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How to Use Outsourcing to Reduce Your Workload
The rebound in real estate markets nationwide has been challenging for many agents. Tight inventory and multiple offers in many places is the norm. Working with buyers and sellers during a pandemic adds a new, extra layer of effort. Having to work remotely adds even more challenges. It seems agents find themselves today working harder than ever. How do you keep the quality of your work high and, at the same time, reduce your workload? Outsourcing is one option worth your consideration. Here's how to figure out what you can – and should – be outsourcing. Self-assessment test The saying goes, "Do what you do best and outsource the rest." After all, everyone knows the tasks they love as well as the things they loathe. The problem is, using this as a particular measurement to decide what you should be doing and what you should be outsourcing is not always in synch. For example, some agents love to develop their marketing materials. The problem is the creation of marketing materials can consume a significant amount of time. It's also easy to outsource these activities. By making an assessment, you can make the right decision. If you don't enjoy creating marketing material or are not particularly good at it, then you know outsourcing can be a great answer to reduce your workload. If you enjoy these tasks, then you need to measure it. When you track your time, you can see what it takes to create marketing materials for each listing. How much total time is it taking to develop a property flyer, update your website with a single property listing page, and create a virtual tour? Like most agents, you would be shocked as projects like these include tasks that can consume much more time than you expect. That's why you need to measure it before you decide. Low-hanging fruit In addition to marketing tasks, how does your client database look? Are you using a CRM or Customer Relationship Management software? Hiring someone to pull together all of your contacts in one place can reduce your future workload. You will avoid scrambling to look for past client background information when they contact you as you will have it all in one place – just a click away. How much time do you spend scheduling appointments with vendors to help your sellers? From arranging for professional photographers to stagers to inspectors, this is another area that can end up eating into your most productive time. Is there someone in your office that you can contract to help with these tasks? Another alternative is using a virtual assistant as this is the kind of ideal routine job that someone else can handle, even if they don't live where you do. Looking at photography, are you still shooting your listing photos? Research says you shouldn't be. Listings with professional photography sell faster and can help increase your ability to win more listings in the future. Home listings with high-quality photography sell 32% more quickly than listings with poorly shot images, according to the Center for REALTOR® Development. Even though your smartphone takes great photos, there's no substitute for a professional photographer's skill when it comes to showcasing the most important part of your business. A great way to outsource If technology isn't your thing, and you have FREE access to Tech Helpline—as more than 60 percent of all Realtors in North America do!—this can be one of your best and most cost-effective ways to outsource! Tech Helpline can help you with every tech tool and nearly every software program you use every day. If you get a new smartphone or laptop, it's the first place you should contact. As a covered real agent or broker, you can ask Tech Helpline multiple questions about your tech challenges all on one call. Most importantly, Tech Helpline can help you with other business tech needs beyond just helping you reset your Wi-Fi for a faster connection or help get your printer to print. You can get assistance from adding a background image or video for your next Zoom meeting to the ins and outs of connecting your social media accounts. There are so many things that Tech Helpline can help you with when it comes to all things technology related. Here's an article that shares more ways Tech Helpline can help you reduce your workload. And if your Realtor association, MLS, or brokerage doesn't have Tech Helpline yet, encourage them to go online at TechHelpline.com and reach out to add this valuable member service. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Tech Challenge: Try Tech Helpline just once in the next 30 days
Working from home presents a new challenge for real estate agents who are used to going into a brokerage office to work. Agents can no longer turn to their brokerage's resident tech expert or a tech-savvy college to get "unstuck" when they encounter a technical problem. What do you do when your laptop won't connect to Wi-Fi or hotspot, or you can't get your printer to print or you need to sync data between devices? And what happens if your computer starts working slower than usual or catches a virus? Fortunately for about three-in-five agents in North America, they are covered with free and unlimited access to general tech support from Tech Helpline. That's right — no additional cost to participating agents and brokers to use. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry's No. 1 tech support firm. Provided to agents and brokers as an included member benefit from MLSs, associations, or brokerages throughout North America, Tech Helpline is known for its top team of friendly, experienced, and U.S-based analysts. Agents and brokers can connect to Tech Helpline by phone, email, or online chat. Have you used Tech Helpline? It's time you give it a try and discover how it can help you, as an agent or broker, spend less time dealing with technical glitches to spend more time with clients and potential clients. Fear is not an option with Tech Helpline If you have a fear of technology, particularly technology that you don't fully understand, you are not alone. According to the annual Survey of American Fears by Chapman University, a little more than half of Americans expressed fear about technology they don't understand. Remarkably, one-in-five people say they are "Afraid" or "Very Afraid." And that's the best part of reaching out to Tech Helpline for help. Our Orlando-based staff of technology professionals have earned a reputation for providing no-nonsense technical advice along with warm and friendly customer service. The tech analysts you can receive help from have 300+ years of combined IT experience. Most importantly, Tech Helpline was created for Realtors and our analysts work exclusively with agents and brokers, so they know the kind of support you need. Our staff is also bilingual, offering support in Spanish if that's your native language. We want everyone to get the tech support they need without any fear of contacting Tech Helpline. Take our Tech Challenge We want to show every agent and broker who has access to Tech Helpline today the value we offer. While thousands of agents have recently discovered the wide range of tech support services that Tech Helpline offers, not everyone has tested us out! We invite you, if you have never had a chance to engage with Tech Helpline, to discover how we can help you with even the little things that you continue to struggle with on your own. It could be as simple as learning how to set up your own mail merge for your newsletter, mailing labels, or tips to making your older laptop run faster. So, take our Tech Helpline challenge. In the next 30 days, when you come across a tech glitch or find yourself spending too much time fixing a persisting tech issue, call, email or go online and chat with us. The fastest way to reach us is through your computer by chat at chat.techhelpline.com. We think you'll encounter one of the best tech support experiences you'll ever have. Always remember, after the 30 days, you still have access to Tech Helpline. Our friendly and helpful analysts are ready to help you anytime with your tech questions. And if you don't have access to unlimited free support from Tech Helpline as a member benefit, tell your MLS, association or brokerage to check out techhelpline.com today! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Create Intentional Marketing that Shows Your Love and Support of Your Clients
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National Association of Realtors' Response to COVID-19
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced last week that they would be helping their real estate community amidst the COVID-19 virus outbreak. With President Trump's recommendation to extend social distancing practices now until April 30th, this continues to leave real estate agents wondering when their business will return back to normalcy. You can find CEO Bob Goldberg's full announcement here.
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Working in Isolation? Remember Tech Helpline Can Help
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Why You Shouldn't Fear Calling Tech Support
It's not uncommon for many real estate brokers and agents to suffer from tech fatigue. After all, how many apps do you have on your cell phone? How many programs are on your laptop that you rarely, if ever, use? The onslaught of technology can be, well, exhausting. Adding to tech fatigue are the promises of new technology that is "easy to use" and will save you time, make you more money--or both! The truth is, for many real estate agents, a lot of technology isn't easy to use. And when something goes amiss, the faith agents may initially have in their technology quickly erodes.
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Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity are on the road again!
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Tech Helpline Tips: Is It Time to Update or Replace Your Computer?
What year did you buy the computer you use most for your work? When is the last time you upgraded its operating system? Are you using the most current version of your web browser? If you can't easily recall the answers to any of these questions, there's a strong possibility that it is time to update or replace your computer. Here's a brief checklist to help determine if updating your computer's software is enough or if it's time to replace this vital technology that helps you do your job.
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9 Technology Productivity Tips: Do this, not that
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7 More Ways Tech Helpline Can Help You
Some 600,000 Realtors in North America can get instant help when their computer gets infected by a virus or crashes, when their smartphones won't connect to Wi-Fi or gets wet, or they want to know how to stop their Alexa device from listening in on their conversations. Tech Helpline is a benefit agent and brokers receive from their MLS, association or brokerage, and getting help is only a call or a click away. Tech Helpline, created, owned and operated by the Florida Realtors, has earned a reputation as being "Real Estate's Genius Bar." Real estate's number one tech support service is a place for agents and brokers to solve their tech challenges comfortably. We've written a couple of articles about some of the more interesting technical issues that Tech Helpline can help resolve, including "10 Things You Can Call Tech Helpline About That You Didn't Know You Could," and "Tech Helpline Can Help You Get More than Your Computer Fixed." With new technology, like Alexa and Google Home becoming key resources for agents and brokers, Tech Helpline offers even more ways to help real estate professionals adapt to these new technologies, as well as avoid struggling using established ones. Here's a list of seven more things you contact Tech Helpline for help: Buying the latest smart home devices: Smart home technology is becoming easier to use and a lot less expensive. But which voice-activated assistant is right for you as an agent or broker? What other devices should you buy if you want to make your home smart, and get smarter about this technology by using it yourself? What are the pros and cons of these new devices and how challenging is self-installation? Tech Helpline can help you choose what's right for you. Buying a new computer: Do you need a Mac or a PC? Laptop or one of the latest tablets? What are the best brands? There's a massive maze of options to navigate when upgrading your most important hardware. Tech Helpline analysts can help you successfully navigate through all your choices and share their best buying tips. Transferring images: If you are struggling to quickly move your photos from your phone to your laptop, or from your laptop to your phone, Tech Helpline is there for you. You'll discover there are several different options to accomplish this quickly and easily. Casting to your TV: Do you know how to show that video on your smartphone on your big screen TV? Welcome to the world of casting! A Tech Helpline analyst can walk you through the best options available, and you will learn how to cast in no time flat! Craigslist do's and don'ts: Setting up an account on Craigslist is pretty straightforward. But what are the rules about what you can and cannot do related to a real estate post on Craigslist? Because if you don't know the rules, your post will be removed. Tech Helpline can help you out. Your digital music library: Do you have challenges with your tunes? Are they available on all your devices? Are you trying to print out a list of the songs you own? Whatever your digital music library challenge is, you can get help from a Tech Helpline analyst. Social media troubleshooting: How do you share a link that will take your customers precisely to the post on Facebook you want to see? What are the rules around tagging and where will you find the most popular tags to use? Using social media channels are a great way to boost your business, but the more you know, the better you'll be able to leverage social media for your business. Tech Helpline can help answer your social media questions. The great thing about having Tech Helpline available is they stay up-to-date with the latest technology agents and brokers most use. If you are not sure you have free access to Tech Helpline, ask your brokerage, association or MLS if they provide it as a member service. If not, tell them you want the tech support that Tech Helpline offers! Also, check out these other two related stories about how Tech Helpline can help you: "Top 5 Complaints Real Estate Agents Have About Technology" "Do You Fear Making a Call to Tech Support?" Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.    
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What Do You Do When There's No App for That?
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10 Things You Can Call Tech Helpline About That You Didn't Know You Could
If you're one of 600,000 lucky Realtors in North America and your computer crashes, printer freezes, or you can't connect to Wi-Fi, assistance from Tech Helpline takes just a call or a click. Real estate's number one tech support service--created, owned and operated by Florida Realtors--is the "go to" place for most agents' tech woes. But what most agents who have access to Tech Helpline through their MLS or brokerage realize is that the expert analysts at Tech Helpline can provide tech support to cure things other than standard tech issues. With more than 200 collective years of tech know-how, Tech Helpline analysts specialize in real estate agents' day-to-day tech business challenges. And that means when agents adopt new technology, Tech Helpline is available to aid with new tech tools too. Here's a list of 10 things you can call Tech Helpline about that you didn't know you could:
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On the Road Again: Tech Helpline May Be Coming Your Way
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Tech advice: What do you do if you do the wrong thing?
It happens. One moment, your laptop or desktop computer is working fine. The next moment: Trouble, with a capital "T." It looks like you have a problem. A big problem. Unexpectedly, your browser's home page goes somewhere else. Popups quickly fill your screen. Or a red warning sign appears on your screen. Or suddenly, it starts randomly crashing. Or worse, your laptop has slowed to a crawl. A computer virus could be on the attack. These feisty little demons can wreak havoc with our personal and professional lives. One tiny small piece of computer code can instruct your computer to do terrible things, to both itself and other machines. Let's take a page from the playbook from Tech Helpline. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry's #1 tech support service, available to nearly half the Realtors in North America. That's more than 500,000 Realtors in the U.S. and Canada. Tech Helpline's office and staff of professional tech analysts have about 300 years of combined IT experience. Most importantly, they work with real estate agents every day. What do you do if you do the wrong thing and clicked on the wrong link, or downloaded an attachment on what's now obviously a bad email. What do you do if any of this happens to you?
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Tech Helpline Can Help You Get More than Your Computer Fixed
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Friday Freebie: Emergency Preparedness Checklist to Share with Your Sphere
Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? With the nation still witnessing the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, "preparedness" is a topic that's sure to be on the minds of homeowners everywhere. What can you do to help your contacts prepare themselves for the unexpected? In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting an Emergency Preparedness checklist that you can share with your clients and prospects. Read on to learn more!
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Does your MLS or Association provide tech support? It should.
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The 5 Tech Tips You Can't Live Without
Let's face it: our lives are now tech centric. Think about this: In 2011, only 35 percent of American households had smartphones, but that number is now 77 percent! And three-in-four Americans ages 50-64 now own smartphones, a jump of 16 percent in just one year. The day in the life of a Realtor® relies upon dependable technology, and dependable technology needs upgrading. So, what are the must-do technology tips that every real estate agent and broker needs to protect themselves and their businesses? We turned to our experts at Florida Realtors® Tech Helpline, the real estate industry's #1 tech support service, created by Realtors® for Realtors®. Collectively, our technical advisors have over 250 years of technical knowledge, and they specialize in supporting real estate brokers and agents. Here are their Top 5 Tech Tips:
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Is Your Technology Slowing You Down?
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Six Tips for Maximizing Battery Life in iOS 10
Our devices always seem to run out of battery exactly when we need them most. For that reason, this month we bring users of iOS 10 devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) six tips that can help you get more time between battery charges. 1. Optimize Location Services Settings As a REALTOR on the go, you may use several apps that give you information about a specific location, such as the Weather app, or an MLS app that provides you with available listings in your area. These apps can give you location-based information because they use the Location Services feature of your device. Location Services is very useful, and you can take advantage of it without taxing your battery too much if you run it only when you are actively using the apps. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Next, scroll down and click on the first app on the list. Three options will show: Never, While Using the App or Always. Select While Using the App, and you will see that a blue check mark is added to your selection. (Select 'Never" on those apps that you feel never need to know your location, even when you are using them.) That's it! To exit, click on < Location Services again. Go through each app on your list and set the best setting for each app.
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Moving to a new firm? How to deal with your new tech challenges
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Is Windows 10's 'Fast Startup' Feature Slowing Your Computer Down?
Windows 10 recently introduced a new feature called "Fast Startup." The purpose of this feature is to allow your computer to turn on a bit faster after you have shut down. Windows performs this by overriding the shutdown command and never fully turning off; instead it goes into a sleep-like hibernation. When you turn the computer back on, it resumes right where it left off. As a result, the sub-processes and programs never get the fresh start they need. This can cause your computer to do all kinds of odd things: slow down, fail to print, load web pages incorrectly, and more. How do you know if your computer is being affected by Fast Startup? Fortunately, Windows keeps track of this with a clock called "Uptime." Press [Ctrl], [Alt] and [Delete] on your keyboard at the same time, and open Task Manager. When the Task Manager opens, click on "More Details" at the bottom of the window to show more details (if you see "Fewer Details," you don't need to click this). Along the top of Task Manager, click on "Performance." Click on "CPU" to the left. Towards the bottom, look for a timer labeled "Uptime." When reading the Uptime, it will be in the format D:HH:MM:SS for days, hours, minutes, and seconds since the last complete restart. It is recommended that this stays below four days to maintain best performance. If your Uptime is higher than four days, you can simply restart the computer. Remember that you have to specifically perform a restart — not a shut down — in order to reset your uptime.
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Facebook Groups for Real Estate: Love Them or Leave Them?
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Do You Fear Making a Call to Tech Support?
If you are frustrated from your experiences with past technical support calls and dread contacting tech support for help, you are not alone. When nearly 3,000 people were asked about their biggest customer experience success or failure in the last decade, 76% recalled a failure. Almost half – 45% – could not remember having a single recent successful customer experience success. It's a universal problem that was a motivating factor when Florida Realtors® created Tech Helpline for real estate agents and brokers some 15 years ago. Our goal for more than a decade has been to eliminate the "fear" out of contacting tech support for members. Fear is a major factor when it comes to technology, ranked one of the top fears of Americans, second only to Man-Made Disasters, according to a study by Chapman University. Tech Helpline has clearly been successful in removing the fear factor, as not only has it been dubbed the "Genius Bar for real estate" in praise of its Apple-like, personalized, experienced support staff, but has become the real estate industry's no. 1 tech support service. In fact, today, 60 percent of Realtors in North America – the U.S. and Canada – now have access to Tech Helpline. How is Tech Helpline different? Tech support really is all about the people, and at Tech Helpline, it's a highly skilled staff that knows technology and deeply understands the needs of real estate professionals. Together, Tech Helpline's office and staff of professional tech analysts have more than 250 years of combined IT proficiency. It really serves as the primary Customer Service experience for the majority of its members who have access.
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Top 5 Complaints Agents Have About Technology
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4 Simple Steps to Optimize Windows 10 Performance
As an agent, you may spend more time on the computer than the average computer user (MLS research, property research, appraisal sites, Google, etc.), and your computer is storing and processing lots of data. Periodic maintenance will ensure optimal performance. Windows 10 is a relatively new operating system (OS) from Microsoft. Since Microsoft is aggressively pushing it on all their users, you may have already installed it on your computer. We want to show you the four steps needed to keep it optimized for peak performance. Consider these steps your PC's "oil change" (preventative measures that should be completed every three months) that you can do at no cost!
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How to Back Up Your Text Messages, Email, Calendars, and More
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How to Select a Tech Support Service
Having computer troubles? You're not alone. Unresolved tech issues are a sure way to slow your real estate business down. After all, not having access to crucial systems and information makes it hard to service clients and keep up in a competitive market. DIY types may be able to fix their printer, wi-fi, or other problems via information gleaned from a Google search. Those less tech savvy--or those unable to invest time and energy in figuring it out themselves--should have a tech support solution available on speed dial. These solutions are often offered free to agents as a benefit from your MLS, association, or brokerage. (If not, you can always purchase them independently.) They can include various types of support from phone to live chat and beyond. Some may offer troubleshooting on computer hardware, software, and even popular real estate programs. Questions to Ask If you're in the market for a tech support solution, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: What software and hardware products does the vendor provide support for? What are call center hours? Are they convenient for your agents? Does the vendor offer an immediate response or is it a call-back service? What's the vendor's average hold time? Does the vendor track satisfaction on each call? If so, what is their overall satisfaction rating? Does the vendor offer additional methods of support, like live chat, email, or remote technician log-in?
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Should You Hire a Real Estate Intern?
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Your Achievable New Year’s Resolution
Start the year prepared. Set some time aside now to give your computer some basic maintenance, and start the year lean, agile, and in control. "Complete Computer Maintenance" is an important New Year's resolution, and we want to help you achieve it. For your convenience, we created an easy to follow checklist and broke it down to three general areas: Files, Hardware & Software, and Online Browsing. Tackle them one by one, and you'll be set sooner than you think. FILES 1. Organize your files. Delete duplications. Whether it is personal or professional, whether it is information about your utilities or your favorite place to volunteer, you may have a lot of data stored in your computer that you need to be able to access quickly and reliably. Set some time in your calendar to go through your files, organize them into folders and delete duplications or files that you no longer need. 2. Back up your data. There is nothing worse than losing your photos, work documents, or personal files. You can prevent future loss by taking action now. Mac users: There is a built-in program called Time Machine in your Mac, which requires an external hard drive. For Windows and Mac third-party alternatives, read our archived article.
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What to Do When Tech Problems Strike
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Holiday Deal: Real Estate Tech Support from My Computer Works
For our latest Holiday Deal, we've arranged a special discount just for RE Technology members! Consider it our gift to you, with help from our friends at My Computer Works. My Computer Works offers remote troubleshooting for a variety of technical issues. Assistance is not limited to your computer only, though. My Computer Works can also help you with your printer, tablet, mobile phone, digital camera, and other devices. For real estate professionals, My Computer Works offers industry specific help with the following: MLS assistance ZipForms Mailing List / Mail Merge help Wireless connectivity issues Outlook setup and troubleshooting Adobe PDF problems This season, My Computer Works is offering RE Technology readers $50 off any of their service plans. Click through to the next page to learn more.
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