Winner of Kodak's YPN Prize Mixes Tech and Fundamentals

Massachusetts-based broker Brian Sears was awarded an office "makeover" with high-tech tools by Kodak.

December 1, 2010

Christmas came early for Brian Sears this year.

The broker-owner of Sears Real Estate in Springfield, Mass., Sears was awarded the Kodak Office Makeover during the 2010 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Kodak offered the contest during the Young Professionals Network Fire & Ice NARdiGras Reception. As an official sponsor of the event, Kodak invited attendees to drop a contest entry card off at the company’s expo booth on Saturday, Nov. 6. At the end of the day, Sears’ name was drawn as the winner of more than $1,150 worth of new tech products. (See the description below.)

Sears says he’s looking forward to incorporating the gadgets into his western Massachusetts real estate business. “I do my best to mix technology with the good old-fashioned sales expertise that my father has given me over the years,” he says.

Sears anticipates that the Kodak ScanMate i1120 high-speed scanner will help digitize documents faster and says the EasyShare M580 wide-angle camera will be perfect for capturing the charm of smaller spaces. He’s also planning to use the Zi8 pocket video camera for home presentations.

Winning the Kodak Office Makeover has made it clear to Sears how much technology has shaped the real estate industry. “I can’t imagine being in the business 20 years ago,” the 37-year-old Sears says, recalling his father explaining how the fax machine changed everything. “I started in 2002, so we’ve had e-mail ... I’m a little spoiled.”

After seven years of being an accountant for a large firm in Boston, Sears tired of the long hours and high cost of living. He and his wife moved back to his hometown of Springfield, Mass., where he joined his father’s real estate office. Now that he’s his own boss, Sears is able to spend more time with his 4- and 6-year-old sons.

Sears, who serves as chair of the Pioneer Valley REALTOR® Association YPN chapter, was eager to incorporate emerging technology from the very beginning of his real estate career. He jokingly describes his efforts to drag the established office “kicking and screaming into the '90s.”

Kodak's goal in serving real estate practitioners is to facilitate the adoption of video, printing, imaging, scanning, and photo products in the real estate industry. “There is a natural fit and need by agents for high-value products that enable them to lower their costs, take images and video, enable social media content both pre- and post-sale, and also scan documents,” says Mark Walser, business development manager for Kodak.

Now Sears is proud to point out that their online tools and established Web presence is “right up there with the big boys.” The office of 25 people includes his father, brother, and brother-in-law.

“Most agents work out of a small office or home office and need these tools in an affordable, business-friendly package,” Walser says.

Sears says he appreciates the events, resources, and tools offered through YPN. “It’s just one more avenue to help make REALTORS® more professional, a welcome thing in my mind,” he says. “We want the public to rely and trust in the REALTOR® name.”

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The Kodak Office Makeover prize suite:

1. KODAK ESP Office 6150 All-In-One Printer – Lowest total ink replacement cost in the industry, water- and fade-resistant prints, all-in-one printer, fax, copier, scanner with wireless.

2. KODAK Zi8 Pocket Video Camera – Compact, full HD 1080p video camcorder. Helps take virtual tours, create agent bio videos, and make great social media content.

3. KODAK EASYSHARE M580 Digital Camera – Wide-angle 28mm-equivalent lens, built in 720p HD video, EASYSHARE feature lets you tag photos and videos for easy upload to social media and Web sites. Wide-angle lens helps agents take better listing photos.

4. KODAK SCANMATE i1120 Scanner – High-speed, compact 20-40 ppm duplex scanner for small home offices. Smaller than most laptops, it helps agents go paperless quickly and with ease.

5. KODAK PULSE Digital Frame – A digital frame with Wi-Fi built in and its own e-mail address. In addition to making a great listing tool or closing gift, the wireless aspect of the frame makes it a great client "post-sale" marketing gift and tool. Agents can set up the frame's e-mail address and send images, such as holiday greetings or “Happy Birthday” messages, to their clients in picture form at various times during the year. It becomes a way to extend social media marketing into the post-sale cycle and market more personally to the consumer.

Meg White

Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.