Jan 23
QR Code for launching video

scan or click for video of how to create a QR code

Hi guys. lots of buzz about QR codes and how to best use them in the real estate business so I thought I would upload an updated version of a “How to create a QR code for real estate video“.  

This video will take you step-by-step through creating a QR code using http://goo.gl

Goo.gl

There are several sites that will create a QR code for you for free. Goo.gl is just one of them. The reason I like Goo.gl is that it has some pretty neat tracking tools that allow you to see how many times your QR codes was scanned, when it was scanned and even what kind of phone they scanned it with like this.

Goo.gl Reports

If you want to find other sites that will create QR codes just Google “QR code generator” and you’ll see lots of other options including sites that will allow you to create a QR code that pops up an SMS text message (think lead generation) or a QR code that just calls your phone number etc.  I believe one of the best ways to utilize QR codes is by linking them to a video, so that is what I did for my example in this video.

Here’s a few ideas:

1. Simply recording a video of yourself talking about why people should want to work with you, talk about your special knowledge of a neighborhood or property type (people like to work with agents that specialize in their needs). You would then create a QR code linking to this video & put this QR code on the back of your business cards with a note that says “scan this to find out why you should work with me” etc.  2. How about shooting some quick video of your buyers the day of closing  (only if they are happy ;-) ) creating a QR code to this video and putting it on your business card saying “find out what past clients have said about my services” etc. 3. Why not create a video tour of a neighborhood you specialize in (Hawk’s Landing for example) then post the QR code you create that links to this video on a sign in the local stores in the neighborhood (many have bulletin boards) that says “scan this to find out why Hawk’s Landing is a great place to live” etc.  4. Create a video tour of a specific property then insert a QR code that links to this video on the property flyers.  A buyer pulls up to the house, gets a flyer out of the flyer box, then scans the code and watches a video tour of the home on their phone while they are sitting in-front of it.

So many different ways to utilize these things and the best part is they are FREE!  Imagine how impressed a home seller will be when you introduce them to QR codes during a listing presentation by scanning a property flyer you brought with you using your smartphone and a video tour of a home starts playing….powerful way to let them know you are using the latest technology to market homes.  Will they change the way people buy homes….probably not, but they will be another technology that links the offline world to the online world using mobile technology so why not give it a try.

If this is your very first experience with QR codes remember you need a “QR reader” app for your smartphone, just go to wherever you download apps for your phone and search for QR Reader they are free and will allow you to use your smartphone to scan QR codes

If you are curious about Microsoft Tags like this one:

Links to same video

They are a similar technology but use a different reader and different site to create them but in essence do the same thing, linking the offline and online worlds together.  There are some advantages to MS Tags such as more possibilities and the ability to have the image even smaller and still be recognized .   The advantage that QR codes have is that they have been out longer so consumers are more likely to have tried them by downloading a “QR Reader” app.  It remains to be seen if this will continue to be the case as Microsoft may put some money behind the promotion of the MS Tag standard and make it more prevalent in the future.

Hope this was helpful please feel free to comment here or over on Facebook and let others know how you are using QR Codes in your business.

Until next time….Max

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Feb 09

iPhone “Smack Down” intro video

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Nov 05

Realtor.com has just released it’s real estate search app for the Android OS.

Realtor.com for Android App

Realtor.com for Android App

Now everyone with an  Android phone can use this powerful mobile search for real estate.  The Realtor.com team did a great job incorporating many of the awesome features found in their iPhone app, like the draw mode (area highlighter) on the map view which allows users to create their custom neighborhoods by simply using their finger to outline the area they want to see homes and many others plus a couple of “Android tweaks” like the ability for a consumer to leave notes on a property by voice (see video).  I did a quick review in the video below.  I recommend anybody with an Android phone go to the Android Marketplace and download this app now or click here for more info! If you have a QR code reader on your Android phone scan this QR code and it will take you there.

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Jun 29

Here’s a video of my first impressions of the new iPhone 4.  Full review coming soon but for now I am blown away.  It really is a quantum leap that others will struggle to emulate.  Many aspects of this device will have direct and impressive impacts for real estate. The FaceTime is nothing short of jaw-dropping the first time you have a FaceTime call it’s hard to believe we have been talking about this stuff since grade school and now it actually works….anyway more soon.

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Apr 04

Well it’s been about 24hrs since I received the new Apple iPad so I thought I’d let my daughter have a turn with it while I sit down and write some notes regarding my experience so far.  Let me first say when I get a new “tech toy” (as my wife would describe them) I can usually tell how much I like it by how late I stay up playing with it……..well it was after 4am this morning when my head hit the pillow so I would say this little puppy passed the first test of keeping my attention.  The first thing you may be asking yourself is “what would I use it for?”, well once you hold it in your hands for about 5 minutes you start realizing you would use it primarily access and consume information and media.  The color display is gorgeous and offers 1,024 x 768 720p HD viewing. iPad Display

This is a great size for everything from surfing the web, watching movies, viewing photos, reading books etc etc.  Beyond that the device is small enough that it tends to feel more personal after using it for awhile.  What I mean is that I found myself using it a bit closer to me than my laptop and you can be sitting on the couch or even lying in bed while reading a book, surfing the web or just getting that last Facebook status updated before lights out.

It’s not perfect, I still wish it had flash support as many of the sites you visit online that use Adobe Flash do not display correctly but I do think this will be addressed pretty quickly, either by the death of flash, a third party app that converts flash, or Apple allowing it to run. With an estimated 4 to 10 million (depending on who you listen to) of these selling this year the demand will be too great and that problem will get solved (keep in mind flash is used in many types of online ads which means advertisers will demand that their ads will be seen on this device).  I also wish it had a front-facing video camera for video chat etc.  This too I believe will be in iPad 2.0 (or whatever they call it)  later this year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple pulled the camera (the technology already exists in the iPhone) as a result of negotiations with AT&T over the 3G wireless plan to be offered with this device.  AT&T has already experienced network overloads due to the iPhone and they probably felt video chat on the iPad would bring their network to it’s knees so Apple may have given them a little time to get their network upgraded before offering video on the iPad and in exchange AT&T said they would allow unlimited 3G data on the iPad for $29.95/month without a contract… (just a hunch on my part).

Unless you have some other sort of wireless broadband device (like the Verizon MiFi etc) or you just plan on using this at home on a wi-fi network I would definitely recommend waiting for the 3G version out later this month.  That will give you the mobility (very important for real estate agents) to obtain data connections in the field (granted AT&T is not available or even acceptable in many areas) for a great price with no contracts .

I also wish the iPad had a USB port for external connection to any number of USB devices.  There is an adapter that will be out soon for the iPad that will allow this and give the ability to insert SD cards to upload photos etc.  I am hoping their will be an app out soon that will make file transfer easier between the iPad and SD/USB/PCs, right now the easiest way (outside of iTunes) seems to be emailing an attachment.

Ok enough on the negatives (which there are very few) I really do enjoy using this device.  I truly believe that if some great apps are made for real estate agents and they can access their MLS along with other great information sources online this will become a very valuable tool in this industry.  I can absolutely see this as the mobile information and media device that an agent uses throughout the day for catching up on email, checking in on their social networks, blogging, grabbing some quick info from the MLS while out in the field , meeting with sellers and giving an impressive listing presentation and even writing up contracts……..if and I said if, those applications are created to take advantage of this new device.  At this point just using this device for listing presentations and throughout the day for Internet access justifies it’s usefulness to me.  Then throw in the access to tools like the Realtor.com app (even it’s current iPhone version is very useable on the iPad)  and online access to tons of data from county records to gis data to everything the web has to offer (as long as it’s not flash:-) and this device appears to have a bright future in the real estate business.

Here’s a shot of a home I pulled up on the Realtor.com app (if you have an iPhone or and iPad you need to get this app) and then when you rotate the iPad (just like the iPhone) the photo gets large in the landscape mode and it was pretty impressive.  I can see meeting a prospective buyer at an open house and then pulling up more homes for them to look at right there on the spot (or better yet let them do it they will get a kick out of playing with this).   With some of the latest research showing home sellers actually rank “agents use of technology” higher than “commission rate” as far as what’s most important when selecting an agent, this device may be the perfect way to show your customers you utilize technology in your business.

I will be posting another review soon regarding some tips and tricks I’ve learned and also talk about all the apps that I have downloaded and give you some ideas as to which ones I have found most useful and entertaining.  Also keep an eye out for a FREE iPad Listing Presentation that I am putting the finishing touches on tonight.  I will post a download link for all you new iPad Real Estate Pros tomorrow so check back (you will need to download and install “keynote for the iPad” ($9.99) from the app store but I think you will find it a very powerful program for this device.  More later and oh here’s a video review I posted to youtube early this am.  Take care…Max

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Mar 29

As I travel the country speaking to real estate agents the one complaint I hear over and over is “Max when are we going to be able to use our iPhones to access our MLS lock-boxes?” My answer has normally been that the iPhone does not have IR (Infrared) capabilities so if your MLS uses lockboxes that depend on IR to communicate you will have to stick with one of the older IR capable phones (such as Palm Treo etc) or be forced to cary another separate device (a dongle) that will allow you to access the lockbox.  Now all of that may be  changing as several companies have developed IR devices to be used with the iPhone.  They did not however do this in response to the real estate industry and their lockbox woes, but rather as a response to a much bigger market demand, that of the home consumer and their desire to use their iPhone or iPod Touch to control all of their home entertainment equipment (TV, Stereo, DVD etc).  That being said now that the hardware issue has been resolved it would appear that it will only take a progressive lockbox manufacturer that wants to satisfy the needs of it’s customers to simply write an app for the iPhone that uses one of these IR hardware devices to communicate with their lockboxes.  I am sure we will see the same devices soon appear for the Android phones that are flooding the market.  So here’s my public appeal to the lockbox manufacturers on behalf of thousands of your customers that now use the  iPhone (and now Android phones) PLEASE DEVELOP AN APPLICATION!

Here are a few of the manufacturers of these IR devices for the iPhone (and many for the iPod Touch as well), I am sure they will be looking at similar devices for the Android phones shortly.

RedEye Mini for iPhone

i-Got-Control IRB1 dongle Potato's FLPR IR dongle

POWER A Universal Remote Case with IR installed

POWER A Universal Remote Case with IR installed

POWER A Universal Remote Case without IR installed (still works as a case)

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Mar 27

As many of you know I have been an iPhone user since day one, currently on my 4th one which is the 3GS (I lose things…but at least I could track it last time I lost it…..it got stolen).
Anyway I also have a Motorola Droid and it’s the best phone I’ve ever had on the Verizon network….that being said as I use both often and the Droid is a far cry from the iPhone.  If Verizon ever get’s the iPhone (which is not looking good with the latest deal Jobs made with AT&T for the $29.99/month service on the iPad) I would switch in a heartbeat as then I could use just one phone.   The biggest complaint I have on the Droid (albeit again a nice device for those stuck on Verizon) is it just pales in comparison to the iPhone in basic usability on a daily basis.  Using the touchscreen for example has always been more pleasurable and accurate experience for me on the iPhone than the Droid.  Especially noticeably while using the on-screen keyboard as the letters are pretty small so touch-screen accuracy is key.

I recently read an article from Moto Development Group that confirmed there are significant mearsuable differences in the accuracy of the current touch screens on smartphones.  Watch the video below for details but the bottom line is the iPhone was most accurate followed by the HTC phones (the Nexus One and the Droid both Android devices) then came the Palm Pre, the Motorola Droid (almost a tie) and just a bit worse and rounding up the bottom the BlackBerry Storm 2.

I’m sure you will see these technologies improve fast as this was the first touch-screen for some of these companies but I can tell you from experience this is a pretty important part of your daily use.  Until next time…Max-out

Robot Touchscreen Analysis from MOTO Development Group on Vimeo.

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Mar 24

I just watched this video from the TED2010 and it is worth taking the time if you want a peek into maps of the future…BTW the future is actually here and you can experience  some of this new technology at The Latest Version of Bing Maps I love the new Bird’s Eye View which is taken at an angle for great 3-D “sim-city” type of effect.  Here’s a shot of downtown Denver using this effect, you can also rotate and of course zoom in and out to get more or less detail.  The real magic occurs with the integration of Flickr data and Photosynth (if you have not checked out Photosynth do so now) technology  into the maps themselves which give the maps so much more possible information as they actually overlay photos that you or consumers take (with Geocoded data) and upload to Flickr right into the maps.  Watch the video and pay attention about 5 minutes in and they demo LIVE video feeds on the map, and the fact that they have imagery INSIDE public buildings.  They do this by wearing a backpack camera and the effect is pretty impressive.  This kind of technology will change the way consumers experience neighborhoods and therefore the way they shop for real estate……Imagine embedding a Bing map into your website that has integrated geo-coded photos that you uploaded to Flickr so your clients get a compelling visual tour of that area…lots of possibilities.  BLOGGERS>>> check out how Bing is integrating local blog posts with The Local Lens App within the new Bing (just look at the bottom right corner of the Bing Map for “Map Apps”).  Watch the video…take a breath then play with some of these cool tools….Max

Downtown Denver

Birds Eye View

Blaise Agüera y Arcas is the architect of Bing Maps at Microsoft, building augmented reality into searchable maps. He’s also the co-creator of Photosynth

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Mar 15
Atlona AT-HDAir

Wireless video transmitter from PC to HDTV

Came across a pretty handy device called the Altona AT-HDAir ($219) that allows you to display what is currently on your PC to an HDTV (HDMI or VGA connections) within your real estate office with no cables.  It uses wireless technology to transmit whatever you are currently looking at on your PC (laptop or desktop) to an HDTV across the room, on the other side of your desk or even in a conference room next door (needs to be within 30 feet but can transmit through walls).  So I can imagine working with a client and either reviewing a contract or viewing properties on MLS/Realtor.com etc and how nice it would be to have your clients looking at a larger display of their own vs. looking over your shoulder or huddling around your laptop.  With the prices of HDTV’s continuing to drop you could pick up an HDTV monitor/display for anywhere between $149 and $500 depending on how large of a display you want.  Then simply put it on the desk next to you or better yet mount it on your office wall with a bracket that is adjustable and pull it out when you need it.

In the past this was available in lo-res but now it’s available in HD (720p) and it also will broadcast audio along with the video. You simply plug a small USB transmitter into your laptop/desktop PC (Windows only at this time) and then have the receiver located near your larger HDTV.

Or how about hooking this up to a large HDTV in your near-bye conference room so many agents could enjoy a webinar together?

By the way I will be having another advanced social networking webinar soon watch my fan page on Facebook for webinar announcements.

Max

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Mar 13

Ok I knew from the moment it was unveiled by Steve Jobs that I wanted one of these “giant iPhones” in my hands. So when the announcement came late Thursday that you could pre-order them on 3/12 I was up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to click the order button on Apple.com but then I was stuck with the dilemma of “which one?”  I mean there are lots of options 16gb, 32gb, 64gb, with and without 3G…..hmmmmm what to do.  Well here’s what I ended up ordering and why, not because it’s what I think is best, it’s just best for me.

First decision memory size – I chose the 32GB model mainly because I have had the 32GB version of the iPhone 3GS and have never had it more than 1/2 full with my normal usage which includes on average a 1,000 songs, 8 to 10 video podcasts, another 20 misc short videos and a movie or two that I rotate on and off the phone.  So 32GB seemed sufficient for my needs….I know it’s hard to not spring for the extra 32GB for just $100 bucks but hey, I got a hunch there will be an updated version of this baby within 6 to 9 months that will have a front facing video camera and some other cool feature so I thought I could rotate this one to my wife or one of my daughters and pick up the extra memory with new version of the iPad (which will most likely by 128GB by then as well).

Ok so now how about the 3G option…..well as much as I think the 3G would be very handy for quick connections to the web I went with the wi-fi only version for a couple reasons.

#1 I want this thing BAD and really couldn’t see myself waiting another month or so…I’m just being honest.

#2 I already have a mi-fi 2200 from Verizon wireless as my mobile broadband connection device.Verizon MiFi 2200 This device allows me to connect to the Verizon 3G data network then easily connect up to 5 devices to this device via wi-fi which means 5 devices can share a single 3G connection.  Although I rarely use more than one device connected to the MiFi it does give me some great flexibility.  I can use with multiple laptops/netbooks while traveling (sometimes my wife or one of my daughters will have there laptop and want to connect for email Facebook etc at the same time).  It also has allowed me to connect my iPhone wirelessly when the AT&T network is bad in a particular area.  I know someone will say “Yea but you pay more than you would if you bought the 3G service from AT&T for the iPad” yea I know but I already have this device and like the flexibility it offers so why pay for another 3G data connection.  I will just turn on my MiFi and connect my iPad through it to the web when a “true wi-fi” is not available near me.  So it’s the 32GB, wi-fi only model that I ordered.

I’m sure the tech savvy folks over at Tech Savvy Agent will be talking about this device quite a bit in the future as well.  I really feel it could be a “game-changer” for our industry if the right people step forward and develop great Real Estate related apps for it!

I will be posting a full review and lots of photos and video once I get it in my hot little hands…take care.

Max

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