if I check email I end up putting out fires or responding to emails that could have waited until 11am.   For me lead generation is the best way to start my day.  If I’m not working on lead generation I’m not building future lead opportunities.   Some agents can check email first then work on lead generation.  If you can do this and stay on track with lead generation then go for it!

Tip One – Summary

  • Get up and go to work
  • Schedule your lead generation time and put it in your digital calendar so it syncs with your phone, laptop and tablet.
  • You may also choose a to do list.  I use Gtasks app from Google on my phone.  The to do list can also be located in your Google Gmail account.
Google Task Drop Down Menu

Google Task Drop Down Menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Task App

Google Task App

 

Next week I’ll provide tips on how to generate new leads.  If you can’t wait for this post, sign up for the Realist class at www.mredllc.com.  Classes are free if you’re an agent in Northern Illinois and a member of Midwest Real Estate Data.   Also consider putting everyone you know in an excel spreadsheet with Name, Address, phone and email address.  Once you’ve created your list find the top people that would refer you if you asked them to.  You’ll be more than prepared to begin next week.

 

 

Run Your Business Like A Business in 2015

Join me for the first 12 weeks of 2015 where I will share my top 12 tips on how to “Run Your Business Like A Business”.  REALTORS® have the ability to have a steady income for their personal life and their businesses.  When we work on a commission basis it can be frustrating when we don’t have business in a future pipeline.  When this happens it is difficult to focus on lead generation and a producing business strategy.

Many REALTORS® have taken time off during the holiday season.  Of Course, we all need time off.  However, if your 2014 was not what you expected, planning your year today will help with the spring, summer, fall and Winter of 2015.

Follow my blog and get ready to plan your successful 2015.

The Women’s Council of REALTORS® will have their first Business Resource meeting with A Real Estate CEO Panel.  Join us on January 7th.  Click NOW to register

REALTOR® Blogging, Social Media and Client Engagement

Real estate agents are usually running their own businesses and often don’t have time to blog or use Social Media in a daily business plan.   Unless you have staff or the funds to pay a writer it might be difficult to write a blog that potential buyers and sellers will want to read.   Many agents are already using social media and find that those platforms are easier to use than blogging

So, how can an agent compete in the world of blogging and integrate their Social Media Platforms?

  • First, I’d like to say, I was just as intimidated when it came to building and writing a blog. A few years ago I would have said, “This is way too much work”.   Now that I’ve been blogging for 3+ years I would encourage anyone that can write, to blog and anyone that is tech savvy to blog.   It’s easier than you think.blogger
  • Second, choose a platform that is easy for you to understand. Blogger by Google is pretty easy to understand.  Don’t waste too much time trying to make the blog/website perfect.  Just create the free account and start blogging.  Watch youtube videos on Blogging to learn as you go.  Trust me, a teenager has created, “How to videos” to help you learn how to build a blog.   If you try to make it perfect in the beginning you’ll never blog.    I happen to use WordPresswordpressHowever, by using Blogger, owned by Google, you will find that your blog will be pushed higher in SEO when others search using Google.
  • Third, download the app for your blogging platform to your smartphone, iPad or Tablet. Now you can blog from anywhere.   When you get an idea for blogging use the app, save the draft or publish the blog from your mobile device.
  • Lastly, if you are using social media add your social media links to your blogs so your readers can find you. Use your social media platforms to share your blogs and the content you’re writing.   Re-direct your Fans to your blogs.

Check out great blogs when you start with the National Association of REALTORS®.  You’ll find many blogs on the NAR Blogs Directory.  Not sure what to write about, NAR’s blog is a great place to start.  If you want to see what Successful Real Estate agents are doing on their blogs check out Jamey & Ognjen Prezzi.  These agents are blogging and using social media to attract leads.   Anyone that wants to follow them can subscribe to their RSS Feeds or join them on social media.   In addition to the social platforms they are using video as a way to engage the client.    These are agents that have taken advantage of Digital marketing.  What an easy way to dominate in CEM (Customer Engagement Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Feeling overwhelmed?  You don’t have to use every platform when you are integrating these platforms into your business plan.   I encourage you to start somewhere.  Add one of the platforms to your business plan every month, quarter or annually.  By adding these digital marketing tools to your business competing with the best agents will be a breeze.  Don’t become listless because you didn’t integrate the new technology into your business plan.