Stefanie Hahn is the vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
6 New Inventions to Boost Your Business
At the Realogy FWD Innovation Summit in June, tech companies unveiled their latest offerings: state-of-the-art listing presentations, simplified online house hunts, and more.
July 14, 2014
What is Realogy FWD? This was the second year for the invitation-only Innovation Summit held in June, where technology firms showcase their latest developments to the real estate industry. The concept for the summit was created by Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy, which is a franchisor of six real estate brands. It makes perfect sense when you think about it: Perriello has a lot of companies to answer to, and they need to know the latest and greatest real estate technologies — and want to know them first.
(Full disclosure: I work for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS®, part of a franchise under the Realogy umbrella.)
This year, more than 100 startups entered to compete for $25,000 and exposure to lots of real estate brokers. The event itself features 15 companies, with 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes for questions from the panel of judges. The judges try to determine how these companies will work in our industry by asking tough questions about how brokers and agents can use these tools.
This was my first time in attendance at the event, but my company is already working with one of the finalists from last year: Lumentus Social. So I knew a little of what to expect. Like the total nerd I am, I sat in the front row and took notes. At times, it truly felt like we were on "Shark Tank," hearing pitches of the latest and greatest in real estate technology with a panel of judges asking hard questions to see how these tools would really fit into our business.
Here are a few of my personal favorites from the event:
Slide Bureau provides presentation templates that you can customize on your iPad or tablet. I am always on the lookout for new ways to do a listing presentation. These templates were simply gorgeous, super interactive, and, well, fancy with a capital "F". An agent using Slide Bureau in my market would definitely stand out from the crowd and wow any seller. The only potential issue: Will it work with your MLS? Will you be able to pull a CMA (comparative market analysis) into the presentation and utilize your live MLS data? Slide Bureau is willing to work with you (and your MLS) to get this data, but some homework on your part will be required.
I love the concept of Lasso. Let your consumers search on whatever site they like, from Zillow to your own website, and tag (or lasso) the properties that they like. You can also add properties to your client's corral for them to view (again, from any site). The site has a Pinterest look and feel and is pretty simple to get the hang of in just a few minutes. Sign up as a REALTOR®, download the app, and share with your clients. Your clients can also share their corrals with each other, so all of their saved listings are in one place. More importantly, YOU stay at the center of the transaction, no matter which site your buyers are using to search.
COeverywhere is a tool that lets you draw an area on a map and see what people are posting socially to public feeds: everything from media, tweets, events, deals, and updates from local businesses. You'll see photos, text posts, check-ins, and offers from businesses. It's a bit voyeuristic, but could be super helpful when checking out a new neighborhood for your clients or even looking into a new farming area. Keep in mind this is a public feed that is not checked for R-rated content.
House Happy is a real estate search engine with a photo-first attitude. Even better, the only agent that shows up next to the listing is the listing agent! Crazy, right?! House Happy considers itself a next-generation real estate search portal that is highly visual, intuitive, and free. Want to post a listing you have right now? Go for it: Use the "post" button (top right) and give House Happy a whirl!
I hate taxes as much as the next gal, but they are unavoidable. Enter the Deductr guys, and I’m feeling a little better about keeping track of all this stuff. They offer expense, time, and mileage tracking for your business. Concerned about security? According to their site, they use "bank-level 256-bit security to ensure the safety of your data, and the info is read-only. You cannot move funds around or make payments." So as long as you are committed to the process — meaning you are going to connect up your credit cards and bank accounts and actually log those expenses while you are on the go — this one is a win.
Matterport was the big winner of the day, scoring the $25,000 prize. You really must go to their site and see this insane 3D technology. They call it "an immersive experience," and it truly is immersive. The entire room gasped when they showed off what the camera could do with your real estate listings.
Matterport sells cameras that take 3D images, and they offer cloud storage as well. The cameras are $4,500, and the storage plans vary based on size and users.
All 15 of these companies were super impressive, and I've only captured a small portion of the awesome sauce. If you want more information on the event, or to see all 15 of the 2014 companies, click here. NAR has a similar incubation-like program for fresh real estate startups called NAR Reach, of which Deductr is included. To see all of the companies included in NAR's program, click here.