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Product Review

I’ll Never Be Lost Again



Magellan Maestro 3225

My favorite new real estate technology tool of 2008 is my brand new portable Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS unit. I’m probably a latecomer to the GPS game, but for those of you who haven’t adopted GPS, I’m going to give the Magellan a strong recommendation.

For starters, I think it is a potential lifesaver for Realtors. My old method of taking clients to see homes (if I was not 100% certain of the location), was to refer to my mapquest printouts while trying to keep the car on the road, carry on a conversation with the client and just pray that we made it there safely. I’ve been lost more than once, I am embarrassed to admit, though most times I manage to cover.

I’ve only owned my Magellan for 2 weeks, but I think that my local Costco might sell out soon due to my word of mouth advertising. Too bad I can’t get a referral fee. It really is the best $150 I’ve invested in my business this year.

My favorite real estate application is that I can pre-program my showing itinerary for the next day as I schedule the appointments with the listing offices. The next day I just have a button or two to push once I turn the device on. I leave it sitting on the center console of my car and the lovely lady inside of the GPS alerts me that I have a right turn coming up in 2 miles. I love her. When I miss my turn, she reroutes me. Her route is not always the fastest or the most efficient, but it gets me there without thinking about it.

I know GPS is not new, and many people have it built in their cars. For those of you who don’t, this little device is fun. It’s about the size of my old Blackberry, has a vibrant color screen and it comes with a bunch of accessories. I keep it in my purse all the time. Best of all, it lets me keep my mind on driving safely, which is a very good thing.

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  1. Jay McGillicuddy

    March 29, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Maureen,
    It was the best investment we ever made too. We love our Garmin and i don’t know how we ever lived with out it. I wrote a post about “are you smarter than your GPS on AR and it was featured and a few people told me they bought one because of the post.

    Sometimes I second guess it but you just have to believe it and all will be well. It has taken me down a dead end road though.

    They are a handy tool. Just remember to take it with you and don’t leave it visible when the car is unattended.

  2. Maureen Francis

    March 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Jay, I had a Realtor friend telling us to buy one 7 years ago. Back then they were about $500 bucks and we were brand new in the industry. We bought some advertising instead. Probably should have bought the GPS!

  3. Rod Rebello

    March 29, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I wouldn’t part with my Garmin either. One of my better investments for all the reasons you said – especially not having to print out the maps. Mine even monitors traffic and reroutes around congested highways.

  4. Maureen Francis

    March 29, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Rod, That is a cool feature. I have no idea if I have that. I never read manuals, so I guess I will find out some day if it starts rerouting me!

  5. Jamie Geiger

    March 29, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    I had a Garman (an older model)- it was stolen out of my garage :(- . I saved me a few times. I know I paid over $600 about 4 years ago- so $150 is a great price. If I am very familiar with the area, I can find a house even when the directions on MLS are wrong-which happens way to often. However, if I am showing in areas that I am not as familiar with I rely on mapquest. I will definitely check out the Magellan. Thanks for the recommendation

  6. rockson

    March 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Dont feel bad, I am playing catch up with technology as well!

    Will it route out your destination if you have more then 2 places programmed?

  7. Benjamin Bach

    March 30, 2008 at 3:53 am

    I just bought the Garmin Nuvi 200 for about $170 canadian (pretty much @ par these days with the USD), and it’s phenominal.

    I had someone down last week shadowing me, and he had a GPS in his car. I kept looking at it in awe, and marvelling “how come I don’t have one?”

    Being the High-D that I am, I went out and bought one that day 🙂

  8. Dennis Pease

    March 30, 2008 at 4:16 am

    I have been wanting one for years and I just keep shopping for what I think is the best one. I guess I just need to break down and make the choice. I’ve read stories about them not giving the best directions, taking you through construction zones or heavy traffic. I know they keep getting better with traffic updates and better mapping. There sure have been some days I wish I had one.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    March 30, 2008 at 6:47 am

    WHAT!?!?! You can’t trust the directions the Listing Agent put in MLS!?!?!

  10. Bill Lublin

    March 30, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Maureen – I’m such a GPS junkie that I not only have one in my car, and my wife’s car, but I bought a Garmin for when I travel (I had been renting the magellan from Hertz for $10 a day and it seemed better to own one I could move around) – And one of the best things for me in a new area (when we bought our 2nd home in LA) – was that having a map up all the time helped me learn the area faster – Something newly relocated agents might find helpful 🙂

  11. Dru Bloomfield

    March 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Maureen, I had an handheld GPS years ago that was really cumbersome to use, so was put off by the technology. Now, I have clients asking my why I don’t have one, so I know it’s time to get over it. Thanks for reinforcing that adding a GPS to my technology tool bag is a good move!

  12. Missy Caulk

    March 30, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Maureen, I have one on my car, built in and that’s how I found you last summer, sorta. Love it, couldn’t live without it.

  13. Maureen Francis

    March 30, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Jamie, I am like you in my core market. No map needed. But I have many buyers outside of the core and this helps. I’ve been showing condos lately and while I may know the complex I dont know all the streets within.

    Rockson, Yes you can program in a trip with multiple destinations. That is what I do with my showing schedule.

    Benjamin, our purchase story was similar. Dmitry was showing to some out of the country clients with a rental car with GPS. They were going all over the place. We bought the Magellan the night after he told me about it. Didn’t research much. Just bought it, tried it, loved it.

    Dennis, Just do it!

    Matt, don’t you have any agents there who put “” in the directions field. Our mls finally put out a memo about that.

    Bill, I was thinking of giving this thing as a closing gift to incoming transferees.

    Dru, I do think you will like this unit and Costco is great with returns if you don’t.

    Missy, don’t I remember you calling me from somewhere??? 🙂 If your BA’s don’t have it built in, this might be great for them.

  14. Cyndee Haydon

    March 30, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I got a GSP about 6 months ago – it’s the best eco friendly thing I’ve ever done – oh the mapquests I don’t have to print and the trees I am saving now 🙂

  15. Maureen Francis

    March 30, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    lol @cyndee haydon. I was expecting to see something about the gas saved, not the trees.

  16. Judy Orr

    March 31, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    My husband bought me a Garmin Tom Tom two or three years ago for Christmas (this year was a Roomba – I don’t care about jewelry). I am not good at directions even after 25 years in the biz (plus I work a large area) so it’s been a life saver and I, too, can’t recall how I did it all those years without one. The great thing about the handheld is that I take it with me on vacation and I just trust it and follow the directions.

    The only times it’s failed me is when it can’t find the address of a newer construction area. But I set my appointments up in it before leaving so I’ll use our MLS mapping feature. Oh, and it’s also tried telling me to turn in a one-way street. It also doesn’t take me to stoplights to cross busy streets but I just work around those few things.

  17. Dubai Villas

    August 4, 2015 at 4:44 am

    A very innovative gadget!

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Housing News

Avoid Blah-Blah Conversation With This Voicemail Cloaking Device



Please Dear Lord, Don’t Let Them Pick Up, So I Can Leave A Voice Mail and Make A Quick Get Away.

You know those times when you have to return a phone call, share an update, remind someone about something?  And those times where there’s no getting around it, you have to make the call and deliver your message, but you’re short on time, patience, courage, or ___________?

Guess What? I Have Good News For You.

There’s an App. for that, and it’s called SlyDial.  At the Inman Reboot event in HoustonChris with TechSavvyAgent dropped this cloaking device on us.  Basically, SlyDial is a clever smart phone tool.

SlyDial allows you to make a call from your cell phone to their cell phone, but their cell phone won’t ring. Instead of their phone ringing, SlyDial lets you dial directly into their voice mail, and leave a message. Yeah, that’s right, call directly into their voice mail, and their phone doesn’t ring. Check it out, it probably works on your smart phone.

You can get more details and info here.  The App. is free and straight forward.  It looks like the picture below when it’s launched on the iPhone4.

It’s that simple.  Good luck with it.  I was wondering in which situations you’d use something like this?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit

PS.  fyi, I don’t work for, nor am I in any way associated with, employed by, or even know anyone at SlyDial.  In other words, there’s nothing in for me by saying nice things about SlyDial, except the pleasure of telling you about a tool you might find handy.

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Product Review

New iPhone App


on launched their new iPhone application and gave a few of us the chance to play with it and tear it to pieces before the launch (maybe they didn’t quite put it that way, but it’s the way I’m approaching it).

When I first open these new apps, I always think of the intent and this one is pretty obvious.  The iphone app iss totally and completely designed with the end consumer in mind (sorry Realtors if you thought it could be about you).  It’s about providing the latest property information in the quickest, easiest and most user friendly fashion possible.

When you open the app, a home screen gives you several options, including searching for nearby homes for sale, nearby open houses or perform a new search by location or MLS ID.  You can allow for the app to use your current location and it actually gives you nearby listings currently for sale (also giving you the option to narrow down your criteria).  This can be really cool if you are driving in a neighborhood and just want to get property information without having to even get out of the car or make a phone call.  (Bad for agents that rely on the client to actually make that call to capture their business). iphone app screen shot

You can view a map option or a list option of properties and are able to actually click on any given one and get detailed information, not only on the property, but also the listing agent and the brokerage (very similar to what you see on  You can scroll through photos of the listing and turn the phone to get bigger photos and you can save the property and include notes to go with it. iPhone app screenshot

What’s even more fascinating is the option to contact the listing agent on the spot.  You can call them by clicking on their telephone number, you can email them,  visit their site and add them to your contacts.  (I know I’m an over achiever, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could tweet or facebook them as well?). iphone application
My favorite feature is the “drive around and use your location” to find listings – but you can also enter an address for a particular listing and/or its surrounding competitors and even enter the MLS number.

Great move on to empower the consumer.  Personally, an educated consumer is the best one in my book, but here’s the beef many will have…You can now say “Buh Bye” to Buyers’ Agents, with this app, listing agents will have the upper hand – this will give quick and easy information to the local consumer (not the end for those buyers agents that work with absentee and relocating clients).


I can now see me getting bombarded by calls from people who “forget” to tell me they are working with another agent and just wanted quick info.  I can also see my clients calling other agents just because their information was handy.  We’ll just have to see how this extra communication tool will evolve….it could be detrimental for many.

The question of who does work for will inevitably come up.  Many will criticize this as a tool of disintermediation, but if we are smart, we will not only know how to use this information in our favor, but we will welcome it with open arms.  I do wonder if it could be possible to personalize this particular iphone app for a fee so that Realtors can offer it to their clients (of course I would try to come up with a win-win for everyone).

For now it’s time for everyone to make sure their contact information is correct on their listings, and especially  Listing agents will have the ability to answer inquiries on the spot, staying above the competition with customer service always at the top of the priority list.

And for the record, I’m not associated with, so feel free to kill it if you have the itch.

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Product Review

Desktop Analytics – Polaris



Keeping Track

polaris2 I’m a big fan of keeping a pulse on the health of my blogs and sites.  Polaris has released a desktop application that allows you to keep track of your Google Analytics, on your desktop. 

The free version only allows monitoring from one account, while the $15/year version will allow multiple accounts.

The system features are very easy to setup and it works on the AIR installation system, which most of us already have with the Twitter apps.  It was quick to download and install. 


Polaris shows total visits, pageviews, activities by date, visits statistics and tons more.  Essentially anything that you would benefit from in Google Analytics, but on the desktop.


The current product is cool, but the company is also advertising some interesting upcoming products.

    • Dopac
      • Dopac is our flagship web analytics solution that brings Google Analytics to your desktop with a host of new features and possibilities. Based on the success and experience of our previously released beta product, the “Google Analytics Reporting Suite”, Dopac takes the original experience to the next level and brings a lot of new concepts to the table.
    • Rayet
      • Rayet is our strange kid on the block. It’s experimental, funky and fun!
        With Rayet we are aiming to make web analytics reporting smarter. Instead of generating a lot of good looking graphs and charts Rayet will cut to the chase and analyze your data for you. Rayet will give you suggestions on how to improve your website experience based on the analytical data available. By comparing different time samples it will tell what works and what doesn’t. Being in very early development there’s currently no release date planned yet.
    • Phobia
      • Phobia is made for one single purpose; impress your boss, client or anyone else you need to suck up to. It gives you data ownership by allowing you to export or synchronize your data in any given format. Anything from smart looking spreadsheets, pretty PDF’s or entertaining presentations is entirely possible! More info on features and release will be up here soon.


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