Jim Valentine: Relying on technology

Technology continues to impact the real estate industry as better tools and software are developed to help the agents, lenders, buyers and sellers. Online information is amazingly abundant leaving little to the imagination for most residential properties. Available for most properties are the mapping history, sales history, permitting history, easements, encumbrances, judgments, etc. One can develop a pretty good assessment of a property in advance of negotiations rather than learning about deficiencies while in escrow with the acquisition emotion growing.

Smartphones have amazing powers in the palm of our hands. Agents can pull up parcel maps, deeds, location maps, sales history and so much more with a little sliding of the fingers around the face of the phone. Text messages and email are two other ways the phone connects the agent to their clientele. No reason to not be in communication unless traveling in the mountains or otherwise away from cell service. Things do happen, however. Right when we have become dependent on the tool it can let us down.

When customers call and say they’ve been calling for two days and leaving messages the first reaction is to say you’ve not seen their calls come in or you would have called back for sure. All calls on smartphones are tracked and the history easily viewed. If someone calls the phone owner can see who called and when. These conversations are rare, but happen once in awhile when the tool we rely on so much fails us. We had that recently, multiple calls were missing, not coming through despite the other party insisting they were made.

Then the answer. Twenty nine voicemails dropped in, some from as long ago as five months ago. What to do. Once was a request to come list a home giving the time they would be home that afternoon … in June. We called immediately to hear the inevitable, “We thought you were busy so we listed with another agent and it closed two months ago.” At least we could explain our not calling, but what a vulnerable feeling. We rely on the phone tool and rarely does it malfunction, but it can and does. Other calls in that bunch were ones that were professed to have been made but no record of them, until now.

Similar things happen with email, the preferred method of communication for most agents these days. Email offers a “paper trail” for the file, is quick, and easily retrieved by computer, phone, watch, etc. Offers are sent via email 99.9 percent to .1 percent personal delivery these days. It is often assumed that when the send button is pushed the offer has been delivered, but that isn’t always the case. Email services hiccup periodically, or when sending to an agent you haven’t worked with before the email can get sent to junk/spam. The sending agent thinks the offer is delivered and the process started and the receiving agent has no idea of its existence. This can be prevented by sending a text message to the agent advising them of the email having been sent.

Our advice: With all the wonderful technology available to assist in real estate information gathering and communication, it is only as good as the user and the tools and services being used. Be sure to verify that your email or text has been received if it is important communication. Smartphones also make phone calls. When all else fails, pick up the phone and call. What a concept. Conference calls are a good way to get everyone together without having to meet in person. Northern Nevada has many out-of-state buyers and sellers that can benefit from this type of communication which is easily structured with today’s equipment.

Agents should keep up with technology and see which might help them with their business methods and personal preferences. New technology should provide efficiency, accuracy and savings before being implemented. Don’t bandwagon new for the sake of new, agents can get too “techy” and lose touch with the dirt they sell.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs ... Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, CDPE, SFR, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704, dpwtigers@hotmail.com, www.carsonvalleyland.com.


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