Friday, November 16, 2012

No More Roaming Charges!

I like to blog about things that are relevant to me at the time I'm writing. As I am out of the country at this time, the most relevant technology to me, is communication. Specifically, avoiding outrageous roaming charges on our cell phones. Here are some options for you to consider next time you are out of your country or service area, to avoid roaming charges yet still keep in touch.

Computer Calling
Skype is one of my favourite tools. While on your computer, and connected to wi-fi,  you can video call your contacts for free. Face-to-face conversations are always better than just audio conversations. The person you are calling or who is calling you, needs to have a Skype account and be at their computer at the same time, so it is not as convenient as some some of the mobile apps we will cover below.  Telephone calls without video can be made through Skype for free in North America and low rates elsewhere in the world. The other party does not need to have a Skype account or be at their computer to receive these calls, and I use this tool often because of this. 

Google Calling 
Google Call is a service available to anyone who has a Google Account, which is most of us. The easiest way to access it is through GMail. Just as with Skype, you can make free video calls to anyone with a Google Account (who has set up video calling on their account) or free telephone calls to any phone number in North America. 

Mobile Calling
Buy a disposable phone. 
This is an option for those that use their phones mostly to  make calls and don't depend as much on the apps and other features on their smartphones.  For just making and receiving calls, this is a simple and inexpensive way to accomplish this. You can buy these basic phones just about anywhere including gas stations and grocery stores, with a  pay-as-you-go plan. 

iPhone Facetime
A video calling program that come installed with iPhones. Only works between iPhones and for most iPhones, wi-fi service is required.  Each service provider charges your data plan differently, so ask your service provider how you will be charged, if at all, to use Facetime. Some providers even support Facetime on the cellular network with the newest phones, so be sure to ask. Is usually best to use with contacts you already Facetime with.  You can receive Facetime calls as well as make them, which is a nice bonus.

Magic Jack App for Mobile Calling
Magic Jack is a free app that allow you to make free outgoing calls, when you are on wi-fi. This is a great option when you are staying a hotel or residence that has solid wi-fi, however, not all wi-fi's are created equal. It is a great tool to have in your quiver, but I would not depend on it as your sole communication option, as there is some patchy wi-fi service that makes your calls patchy. 

For Magic Jack, incoming calls can be received as well, as long as the caller knows the number to call and your specific code to enter afterwards. It is great for your collegues, office or partner to have this info, but a bit onerous to expect your clients to remember you have a new number and new process of calling you, while you are out of town. 

Install Skype for Mobile Calling
Skype for mobile calling is a great way to make free calls voice or video calls. It does not allow you to receive calls. Wi-fi is required or a minimum of 3G cell service, which is helpful when you are not in a wi-fi area. This is great for staying in touch for business, but there are many other ways people use this type of service. 
For example, I have a friend that was staying with us for a couple of days earlier in our  trip. He often travels, and likes to video call his wife and 3 year old daughter. He mentioned it was a way for him to be present at home even while traveling. He would take his iPAD to the restaurant where he was eating dinner and his wife would have the computer on the dinner table and they would have dinner together. The uses of today's technology are limited only by your personal needs and imagination.

Copyright 2012 Jessica Stoner

Thursday, October 18, 2012

iPAD Jam Session Results

Yesterday I attended the Women's Conference at the Calgary Real Estate Board and hosted an iPAD Jam Session. These are always very fun, interactive sessions where the participants learn from each other, as opposed to just the instructor.
The first App we discussed as a group was of course BUMP.
BUMP is the best way to share contact information with each other in groups. Download the App and then transfer your contact info, simply by fist bumping each other while holding your device.
A lot of laughing ensued as we learned how to fist bump properly, and then it was down to business.

Agents gathered in small groups to share their favourite apps with each other, or to share horror stories of Apps that they did NOT recommend!
The information below are many of the Apps that were discussed and shared.

Signing and PDF Mark Up
Both of these Apps are the bread and butter of a REALTOR's iPAD. Used to mark up and sign contracts.

PDF Expert
7 Votes
PDF Forms
2 Votes

Video and Photo
0 Votes
Video Editor
Video is more important than ever and the iPAD has excellent and simple recording capabilities. Get used to using video in your real estate business.

3 Votes
Easily send a video email to your clients. No saving video files, or attaching them as links etc.  Takes seconds.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DropBox for REALTORS

DropBox is one of the many online document storage programs available. All REALTORS should be using DropBox or another similar program such as Google Drive (formally Google Docs) or Any secure and reputable online document storage will do, and today we will be focusing specifically DropBox.

There are 5 main reasons DropBox is helpful to a REALTOR.
1. Store documents safely.
2. Easy access to all documents from anywhere.
3. Transfer documents to iPAD other device easily
4. Email links to files instead of sending files themselves. 
5. Post documents into a blog post.   

This is the first and most important reason to use DropBox. All REALTORS documents, contracts etc. should be digitally stored. This is far safer storage than any paper copy. It is behind a firewall, password protected, and backed up. There is no place for insecure, risky storage of paper documents in this day and age. All REALTORS and Brokerages should be storing their documents in secure online systems. 

REALTORS are mobile workers. We do our job in the field and we need to be able to access our documents easily from anywhere. It is simply a matter of getting into the habit of  putting ALL of your documents into your DropBox, so that it becomes your main file cabinet. If you are looking for a document,  you know you can find it in your DropBox. It takes some time to get into this new pattern. In the beginning it might even take longer, as you remember not to print the document, but to move it to DropBox instead. Eventually, it will become 2nd nature and much more effective for your day to day business.

DropBox is the easiest method to get documents onto on off of your iPAD or other smartphone or tablet device. It is possible to email yourself documents and open them on your iPAD, but that requires extra steps to open them, work on them and then save them in your DropBox. By moving them into DropBox from your computer, you elminate extras steps, at the same time, making finding the documents much easier in the future. Having your documents in your online file cabinet is far more organized than searching through past emails to find the document you sent to yourself several days ago. 
Again, it is just a matter of creating new patterns for yourself. It takes time so be patient. It will be worth the time and effort to establish your new DropBox patterns in your business. 

One of the most effective uses of DropBox is it's Public Folder. By putting large files such as high-resolution photos, or videos into your Public Folder, you may create a link to send to a client, instead of sending the large file. Simply right-click on a file in the Public Folder, click on "DropBox" and then click on "Copy Public Link" 
Now paste that link into your email and clients can view the file without having to wait for it to load. Your clients will appreciate the time savings for themselves as well as the lack of extra file clutter on their computer. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Google for REALTORS

Last Wednesday I hosted a  Google for REALTORS seminar, covering several Google tools that REALTORS should know about and use. This is an overview of what was covered. 

  • Google Chrome
  •  Google Alerts 
  • Google Trends
  • Gmail 
  • Google Docs 
  • Google Calendar  
  • Google Adblock 
  • iGoogle 
  • Google Talk 

Google Chrome

  • Is a Browser-You would use Google Chrome to use the Internet instead of Interface Explorer.  
  •  Loads webpages faster 
  •  Works better with the many Google tools

Google Alerts

  • Important function  
  • Everyone should set up some Google alerts 
  • Allows you to be notified when certain words (your name) appears on the Internet 
  • It is important to know when people or media is talking about you on the Internet.  
  • Be aware of posts quickly.  
  • Agents-set up search for your name, your brokerage, your competition, your neighbourhood you work in etc. 
  • Brokers-set up search for your name, your agents you want to keep tabs on online (ensure they post appropriate things, in appropriate ways), your brokerage name, your franchaise, your town or neighbourhood, etc 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

RealSign Pad

The RealSign Paperless signature pad, allows writing on and signing documents, without printing. This is an update from my blog post last year, where I reviewed this new tool. Since then, I use this pad everyday. The precious minutes I save, not having to print, scan, rename and refile documents makes me want to marry this device. That's how much I love it. 
View this updated info on the RealSign Pad. 

As I believe this pad is a tool every REALTOR should have, I have become an affiliate. Please contact me for order information.

Copyright 2011 Jessica Stoner

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Build Your Own App

Go to
Create an account
Then Click "Mobile"
Then Click "Make an App"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Create Your Own App
There is an app for EVERYTHING now!
Is there an app for your personal brand?
Many businesses today have apps to serve their clients and as a REALTOR, you are a business too.  Canada is one of the leading countries in smart phone use. Your clients use their smart phone or iPAD to access information daily. When your clients are on their smart phones and iPADS, you can be on there too!

Join us for a 1 hour workshop covering:
  • how to create your own app
  • what content to include and
  • how to share it with your clients and potential clients

Have your personalized app created before you leave the session. 
  • Bring your laptop 
  • Bring the username and passwords for your: Blog, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or Picasa account. 

Register now to reserve your space.  Licensed Real Estate Agents only please. 
Register for Create Your Own App for REALTORS in Calgary, AB  on Eventbrite

Event starts at 5:00PM.
Wednesday Feb 8th, 2012
Hosted at RE/MAX iREALTY Innovations
555-11th Ave SW, Calgary

Copyright 2011 Jessica Stoner