Running on Real Estate for July 10

These days, connecting and staying connected is all about technology. It's all about people and how we connect. And real estate is no exception.

My, how things have changed in what seems like a very short time. No secret here, the past few years presented a challenging real estate market for buyers and sellers, and real estate professionals. But while real estate hit a slump, technology continued to advance. There's a whole lot that's new, particularly the amazing technology tools now available at our fingertips

Gone are the days of connecting with our sphere of influence by mailing a postcard. Sure, this still works, but today's best practices are faster, electronic and arguably more effective. Plus, our efforts are trackable. Press send, and in an instant, a digital newsletter populates the inboxes of our entire database. We can watch the numbers increase as our contacts open their mail and forward it to several more of their friends, exponentially increasing the number of eyeballs that view our message and are reminded of our name.

We are able to present listing packages on our iPads, pull up available apartments on our smart phones, and download a multitude of apps that help us do our jobs better. The most effective real estate agents tend to be the most responsive. Today's digital world has increased the intensity to stay connected and responsive at all times. We've gone from leaving voicemail messages to sending instant messages with the expectation of an immediate response. If we fail to hear back from a client right away, we assume our systems network is down and call our tech guy in panic. What else could it possibly be?

Perhaps the most powerful technology in use now, whether we like it or not, is social media and videos. It's not enough to simply have a network. We've got to tell everyone what we know, what we are up to, and where we are on a regular and informative basis. Forget the static online bio, we've got to engage our clients and potential clients with movement and interaction. Thank YouTube for this.

But why? Because no matter our feelings, opinions and fears, technology is here to stay, for real. Either we as real estate professionals choose to embrace and adopt it, stay relevant, and succeed. Or we completely reject it, and lose out on business. No matter what generation we represent, we need to figure out how to create a FourSquare account, manage our LinkedIn page, populate Pinterest, and post on Google Plus, among a multitude of other social media outlets. It helps us remain competitors, not just participants, in practicing real estate. Successfully.

As always, real estate is about people. It's about bringing together the right buyer and seller, or renter and landlord, for the best possible outcome for both parties. Technology is about people too. It's global reach allows us the luxury to, in an instant, connect far beyond our networks in Brooklyn or Manhattan to international buyers, sellers and renters anywhere in the world. This is the technology we have at our fingertips. I'd give it a thumbs up.

On the Run

Where oh where have the homestagers gone? Having worked in real estate in San Francisco, most sellers' agents insist on professionally staging each property with the intent it helps increase its value and ultimate sales price. Staging seems a scarcity in New York real estate. I realize the two markets are very different, as are the state laws and industry practices. However, a little staging goes a long way.

My pet peeve is to walk into an open house and find family photos throughout. Staging 101: remove personal effects such as the framed wedding photo on the bedroom dresser and the kids' finger paintings from the fridge. I want to see less clutter and more of the property. I want to imagine my stuff in the rooms, with the possibility of living there. But I'm not in Kansas (San Francisco) any more. When in New York, do as New Yorkers do.

Karen Monroe practices real estate at Coldwell Banker Bellmarc Realty at the Gramercy Chelsea office at 48 West 22nd Street. She lives and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn Heights. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at [email protected].