We have been bedazzled with e-commerce, broadband, blackberries, t-mobile, blue tooth and more. But, however overwhelming, real estate professionals must remember that e-business is nothing more than traditional business being done online. M-business in turn is little more than wireless e-business, v-business is basically voice-enabled m-business. So in the end, the new alphabet soup is nothing more than traditional business restructured. Therefore you must re-invent yourself to adapt to using these new repackaged tools.
The first technology wave brought us personal computers (PC's), Local Area Networks (LANS) and advanced applications such as word processing, contact managers and network communication. The first wave of communications did away with much of the paper and made it easier to save, file, retrieve and share information.
The second wave was the Internet, which expanded the LAN to the public domain. Indeed this development is still a work in progress - with the Internet increasing in size, speed and efficiency almost daily.
The third wave is the current deployment of cheaper and faster bandwidth (DSL, cable and T1), which enables the convergence of pre-existing technologies into integrated desktop and software applications.
The fourth wave, just now beginning is the deployment of wireless high-speed bandwidth that makes the desktop mobile. The primary drivers making this possible are low cost bandwidth to the home and office in the form of cable, T1, and DSL and near DSL performance on wireless laptop and palmtop devices.
The change in information processing may seem overwhelming and confusing, but real estate brokers need not be technologists. In fact, they shouldn't be. Rather, Technology is a tool and like any tool, can be used efficiently only if you know when to use it to accomplish your business goals.
Your first job is to determine what you want to accomplish. That means developing a business plan. Second, you need to choose the right tools to implement that plan. Fortunately, there are vendors who are putting together the tools you might need for success. These tools can roughly be divided into three categories:
- Informational management
- Personal or business management
Online Trend and Recent Surveys
Realtor Magazine Says: Most real estate transactions are now initiated from the web. Today consumers who are searching for a new property are primarily using the Internet for researching and comparing information. Statistics show that 73% use the Internet for convenience of shopping and being able to gather and compare information before talking to a Realtor, 69% are the top 2 reasons for searching for a new property online.
The majority of consumers searching for properties online are interested in purchasing a house, (74%), with the remainder looking to buy land (10%), a condominium (10%), co-op (1%), commercial building (1%) or some other property (4%).
Professional Image: Almost 90% of Realtors have online listings and /or personal websites. Yet only 14% reported getting any significant business from their investment. Are you part of the 14% or 86%? It also seems that many of the Realtors who get significant business, own websites of their own as opposed to relying on a one-page web site provided from an association or office. If your website is one page of a larger association web site, there are two main disadvantages: First, your information and presentation looks like everyone else's. Secondly, when the prospective customer is on that association site, he/she can easily choose some one else instead of you. And in both cases, it minimizes your benefit significantly.
Promoting Your Real Estate Business: Add virtual tours to your property listings. Just having a web site does not get business. It must have an exciting look, sound and interaction for the consumer to stay on your site. This will make a memorable impression on your potential customers.