Wednesday
April 16, 2014

7 Tech Tools Everyone is Talking About

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7 Tech Tools Everyone is Talking About

Want to know what’s next on the tech scene, or get new ideas for using your old standbys? We’ve got the latest buzz.

One of the most common questions for moderators of technology panels at real estate conferences is this: “What is your favorite new technology tool?” At Inman Connect this year, you couldn’t turn a corner without hearing someone talking about the latest and greatest items they were implementing in their business. So we brought back a few clips of what we heard from the plugged-in crowd in New York.

Love new tools but hate the distraction of technology solutions that don't live up to their promises? Check out this companion piece on avoiding "Shiny Object Syndrome."

Onvedeo

This tool promises to help you produce listing videos “in minutes.” Basically, the company sends out filmmakers to shoot high-quality video of neighborhoods across the country, using the material to create productions that showcase your listing. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate CEO Sherry Chris liked it so much, she decided to partner with the small start-up. “We could do video for free if we wanted,” she says, “but it’s not going to have the same result as far as making agents more productive and brokers more profitable.”
The first video is free. Agent pricing: $9.95 per video or $49.95 per month. Broker pricing: $149 per month and up.

Nuoffer

This app’s creators say they’re hoping to make “the offer-writing process mobile and fun.” Nuoffer enables agents to write an offer on the go in mere minutes, they say, and provides the flexibility to present the offer in a larger number of ways. The app includes secure digital signatures, cover-letter creators, and branded accounts. “It’s witchcraft! It’s amazing,” says Andrea Lightfoot, an agent with Texas-based Bamboo Realty. “You can write an offer in, like, five minutes.”
The first month is free. After that, you can either pay $15 per month or $150 per year.

Google Voice

OK, so you’ve probably heard of this Google company, and its phone call and messaging service isn’t exactly new. But if you hate listening to voicemail, you should check it out. You can use your current mobile number or take a phone number that Google assigns you, and have all your calls routed through that one number, making all your phones ring (or none, if that’s how you want it). Google transcribes the voicemails and sends them to you by e-mail or text. (It’s not always perfect, but it’s sometimes shocking how close it can get.) “I haven’t listened to a voicemail in three years,” says Michael Gold, who runs meet-up creator Empirical.ly.
Free.

Doorsteps

We’ve written about this buyer-education platform (recently acquired by Move Inc.) before, but we heard so many people talking about it at Inman that we just had to mention it again. This site aims to turn your potential clients into informed buyers by offering them free, step-by-step educational tools about the home purchasing process. It allows real estate professionals to shepherd potential customers who aren’t quite ready for the finish line. “My apps vary from client to client, but Doorsteps is a tool that I absolutely love,” says Alyssa Hellman, a sales manager and agent with Long and Foster Real Estate in the D.C. metro area. “It allows clients to understand the process.”
Free for consumers; agents pay $25 per month for unlimited use.

Layar

When technical difficulties foul up your presentation, but people are still talking about using your product afterwards, you know you’re doing something right. When Layar co-founder Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald had to whip out a video to show how his augmented reality program worked, he still got plenty of oohs and aahs from the tech-savvy crowd. “We are revolutionizing print marketing,” he says. “Your audience is used to seeing video… [so you’ll] get more money back from your investments.” The company adds property walkthroughs and videos to print marketing pieces for a mere $60 per piece, without charging you per usage. They also offer drag-and-drop features, meaning you can upload your PDFs and create interactive print pieces all on your own. It may seem a little awkward to hold up your iPhone camera to watch a video on a piece of paper, but it won’t seem so funny when everyone’s wearing Google Glass.
$60 per page, but you can try it out for free.

Jelly

Launched by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone just this month, this new app promises to combine your photos with your social networks to help you get advice and answer questions. Some are calling it a visual version of Quora; others are calling it just another attempt for Twitter to take over the world of social networking. It’s much too early to say, but people were certainly saying it’s something to keep an eye on. “It’s the latest shiny object to download,” says real estate consultant Katie Lance. “It’ll be interesting to see how… this will impact 2014.”
Free.

BombBomb

Again, something we’ve covered before. But what we kept hearing, up until now at least, was about how this video messaging service can be used to reach customers. We absolutely loved hearing how Susana Murphy, founder and CEO of Alante Real Estate in Plymouth, Mass., uses it to create distinction in a land of multiple competing offers. The company sends video “letters to sellers... from our clients to the seller, explaining why they deserve the home.” Nice move.
$25-$99 per month, depending on how many contacts you have.

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