Technology and the Real Estate Industry

Technology has no doubt impacted many different aspects of our lives throughout the United States (and really the world). One sector greatly impacted by the growth and advancement of technology is real estate. With more and more buyers and investors beginning their search online, a tech-forward website and customer relationship management (CRM) software is a must for any company, office or agent looking to be a heavy hitter in today’s real estate business.

But why is keeping up with changing technologies important, and why is it important for the real estate industry?

It’s a matter of fact that we now live in a digital age. Paper resources have seen a strong decline in recent years, especially newspapers and magazines. In 2015 alone, “weekday [newspaper] circulation fell 7% and Sunday circulation fell 4%, both showing their greatest declines since 2010.” With print media resources steadily declining, more and more consumers are taking to the internet. As of 2012, 90 percent of home buyers searched online at some point during their home buying process (NAR 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), and in 2016 79 percent of recent home buyers found online websites as the most useful resource in their property search (NAR 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers). The real estate industry has been one of the biggest influenced by society’s shift to internet resources, and with the advent of better smart phones and tablets, more and more buyers and investors are using online resources to find the information they’re looking for.

As a real estate technology company, Reliance Network stresses the importance of keeping up with changing technologies. Not only for our own benefit (we are a technology company), but more importantly for the benefit of our clients. When companies don’t keep up with changing technologies, they risk a lot. Not only is there the risk of falling behind the competition, companies also risk becoming irrelevant in their field, missing out on new opportunities and ultimately falling into obscurity.

A major part of business is competition. If there was no competition in a market, there would be less incentive for a company to try to do better year-to-year. In the real estate industry, competition throughout the U.S. is fierce, especially in certain regional markets. With strong competition, a real estate company needs to be able to provide a product that is equal or better than that of the competition. The same can be said for a company’s technology, especially for those companies that rely on competitive and forward technology. Real estate companies need websites and CRM systems capable of handling heavy traffic, multiple user inquiries, multiple MLSs, and the site needs to provide a modern and intuitive user experience. If a company chooses to disregard the need for expanding and improving technology on a regular basis, it’s going to fall behind the competition.

Many of us have heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” While over time that phrase has been altered to make it seem like every customer is right, it was originally meant as a reminder to companies and business owners to market to the customer, not to the company’s own needs and wants. If buyers, sellers and investors are using the internet to search for properties and make inquiries, real estate companies need to fulfill that need by providing modern, fast and intuitive websites. If customers are using their smart phones and tablets for searches and inquiries (as of 2014, 50 percent of buyers used a mobile website or application in their home search) (NAR 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), real estate companies need websites that are not only tech-forward but also responsive and suited to desktop, mobile and tablet use. A company that ignores the needs and wants of its customers will ultimately become irrelevant in its field as said clients jump ship for another option. To stay relevant, a company needs to adapt and change, especially if its customers change.

Every business has a need for long term stability and growth, and that need is echoed in its technology. In the tech field, the risk of missing new opportunities is a huge impetus to offer new ideas or services to consumers, especially in real estate. Tech forward companies actively look for new applications they can offer to customers because they know what’s new today will become standard tomorrow. Ten years ago the idea of sharing property listings on social media platforms was unheard of because social media was relatively new. Now, applications like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and more have become important parts of modern marketing because of the number of people using social media platforms every day. A company that chooses not to be tech forward is taking a huge risk in today’s market. Real estate is no different. Knowing that “78% of new home shoppers visit 3+ sites prior to taking action on a real estate site” (Google & Complete New Home Shopper Survey, 2012), it’s never been more important for a real estate company to invest in technology and offer its agents and customers a modern and forward thinking online experience if it expects to be successful and competitive in the ever changing and evolving U.S. real estate market.


Top 10 Home Styles in the U.S.

We’ve all had that moment — driving down a street and we see a home we like specifically for the architecture and design elements. The United States is full of different home styles and architecture, and pinpointing a specific one can be difficult, especially when dominant home styles change from region to region. The homes below are examples of the most prevalent home styles found throughout the United States.

 

VictorianVictorian
Victorian homes give off a certain air and possess a very stately feel. Victorians are more about beauty than functionality, with complex designs, ornate trim, and large wraparound porches. The Victorian exterior is seen as a medium for decoration. These homes generally have gables, bay windows, towers, overhangs and many are known as ‘Painted Ladies.’ The Victorian style also has sub styles, the most notable being Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne and the Romanesque style.

CraftsmanCraftsman Bungalow
The Craftsman or Bungalow style is seen as an expression of structure and elements that rely heavily on simple, elegant design. The Craftsman is one of the most common and popular styles in the United States, with an incredible resurgence in the last five years. These homes are characterized by their wide front porches, low-pitched roofs and exteriors that use wood, stone and/or brick. The interior of the Craftsman also has an open floor plan with many built-ins throughout the house.

TudorTudor
Tudors are very distinct and based on English building traditions during the Tudor Era (1485 – 1603). Tudors are characterized by their asymmetrical exteriors with windows playing a large part in the design. These homes generally have stone and stucco walls with wood accents/framing, and Tudor roofs are steep-pitched. Tudor homes are one of the most recognizable styles in the United States due to their specific architectural components.

Cape CodCape Cod
Cape Cods were first built in the 1600s and took inspiration from Britain’s thatched cottages. Cape Cods have steep roofs, dormer windows and large chimneys — elements that helped the homes withstand harsh Northeastern winters. The Cape Cod style is most recognized for its dormer windows, which play a large part in the design of the home.

RanchRanch
Ranches are also known as ‘Ramblers.’ Ranches are characterized by their single-story construction and low pitched roofs. Ranches became very popular in the post World War II era, with a large resurgence in the 1960s as ‘mid-century moderns.’

ColonialColonial
Colonials are another home style that have a distinct appearance. Symmetry plays a large part in Colonials — evenly spaced shuttered windows, dormers, columns, and old Colonials will have many fireplaces. The most common Colonial in the United States is the Georgian Colonial, characterized by its strict symmetry, box shape, paneled front door below a decorative crown, simple or flattened columns, and the most notable feature of five shuttered windows across. Other notable Colonial styles in the United States are Dutch, Federal, and Spanish.

ContemporaryContemporary
Contemporary homes have an almost futuristic look to them, but many contemporary homes look to connect the indoors with the outdoors. Natural light plays a large part in the contemporary home, as do flat roofs and simple horizontal and perpendicular lines. Contemporary homes embrace industrialism and put an emphasis on the use of efficient and affordable materials, and the homes emphasize an importance of combining materials (steel, glass, wood, stone, etc.) to create a fluid space.

SpanishSpanish
Spanish style homes incorporate a fusion of design elements from European and Native American architecture. The Mission Revival style is the most popular, which has its roots in Spanish churches built by missionaries. Spanish style homes tend to have clay roof tiles, arcaded porches, arched corridors, bell towers, square pillars and quatrefoil windows (these windows resemble flowers).

MediterraneanMediterranean
The Mediterranean style became very popular in the United States in 1918 to 1940. This style is modeled after the hacienda style, where red tile roofs, arches, and plaster surfaces play a large part in the exterior of the house. Mediterranean style homes have become popular again, but the style has adopted more design elements like porticoes, balconies, and ornamental details that include heavy wood doors, tiles in multiple colors or designs, and balconies with ornate iron railings and embellishments.

Pueblo Revival Pueblo Revival
The Pueblo Revival is a style favored in the Southwest, highly influenced by the ancient Pueblo’s simple multifamily homes. This home style favors materials sourced from the earth — adobe, concrete, stucco or mortar, and wood beams — and the homes tend to feature enclosed courtyards and flat or sloping roofs. The Pueblo style is also characterized by rounded exteriors that exhibit square windows, weathered wood doors and exterior stone accents.

Homes can take any shape or size, and many homes built today embrace two or more styles. The United States has many other home styles not featured. If you’re looking for a home in a particular style, your agent will be able to help find that perfect property.

If you’re interested in learning more about home styles, you can find more information here: This Old HousePopular House StylesDIY Network


10 Tips to Prepare for A Home Sale

10 Tips to Prepare for A Home Sale

We are in the middle of summer — one of the busiest times for any real estate market — with thousands of homes and properties going up for sale in every town and city throughout the United States. Getting the most for a home is always a seller’s top priority; heeding these ten tips and tricks when considering putting your house on the market will help toward getting your top dollar.

1. Paint Color:
When choosing an exterior paint color, stick with what’s popular in the neighborhood, goes well with the surroundings of the area, or fits the style of the home. Picking a paint color that is not common or completely clashes with the rest of the neighborhood is a very risky decision, especially when thinking about listing a home. When it comes to paint, choose safe colors for the biggest return on investment. The same should be considered for interior paint — big, bold, bright colors might work for your current design scheme, but when buyers walk through a home, and the main living space is four different colors, it’s likely all they’ll see is dollar signs and time spent repainting.

2. Landscaping:
Landscaping can make or break a home sale, or turn it into a long, laborious process. When thinking of landscaping, consider the plants or trees before anything gets planted — trees and roots can wreak havoc with lawns, foundations and pipes; take into consideration how large a plant or tree will get and how far the root system will travel over time.

Front Door3. The Front Door:
The front door is one of the first things potential buyers see — a strong and visual front door can leave a great first impression to potential buyers. If the door is broken, doesn’t work properly, or is in desperate need of a makeover, a buyer may see these things as weak points and consider offering less.

4. Upgrades:
Don’t assume you’ll recoup every investment, especially when it comes to large upgrades. Pools are notorious for poor return on investment, as are other large home additions. If you’re considering upgrading your home before putting it on the market, look to areas that are sure to make you money: kitchens and bathrooms, if tastefully done, will always add to the value of a house.

5. Fireplaces:
Fireplaces appeal to a large majority of buyers, but changing out the aesthetics of a fireplace can either be a great investment opportunity, or drastically lower a buyer’s offer. It’s best to take trends into consideration when making updates or changes to a fireplace — painting over exposed brick can be a huge deal breaker for some buyers, especially when a majority of people like exposed brick fireplaces.

6. Old Appliances:
Potential buyers look at the appliances in a home to gauge their age and how well they’ve been taken care of. Appliances play a large part in any home, and if they are old, outdated and no longer working can create hesitations in potential buyers. If it’s a classic that still works, don’t worry about replacing it; if you can’t get the door clean, or the oven temperature doesn’t rise above 350 degrees, it’s probably time to replace it. There’s no need to go all out on the latest and greatest technology either — while a beautiful stainless steel fridge might be alluring, it’s likely you won’t recoup the cost through the home sale, and it’s more likely you’ll want that classy fridge in your new home.

7. Deep Cleans and Small Stuff:Clean
Most buyers have an eye for the small details of a house. An initial deep clean of the house, and continued maintenance thereafter, shows potential buyers that the house has been maintained. The small details matter: windows and window tracks, light switches, molding, a garbage disposal, tile, grout, sinks, ovens and appliances are all looked at by buyers. Make sure these items are not overlooked when the house goes on the market — potential buyers will appreciate the time you took to address them.

8. Trends:
Trends can be quite alluring for those looking to dabble in interior decorating. Some buyers like trends, but the majority of buyers look for classic, neutral colors on walls and fixtures. While a chevron pattern may be the perfect accompaniment to your current sofa or bedspread, most buyers will see the pattern, when applied to walls, as a potential paint job. If you’re considering listing your house, consider accessorizing with drapes, pillows and some pictures. These are simple ways of adding personality, and buyers will appreciate a neutral color scheme on the walls.

9. Hard to Clean Surfaces and Floors:
Buyers always look at the floors and counters in a potential home, and these surfaces can be huge selling points. If the counter tops are stained, hardwood floors scratched up, carpet damaged, or the tile is breaking, consider cleaning or finding a quick replacement. If a solid counter top is stained, a buyer will no doubt see dollar signs. If you have hardwood floors, some products can actually dull the wood over time. If the wood needs a little TLC before the house is listed, consider having the floors buffed — this will add some life, and buyers will see that they’ve been cared for.

Small Spaces10. Small Spaces:
Kitchens and bathrooms are undoubtedly some of the biggest selling features of a house or property. If either of these areas is small, consider revamping to make them look larger. A small bathroom with no windows is going to look like a cave if the color scheme is on the darker side. Bigger in a small space is always best — stick with neutral, light colors to help make the room look larger. Update any light bulbs that are reaching the end of their life; upgrading to a higher wattage or lumen can help enhance a small area too.

Selling a home is a large task, and every seller hopes to make money on their home sale. Prepping your home before a sale will always result in better viewings and interested buyers, and the end result will be a happy seller and an even more excited buyer.

 


Reliance Network Announces the Launch of the new Gagliardorealty.com

Gagliardo Realty – Turning Dreams into Reality since 1958

Portland, Ore. – July 14, 2014 – Reliance Network, one of the largest suppliers of enterprise-level real estate websites in the country, has just launched the new website for Gagliardo Realty – Gagliardorealty.com – the foremost trusted Illinois real estate office, representing owners and buyers in River Forest, Oak Park, Chicago and surrounding communities since 1958.

Key features of the new website include Seller Reports, fully-integrated MLS search capabilities, and Market Watch – wherevisitors can search for any address or area in an MLS by simply selecting a property address, neighborhood or city of their choice and receive a dynamically generated market report.

The Gagliardo name, a prominent mark of excellence in the real estate industry, is one that has been established for more than 50 years, providing high quality services to their clients. “Gagliardo has always been focused on the buyer and the seller; that’s all,” says Andy Gagliardo. “We know the market, we know the business, and we know how to work successfully with our clients. Our clients become our neighbors and our friends. They come back to us for future real estate expertise and guidance. They recommend Gagliardo to their friends, co-workers and family.” Andy attributes this continued success to the generations of relationships his family business has forged over the past 50 years. There is no better choice – Gagliardo Realty is the finest.

About Gagliardo
Gagliardo Realty pioneered the real estate industry in the western suburbs of Chicago. The company was established in 1958 by Josephine Gagliardo and her son, Joseph. Josephine and Joseph were smart business people who were well liked by their employees and respected by their competitors. The business steadily grew by establishing sales benchmarks and repeatedly surpassing personal sales records. The Gagliardo name is synonymous with professionalism, fairness, community leadership, and financial success. Now in its fifty-third year, Andy Gagliardo, Josephine’s grandson, runs a leading and top-rated agency. Andy has made his own contributions to the firm, keeping it an industry leader through continuous investment in advanced computer advertising and technology.

About Reliance Network
Reliance Network, is the industry’s go-to source for competitive real estate marketing, website and productivity software development, and full service support – including real estate company and agent websites (Real Estate Web Site Solutions), contact and lead management (Real Estate CRM) and full service training, support and virtual assistance. With deep roots in large real estate brokerage operations, Reliance has a core understanding and proven track record of developing innovative products for the world’s leading real estate companies. The cooperative goal is to help modern real estate brokerages realize the added financial, competitive and operational benefits afforded by a reliable technology partner. Founded in October 2001, with its roots dating back to 1995, Reliance Network operates in over 700 MLS markets, serving more than 100 leading brokers and 110,000 real estate agents, receives over 4.8 million unique site visits per month, and sends out over 27 million CRM emails per month from agents to consumers. For more information, visit www.RelianceNetwork.com


Featured Product of the Week: SEO and Targeted Online Advertising

At BrokerTec Systems, our real estate technology programs leverage the power of managed search engine optimization (SEO) and targeted online advertising to benefit our real estate and mortgage partners. We recently presented our SEO and targeted online advertising packages to a large group of marketing professionals within the Prudential Real Estate Network in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While there, we showed the group how our programs will not only increase our clients’ internet leads, but improve their lead conversion with measurable closed sales.

SEO Management
BrokerTec SEO services bring value to our clients’ business in the form of high rankings and targeted traffic. We collaborate with our Realtor, broker and mortgage clients to define their objectives, engage in audience and keyword research, assess the competition, and deliver the results our clients need.

Targeted Online Advertising
Behavior-targeted ads are 45% more effective than traditional ad network runs, so we’ve partnered with leading behavioral ad networks to deliver targeted messages for our clients. We display online ads only to internet users whose search habits indicate an interest in property within our clients’ markets. Our clients control the amount they spend by setting the monthly budget, which determines the number of impressions delivered.

Program Highlights

• Rapidly identify all in-market home shoppers

• Position your company to dominate local internet

• Minimize dependence on large aggregators

• Maximize effectiveness of advertising spend

• Reduce the cost of obtaining qualified leads

• Re-target visitors and draw them back again

As close to ‘too good to be true’ as it gets! Don’t miss this opportunity!

For more information about the unique products like SEO and targeted online advertising that we can offer Realtors and other industry professionals, visit www.BrokerTecSystems.com. You may also call 877.231.3209 or schedule a demonstration of our revolutionary business solutions today.


Featured Product of the Week: BrokerCentral™ and AgentCentral™ Websites

Position your brokerage on the leading-edge of the industry with BrokerCentral™ Websites from BrokerTec Systems!

At BrokerTec Systems, we have the custom technology tools to position your brokerage on the cutting edge of today’s ever-changing real estate climate.         

Our full featured company websites are carefully designed to meet the needs and specifications required by contemporary real estate brokerages like yours.  BrokerCentral™ Websites are carefully integrated with our Business Intranet, Lead Manager and AgentCentral™ Websites for ease of management. We provide all the hardware and high-speed bandwidth from our Tier 1 data centers with 99.9% reliability. 

A sampling of benefits for our BrokerCentral™ Websites includes:

  • Comprehensive packages that include your Company and Agent websites
  • Turn-key, fully managed and supported
  • Feature-rich with industry-leading designs
  • Google Mapping MLS Search combined with Bing Virtual Earth
  • Company Intranet and Website Management Center
  • Centralized Lead Manager
  • 1 to 10GB BrokerTec Email accounts are available for the entire company
  • Drip marketing for customer service groups and recruiting efforts
  • Single platform to search all MLS’s
  • Website content management
  • Integrated help system, including interactive instructional movies to assist with agent training
  • Experienced agent helpdesk and professional training services included
  • Competitive volume pricing
  • Ongoing upgrades provided at no charge.

You can also raise the bar and give your agents the most powerful new website solutions in the industry. Learn more about BrokerTec Systems’ AgentCentral™ Websites by clicking here.

For more information about our suite of BrokerCentral™ Websites and other real estate technology tools, visit www.BrokerTecSystems.com. You may also call 877.231.3209 or schedule a demo today. Ask us about our special price incentives for our suite of broker and agent-centric websites!


Featured Client of the Week: HUFF Realty

At BrokerTec Systems, we serve some of the most prestigious real estate brokerages and mortgage companies in the country. Click here to learn more about our national coverage.

One such respected client is HUFF Realty, a real estate firm serving Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati, Ohio and Southeastern Indiana.

Built on a foundation of family values, integrity and results, HUFF Realty is dedicated to the full-service approach to real estate. From the day Jim Huff opened the first HUFF office in 1975 these unwavering principles have remained the guiding force at HUFF Realty.

Offering real estate services for everything from home buying and home selling, to mortgage, title, insurance, warranty and relocation, the more than 700 real estate professionals at HUFF Realty provide first-class service from the initial meeting all the way through closing. HUFF Realty continues to seek new and innovative ways to serve its clients, realizing that the foundation of strong communities rests on its people.

HUFF is a member of HomeServices of America – the second largest home services provider in the United States. HomeServices, which is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, operates in 19 states under 20 residential real estate brand names.

For more information about HUFF Realty, please visit www.HUFF.com. To learn more about the services we offer companies like HUFF Realty, call 877.231.3209 or click here to contact us. 


Who is BrokerTec Systems?

Partner with BrokerTec Systems and join more than 40 leading brokerages and nearly 20,000 real estate professionals who utilize our business solutions every day. We have the custom technology tools you are looking for to stay on the cutting edge of today’s ever-changing real estate climate. 

From leading company and agent websites to extensive back office applications and automated prospecting tools, at BrokerTec Systems we offer business solutions that are tested and endorsed by top producing agents and industry-leading brokers across the country. Our services include:

–           Real estate website design & development services
–           Company and agent websites
–           Search engine optimization (SEO)
–           Custom MLS, IDX, RETS & CMA solutions
–           Real Estate Contact Management (CRM)
–           Automated prospecting and keep in touch
–           Online seller and listing activity reports
–           Business Forms and eSignatures
–           Market trend reporting
–           Online advertising strategies
–           Ad agency quality marketing resources
–           Social media solutions
–           Email services
–           State-of-the-art support and training
–           Experienced virtual assistance programs 

BrokerTec Systems, LLC specializes in the unique challenges of integrating business technology in the real estate and mortgage industries. Since 1993, BrokerTec Systems’ principle partners have a proven track record of developing, operating and marketing innovative products for mid to large size real estate companies and top real estate professionals. Today, BrokerTec Systems offer one of the most successful and comprehensive product lines in North America. BrokerTec Systems is currently working with more than 40 companies in the United States and Europe – companies ranging in size from 50 to more than 5,000 agents and employees looking for a high-tech competitive edge.

For more information about BrokerTec Systems, please call 877.231.3209 or contact us today. Visit www.BrokerTecSystems.com to learn more.          


Featured Product of the Week: Social Media

If you’re reading this, you understand the importance of a company blog. Gone are the days of sipping your morning coffee as you sit and scan the headlines of the newspaper. Blogs and other social networking websites are the signs of the times. People are busier than ever and they want quick access to information that is easy to understand – this is especially true when it comes to real estate.

Company blogs are an essential part of real estate marketing in today’s world of web 2.0 and social media. Regular, rotating content and showing your real estate expertise is a big part of gathering an online following.

But, is it possible to spend your limited time focusing on selling homes, and letting the Internet work for you? Yes, it is! At BrokerTec Systems, we offer mini-blogs as the perfect business solution for busy real estate agents and mortgage professionals. Our mini-blogs are a quick, inexpensive solution to introduce you to the world of blogging, without bogging you down with hard-to-understand technology.

Mini-blogs are a great next step into the world of web 2.0. 

  • WordPress-developed for excellent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and ease of use.
  • Social Media integration of your Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Expandable – make your real estate blog as large or as small as you want – and grow it when the time is right to make it bigger.
  • Automated or not. Built-in feeds keep your real estate blog content fresh when you’re busy.
  • Pick from dozens of pre-built blog design templates that can be customized for your agent identity and look and feel.

Contact us today and get your Mini-blog started. Call 877.231.3209 or schedule a demonstration today. You may also visit us online at www.brokertecsystems.com.


Featured Product of the Week: Client Connect™

One of the top producer-proven systems we offer at BrokerTec Systems is Client Connect™. Client Connect™ has helped thousands of real estate professionals realize the benefits of automated prospecting, keep-in-touch, presentation and more. 

Leading real estate brokerages across the country have discovered the power of Client Connect’s™ ability to help their agents win more business. Our Property Investment Profile™ alone is considered by many top brokers as the single most powerful prospecting system in the industry today. 

Check out what one agent said about it: “The Property Investment Profiles provided by my company are changing how the industry interfaces with the home owner. We are now able to provide a service the home owner values all the time, not only when they buy or sell real estate. It will exponentially grow an agent’s business over a period of years.”
Peggy Hoag, Broker/Multi-Million Dollar Producer with Prudential Northwest Properties in Portland, Oregon

Client Connect™ features include:

  • Direct target marketing and keep-in-touch with our automated Home Valuation, Market Trend, Buyer and Investor Reports
  • Custom MLS, CMA, listing and buyer home tour presentations
  • Contact, transaction and forms management

At BrokerTec Systems, our Client Connect™ technology solution for enterprise-level companies provides complete back-office automation, giving agents total freedom to take their office wherever their business needs to be.

Client Connect MLS
Client Connect CRM
Client Connect Transactions
Client Connect Prospecting Center

For more information about the Client Connect system or details about our broad array of other real estate business solutions for everyone from small to enterprise-level companies, please call 877.231.3209 or schedule a demonstration today.