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VOL. 35 | NO. 5 | Friday, February 4, 2011

Apps, social media enhancing real estate business

By Sarah Baker | Memphis Daily News

Print | Front Page | Email this story

From seasoned veterans to young agents, smart phone technology enables real estate professionals to work from virtually anywhere.

But with new applications incessantly hitting the market, it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest trends.

When Joe Spake, broker with Revid Realty, got started in the business, he worked mostly via phone, with some e-mail. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to have a phone conversation, an e-mail and a text with the same client in the same day.

“That’s the way it’s always been, now it’s just more intense,” Spake says. “There’s no excuse for a busy signal or missing a callback now.”

If Spake is out showing properties and unable to return the call for a while, he uses Google Voice, which transcribes the voice message.

“I don’t have to call them back, I don’t even have to listen to the message,” Spake says. “When I have a second, I can look at what they sent, and if it’s urgent, I’ll excuse myself and do it. If it’s just routine, I know I can wait.”

No matter the smart phone of choice, real estate apps are becoming increasingly popular among agents and clients alike. Hundreds of apps like Zillow, Realtor.com, LoopNet and Trulia allow business to be conducted at both party’s fingertips.

“I’ve been out with clients who have been looking at properties on Realtor.com while we’ve been riding around,” Spake says.

Spake, a self-proclaimed “grandfather of social media,” says because real estate has always had such a strong “push-marketing” aspect – with advertising, listings, etc. – agents don’t always grasp the interaction. This concept is especially difficult for older agents, Spake says, who make up two thirds of the business.

“I think it’s just a matter of resistance,” Spake says. “All of my new business that hasn’t been referred in the last two years has come straight from social media – from being out there, from blogging, from being on Facebook or Twitter – people that I don’t even know in real life call me up to help them find a house. There’s a big credibility factor there.”

Indeed, if agents do not embrace social media, they will likely fall behind the curve, says Judy McLellan, a broker at Crye-Leike Realtors Inc.’s Quail Hollow office. But nothing substitutes human touch to go along with the latest trends.

“You have to embrace the technology and use it, but at the same time, you can have all of the technology in the world, but if you don’t have the people skills and know how to sell real estate, then it doesn’t do you any good,” McLellan says. “If you did it all, you wouldn’t have any time to sell real estate.”

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TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0