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NAR Survey Shows Realtors Investing in and Demanding More Technology
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ealtors invest heavily in technology with more than half of brokers, sales agents, associate brokers and managers saying they spent more than $1,000 last year, according to a new survey by the National Association of Realtors. The 2007 Realtor Technology Survey, conducted by NAR's Center for Realtor Technology, also found that 25 percent of respondents spent more than $2,000 on technology in 2006. In addition, approximately twothirds of those surveyed have a real estate business Web site, and a quarter spends more than $1,000 annually to maintain their site. Nearly all of these sites — 93 percent — provide listing search capabilities. Other than their own Web site, the most popular sites for Realtors to display their listings include the local MLS, their broker's Web site and Realtor.com. "Realtors have invested a lot of time and millions of dollars in building and improving real estate technology, and the demand for additional technology is high," said Mark Lesswing, NAR senior vice president and chief technology officer. "While eight in 10 Realtors think the current technology supplied by their broker is valuable, twothirds would like their broker to expand the amount of technology offered. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed were also interested in augmenting the technology and services offered by their Multiple Listing Service." One of those services is the Comparative Market Analysis, which compares a home to similar properties that have sold in an area. Ninetyfour percent of those surveyed include a CMA as part of their listing presentations, and most Realtors are satisfied with the program. However, 35 percent thought the program could be improved by offering the ability to personalize designs and making it easier to use. The most popular devices plan to purchase or replace one in the coming year. Realtors' use of automated forms and transaction management software is also on the rise as real estate transactions become more complex. In fact, more than three-fourths of Realtors surveyed said they must manage as many as 20 documents to complete a real estate transaction. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed use an automated forms management program to help streamline the paperwork involved in a transaction. Twenty-three percent of respondents use a transaction management system, which tracks each step of the real

"By integrating and adopting innovative systems and processes, Realtors continue to advance real estate technology, improving communication with home buyers and sellers and streamlining transactions." - NAR President Pat V. Combs
Realtors use in their day-today business include digital cameras, desktop computers and cell phones. The survey also revealed the growing popularity of smart phones or PDAs, which provide phone, Internet and e-mail capabilities. In 2005, only 8 percent of respondents used a smart phone compared to 28 percent in 2006, and as many as 30 percent of respondents estate process, and 69 percent of those who aren't currently using a transaction management system are interested in adopting the technology. "By integrating and adopting innovative systems and processes, Realtors continue to advance real estate technology, improving communication with home buyers and sellers and

THE PICKFORD PRESS ● VOLUME ONE ● ISSUE THREE ● JUNE 2007 ● PAGE 2
streamlining transactions," said NAR President Pat V. Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS- Schmidt. "However, real estate is still a high-touch business. Building strong, personal relationships with home buyers and sellers and understanding their unique needs, is essential to helping them find the home of their dreams." Indeed, survey respondents cite referrals and repeat business as the top sources for generating the greatest number of leads. One-third of respondents said that more than half of their business comes from referral clients, which makes staying in touch with current and past clients crucial to a Realtor's success. The most popular way to maintain relationships with current clients is through phone calls (48 percent) and e-mail (39 percent). Two-thirds of Realtors continue to communicate with their former clients at least once or more every quarter. The methods, however, have changed. Electronic newsletters have gained in popularity as a way to stay in touch with former clients; other favored methods are mailings and market updates. By comparison, the telephone has fallen out of favor; in 2005, one of every three Realtors picked up the phone to reach out to former clients, but less than 1 percent of Realtors in the current survey relied on phone calls to stay in touch with their past client base. Reprinted from the May 14, 2007, edition of RISMEDIA. Determine whether your sales volume has reached a plateau and/or the busy work of multiple transactions has bogged you down. Often we add a new staff member when we are overwhelmed with work. This throws the new person into the pressure cooker and provides little time for training. For best results, consider hiring an assistant in the slower months so that you have quality time to spend training and integrating this new member into your team 4. Staying in Touch You need an assistant to help you grow, but the further away you get from hands-on customer service - the very reason your buyers and sellers hired you - the greater the risk of loss. Appoint your assistant to handle the time-consuming details of your business; answering the phone, getting fliers printed and mailouts done, taking pictures of properties and putting up yard signs. However, do not allow your assistant to replace you in your customers' mind. 5. The Same Page Create a business plan and communicate clearly its goals, tasks and responsibilities to your assistant. The bulk of your assistant's earnings should come from a base

The Power of One… More
The Success Series: Appointing an Assistant

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t's time to expand … to add one more to your team. They say business is only as good as the people in it. So where do you start? Remember that the primary reasons for appointing an assistant are to delegate the time consuming, lower income-generating activities and to enhance and fill the gaps where you may be lacking certain skills. Your goal: To convert your current performance into top producer status. Use the following simple 5-Point Action Plan, taken from The Success Series (www.iSucceed.com), to provide guidance in your quest to maximize your income. 1. Defining the Tasks Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left side write high-payoff activities in which you are skilled. On the right side fill in low payoff activities in which you are not skilled. Then list activities based on dollar value return and create a plan to increase the time you will spend on high-payoff activities once an assistant is appointed. By isolating the low-payoff activities you can develop an assistant's job description by identifying the skills necessary to complete the activities. 2. Finding the Right Skills Too often we hire people similar to ourselves. The key is to look for someone who is compatible but of necessity fills the gaps with those skills you do not possess and/or like doing. Search by networking your circle of influence, your real estate office or the local mortgage office. The best assistant is most likely a technology savvy, part-time or new sales person that may be struggling with their career. Great assistants are usually good and courteous communicators, able to multi-task and have strong organizational skills. 3. Perfecting the Timing The preparation and timing of adding an assistant is crucial.

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salary comparable to the market, with a bonus that will motivate them to share in your success. Your assistant is your right hand, but always keep an eye on your budget. Their motives must match your needs and their commitment must be to the achievement of your goals. In Conclusion David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, once said: "Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it." With those thoughts in mind, following this 5-point plan can enable the power of one assistant to increase your business value by a much higher multiple. Reprinted from the May 14, 2007, edition of RISMEDIA, by Stefan Swanepoel

ONE ISSUE THREE JUNE 2007

Reply.com and Yahoo! Real Estate Team Up, Enhance Consumer Awareness

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eply!, Inc. announced that its home valuation information will be included in the Yahoo! Real Estate Home Values center. The Yahoo! Real Estate Home Values center provides a powerful combination of local information and community insights to give users a free and comprehensive view into home value estimates for millions of properties throughout the U.S. "Reply.com offers an extensive portfolio of valuable, unbiased information, and decision- making tools, along with connections to local agents that are designed to help buyers and sellers of residential real estate properties make more educated choices," says Sean Fox, executive vice president of Business Development, Reply! Inc. "Yahoo! is one of the most recognized brands on the Internet and we're privileged to join forces with them to enrich the real estate consumers' online experience." According to the company, Reply.com helps consumers get smart about virtually any home in America by providing aerial

photographs, parcel maps, square footage, other valuable tax data and most importantly an instant home valuation. "Timely, rich home value information is essential to help home buyers and sellers make informed decisions," said Michael Yang, general manager, Yahoo! Real Estate. "Our goal is to provide consumers the information and content they want close at hand, and Reply.com enables us to integrate their highly comprehensive and relevant home value results to greatly enhance our visitors' online experience." Yahoo! Real Estate is an Internet resource with the mission to connect people to their new home through a comprehensive set of real estate tools and information, including MLS homes, apartments for rent, home values, local schools, and home mortgage rates. For more information, visit http://realestate.yahoo.com. Reprinted from the May 25, 2007, edition of RISMEDIA

PHIL CLARK AND SONIA VIERA
Pickford Escrow Company, Inc. 25909 Pala Drive, #150 Mission Viejo, CA 92691 Phone: (949) 586-2700 ● Fax: (949) 206-1259 E-Mail: pclark@pickfordescrow.com or sviera@pickfordescrow.com

YOUR ESCROW TEAM!