Technology's Payoff for me: Web Business

Technology information to enhance your productivity.

September 1, 2000

Valerie Hunter-Kelly
Century 21 Alamo Realty
Clarksville, Tenn.
vhkc21@aol.com
www.vhkc21.com

How my tech expertise makes me stand out to buyers: I deal heavily with military customers who want information fast because they need to sell quickly and move today. They also know technology. Recently, I was working with a buyer who also had a Palm; I just beamed him my business card--and the lender’s and the inspector’s.

What I can offer sellers: I show them how buyers are finding me through the Web. I also do a lot of virtual tours, and my signs direct potential buyers to my Web site by saying, “24-hour open house: vhkc21.com." Sellers like to see that.

Why I invested in technology: I grew up with computers, so it happened naturally. Professionally, I evolve with technology as real estate tools become available. Now 30 percent of my business is generated from the Web. Even local people, not just out-of-towners, find me through REALTOR.COM.

What I’d choose for my one tech tool: I rely very heavily on my Palm VII. I use it to book all my appointments, take notes, and keep important facts, such as tax rates, at my fingertips. Instead of taking my laptop with me when I travel, I download my contact management files to my Palm. When a customer calls me, I can call up any information instantly. I’ve added software such as MapQuest (www.mapquest.com), Quicken (www.quicken.com)--I don’t use a checkbook register anymore--and a real estate calculator. I’m very seldom in the office, so having a Palm is like having a mini-office with me--except it’s faster and easier.

Software I can’t live without: Top Producer (www.topproducer.com). It keeps my income and expense records. It schedules and generates follow-up letters. If someone calls me about a house from five years ago, all the information is still there.

What’s next for me: Instead of buying, I’m going to start leasing technology equipment. Even if I have to pay a little more, it’s worth it to be able to upgrade more frequently.

Sara Geimer is the manager of REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards and a former senior editor with the magazine.

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