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The Tech-Savvy Real Estate Agent

Book Description

Sure, you know how to use the MLS database, but do you know how to effectively establish a Web presence or do customer outreach via email or the Web? There are all kinds of ways you can use technology to market your practice and service your clients, but if you’re like most realtors you’ve probably only scratched the surface. In this easy-to-understand guide, author Galen Gruman draws on his more than 20 years of experience as a tech-industry author and journalist to show you how to become a better real estate agent by learning and effectively using current computer technology and tools in your business. You’ll learn what technology to use as well as what technology not to use,so that you’re certain to spend your tech dollars effectively. In major sections on marketing, communications, and transaction management, Galen covers everything from the elements of a good Web site to evaluating devices and services, working in multiple locations, creating transaction libraries, using digital photography, converting documents to electronic forms, and more.

This book also includes a CD-ROM for both Windows and Mac with templates, product and technology links, tryout and free software tools, and even quizzes for use in classroom and training environments.


Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Introduction
    1. Technical Opportunities in Real Estate
      1. How to Use This Book
  4. 1. Creating the Right Work Environment
    1. 1. The Right Office Tools
      1. Choosing the Right Hardware
        1. Selecting a PC
        2. Selecting Additional Drives
        3. Faxing, Printing, Scanning, and Copying
        4. Selecting a Digital Camera
      2. Choosing the Right Software
        1. Selecting Office Productivity Software
        2. Selecting System Utilities
        3. Selecting Page Layout Software
        4. Selecting PDF Creation Software
        5. Selecting Image Editing Software
        6. Selecting E-Mail Client and Web Client Software
        7. Selecting Contact and Schedule Management Software
        8. Selecting Bulk E-Mail and Campaign Management Software
        9. Selecting Web Creation and Editing Software
        10. Selecting Accounting and Tax Software
        11. Selecting Real Estate Forms Software
        12. Selecting CD Creation Software
      3. Making Your Home Office Safe and Comfortable
      4. Getting Effective Technical Support
    2. 2. The Right Connections
      1. Choosing the Right Phones
        1. Working with Multiple Phone Lines
        2. Selecting Phone Equipment
        3. Selecting Cell Phones
      2. Choosing the Right Internet Connections
        1. High-Speed Access at Home
          1. DSL versus Cable Access
          2. Wireless versus Wired Access
        2. High-Speed Access on the Road
          1. Using Networks at the Broker and Elsewhere
          2. Accessing the Internet Using Wi-Fi Hot Spots
        3. Securing Your Connections
      3. Working in Multiple Locations
        1. Centralizing Your Connections
        2. Working with Multiple Computers
        3. Managing Messages
    3. 3. Working with Electronic Media
      1. Working with Digital Photography
        1. What to Know When Taking Pictures
        2. How to Deal with Image Files and Formats
        3. How to Adjust Image Attributes
          1. Resizing and Resampling
          2. Cropping
          3. Brightness and Contrast
          4. Color Balance
      2. Working with Electronic Documents
        1. Creating Electronic Documents
        2. Annotating and Editing Electronic Documents
        3. Distributing Electronic Documents
          1. Keeping File Sizes Manageable
          2. Managing Files on the Web Server
      3. Working with Print Layout Tools
        1. Tips for Using Microsoft Word
          1. Placing Items
          2. Using Multiple Columns
          3. Applying Styles
        2. Tips for Using Microsoft Publisher
          1. Working with Frames
          2. Applying Styles
          3. Applying Colors
        3. Tips for Using Adobe InDesign
          1. Working with Columns and Page Dimensions
          2. Using the Control Palette
          3. Working with Frames
          4. Importing Text and Graphics
          5. Applying Styles
      4. Working with Web Creation Tools
  5. 2. Marketing Yourself More Effectively
    1. 4. Effective Web Sites
      1. Setting Up a Web Presence
        1. Getting Your Own Site
        2. Using Your Brokerage’s Site
        3. How to Set Up Your Site
          1. Getting the Domain and Web Host
          2. Setting Up E-Mail and Pages
      2. Elements of a Good Site
        1. Keep the Goal in Mind
        2. Sources for Content
        3. Using Property Information
        4. Presenting Office Listings
        5. Making the MLS Accessible to Visitors
        6. Providing Mortgage Tools
        7. Providing Other Information
    2. 5. Online Marketing Techniques
      1. Leading People to Your Site
        1. List Your Site Everywhere
        2. Be Sure That Search Engines Find You
          1. Adding Keywords
          2. Updating Search Engines Directly
        3. Participate in Local Sites
          1. Classified Ad Sites
          2. Community Forums
        4. Consider Web Advertising
          1. Tracking Results
          2. Paying by the Click
      2. Outreach via E-Mail
        1. E-Mail Marketing Issues
        2. Tips for Creating E-Mails
          1. Tools for Creating HTML E-Mails
          2. Working with Code and Design Views
          3. Don’t Limit Yourself to Newesletters
    3. 6. High-Tech Marketing Collaterals
      1. A Range of High-Tech Options
      2. Working with Virtual Tours
        1. Creating Slide Show Tours
          1. Using Microsoft PowerPoint
          2. Using Adobe Photoshop
          3. Using Google Picasa
          4. Using Apple iPhoto
          5. Using Panoramic-Image Software
        2. Creating Video Tours
      3. Working with Disc Tours
        1. Content Options for Disc Tours
        2. Creating Audio Narrations
        3. Creating DVDs for TV Display
      4. Working with Property Web Sites
        1. Present Web Sites or Web Pages?
        2. Recommended Property Site Contents
      5. Working with Seller Presentations
      6. Working with Other Options
    4. 7. Managing Marketing Campaigns
      1. Where Technology Can Help
      2. Building Contact Lists
        1. Managing Your Contacts
        2. Differentiating Active and Passive Contacts
      3. Delivering Campaign Materials
        1. Transferring Contact Lists
          1. Apple Mail
          2. FileMaker
          3. Microsoft Access
          4. Microsoft Entourage
          5. Microsoft Outlook
          6. Microsoft Outlook Express
          7. Palm Desktop
          8. Sage Act
          9. Importing Contact Files
        2. Sending E-Mail Campaigns
        3. Easing Print Material Creation and Delivery
          1. Creating Printed Materials
          2. Using Web Services to Print Materials
      4. Evaluating Campaigns’ Effectiveness
  6. 3. Facilitating Your Communications
    1. 8. Managing Your Contacts
      1. Using Contact Managers and Databases
        1. Collecting Information Consistently
        2. Keeping Information in Sync
          1. For Microsoft Outlook
          2. For Microsoft Outlook Express
          3. For Microsoft Entourage
          4. For Apple iCal and Mac OS X Address Book
          5. For Sage Act
          6. For Now Up-to-Date and Contact
          7. For Microsoft Access
          8. For FileMaker
      2. Using Communications Services
        1. Consolidating Communications Conduits
        2. Increasing Your Reach
          1. Using Toll-Free Numbers
          2. Using Multiple Cell Phones
          3. Using VoIP Virtual Phones
    2. 9. Communicating Better with Clients
      1. Where Technology Applies
      2. Using E-Mail to Stay Close
      3. Providing Personal Client Web Pages
        1. How to Create Client Pages
        2. What Client Pages Should Include
        3. Be Discreet in What You Publish
        4. Protect Personal Information
          1. Adobe Acrobat Professional
          2. Microsoft Word for Windows
          3. Microsoft Word for Macintosh
      4. Using PDF Files to Deliver Information
        1. How to Create PDF Files
        2. How to Add Comments to PDF Files
      5. Using MLS and Broker Client-Notification Options
  7. 4. Marketing Transactions Effectively
    1. 10. Managing Your Tasks and Transactions
      1. Using Tools to Manage Tasks
        1. Appointments, Contacts, and To-Do Items
        2. Financial Information
        3. Lists
      2. Using Transaction Software
        1. Transaction Forms
        2. Transaction Systems
      3. Creating Digital Transaction Libraries
        1. Organizing the Files
        2. Creating the Disc
  8. 5. Tying It All Together
    1. A. Digital Workflow for Marketing
      1. Plan the Campaign
      2. Create and Distribute the Materials
      3. Evaluate Your Campaign
    2. B. Digital Workflow for Serving Buyers
      1. Educate the Buyer
      2. Communicate Better
      3. Manage the Transaction
    3. C. Digital Workflow for Serving Sellers
      1. Educate the Seller
      2. Communicate Better
      3. Manage the Transaction
    4. D. Defining Terms
    5. E. The CD
      1. Folder contents
      2. How to Use the CD
      3. Web Page Contents