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To iPad 2 or Not To…

I was recently in one of our offices speaking with a few of our members when someone approached me and asked if he should replace his dying laptop with an iPad for real estate. I thought about it for a minute and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t 100% sure how to answer him which leads us to today’s blog on tablets.

When looking at the world of mobile computing, tablets have become the new trendy device and many people are looking to upgrade from their laptops to an iPad or Android tablet. I’ve even heard people suggest that laptops are “old technology” and that you would be crazy to spend money on one when you could get a “latest technology” device.

While this is true to a certain extent, it is important to remember that tablets were not designed to replace laptops. Remember when Steve Jobs went on stage and told the world about the iPad? He told us that the goal was to place a device between the iPhone and MacBook. To the surprise of many, the iPad sales were not only outstanding, but actually hurt laptop sales. This resulted in several other companies rushing their tablets to the market.

While this is true to a certain extent, it is important to remember that tablets were not designed to replace laptops.

While I am a fan of tablets and do enjoy the instant on (just press the button to start using it instead of waiting for it to boot up) and touch screens, I have a hard time recommending one as a laptop replacement.

Consider for a moment that while tablets are great devices, they do come with limitations. They are not as powerful as laptops, they do not have the same business software, the file storage system is different and of course the now infamous lack of flash support on iOS devices. Not to mention they are a lot more expensive than laptops based on the hardware.

The other big concern I have specifically for Realtors is that many of the real estate websites and MLS site back ends are specifically designed for Windows based PCs running Internet Explorer and we have seen some odd glitches when trying to use different setups. Because of this, I always caution real estate agents looking to completely replace their laptop with a tablet.

So the obvious question becomes, “how do we know if a tablet can do everything we need it to?” For that I would suggest a simple trick. Try everything on your phone. An iPad is basically an iPhone with a bigger screen so if your iPhone is able to load and access all of the information you need, then an iPad should work. The same thing can be said of Android devices for the most part. The tablets are running a version of Android similar to the version on your phone.

Now, if you are planning on holding onto your laptop and adding a tablet into the mix to be able to check email and surf the Internet while on the go, then I am all for them.

While they are currently not designed to be full laptop replacements, they are getting better as is the software available on them.

Let’s now take a look at which tablets I would recommend based on a combination of reviews, feedback and hands on experience. Please note that this is just my opinion and other people may disagree.

In my opinion the tablets to consider are (in alphabetical order) the Asus EeePad, iPad 2, Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy. The ones to specifically stay away from are the BlackBerry Playbook and HP Touchpad or any built by a company that you are less familiar with. A quick Google search will be able to pull up lists of the 10 best and 10 worst tablets. While the BlackBerry and HP do show potential, the Internet suggests that major updates are required for both before they are on par with the others.

In conclusion I would say that in most cases tablets do serve as great mobile computing solutions. While they are currently not designed to be full laptop replacements, they are getting better as is the software available on them. I’m sure within the next couple of years we’ll see more tablets than we do laptops in both business and personal use. If you are looking to replace a laptop, make sure you find out if the tablet will do everything you need it to first. Otherwise if you’re looking to simply add one to your mix, I would say that they are pretty good devices and should make your life easier.

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July Broker/Manager Orientation

This week Sellstate is hosting the July Broker/Manger orientation. Tuesday and Wednesday the training will be held by Sellstate Lead Trainer Lynda Moritz and Sellstate President Neil Cresswell at Sellstate Priority in Cape Coral, Florida.

On Thursday, the session will move to our corporate office located in Fort Myers, Florida where Michael Darmanin, Chris Palko, Trish Drivick and Sellstate CEO Arthur Darmanin will take over the coaching.

The three day orientation covers a wide array of topics and outlines all the systems that must be in place to run a successful real estate brokerage. Attending this session from Sellstate Sovereign Realty in Las Vegas, Nevada are Melissa and Nick Chupa and from Sellstate Expert Realty in Edwardsville, Illinois is Sue Ferguson.

Sellstate Corporate Office
14060 Metropolis Ave. Suite 1
Fort Myers, FL 33912

(866) 661-3847
facebook.com/SellstateRealty
Sellstate.com

Sellstate Priority
3321 Del Prado Blvd. S Suite 7
Cape Coral, FL 33904

(239) 574-8888
Facebook (Sellstate Priority Realty)
SellstatePriority.com

Sellstate Sovereign Realty
7900 W. Tropical Parkway Suite 130
Las Vegas, NV 89149

(702) 348-6135

Sellstate Expert Realty
123 Rottingham Court Suite C
Edwardsville, Illinois 62025

(618) 307-9330
Facebook (Sellstate Expert Realty)

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Real Estate Technology and Why Realtors Shouldn’t Care

As a technophile and hardware enthusiast I am often consulted by people about what “technology” they should buy or what’s better than the other or in many cases, “which one is best for real estate?” Today I would like to specifically deal with why as a Realtor, you really shouldn’t care especially when it comes to real estate technology in your office.

Now before all the angry comments start coming in, allow me to clarify. Technology is wonderful. I love it! I have a triple monitor Eyefinity setup at my house, the latest iPhone, a Logitech Harmony touch screen remote and could point out a flaw in every high end TV on the market. So as you read on, please consider that this is coming from someone who lives out on the bleeding edge of technology.

When it comes to real estate technology, I often see agents confused by all the latest terms which lead them to make decisions that range from buying a new phone to changing brokerages and frankly, who can blame them? Remember when we figured out what apps were and why we needed them? Now suddenly we’re talking about social media and the cloud. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the constant change as it seems people are more interested in renaming technology as oppose to explaining any of it.

Many brokerages take advantage of this confusion by putting together a list of features that their website has and then change the names of each feature to reflect some new buzz words they heard.

Now, getting to the part where you shouldn’t care about the technology being advertised… The reason why you shouldn’t care is because in most cases you already have it! Yes, that’s right, you, right now, reading this article have most of the “advanced” real estate technology being offered to you by other brokers. You just don’t know it because it was explained to you using completely different terms that may as well be a completely different language.

The reason why you shouldn’t care is because in most cases you already have it!

I recently saw an email from a brokerage offering superior technology with the following features listed (in brackets is the English translation/way you can do the same task):
– Transaction Manager – (could be done in a spreadsheet)
– Contact Manager – (Outlook or any other database program, ie. Top Producer)
– Online Document Storage – (Dropbox, Gmail, Hotmail, me.com, etc. all have this feature)
– Social Network auto-poster – (auto posting is one of the worst things you can do for social media)
– Task Reminder System – (Outlook, Gmail, Top Producer, any smartphone, etc.)
– Integrated eFax – (this is an eFax with the word “integrated” added to the front)
– Integrated webmail – (“webmail” means email and again “integrated” was added to the front)
– Contact and Calendar Sync with Smartphone – (every smart phone does this)

As you can see, when the new terms are translated into plain English, there isn’t much to what is being offered. Furthermore, companies who have “custom contact managers” created concern me for three reasons. Number one, why would I want to give my contact list to the broker? Secondly, what makes them think that they can design a better contact management system than Microsoft or Google? And finally, how much hidden cost is there to me for the “privilege” to use this inferior software?

What’s more important than a list of website features is a company willing to educate you on how to leverage social media for your business or what “the cloud” is and how and why you would want to take advantage of it or better yet a company who understands technology themselves so that they may provide systems or hardware that will legitimately increase your production. It’s easy for people to throw fancy names on basic features. It takes a lot more to sit down and explain it to people and to show them how to benefit.

What’s more important than a list of website features is a company willing to educate you on how to leverage social media for your business…

Technology is great and I am personally a really big fan. Where technology becomes frustrating is when we don’t understand it. In closing I would like to offer the following advice when it comes to trying to decide if a real estate technology is worth the change:

Technology is supposed to do one of two things. It either makes our life easier and or it allows us to do something quicker. If you are being presented with a technology or term that you are unfamiliar with go back to those two points and see how or if it will fit your business.

In the coming days I will be adding articles to help make decisions as far as which particular piece of equipment I would recommend but before I got into that I wanted to make sure that you realized that you probably don’t “need” any of it. What you need is someone to show you how to take advantage of what you have.

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Sellstate Premier Realty hosts Facebook training

Sellstate Premier Realty in Fort Myers, FL, hosted a training session today highlighting how real estate agents can leverage Facebook to increase their business. Shawna Cresswell-Merrick, office manager, arranged the training, and there was a great turnout.

Sellstate Premier Realty is located at 1500 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 101, Ft. Myers, FL 33919, (239) 333-2020, SellstatePremier.com, Sellstate Premier on Facebook.

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Sellstate Priority donates cello to local high school student

Sellstate Priority in Cape Coral, FL, recently donated a cello to a local high school student. This student has been playing the cello for 7 years and was, at the time, using an instrument that has been handed down over the years.

Lynda Moritz, manager at Sellstate Priority, decided to help by contacting a well known instrument company. After speaking directly with the president of the manufacturing company, Lynda convinced them to donate a brand new professional quality cello (valued at $550) to the student.

Sellstate Priority is located at 3321 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33904, (239) 574-8888, SellstatePriority.com, Sellstate Priority on Facebook.

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Sellstate Group Realty Contributes to Helping Hands

A member of the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors Outreach committee, Sellstate Group Realty in South Carolina recently implemented a fundraising strategy to contribute to Helping Hands.

A member of a local business networking group created a new Helping Hands logo that Sellstate Group Realty placed on bottles and jars. These were placed in offices around the area with the mission a little spare change creates a big change.

During the first month of this effort, nearly $600 was raised.

Helping Hands is a United Way agency that serves as a 24-hour emergency home for abused, abandoned, and neglected children.

Sellstate Group Realty is located at 5276 HWY. 17 Business South Suite B & C, Murrels Inlet, SC, (843) 997 5421.

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