Viewing by month: June 2010

Working from the car - tips for creating a mobile office

It is an undeniable fact of the real estate industry that as agents, you are going to be out of the office and on the road a fair bit.  Whether you are on your way to work, travelling between your various listings or visiting potential clients, your car can become a bit of an office out of the office.

Being that so much time is spent in the car, it can often be in the best interests of busy real estate agents to turn your otherwise wasted travel time into productive workable hours.  With a little bit of time and effort, you can create a mobile office within your automobile. 

The first step is to embrace the various essentials that have the potential to make your life much easier.  A GPS system will allow you to map out your route with ease, removing the need for a map book and the time it takes to read it.   

Have a look at the various accessories available for use with your mobile phone.  A dock that can be attached to a surface in the car, as well charging your phone, is highly recommended.  This saves you the hassle of your phone running out of battery, or of not being able to find it while driving. 

A Bluetooth system for your car is also worth considering.  While Bluetooth headsets are quite common, a system that remains in the car often proves easier to manage.  Once enabled to connect to your phone automatically, every time you step into your car your hands free system will be ready to go. 

Keeping a laptop in the car with you will enable you to use free moments to work on projects.  You may want to make a few quick changes to a presentation or type up some notes on a meeting.  If you arrive at a destination early, or finish up more quickly than expected, you can make use this time.  Investing in a wireless USB Internet service will give you Internet and Email connectivity without having to rely on a Wi-Fi network.  

Although it may seem quite obvious, try to remember to keep a few pens in your car, as well as a notebook on which to take quick notes after important conversations (once you’ve pulled over).  Also try to keep all relevant marketing materials on hand, such as property brochures. 

When it comes to the actual car itself, real estate agents should remember that your car makes a statement about you as an agent.  This doesn’t mean that you have to have the newest, most expensive of cars, but it does mean that you should make an effort to keep it clean and well-maintained. 

Maintaining a mobile office can be a challenge and it can be hard to adjust to the management of projects and relationships whilst being constantly on the road.  However, if you can put in place an efficient system that works for you, the benefits to your business of utilizing the often wasted hours in the car could make quite a sizeable difference to your success as an agent.   


3 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 29/06/2010 at 5:03 PM | Categories:

Balancing work with life

Pursuing a career as a real estate agent can be hugely rewarding and satisfying.  However it is not uncommon to find yourself working long hours while dealing with pressure and stress.  Ultimately, your career, whatever it may be, is a very important part of your life and you must devote time to it, however so too is your life outside of work.  Your family, friends, health and other personal needs should be given time also.  So how does it all come together? It’s called juggling. 

Being organized is an essential trait for anybody who leads a busy life.  Calendars and diaries are your tools for keeping on top of things.  A great way to juggle work and play is to set your diary down in front of you, taking a moment to consider how you spend your time currently, and what you’d like to be doing more of.  You are now in a position to plan ahead, and by doing so you have the ability to manage your time much more effectively. 

The first group to consider is your family.  Your marital status is not hugely important here – let’s look at family as those people who are closest and most important to you.  These people deserve your whole-hearted time and attention, as you do theirs.  Try to co-ordinate your diary with those around you, i.e. your spouse, partner, and parents, and agree on the quality ways in which you will spend time together.  Planning weekend trips away, or a weekly date night can help to draw your mind away from the office and ensure that your quality time is well spent.  

In any job, your health is a fundamental aspect that you must consider.  Things like stress, malnourishment and lack of sleep may have a significant impact on the way you do your work, and your superiors and clients could notice that you are not performing at your best.

People are often amazed at the profound effect paying attention to daily activities such as eating, exercise and sleeping can have on your general well-being.  Taking the time to consider these activities properly could enable you to better deal with stress, helping you to increase productivity at work.

Try to use your diary to schedule exercise and keep these appointments with yourself.  Even if it is just a twenty minute walk three times per week, exercise can help to clear your head and refocus.  For those who are not used to regular exercise it can be hard to get yourself into a habit.  Try not to break your exercise appointments and perhaps have a goal (such as weight loss or time taken for a certain distance) to keep yourself motivated. 

If you can, try to establish a regular bed time each night.  Obviously on some evenings you will need to work late or attend a function, however a reasonably regular routine can help to regulate your body clock, enabling you to sleep soundly during the night and be wide awake while working. 

Non-related, personal time is important to build into your life.  Use this time to do anything you want – be it reading a magazine or relaxing on the couch in front of a movie.  Allow yourself to step away from your mobile phone or computer and enjoy a break from the demands of others.   Even if these breaks are simply for a few minutes here and there, try to plan them into your lifestyle and make sure you enjoy them. 

Many people find that juggling the important areas of life can be a simple process.  And the benefits to your working life can be tremendous.  These include greater productivity and the ability to deal with stress much more easily, changes which will be noticed by your superiors and your clients. 

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 28/06/2010 at 10:03 AM | Categories:

Tips on Reducing Petrol Consumption

As a real estate agent, spending a lot of time driving from property to property often consumes a large amount of your time and resources.  Petrol can therefore become a significant expense for any real estate business.   

Requiring only a small amount of effort, the following suggestions are aimed at helping you as an agent, or as a business owner, reduce your daily petrol consumption. 

1.    Plan Ahead
Avoid known trouble spots or active road works when driving to your destination.
Tip:  Listen to traffic reports to help arrange your route accordingly.

2.    Do not speed
Your car is most efficient when you reach the highest gear at the lowest speed.
Tip: Wherever possible use cruise control to maintain a constant speed.

3.    Reduce use of air conditioning
The constant use of climate controlled air conditioning will lead to excess fuel consumption
Tip: Use air conditioning only where necessary, otherwise revert to opening windows for cool air, or dress warmly.

4.     Service your car
Regular maintenance is extremely important in keeping your car fuel efficient.
Tip: Plan ahead by writing services into your yearly calendar. 

5.    Use the correct gear
Choosing the right gear will help reduce fuel consumption
Tip: Aim to change gears as soon as possible to reach a high gear. Automatic transmissions will change gears quicker if you ease on acceleration.

6.    Check tyre pressure
Under-inflated tyres increase petrol consumption whilst reducing the tyres life.
Tip: Check tyres monthly to ensure tyres are properly inflated and aligned as per directions in your car’s manual.

7.    Do not rev engine unnecessarily
Revving pointlessly, or accelerating quickly uses a lot of petrol.
Tip: Gliding towards red lights or stop signs will reduce draining the engine.

8.    Minimise drag
The more aerodynamic your car, the less petrol it consumes.
Tip: Remove heavy items from the boot, and keep windows closed when travelling at high speeds.

9.    When possible turn off your engine
If safe, when stuck idle in traffic, turn off your car’s engine.
Tip: Restarting your engine equates to ten seconds worth of idling.

10.    Replace air filter when dirty
Driving with a dirty or clogged air filter can increase your vehicle’s petrol consumption.
Tip: It will take less than ten minutes to change your air filter. Seek assistance if required.

Now that you are aware of some simple tips to help reduce your petrol consumption whilst maximising your vehicle’s mileage, driving to those house inspections should no longer be such a monetary drain on you and your company.  Moreover your new actions will be kinder to the environment, reducing your green house gas emissions and contribution to global warming.

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 23/06/2010 at 10:01 AM | Categories:

How to Reduce the Risk of Theft at an Open House

Open inspections are an open invitation to anyone! It is important to take precautions to help ensure the safety of the resident’s property as well as the agent and prospective buyers themselves.

Whilst in most cases open inspections are quite straightforward, security measures should always be put in place at an open house.  Going through these with the seller (your client) and making suggestions about steps they can take to reduce their risk, will help to assure them that you have the situation under control. 

Here are some simple suggestions to help make your open house as risk-free as possible.

•    Hide all valuables and medications
It is strongly advised that you encourage your client to lock loose valuable items in a safe place away from the premises until sold. A good suggestion is for your client to rent a safety deposit box – under short term circumstances some banks offer them for free.

•    Remove all forms of identity
To reduce potential identity fraud put away all traces of bills, bank statements and credit card receipts. For privacy reasons it is also suggested you tell your client to remove personal photos, especially if they are a public figure or celebrity.

•    Peek inside big bags

If you feel you have a suspicious situation there is nothing wrong with kindly asking a person to show you what is inside their large bag.  Try to be professional and confident in your request - your intentions to prevent theft are good and most people should happily comply.

•    Show photo ID

If your client is concerned about the prospect of total strangers in their home, you may wish to offer piece of mind by requesting each prospective property buyer shows photo identification (the details of which you duly note down) before entering the house.

•    By Appointment only

It is not uncommon to conduct all inspections by appointment only. Personally escorting the potential buyer through each room will allow you to control the situation and their actions to a much greater extent.

•    Having the seller present

If your client is uncomfortable there is always the option of them being present during the open house.   Alternatively, it could be suggested that a friend of the seller attends.

Such simple safety measures can be an effective way to protect your open house.  Your use of them can reflect well on you as an agent, and will instil confidence in your client.   Be an agent who respects the privacy and safety of your client.

1 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 23/06/2010 at 10:00 AM | Categories: