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By Lavance L. Northington, MBA

RISMEDIA, Sept. 24, 2008-To compete successfully in today’s volatile real estate market, you need an edge. Not long ago, computers and laptops provided that edge. Today, agents depend on mobile devices such as BlackBerry smartphones, which combine wireless Internet access, data access, and voice and e-mail communications.

According to a recent WAV Group Smartphone Satisfaction Survey of real estate professionals:

• 78% agreed that smartphones made them more responsive to their clients.
• 60% replied that smartphones were a distinct competitive advantage in securing new
clients.
• 80% said providing better client care helped them build referral networks and maintain
repeat customers.
• 80% stated that smartphones helped them enhance their personal brand.

The WAV Group Survey also detailed that smartphone users sell more real estate, on average, than non-smartphone users.

In today’s world of instant access, most home buyers expect responses within 60 minutes.

It’s that same desire for instant access that has slowed the industry’s adoption of mobile MLS search. The traditional browser-based applications have been too tedious and unfriendly.

So what should you expect from a mobile MLS subscription service:

• Client Side Installation – The service application should reside on the deck of your smartphone for instant and easy access. You should not have to open an Internet browser every time you want to launch the application. Having to launch a browser makes use extremely cumbersome, slow and unlikely.

• True Point and Click Technology – In the time it takes to type in an address and search criteria on traditional browser based mobile applications, an agent using true point and click technology will have already identified a home, looked at the property detail and obtained turn-by-turn directions to the home from the point he is standing. It’s like replacing a Model T car with a Lamborghini.

• GPS Technology – MLS data should be geo coded in a manner that allows you to search for home listings based on GPS coordinates. In addition, you should have one click access to turn-by-turn directions to a home listing from any location.

• Business Directory – You should be able to browse millions of businesses nationwide.

With the use of GPS technology, agents should be able to browse for the closest businesses in a particular category or simply type a specific name (e.g., a restaurant) into the business directory. The smartphone should not only display all restaurants near the user or it’s specific location, but it should also supply turn-by-turn directions and one click calling to contact the business if desired.

In an attempt to help industry professionals become more responsive and professional, Realtykast, through a partnership with AT&T and BlackBerry®, is offering a free GPS-enabled BlackBerry smartphone to licensed agents nationwide. Add a mobile MLS service such as Clutch AgentTM from Realtykast, and the power of your MLS will follow your every move. Clutch AgentTM keeps your phone updated with the MLS listings that are closest to your exact location. If you change your location, then the listings dynamically change as your location
changes…and it’s all in the palm of your hand.

If a client wishes to review new listings or see others in their area, a real estate professional using Clutch AgentTM on a blackberry smartphone can complete the search, identify those homes that may be of interest and contact the listing agent to receive access to the house – all without returning to the office, according to Paolo DeNarda, senior Business Development Manager at Research In Motion (RIM). “MLS search capabilities, like those offered by Realtykast, increase the value of the BlackBerry solution by allowing realtors to better respond to their customer needs,” DeNarda continued.

“Better responsiveness will save everyone time and keep clients engaged.”

So does increased responsiveness really give you a competitive edge? Consider a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®: 78% of respondents stated they chose to work with the first agent to respond with information, 28% selected the second respondent, and almost no one chose the third. Which will you be?

With Clutch AgentTM you have the ability to show properties anytime, anywhere… during dinner, at a cocktail party or at the grocery store. Never again have to say “I’ll get back to you” because your office is always with you.

Lavance L. Northington is CEO of Realtykast, which provides mobile technology for real estate professionals. The company’s flagship product, Clutch AgentTM, provides GPS enhanced, real-time access to MLS data at any time, anywhere, via BlackBerry smartphones. They have launched Beta services in the Boston Area.

For more information, e-mail lavance@realtykast.com.

192.168.100.55