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Commentary by Key Yessaad

RISMEDIA, June 14, 2008-Agents are always asking me which laptop is the best that a real estate professional should purchase. I always tell them that it should be the cheapest you can get your hands on. But let me explain. There are a few things that will make you a savvy laptop buyer and the good news is that competition is fierce.

1. Think of your laptop as a disposable tool and that may not last you more than three years. That being said, buying an extended warranty is waste for the most part-just ask the experts.
2. Shop around and avoid impulse buying. When setting out to shop, keep your budget between $600 and $800, giving yourself 2 to 3 weeks in lead time since models go on sale all the time. If you have a trusty IT in-house do consult with him.
3. I am a Mac-Geek and I love Apple, but if you want to become the coolest complainer about why certain features don’t work properly with your MLS, Forms Software, GIS Software, etc… then get a Mac. It’s also important to consider that you will have to increase your budget, as the cheapest acceptable MacBook is $1,300+.
4. Base memory is what you need the most of-2GB of RAM is the minimum. Most systems are sold with base memory of 512MB or 1GB – make sure you are upgraded to 2GB and for free; most will throw it in to make the sale. Of course 3 to 4GB would be ideal but not necessary.
5. Storage: 60, 80, 120GB – it’s all the same-you will not need more than that. Don’t spend any more money to get more storage – unlike RAM very few of you will ever fill an 80GB Hard Drive.
6. Screen size. A 15.4″ widescreen is the norm. I don’t recommend 14″ screens unless you are going for a sub-notebook and you want the lightest laptop. 17″ would be nice but tend to be too bulky and not easy to carry around.
7. An Intel Celeron M or Intel Core 2 Duo of any flavor is fine – going for high speed in GHz will not make a difference in your day-to-day work. Buying Mhz will mean nothing in your day-today operations – but RAM does (see #4).
8. CD/DVD burners normally come standard. These drives allow you to burn your documents to a CD or DVD on a regular basis.
9. Laptops come with built-in wireless network chips. You should not have to pay more for this and make sure it is built-in.
10. Ask for Windows Vista Home Premium at a minimum. Vista Home Basic is absolutely not adequate, in my opinion.
11. You should not spend more than $800 for the aggregate. A good deal would be $600 or less; and yes you can find them.
12. What brand should you get is a different story – you decide. I usually look for deals from Dell, HP, Toshiba, & even Sony (expensive for the most part).
13. Don’t share your computer with other people. If you keep your laptop focused on your real estate business, you will have a tendency to have fewer risks of viruses and less conflicts due to change of settings. The less hands the better. If you have kids it is best to have a home computer for them that you monitor and have parental software on. Don’t let your kids use your real estate laptop-they will reconfigure the settings with their own tricks.
14. Spend an extra $50 and buy a wireless mouse – it will make your life on the road easier.
15. “But wait, my tech friend says I should not buy a Vista-based laptop.” If you don’t have to buy a laptop right away then wait, but if you are in the market most come pre-configured with Vista. As long as you don’t install legacy software you will be fine.

Always consult with your local tech/IT professional-they really know a lot about this stuff.

You are now ready, so let’s sell some real estate!

Copyright (c) 2008 – Written by Key Yessaad, CFO / Web Trainer of Exit Homeplace Realty.

Key Yessaad is the CFO / Web Trainer for Exit Realty in Wilmington, North Carolina. Yessaad, with the help of colleagues, oversees four offices in the Cape Fear Region in Wilmington, Hampstead, Burgaw, and Jacksonville. Yessaad works with over 100 agents and is dedicated to training them manage and enhance their transactions on the Web.