September 8, 2010

Google

For all you “Google” people that aren’t really “Google” people… at least that is what you tell me when I remind you on my CELL phone that I am on the “DO NOT CALL LIST” and that I have already asked to be removed from your list…

I AM NOT INTERESTED IN PAYING YOU TO INCREASE TRAFFIC TO MY WEBSITE!!!

It is frustrating that so many of you are using my website to “prospect” me. 

Please stop making comments on my posts that just tell me what  you can do to increase the traffic to my site,

Please stop stop making comments just so you can advertise your own websites,

and

Please stop calling me to tell me how you can increase the traffic to my website.

So, let’s see how many of you are actually reading my blog… you always tell me you are …

Filed under: Blogroll,Community,Personal,Technology — Susan @ 6:56 am




October 1, 2009

New Keybox for Utah County REALTORS®

Insist your agent use this keybox!

Insist your agent use this keybox!

Utah County has changed their Lockbox system recently and even though I’ve written on this subject already, I want to write again to stress the importance of this issue.

Utah County Association of REALTORS® (UCAR) has switched from using Risco to Supra boxes. These boxes are what we agents use to store the key to the home so that other agents can bring their buyers by our listings for showings when the buyers are not home.

This makes it more convenient to get more showings on a home, increasing the likelihood of the home sellling.
(A home will not sell if buyers can’t see it.)

I noticed a trend when we switched our system last time. Many homes that I took buyers to for showings did not have the UCAR approved boxes. Too many agents were choosing to use a cheaper “contractors” box that can be easily purchased at home improvement stores. These boxes can be opened by using a 4 digit number code. Agents that want to show these homes must call and get the code from the agent or sometimes these agents publish the code on the internet so we can get access. Once the code is learned, the home can be entered as often as desired and the listing agent may not know how many times the home has been showed by the same buyer’s agent.

Also, there have been documented cases around the country where the wrong people get access, somehow, to these “contractor” box codes and homes are being robbed and even gutted in some cases. Often, an agent has mulitple listings and uses the same code on all of them. Once one home is violated, several more usually follow.

The new approved Supra boxes store the key securely, can only be accessed by REALTORS® who own a computerized code key, keep a record of who uses the key to gain access to the home, and electronically informs the agent that his/her listing has been entered.

If your agent is not using the approved Supra boxes, you are not getting the necessary information about the number of showings on your home, and your valuables and your home are at risk! You should insist that your agent get a Supra box and use it for your home.  

If you are considering hiring an agent to sell your home, ask him/her if he/she uses the Supra keyboxes.

If they do not, that should be reason enough to consider using a different agent to list your home.





September 10, 2009

UCAR Tech Fair…never too late to learn.

computer-frustrationI’ve been involved with  the UCAR Tech Fair for several years now. I was the committee chair last year which was fun. This year, it is even more fun to be just a committee member. The event is coming up after another year of hard work and I am looking forward to it.

I never considered myself a “Techie” person. In fact, I’ve always said I am computer illiterate but after doing the Tech Fair three years running, I realize how techie illiterate so many other people are, and amazingly, I am sometimes the one that seems to have the answers.

Ok, I’m not going to be too full of myself. There will always be people like Rod Fife, Harry
Rodas, and many others on these committees with me that are just so…well, far more advanced than I am or ever will be. Thank goodness!

I just had a conversation today with a member of my church and offered myself to help the seemingly many other women in my church that seem to really struggle with the most basic aspects of technology. I surprise myself to find, me of all people, feeling confident enough to offer to teach a few classes on the basics. I don’t know what will come of my offer but I felt strongly that it is important for us to know some of these things to enhance our lives.

Three years ago, it would have never happened. It feels good to know that this old dog can still learn a few new tricks…, then be willing to teach them to others.  It’s never too late to learn.

Filed under: Blogroll,Community,Humor,Personal,Technology — Susan @ 9:53 pm




April 30, 2009

Interesting Chain-Mail

car-thief

 Every now and then, I get emails from friends about some new idea that we are all supposed to be aware of. I can usually tell the ones that are a hoax because of the way they tug at your emotions. My belief is that if an issue is important enough, we recognize the severity of the situation without the emotional manipulation.

However, these emails seem to yank on the emotional chords to get the job done. The following story is the latest “warning” I recieved. It was forwarded to me and I could see the dozens of other email addresses that the ‘breaking news’ had been sent to, which is typically the case.

I wonder who, what type of person, sits around thinking of these things. Do they think they are just being clever? Do they get a thrill out of causing alarm?  It makes me curious. Maybe in heaven, we will finally get the answers to all of these perplexing questions.

This is the latest email. Have you seen it?

 

Beware folks. This is news you can use. (Emotion)

THIS HAS BEEN CHECKED ON SNOPES (Notice the authenticity?)

My oldest son came over yesterday- he had to go to Canada for work last
week.
One of the other engineer’s traveling to Canada with him, but in his own
car had something happen…that I need to share. (always a second-hand story)

While traveling he stopped at the roadside park, similar to what we have
here with bathrooms, vending machines etc. (so many details, must be true!)

He came out to his car less than 4-5
minutes later and found someone had gotten into his car, and stolen his cell
phone, laptop (annoying advertisment) computer, gps navigator, briefcase…..you name it.

They called the police and since there were no signs of his car being broke
into- the police told him that there is a device that robbers are using now
to clone your security code when you lock your doors on your car using your
key-chain locking device..  (the bad news always comes
from the police because we all know, they are in the know)

They sit a distance away and watch for their next victim. Since they know
you are going inside a store, restaurant, or bathroom and have a few
minutes 
(read below to see how long it really takes) to steal and run.
The police office said…to be sure to manually lock
your car door-by hitting the lock button inside the car, that way if there is
someone setting in a parking lot watching for their next victim it will not be
you.

When you hit the lock button on your car upon exiting…it does not send
the security code, but if you walk away and use the door lock on your key chain
- it sends the code thru the airwaves where it can be stolen.

I just wanted to let you know about this…it is something totally new to
us…and this is real…  (Really, really real?? Can’t you just feel the desperation?) it just happened
this past Thursday June19th to his co-worker…
(what year? This email has actually been circulating for years)

So be aware of this and please pass this note on..  (share the panic) look how many times we all
lock our doors with our keys… (everyone does this so everyone can be a victim
even though not one of us has had it happen to us or heard of it happening to anyone we
know. It is such a huge problem, yet the news has never mentioned it. What is wrong with the media?) 
How many times do we hit the lock button on the way into the store? Just to be sure we remembered to lock
them….and bingo the guys have our code…and whatever was in the car…can be
gone.

Keep safe everyone!

 

Ok, so  I added a few commentaries in the story. I did a little research on how prevelant this problem is. I found another version of this story which actually included the police officer’s name…he is a promient officer in the area. The reporter contacted the officer and was told:

                                   Please be advised that this is a hoax. We are requesting the public to please not further distribute this email because it could lead to further misunderstanding. 
                           Cst. Wally Henry,  Strathcona County Detachment,  Media Liaison/Community Policing Unit

This account added a personal touch before the same story, not typical:

I locked my car — as I walked away I heard my car door unlock I went back and locked my car
again three times. I looked around and there were two guys sitting in a car in the fire lane next to the store.
When I looked straight at them they did not unlock my car again. That’s when I found out about…

More research and I found that while the technology does exist to grab the wireless transmission out of the air when you ‘click’ your remote, it still requires a very sophisticated computer and takes over an hour for the fastest computers to decipher the correct code from the millions of transmissions flying through the air at any given moment due to algorithms the manufactures use in the codes. (Don’t ask me what that means). So these accounts of immediate de-coding are just not possible yet; the technology does not exist, as far as I could find.

The researchers that are doing the experimentation on this still do not believe it is a problem because of the technology required.  The fact that the process takes so long will be a major deterent…a thief’s best friend is time; 
he wants to get in, get out as fast as possible, to steal as many cars as possible in a small amount of time. For car robberies, they are still looking for a fast snatch. So, to date, this is not a problem the authorities…or anyone (except those tricked into forwarding these emails) is really concerned about.

I am glad I could clear that up. 

 

Filed under: Community,Humor,Real Estate,Technology — Susan @ 9:53 am




November 26, 2008

“Virtual Tours”

 

I have been doing a lot of MLS searches for clients lately.  I find myself bothered that so many agents are now using the “virtual tour” products.  I think these are a very nice feature, but I find myself getting very frustrated when trying to just do a quick search for my clients. 

They take such a l…o…n…g t…i…m…e to load and then, I don’t want to watch a 15 minute video.  I want to get in, look at a few pics, and get out–get back to my search. 

There are so many different virtual tour products out there now that I have a hard time finding the “just interior pics” on each one.  I was using one today that I finally found the pics I could snap through, but it kept flipping me back to the beginning.  I wanted to scream. 

I keep hearing that sellers love the virtual tours.  It makes them feel like their agent is doing a “better” job. 
I hear that other agents hate them. 

What I need to know is, DO BUYERS LIKE THEM???

I believe that buyers are like me.  When they are looking initially, they want to get in and out, fast.  

THEN, when they find an interesting home, they want to see more of that home, hence; that is when, and only then, do they want to take the time waiting for the virtual tour to load and to take 15 minutes to watch the camera pan slowly around 12 rooms.

Please give me your input on this one.  Someone should commission a poll.

My vote is:  Have 2 options on the MLS–the quick, 12, scroll down version that the MLS provides
and
a virtual tour choice. 

Then buyers and agents can choose the version that fits their time schedule best. 





October 20, 2008

Referrals

 

Utah County is my area of expertise because I live here, do business here and have become familiar with the local market.   I have taken listings in other parts of Utah.   When I do, I enlist the help of a local agent to make up for my lack of knowledge in that city and to help facilitate the transaction due to my lack of proximity.  I have been asked by other agents from other cities in Utah to help sell listings in Utah County. 

I have referred friends, family and clients to agents around the country when I could not personally help them.   Agents network together in many cases when they have clients that need assistance in areas outside their expertise.  So, don’t automatically assume that because your favorite agent does not live where you are planning to move, that he/she cannot help you.  We have tools and network systems that help us help you find a compatible agent in a localitly you may not be familiar with. 

If you are planning to move out of the area, ask your favorite agent to refer you to a reputable agent in that area.  The odds of finding a good fit and having a pleasant transaction are greather if you do.  The best part is that it wont cost you extra to do so.  Agents are usually willing to work out a referral fee among themselves. 

If you are a buyer, using an agent is typically free since the seller usually pays the commission. 

I have had friends and family that will tell their local agent, “I’ll let you sell my house if you give my agent, Susan Jackson, in Utah, a referral fee.”   I have yet to run into an agent that refuses to take business because of a referral fee. 

The advantage of doing this is that it is like hiring two agents for the price of one.  I have had several agents from around the country thank me for my ideas and input on getting a home sold.   

Filed under: Buying,Real Estate,Selling,Technology — Susan @ 11:18 am




October 15, 2008

Technology in Business

I recently got a new laptop.  I have wanted one for a while but kept putting it off.  Now that I have it, I can’t imagine how I functioned without it.  I am so caught up on things now that I can work when I want to instead of having to wait  until I get to my computer. 

I was the Chairman of the Utah County Association of REALTORS® Tech Fair this year.  I thought it ironic all year that I was the chairman of the Tech Fair???  I laughed when I  was asked to do it.  I have never considered myself a “techie” person.  I know some really “techie” people and I think I was intimidated by their knowledge.  But, after working on this project all year, I surprised myself at how much I really do know and use in my business.  The most eye-opening experience is that I discovered there are people out there that know and use less than I.  I would not have believed that before. 

So, while there are still those people that will always know more than I about technology and how to make it work for them, I no longer feel like a tech idiot.  I used to say that I was technologically illiterate, now, I have taken inventory on how much I do know and use.  I will never be as knowledgeable as some, but taking inventory of what technology I do use has boosted my confidence and I can see how it adds value to my business. 

My advise to other agents out there:  Don’t be intimidated because you don’t know how.  Ask for help.  The members of my committee that would have normally intimidated me, were more than willing to help me with what I did not understand.  They were helpful, not judgmental. 

There are many great technology tools out there that can enhance your business.  You have to use them, however, for them to work.

I want to thank the members of my committee.  You all did a great job.  I think that this Tech Fair was the best one to date as far as content and quality.   I think the market this year has taken it’s toll on the morale of many agents and thus, the disappointing attendance.  

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Community,Personal,Real Estate,Technology — Susan @ 9:44 am




April 8, 2008

Technology and Real Estate

istocktechnology.jpg I am the Chairman for the 2008  Utah County Association of REALTORS® Tech Fair.  This is ironic since I am really not very “tech-savvy.”  I was told that they asked me because of my organizational skills which is the reason I agreed to take the position.  Had they not explained that, I may have been too intimidated and declined their request.  I may not be tech savvy but I am sure I can organize a conference.  (I hope). 

This will be the third Tech Fair in Utah County in as many years.  The first was great and the second one even better.  I personally have learned valuable information that has helped me to improve my service.  I am looking forward to the next one that will, hopefully, be just as valuable and informative to the attending agents in Utah County and any that attend from other areas. 

My purpose in writing on this subject today is that I am wondering if anyone, any REALTORS®, that may stumble across this post, are using any form of technology that they feel has enhanced their business.  I would be interested to hear what you have used or found that has been a benefit to you.  If you have ideas or experience on this matter, please contact me or just post a comment to this blog post.  Your feedback would be very useful to me and my committee. 

I was also wondering, as a REALTOR®, which phone you use.  I use a Treo Palm and it seems that many agents use this same phone.  However, this may just be that I notice it more than others because I do use it myself.  I would like to get an idea of which phone is most popular among our peers.  I found someone that teaches an excellent class on the Treo Palm and Windows versions.  I found it very informative and valuable and would like to search for other teachers that may teach other phones if those models are more popular. 

I hope this post will get a big response as more feedback is always better.  Thanks

Filed under: Blogroll,Community,Personal,Real Estate,Selling,Technology — Susan @ 4:17 pm