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Wanna get more business? There’s an app’ for that

REBNY is hosting a seminar on how to run your business with apps.
REBNY is hosting a seminar on how to run your business with apps.

By Holly Dutton

Veteran real estate agent Corinne Pulitzer has always branded herself as “a trusted real estate expert.” Today, though, she stands out for a different reason.

After 27 years in the business, the Douglas Elliman agent is part of a senior establishment that is proving you are never to long in the tooth to learn something new.

As far back as 2007, three years after Facebook was invented, Pulitzer was using the pioneering social network as part of her business development.

CORRINE PULITZER
CORRINE PULITZER

She soon added Twitter and then LinkedIn became a bigger part of her business, too. These days, Pulitzer’s iPhone has apps that utilize StreetEasy and PropertyShark. She uses Open Home Pro-available for iPadand purchased through on iTunes to help manage her open house registration and client follow up and recommends Nest to her buyers – it allows you to turn heat and A/C on and off from your phone.

“I embraced online apps and that type of technology because it reinforced my brand image,” said Pulitzer. “It’s a changing world. These tools and apps are a good opportunity for the real estate professional to really jump in and do their thing.”

With the influx of trendy real estate gadgets in an increasingly digital world, residential brokers are embracing technology more than ever before.

Next month, the Real Estate Board of New York is answering demand for more help form agents who want to get their heads around the issue with a seminar hosted by strategist and coach, Renee Fishman called, “Running your Business from Apps: Essential Tools for Today’s Agent.ˮ

RENEE FISHMAN
RENEE FISHMAN

Fishman, an award-winning associate broker at Halstead Property, recalled, “When the first iPhone was released, I already had a vision for how I wanted to use it in my business

“For example, I wanted to create something where people could sign into my open house electronically so it could be more organized and easier to read. Even though apps like that exist now, not all of them work the way you might want them to.

“I really look at apps from a different perspective, and the feedback I’ve gotten from agents is that what I’ve shared with them is really helpful.”

A licensed attorney and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Law School, Fishman said she has always been motivated by a desire to elevate the standard of the profession.

“I don’t consider what we do to be a ‘sales job.’ I consider us to be coaches, guides, and mentors to people who are going through the transition of moving,ˮ she said.

“It’s an emotional time for them, and a very big deal. I focus on how we can better serve our clients and at the same time, create more flexibility for ourselves in a business that could easily be 24/7.

“The ability to work effectively from anywhere is a core component of creating meaningful relationships and providing exceptional service to clients.ˮ

The seminar Fishman is leading will demonstrate how other agents can make their lives easier through new technologies and apps.

“My primary outcome is not simply to be paperless or embrace technology. It’s about how to create a better experience for our clients using the tools that we have available.” Real estate apps are giving new life to curious would-be buyers as well, with super-savvy apps such as Doorsteps.

A real estate listings app founded two years ago by CEO Michele Serro, Doorsteps is launching its newest feature with Doorsteps Swipe, a stratified approach to finding a home.

MICHELE SERRO
MICHELE SERRO

“We take a curious buyer and turn them into a more confident buyer,” said Serro. Realtors and agents can also get in the game, with a $25 a month subscription.

Serro, a native New Yorker entered the app world via design powerhouse Ideo, came up with the idea for Doorsteps while buying her own apartment. “The process is difficult here,” she said. “I felt I could design an experience that people needed.”

The company was acquired by Realtor.com after its first year, and the partnership allows Doorsteps to have access to 800 MLS listings.

The company focuses on presenting listings in a new way, and was inspired by dating apps like Tinder, where the information is layered but relies initially on a quick, gut reaction from photos of ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

“If you think of that early stage buyer, it’s really overwhelming,” said Serro. “Listing information is overwhelming. You don’t necessarily know what your affordability is or where you want to be, and you have to know a lot of info to search.”

If a user is not ready to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, they can tap the listing photo for more info and even share a listing via email or social media.

The app saves the ‘yes’ responses and delivers a summary after five liked listings, giving users an average price, lowest and highest, number of beds, baths, the year it was built, and average price per square foot. App users can save up to a 100 listings.

Other firms like Zip Realty, Streeteasy, Zillow, PropertyShark, Trulia, and LoopNet all have free downloadable apps that cater to the on-the-go broker, as well as buyers and seller. Last August, brokerage firm BOND New York partnered with mapping app Citymaps to provide prospective buyers with more information about specific neighborhoods, while Halstead broker Julia Boland, along with her team, created an interactive real estate iPad app, the first ever to be made by a broker.

That free app, called One212, a nod to Manhattan’s famous area code, is available to download from the iPad newsstand and has more than 10,000 followers on its twitter handle, @one212boland.

“We’ve introduced a whole new way of marketing for individual brokers that hadn’t been done before,” Boland told Real Estate Weekly in December 2012. “There’s all original content designed to inform, entertain and inspire the reader.”

Comparing hers to other real estate apps, Boland said the number of interactive features One212 offers in addition to the interactive elements make the app a one-of-a-kind.

For Corinne Pulitzer, technology is now as much as part of her business and her personal life. “When I started using Facebook, I posted my real estate listings, articles relating to real estate, my companies’ market reports, and I also peppered it with personal stuff about myself,” she said Pulitzer. “I get a lot of personal messages and interactions from everywhere asking for my help and referring business to me.

“My sellers love it – I just took on a new exclusive and started blasting the listing on Facebook and Twitter and have gotten a tremendous amount of inquiries.”

REBNY’s seminar with Renee Fishman will take place Friday, April 4 from 9.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. at St. Francis College, Founders Hall, 182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn.

The Citibank-sponsored event is free for REBNY members only, but registration is required. Find out more, email residentialevents@rebny.com

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