2009 Real Estate Guide
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Tech-savvy agents get results

Last year, Geordie Romer, a certified residential specialist with Icicle Creek Real Estate in Leavenworth, Wash., sold three homes that other agents failed to sell. "Realistic pricing, great photography, virtual tours and wide Internet exposure sold these homes when the marketing done by the previous agents didn't work," he says. Romer has blogged about the market in his area, a vacation destination, since 2005.

In Milwaukee, as Jennifer Stinnett searches for a listing agent, tech- and social media-savvy are top requirements. "My home is perfect for a first-time homebuyer, and I want to make sure the agent I choose is connected with that target market and is knowledgeable and promoting the $8,000 tax credit this year to those buyers," she says.

There are no statistics that prove Web-savvy agents sell more homes or fetch higher prices. But it stands to reason that if your home is promoted in as many places as possible, you're much more likely to have a potential buyer or someone who knows a potential buyer and could pass along a link.

Here's a closer look at some technologies used to sell homes:

Mobile technology

Realtor Thomas Madden of William Raveis Real Estate in Middletown, Conn., says that while he knows many agents who don't publicize their cell phone numbers, "I use it in all of my presentations, buyer and seller, as a point that I am readily available. People want instant responses, and I work to give (that) to them."

BlackBerries and iPhones give agents similar functionality to desktops, says Bachraty. That's especially helpful for agents like Morgenstern and his partner, Laura Talmud. "I carry a digital camera and Blackberry and sync them to my Mac on a regular basis, "says Talmud.

Trulia's GPS-enabled iPhone application "allows consumers and agents to search for open houses and other for-sale properties by proximity to where they're standing," Bachraty says. The future may mean more agents using tools such as CellSigns, a system that provides a sign and mobile ID for each listing and allows prospective homebuyers to drive by a listing and access its info on demand via text messaging, says Campano.

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Digital workflow tools

Behind-the-scenes tools also help maintain agent-client communication. Anthony Marguleas, president of the Los Angeles real estate firm Amalfi Estates, says several clients picked his firm because it uses Google Docs spreadsheets as an accountability tool. Every action taken to sell the property and every showing or other update is added to the document, which the seller can view. "This transparency helps create a better dialogue between us and the client," says Marguleas, a member of the invitation-only group CyberStars, which represents the country's top tech-savvy Realtors.

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