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Migrating Your Real Estate Email to a Better Platform Part II

Email Forwarding

The next part in our “Migrating Your Real Estate Email to a Better Platform” series deals with forwarding your email from your old address to your new email address. This is the easiest and quickest way to get started using your new email address from a dedicated provider while not missing out on any messages sent to your existing account. If you haven’t already created an email address from a dedicated email provider, see Part 1 of our series here.

Step-by-Step

In the following example, well be using an @sellstate.com email address as our old address (Although every custom email provider is different, many of the steps will be similar), and a Gmail account as our new address. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on forwarding your real estate email.

-You should have a new email account already set up. If not, see this article.
-Login to your old email account. Here, we’re using an @sellstate.com email address, so we go to mail.sellstate.com and login using our username (full email address) and password.

Once we’re logged in, we can begin forwarding mail in just 5 easy steps.

1. Click Options at the top.
2. Click Mail from the left side navigation.
3. Click Redirection from the options under Mail
4. Check the first box that says “Redirect mail to:” and put your new email address in the blank field.
–The second checkbox is optional and determines whether a copy of new email is kept in your old email account or if new emails are just simply forwarded over to your new email account. There is no wrong choice with this option.
5. Click Save at the bottom.

Congratulations

You’re done! Your old email account is now set to forward any new emails to your new account. Now, you can begin using your new, better email account. Once again if you happen to be forwarding email from another email system (not Sellstate’s), then the steps will be slightly different, but the concept is the same.

Final Words

Now that you have starting using a new email address you want to stop marketing your old email one. Over time most people will just send email to your new address but in the meantime you may want to send an email to your contacts notifying them of your new email address. Do not forget to make the change on any of your promotional material, website(s), social media platforms and business cards. If you used your email for other accounts then be sure to switch those over to the new information as well.

It may seem like a bit of a pain at first, but once you get using your new email system and taking advantage of all the advanced features you’ll wonder how you ever got by on your old one!

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Migrating Your Real Estate Email to a Better Platform Part I

At this point, you’ve decided to move your email to a better platform (If you haven’t decided to make the jump just yet, read our Real Estate Email article here). You’ve decided that you want less spam, more security, a better rate of delivery,  more features and stronger integration. Well, we’re glad you’ve made that decision and to celebrate we’re giving you a step-by-step on how to seamlessly move your email to a new platform. Over the next few blog posts we will be walking you through the transition to your new email account.

Choosing your Provider

There are several dedicated email providers available that offer quality services at no cost. Google and Microsoft are leading the way with Gmail and Hotmail (also known and MSN and Live accounts) services respectively. Of course there are other popular choices such as Yahoo and Aol, but Gmail and Hotmail seem to be the leaders when it comes to innovation and features. For our blogs about how to move your email, we’ll be focusing on Gmail since at the moment they are leading the other providers by way of features, complementary services and easy YouTube integration.

Creating your Account

Getting started with a new Gmail account is simple. Just go to gmail.com and click <<CREATE AN ACCOUNT>> in the top right corner. The next page will ask you to enter some information about yourself including your desired login information.

When you’ve completed the form, click <<I accept. Create my account>>. Gmail may ask you to verify your account with a phone number. This is done for your security and can also help with account recovery. If it does ask you for your number, just follow the simple steps to finish the process.

Congratulations, you have a brand new Gmail account. Get ready to start the migration process. We will be directing you on how to migrate your email in the coming articles.

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Facebook for Real Estate Video Series Preview 2

We are continuing to work very diligently on the completion of our Facebook for Real Estate video series. As previously mentioned we will continue to release previews as we get closer to the official launch of the new video series (For a recap of the Facebook for Real Estate video series or to see the first preview click here).

While we work hard to produce these videos, we appreciate any feedback on the previews. This helps us ensure that we are putting together the best videos possible providing the best education.

Below are a few more videos dealing with logging out, expanding your network and cross posting.

*Note: These videos are not in any specific order and are simply an example of the series to follow.

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iOS 5 for Real Estate

As smartphones become more common within the real estate community, we are doing our best to keep you informed on the latest technological developments to help you maximize work flow efficiency. Tomorrow Apple will be releasing iOS 5 for iPhone and iPad owners. For anyone who is unfamiliar, iOS 5 is the next version of the operating system on your iPhone or iPad. According to Apple, iOS 5 will bring over 200 new features so this is an update you don’t want to miss.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to have iOS 5 loaded on my phone and an iPad since last week, so I wanted to take a moment to cover iOS 5 for real estate and go over a few of the more exciting new features that you can look forward to this week.

Notifications

One of the most noticeable features of iOS 5 is notifications. A new notification center has been added which lists things such as missed messages, missed calls, reminders, weather and stocks. This is easily accessible by swiping down from the top of your screen. The settings menu seems to allow for you to add notifications from virtually any app on your phone which is helpful for Skype or Facebook Messenger users. This will also be a handy way to quickly receive push notifications.

In addition to having all of your information in one handy place, you are able to set incoming notifications to appear as a banner at the top of the screen instead of a box in the middle. The benefit of this is that you will no longer be interrupted by a text while in the middle of doing something else on your phone. Now you receive a neat notification at the top allowing you to finish what you were doing before checking the message.

This means that notifications will no longer disrupt your activity when using your iOS device. You can be emailing or text messaging a client and not have to worry about notifications interrupting you.

Notifications can also be displayed on your lock screen. With this feature enabled, you can view notifications simply by turning the screen on. The quick notification is helpful for keeping your day moving.

Weather and Stock Widgets

The notification center now has limited built in widgets. Widgets are basically handy ways of quickly seeing more information. In this case, weather and stocks are two of the highlighted widgets available. So when in the notification center you are now able to quickly see the daily weather or 5 day forecast as well as a stock ticker.

I would like to note that iOS 5 is not allowing widgets in the same way that Android does. You will not be able to suddenly have widgets running on your home page. There are simply a couple that have been built into the notification center.

Split and Movable Keyboard (iPad)

For iPad owners, you will now have the ability to split your keyboard making it easier to type quickly using your thumbs while holding the device. In addition to this you will now be able to slide the keyboard higher or lower on the screen so that may place it in the best location for your typing style. Once you get used to the split keyboard, you’ll find yourself browsing the Internet, sending emails and interact on social networks with your clients much faster than before.

iMessaging

iMessaging is an interesting change. When you send a text, your iOS device will now determine if the person you are sending the message to is also using iOS 5. If the person you are sending the message to is NOT using iOS 5 then the message goes through as normal. If, however, the person IS using iOS 5 then the message is sent through Apple’s secure servers instead of through your carrier.

What this means is that iOS 5 to iOS 5 messages are no longer subject to texting or messaging costs as they are being sent for free over the Internet (data costs may be incurred if not on wi-fi). Another really nice benefit for iPhone and iPad owners is that you are able to continue your conversation between your devices. So for example you could send me a text from your iPhone, I could reply, and then you could pick up your iPad and see the conversation and continue it from there. Or, you could start a conversation from your iPad and pick it up later on your iPhone.

iMessaging takes place automatically and you will know that you are using the service because your message will show in a blue text bubble instead of the standard green. Other benefits of iMessaging are group talk, delivery confirmation and read receipts. iMessaging also supports sharing of photos, videos, contacts and locations.

While the market is split on smart phone market share, the iPad is running away with tablets. iMessaging will make it easier for you to stay in contact with clients as many people only use their iPads while at home and don’t have their phones beside them. You’ll now be able to send them a message that they will receive more quickly.

Reminders

The Reminders app is a pretty easy way to keep yourself organized and efficient. You are able to quickly and easily schedule yourself reminders and check them off as you complete them. As mentioned above, reminders will appear in your notification center. The easier it is to keep tasks organized the more productive we can be.

Update:
The highly anticipated “geofencing” feature where you can set a reminder to notify you to do something when you leave or arrive at a specific location is not available on any device except the upcoming iPhone 4S.
I have confirmed that the geofencing feature is available on iPhone 4. It just took me a bit more time to find it.

Music and Video

For iPhone owners, your “iPod” app will be replaced by “Music” and “Videos” apps. For iPad owners, your “iPod” app will be replaced by the “Music” app.

Safari Tabs (iPad)

For iPad owners, Safari will now offer the ability to perform tabbed browsing. This is certainly a welcomed feature.

Twitter Integration

Twitter is integrated into iOS 5 making it easy to tweet information directly from your camera, maps, Safari, etc.

Camera Updates

Taking pictures is much nicer with iOS 5. You are now able to use the volume up button as a shutter button, you can edit photos on your phone and crop them if necessary. A word of warning, if you edit a photo and save it you will be replacing the original so be careful when playing around.

This will be very useful when taking quick photos and short videos of homes. The iPhone’s camera is powerful enough to replace your point-and-shoot and you’ll now be able to touch up photos while on the go. Better listing pictures just became much easier!

iOS 5 will finally allow you to create new albums to better organize your photos and movies. You can now create albums specifically for each property keeping things easy to find.

iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s online storage. iCloud will allow you to backup everything from your phone. You can also pick and choose what you would like backed up to save online space. iCloud comes with 5GB of free storage and offers the option to upgrade to 15GB total for $20/year, 25GB total for $40/year or 55GB total for $100/year.

Never worry about losing your contacts again! With iCloud you will never be far from your data. iCloud also makes it easy to maintain access to all of your important files and documents anywhere you go.

Photo Stream

Photo Stream is a great feature for owners of both an iPhone and iPad. This will allow you to take photos and videos on either device and then will automatically sync them between the two. So you could essentially take a video for a virtual tour on your phone and then later edit it on your iPad. Photo Stream removes the task of manually transferring photo and videos, making your work flow more efficient and much quicker.

Final Words

iOS 5 brings many very helpful features to your iOS devices. Real estate agents can look forward to things becoming that much more convenient, doing business that much quicker and having everything saved online. Things like Twitter integration and iMessaging also make it easier to keep in contact with your clients.

Overall I’ve found that while iOS 5 won’t revolutionize your current iPhone or iPad, it will bring with it a bunch of features and tweaks that won’t take you long to wonder how you lived without. As always your questions and comments are welcome below!

More information on Apple’s iOS 5 can be found here: http://www.apple.com/iphone/ios/.

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Real Estate Email

Today, email is a necessary tool for conducting real estate business. While the protocol itself hasn’t changed, the way in which real estate agents view and use email has adapted over time. We are now seeing a shift towards more all inclusive systems, forward-thinking ideas, productive processes and cloud systems.

Corporate Branded Email

Company emails are often offered to real estate agents, and while these generally do a decent job, they are not able to keep up with the likes of Google (Gmail) and Microsoft (Hotmail/MSN/Live) and run into issues that the larger companies are able to avoid. Spam, organization, and security are very important to real estate agents, and corporate branded emails aren’t allowing agents to be as productive as they could be.

Professionalism

There was a time when getting a company email not only seemed like a good idea but was practically a must. Doing business from yourname@hotmail.com came across very unprofessionally, and people frowned upon it. As with many things in business, things have changed and email communications is one of them. Today, the evolution of communication to an increasingly informal level has not only made the use of a dedicated email provider perfectly acceptable, but in many cases, preferable. This means that businesses can finally take full advantage of all the benefits they offer.

Dedicated Email Provider

Currently, the two best email solutions for real estate agents are Google (Gmail) and Microsoft (Hotmail/MSN/Live). These services are free and offer more features than company emails. Aside from already being more complete solutions, they also update more far more frequently, are more secure, and have better device integration. Here is an overview of all the features you get with a free dedicated email provider that you don’t receive with corporate branded emails.

This means that businesses can finally take full advantage of all the benefits they offer.

Spam Handling (Is Your Message Getting Through?)

As spam continues to be a problem on the Internet, many filters and and scanners are allowing less and less email through, potentially blocking legitimate communications. In most cases, all of the main dedicated email providers (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Aol) have arrangements with each other to better allow proper email through while blocking the junk. Corporate branded email are not part of those arrangements increasing the chances that you will have difficulty getting a message through since your provider does not appear on the “white lists”.

The other issue is that while Gmail and Hotmail have millions of users, your company will only have a handful by comparison making every sender more valuable in terms of the filters and scanners evaluation of the content being sent. If a couple of people using your system send email that is considered spam then more filters and scanners will block everyone from the same domain. This may lead to situations of your important messages not going through because a few co-worker were spamming. Dedicated email providers have far more advanced and updated spam filters that are continuously improved based on crowd-sourced feedback which means that they are able to avoid these issues.

Security (Your Information is Important, Protect it!)

Security measures on corporate email servers are generally sub-par when compared to today’s top standards. With dedicated email providers having millions of users, security is much more of a priority. Users can expect the level of security their email has to rival that of banking systems, something that cannot be said of corporate branded emails. Although nothing is 100% secure online, generally speaking it is much tougher to “hack” Microsoft and Google than it is ABC Real Estate Company.

Maintenance & Updates (What’s Good Today is Better Tomorrow)

Server maintenance and upkeep is always an issue when dealing with a corporate branded email. Dedicated email providers are able to keep their systems updated with more advanced updates far more frequently than corporate branded email. Using a dedicated email provider ensures that you have the latest innovations in email. Dedicated email providers also have far more redundancy when it comes to servers and systems ensuring much better up time. If you think about it, when was the last time Gmail “was down”?

In addition to the security updates new features are constantly being added to improve your user experience. Microsoft recently launched “sweep”, a way to quickly sort through an over cluttered inbox and clean things up in a matter of moments. Google is constantly adding in features to Gmail such as Google Docs, Calendar and Google Voice.

Using a dedicated email provider ensures that you have the latest innovations in email.

Cloud (Anywhere, Anytime Access to Your Information/Instant Backup of Your Data)

Dedicated email providers all operate in the cloud meaning that your information is immediately saved securely online as you enter it. While corporate branded emails may not even support the IMAP protocol, dedicated email providers are allowing you to keep all of your messages stored in the cloud, along with giving you access to powerful search functions processed by cloud computing.

Device Compatibility (Your Computer, Phone, and Tablet All Working Together)

Technology advances in many areas at once, so it is important to your productivity to make sure that all the real estate technology you utilize integrates well with each other. Corporate branded emails often do not take the necessary measures to ensure that their email addresses are compatible with the latest devices that real estate agents are using. This is counterproductive and discouraging for agents looking to take advantage of real estate technology for their business.

Both Microsoft and Google make operating systems for mobile phones, computers and tablets. If anyone is up to date on the necessary integration of devices it is these two companies. You must also consider that they plan updates to their email service in accordance with devices that may not yet be available ensuring that they are always a step ahead when it comes to compatibility.

Documents and Sharing (Store Files Online and Work Together in Real-Time)

Gmail is Google’s service and comes loaded with online tools (Google Docs) that allow you to create and share documents and photos. You are able to access this account from any device connected to the Internet where you will not only have your email but also any stored files or saved documents. YouTube will also use your existing Google account saving you the need to create and remember additional account information when using the video service.

Hotmail/MSN/Live are all essentially the same thing. This is Microsoft’s free email solution and like Google offers online document creation and sharing as well as file and photo storage. Through your Microsoft account you are able to access an online version of Microsoft Office through their “Sky Drive” which will allow you to create, share and store documents. Once again you are able to log into this account from anywhere.

Freedom (It’s YOUR Data)

A major consideration to not forget is freedom. By using a corporate branded email, you are locking yourself into a company because all of your email communications are going through their servers using their branded email address. What if you want to switch companies? This is a non-issue when using a dedicated email provider. You are able to move between companies and keep all of your emails and communications without having to worry about migration or updating contact information with clients.

You are able to move between companies and keep all of your emails and communications without having to worry about migration or updating contact information with clients.

Still Prefer a Custom Email Address?

If you still feel the need to have an email address with a custom domain name, we have the answer for you. Many of the dedicated providers offer the option to have a custom domain so that your email will still have a more “professional” appearance while taking advantage of the benefits of dedicated email.

Check back soon as we will be posting an article on how you can setup a custom domain with a dedicated email provider.

Final Words

While company branded emails were once a necessity, today they simply restrict productivity. Communication is becoming less formal as each day passes (think social media). What’s becoming more important is not the domain of your email address, but the features and ability to deliver your message while maintaining the best possible security and offering device compatibility.

It is in your best interest to use a dedicated email provider like Google or Microsoft in order to be as productive as possible in real estate, today.

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Real-Time Data Tracking

As part of our initiative to maintain our position as a leader in real estate technology, we are happy to announce that Sellstate has been accepted into a closed beta program offered by Google, the world’s largest search engine.

Sellstate now has access to Real-Time Data Tracking built into all of our websites. Because of this all-new, yet to be released technology, there is no longer a lag time between when interaction occurs on our websites and when we can analyze the data. This is the most advanced website tracking system to date.

This is the most advanced website tracking system to date.

What does this mean for you, as a member of our company?

This means that we can now monitor traffic in real time which will help us identify the most popular and useful parts of our Internet ecosystem allowing us to make them easier to access and use. You’ll get better education and training, faster than ever before.

The best part – you don’t have to do anything. Just continue to use our websites as you always have and we’ll use the (anonymous) data to improve the experience for you.

Sites with integration:

SellstateLive.com
SellstateSource.com
JoinSellstate.com
Sellstate.com

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Apples iPhone Announcement for Real Estate

Apple had their big announcement today introducing us to iPhone 4S and Siri, your new personal assistant. Let’s take a look at the announcement and the iPhone 4S for real estate.

The iPhone 4S

The new phone will look very familiar to people because it is coming in the same shell as the iPhone 4. The insides however are a very different story. The iPhone 4S will pack the A5 dual core processor (same as iPad 2), 1GB of RAM (double iPhone 4 and iPad 2) and according to Apple will perform about 7x faster than the iPhone 4.

The battery life has seen an increase as it is now boasting 8 hours of 3G talk time with 6 hours of 3G data usage.

A new 8MP camera which promises to capture much better photos at bright and at low light.

iPhone 4S is promising 14.4 Mbps down which falls into “4G” speeds. This is going to depend on your carrier and location however so I wouldn’t get too excited just yet about Internet speeds.

Siri

Siri is what was being rumored as Assistant. Basically you are now able to have a conversation with your phone and have it do things like find you a restaurant, tell you the weather, book you an appointment, read texts to you and send texts and emails among many other promised features. We will have to wait and see how good Siri is but early impressions seem pretty positive so I am excited to read more reviews as they become available.

Pricing

There seems to be an issue with the live updates showing the price…
16GB $199, 32GB $299, 64GB $399
iPhone 4 8GB $99
iPhone 3GS Free

Availability

Available October 14, Pre Order October 7

For Real Estate

iPhone 4S will be great for real estate for a few reasons. The better battery for talk alone always makes Realtors smile. With the better camera and the ability to edit photos right from the app your listing pictures should improve substantially. Combine that with 1080p video and iMovie and you will be able to make some amazing presentations.

Naturally, having your phone act as a personal assistant isn’t a must have feature but it certainly seems like it would be hard to live without once used to it. As a real estate agent you spend a lot of your day driving from appointment to appointment. Imagine now being able to have your phone keep your appointments organized for you simply by speaking to it, have it remind you to do things when you arrive or leave specific locations and have it read texts and emails to you. Siri may ultimately change the way iPhone users use their devices.

Where is iPhone 5?

Many people were waiting for iPhone 5 and are disappointed at the release of iPhone 4S. Believe it or not the rumors of iPhone 5 coming out “early 2012” have already started. The reality is that every year people speculate that a better phone is coming out from Apple in the next few months but so far Apple has stuck to their release schedule. I personally don’t think that you should get caught up on the naming of the phone and just accept that this is the iPhone for the next year. Sometime in 2012 I’m sure we’ll be introduced to a redesigned “iPhone 6” as it will be the 6th generation iPhone.

How Did We Do With Rumors

It sort of took the fun away, but if you have been following me on Facebook, other than the 1080p video there weren’t any surprises with this phone. The pricing rumors were off $100 which isn’t the end of the world but otherwise we were pretty much able to nail down the A5, 8MP camera, 4S, same case and Siri (although we didn’t know it was going to be called Siri).

Thank you for those of you who followed along our semi live blog from today. You can find a recap of it as well as a rumor round up below. So what do you think? Do you like the new iPhone? Are you disappointed with it? Be sure to leave your comments below.

Click here for our liveblog and Rumor Roundup.

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