Inman is interviewing real estate professionals in every area of the field to talk about technology use. Here’s Eli King, an online specialist at Roohan Realty.
Is your phone an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone? What model? Why?
Android Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (I’m not due for my upgrade until July). I got it a year and a half ago before the trend was bigger screens, because I did, in fact, want a larger screen for reading email and taking photos. It also features a stylus, so I could write notes on my phone screen by hand and they’d be formatted as text. This was very, very handy.
Unfortunately, since getting the phone, I’ve discovered that it’s a little too large — too large for texting/emailing (when I’m using one-handed, my fingers can’t reach all the buttons!) and its size makes you more apt to drop it … which I have, numerous times, which has done irreversible damage to that nice screen. The next phone will be smaller. Preferably with (gasp) … buttons! All I want is buttons back!!
What are your top three apps on your phone?
Gmail, CamScanner (takes photos of anything, gives it a “Photoshop” effect, changes it into PDF share — I use it for surveys, taxes, deeds, contracts, even recipes!) and Google Analytics to monitor web performance.
How do you split your digital time: how much mobile, how much desktop?
I’m about 60 percent desktop and 40 percent mobile.
Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?
I’m an interactive marketing consultant currently working at a firm in Saratoga Springs, New York, with migrating their website, helping transition their marketing mix from traditional to digital, conducting analytics reporting and teaching classes for agents about how to use the best tech tools for their business. Technology is the core of my work, but coincidentally, I devote most of my time to being sort of a technology translator — going back and forth between the tech savvy and non-tech savvy to improve our business and deliver value to our agents and clients.
Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?
I’m an early researcher. I have a watch list of tools to monitor feedback on, and from there I decide what to test, measure then employ.
What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?
One of the biggest hurdles I face is dealing with an exhausted, overwhelmed audience, so I want to be knowledgeable about a product before I push it. Not just on how it works, but how we can prove it works, why it works, and why it’s reliable enough to invest the time in implementing. Jumping on board with every new thing seems exciting at first, but it quickly depletes your resources on things that don’t necessarily offer you any real value.
What do you think is the biggest overall challenge facing the real estate industry? Will technology be able to address it?
Data integrity — who “owns” what data, how accurate it is, where it is syndicated, and the audiences with access to that data. So far, technology has exacerbated this issue, but it needs to be addressed objectively with consumers’ best interests in mind, not corporate best interests.
What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?
I prefer Microsoft Exchange because I find Outlook’s interface user-friendly and best for organization and record-keeping. But I’ve repeatedly had issues with Exchange — timeouts, server issues, mistakenly classifying things as spam, etc. So instead I use Gmail. It’s not without its quirks, but I at least have more control over my account.
Which CMS do you use? What do you like about it, and what feature do you wish it would add in the future?
WordPress. It’s user-friendly, robust, customizable with IDX and scalable. Also, WordPress works nicely with my ongoing SEO efforts. A feature I wish it would add is a system to automate A/B testing so you know sooner when things don’t work instead of having a customer call you up and tell you. A/B testing is so essential but takes so much time that it’s often overlooked, and that compromises both the data and a company’s reputation as a result.
Do you use a calendar app? Which one? What do you like about it?
Google calendar because it’s easy. I add things during the workday on my desktop and know they will be synced to my mobile.
Do you use digital documents, which one? Why?
No. Because the majority of our customers haven’t yet. And they don’t want to learn it when dealing with real estate contracts, which are already stressful. But it has to do with your, market too. Commercial sales and urban areas may be better suited at this time for digital documents than individuals conducting residential property transactions.
Do you own a camera? What kind? What do you like about it?
Yes, a Lumix. I love it. Phenomenal photos for a point and shoot and video capability.
What kind of laptop or tablet (or both) do you own?
Toshiba laptop, no tablet. I’m not a fan of touch screens — I do too much typing. I used to have an Android tablet but gave it away because it was way too difficult to find compatible accessories for it at the time. Everything was offered for iPad only.
Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?
No, but I rent.
Do you play games on any of your devices? Which ones?
Which websites do you visit every day? Why?
Google Analytics to monitor web performance. Roohanrealty.com (our website) to check on it. Huffingtonpost.com for some news. Mashable.com for quick tech headlines. Inman.com for real estate news.
Which social media app do you use the most on your phone? Your tablet? Your computer?
Facebook (our company page) for my phone because the mobile version is easy to navigate and I get alerts anyway. I like to use Pinterest more on my laptop to organize my boards and upload photos from my camera to create my own pins.
What’s on your technology wish list — for yourself or for work?
Definitely a GoPro with accessories and a subscription to some video editing software. I’m dying to strap the GoPro on one of our builder’s cranes or atop our company moving van for some web content with entertainment value to post.
Where do you get most of your leads: portals or other sources?
When I did real estate, most of my leads came from word-of-mouth referrals. In my consulting work, word-of-mouth still beats online for leads. People like to “find” you via a personal connection and “stalk” you online to check your credibility and reputation.
What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?
Cameras — always have been. I’ve loved photographing since I was a child and have watched the technology evolve from film to disposables to the early digital cameras to the HD and wifi devices we use now with post editing and geo-tagging. It’s really amazing. But at the end of the day it’s about perspective and capturing a moment, which technology can’t really replace the human eye for … yet! Ha ha.
What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?
Traveling. I love to get lost, meet people and exchange stories the “old school” way — with maps and a pen and paper.
Would you like to participate in Inman’s real estate technology profile series? Email email@example.com.
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