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Starter Kit for tech savvy agents: 2014 edition

(Business News) Tech savvy agents aren’t born, they’re made through endless fine tuning. Are you up to date on how to use technology in your own practice?

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2014 Tech-Savvy Agent Starter Kit

In an ever changing real estate market, where realtors have to constantly be on their game, it seems like answering the “what is new- now- next” is a question that savvy agents and brokers constantly have hanging in the balance.

Going into the new year, take look back at some of the amazing things that the AG staff have brought to the table as insight to keep you on the top of your tech-savvy game, and seek to discover new things whenever you can.

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Prepare for the boom of the beta-broker

You’re here now, so it looks as if you might be looking for some information on what beta-brokerages are doing to stay on the up and up in the 2014 Market. Good for you, that is already a good sign, because there are still agents out there who are sticking to the old school methodology of waiting for things to change and come to them, and well, you know the saying… if ya snooze… ya lose.

If you follow me online, you probably already know that I’m up here in the DC Metro area, Northern Virginia to be exact, and I happen to be a part of a boutique brokerage that I like to say, we may be small, our combined knowledge and savvy is quite powerful.

Having been a part of the Better Homes and Gardens Beta-Brokerages to watch, at Arbour Realty, we’re always seeking out what we can do to stay on the forefront of technology. Our firm is interesting because we’re not a team, we are actually a small firm that just so happens to be competing as the top in the Virginia market in terms of volume and transactions, which is pretty darn nifty considering that we are in the running with firms that can boast having over one hundred members to their firms.

How do we do this? Well, the individual knowledge-base is solid, but we also like to mix it up with our software and hardware, such as making sure we have some of the most useful apps that will keep us and our clients in the know, as well as constantly linked.

For instance, I take my iPad (you can get a tablet of your choice) with me on all of my appointments now, I email the client their listings before we go out, so they know what we’ll be touring, but then we utilize the iPad to stay as paperless as possible. I’d love to get to the place where I can give my clients their own iPad for tours – maybe 2014 is the year for that? We shall see.

For those of us who are design-impaired

The iPad (or a tablet in general) also allows the free-flow of ideas and creating projects on the fly… It is also great tinkering with some of the lovely marketing tools out there that designers create and put out there for those of us who might not be the most design-centric. The fellow amazing staffers here at AG clued me in to the Canva site a few weeks back, which allows for awesome presentation design and and even more wonderful… simple social media background design.

Since you’re already reading AG, you probably have an inkling of this, so, not to beat a dead horse, but having a supremely strong social media presence in 2014 is going to be something that tech-savvy agents really need to be on top of their game with; my broker can attest to this. He has utilized some of the wonderful tools such as Canva to produce the sleek header and background designs.

Recently, I also found the app for making my presentations stand out (simplified, yet beautiful) Haiku Deck. Consumers want the details, but they want them broken down and easily accessible.

Make yourself available

We have found that accessibility on our sites through tools such as home evaluations direct from our website has been a hugely powerful tool this year, and we will continue to hone in on that this year. As a savvy agent, you can expect to spend six to twelve thousand dollars on an a totally brand new site and between two to three thousand dollars on an updated website with the home evaluation (smart)tools.

Speaking to accessibility, having a website, but not having a mobile enabled website is a huge misstep. Get your website up to speed with your developer and even if it is a wordpress based site, get it looking sharp on mobile.

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Any way you cut it, the latest stats show that home buyers and sellers are starting their search for real estate professionals online these days. Not in the “majority” percentile… but in the full scale, nearing 100 percent. Interesting. In the past, the stat had been in the high nineties, but now, consumers are starting their search completely online. If that is truly the case, we best all be on our game.

Quick tip for some of our “old” favorites for apps:

Since you’re in the mood to be tech savvy, be sure to check out Takes (short videos put to music for listings), Capture (your videos straight to your youtube channel), Glympse, Magic Plan, HomeSnap… The list goes on.

We look forward to seeing you up your game while we up ours – tell us in the comments what tech tools have been added to your toolbox to improve your practice.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. sedonakathy

    December 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks Lani and Genevieve! Great article! I’ll post it and teach it…. we were just talking about how many of the RE agents still need help finding the right tools.

    • Lani Rosales

      December 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Kathy, thank YOU!

      • sedonakathy

        December 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

        🙂

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Business News

Coca Cola drops 200 brands, most you’ve never heard of

(BUSINESS NEWS) Coca Cola hopes to revitalize their drink arsenal by rolling back some “underperforming” brands (that you might not have known they were still making.)

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Woman drinking Coca Cola against plain wall

2020 has forced a lot of businesses to return to their proverbial drawing boards, and the Coca Cola Company is no exception. Last week, Coca Cola announced in a corporate blog post that they are halting the production of 200 of their beverage brands.

In the words of Cath Coetzer, the head of global marketing for Coca Cola, the restructuring will “accelerate [Coke’s] transformation into a total beverage company”.

“We’re prioritizing bets that have scale potential across beverage categories, consumer need states and drinking occasions,” Coetzer added. “Because scale is the algorithm that truly drives growth.”

That’s… a surprising amount of technical beverage jargon, Cath.

Coca Cola is already the leading manufacturer of non-alcoholic drinks on the planet. It’s hard to imagine their scope becoming any more “total.” But this strategy shift comes as the consumer thirst for soda is drying up.

Soda consumption has steadily fallen over the last ten consecutive years, thanks to a swath of modern studies that link excess sugar intake with negative health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

In light of this research, regional sales taxes on drinks with added sugar have been debated across the country, despite aggressive corporate lobbying against it. All this has meant that beverage companies have had no choice but to pivot hard.

Take Odwalla, a Coca Cola brand that touted its vitamin content and servings of produce, which was discontinued earlier this year. Despite being marketed as a health brand, Odwalla flavors contained whopping amounts of added sugar: Their popular “superfood” flavor quietly boasted 47 grams per bottle.

The brands affected by Coke’s recent soda cull also include TAB diet soda, ZICO coconut water, and Coca Cola Life, plus internationally marketed drink brands like Vegibeta of Japan and Kuat of Brazil.

Condensing their portfolio allows Coca Cola to prioritize their most profitable products and invest in more new beverage trendsetters that better fit the times, like sparkling water, coffee, or even cannabis-infused products.

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Business News

Uber and Lyft face the music as employee ruling is upheld

(BUSINESS NEWS) The battle for Uber and Lyft drivers’ status continues, and despite company protests, the official ruling has been upheld.

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Interior of Uber and Lyft rideshare looking out on palm trees

A gig economy has its pros and cons. For anyone who has ever been an independent contractor, done freelance work, or worked for companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, the pros are clear – you get to work when you want, where you want and how much you want. Flexibility and gigs go hand in hand.

And the cons? Well, those are a little more complex. Without a W2 linking you directly to the company, you as an independent contractor don’t receive the same rights and perks that your 9-5 employee friends might. For example, your employer is not required to provide a healthcare option for you. You are also not entitled to earned time off or minimum wage.

So which is better?

The gig economy conundrum has made its way all the way to an appellate court in California last week. The ruling was that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees.

Back in May, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and city attorneys from L.A., San Diego and San Francisco brought forth a lawsuit that argues Uber and Lyft gain an unfair, unlawful competitive advantage by not classifying their workers as W2s.

Uber and Lyft responded to the suit, stating that if they were to reclassify their drivers as employees, their companies would be irreparably harmed – though the judge in last week’s ruling negated that claim, stating that neither company would suffer any “grave or irreparable harm by being prohibited from violating the law” and also that the financial burden of converting workers to employees “do[es] not rise to the level of irreparable harm.” Essentially, the judge called their BS.

Additionally, according to the judge, there is nothing that would prevent Uber and Lyft from offering flexibility and independence to their drivers – and they have had plenty of time to transition their drivers from independent contractors to employees (the gig worker bill that spurred this lawsuit was decided in 2018). Seems fair to me!

However, there is an oppositional proposition on the ballot that muddies the waters. Proposition 22, if passed, is a measure that would keep rideshare drivers and delivery workers classified as independent contractors, meaning that those workers from Uber and Lyft would be exempt from the new state law that classifies them as W-2 employees. And you might be surprised to know how many of the app-based rideshare workers are in favor of Prop 22!

In a class-action lawsuit, Uber has been accused of encouraging drivers and delivery workers to support Prop 22 via the company’s driver-scheduling app. It appears, unfortunately, that Uber is manipulating its workforce by wrongly hanging their jobs over their heads.

On this matter, Gig Workers Rising stated: “If Uber and Lyft are successful in passing Prop. 22 and undo the will of the people, they will inspire countless other corporations to adapt their business models and misclassify workers in order to further enrich the wealthy few at the expense of their workforce.”

Ultimately, the fate of California Uber and Lyft driver’s in still in question. It’s unclear if the question we should be asking is, will Lyft drivers have proper healthcare through their jobs or will they have jobs at all. All of this is occurring at a time where millions are jobless and 158,000 individuals sought unemployment support this week due to COVID-19 layoffs.

Personally, I have little sympathy for tech-giants that rake in billions off the backs of the exploited working-class. If the CEO of Uber is an ostentatious billionaire, then his employees should have health insurance. Clear and simple.

The scariest part of the gig economy is that workers have become increasingly happy to work for a company that gives them little to no benefits. More companies are dissolving or combining positions so that they can further bypass their responsibilities to their employees. Let us not be fooled: The dispute over whether or not to make Uber and Lyft workers W2 employees does not affect the health of the companies themselves. What it will affect is how fat the bonuses will be the big guys at the top, and that’s exactly why the companies are so adverse to the ruling. They’d rather their workers suffer than lose a single dime.

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Business News

Bay Area co-living startup strands hundreds of renters at dire time

(BUSINESS NEWS) They’re blaming COVID for failing as a co-living space, but it looks like trouble was well established even before now.

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Person packed a bag and walking away from co-living space.

Over the last few years, “co-living” startups have become increasingly common in tech-rich cities like San Francisco. These companies lease large houses, then rent individual bedrooms for as much as $2,000 per month in hopes of attracting the young professionals who make up the tech industry. Many offer food, cleaning services, group activities, and hotel-quality accommodations to do so.

But the true value in co-living companies lies in their role as a third party: Smoothing over relations, providing hassle free income to homeowners and improved accountability to tenants… in theory, anyway. The reality has proved the opposite can just as easily be true.

In a September company email, Bay Area co-living startup HubHaus released a statement that claimed they were “unable to pay October rent” on their leased properties. Hubhaus also claimed to have “no funds available to pay any amounts that may be owed landlords, tenants, trade creditors, or contractors.”

This left hundreds of SF Bay Area renters scrambling to arrange shelter with little notice, with the start of a second major COVID-19 outbreak on the horizon.

HubHaus exhibited plenty of red flags leading up to this revelation. Employees complained of insufficient or late payment. The company stopped paying utilities during the spring, and they quietly discontinued cleaning services while tenants continued to pay for them.

Businesses like HubHaus charge prices that could rent a private home in most of the rest of the country, in exchange for a room in a house of 10 or more people. PodShare is a similar example: Another Bay Area-based co-living startup, whose offerings include “$1,200 bunk beds” in a shared, hostel-like environment.

As a former Bay Area resident, it’s hard not to be angry about these stories. But they have been the unfortunate reality since long before the pandemic. Many urbanites across the country cannot afford to opt out of a shared living situation, and these business models only exacerbate the race to the bottom of city living standards.

HubHaus capitalized on this situation and took advantage of their tenants, who were simply looking for an affordable place to live in a market where that’s increasingly hard to find.

They’ve tried to place the blame for their failure on COVID-19 — but all signs seem to indicate that they had it coming.

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