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Joe Butters, Broker/Owner of "A Better Way Real Estate & Property Management" was featured in an article that was printed in the May 2001 issue of "California Association of Realtors" magazine.

  BY JOE BUTTERS
I originally got my license in 1978. Even though I started selling houses like everybody else, I always enjoyed investors. So I met a few small investors and sold them on some rental property. Then they asked me, "Who's going to take care of it?" I stepped forward and said I would-simply because my manager at the time said, "Joe, if you take care of them, three years from now, you can turn around and sell this again." That sounded like a good idea to me, so I did that for many, many years. computer. It answers calls and pages me during the day, so no matter where I'm at, people can find me. I also have a tiny digital handheld voice recorder I keep in my pocket at all times to take notes, a Kodak DC-280 digital camera, and a Sony digital video camcorder.
All these technology tools are insignificant, though, until you add the software to make it work, so I use a myriad of programs: Top Producer 6i, Top Financial, Top Presenter and Hot Marketer for mass e-mailings. I also use Microsoft Office extensively for my property management

Eventually, I decided to open my own business and I got my own broker's license.
As an independent broker, I rely on technology a lot in my business. I've been using a computer since 1989. At the time, I worked for CENTURY 21 office; the manager was very technically oriented and he convinced me I should purchase a computer, so I got my first one, a 286 that, at the time, was state-of-the-art. Today, I have a 1.2 gigahertz Dell computer with a 20-inch monitor, 500 megabytes of RAM, and a 45-gigabyte hard drive. Everything that can make it fast and powerful in in there.
I have a high speed Internet connection through DSL, a black-and-white laser jet Hewlett-Packard printer, a color laser jet 4500, and a Hewlett-Packard scanner. Just a few months ago, I bought a new fax machine; I can't believe the difference between my old one and my new one - in the speed, clarity and quality. I also have a 600MHz laptop with a 10-gigabyte hard drive that I use in the field for presentations for clients when I meet them at their homes
. Because mine is such a small company, I use a pretty sophisticated voicemail system on my

     

and letter writing. I use WINForms 2000, dress up pictures with Photoshop, and use Microsoft Publisher for flyers and brochures.
Using these tools, I put together presentations for absentee-owners or non-owner-occupied properties. I create a full-features presentation on a CD-ROM. If the clients don't have a computer, I will create a presentation on paper. The trick is that I'm sending it to someone in another state; he's never met me, I've never met him. All he has to do is be impressed by what I send him - a fresh presentation right in front of him on either video or CD-ROM. It's like I'm sitting in the room talking to him. He doesn't realize how big a company I am or how small I am, so technology has really helped me as an independent broker. It levels the playing field and makes me just as big as the big brokerages.
Bottom line: We have to embrace technology. It's changing our business, and I only hope it makes us more professional. We're going away from a door-knocking, cold-calling business. People expect more from us and they want it in less time.

Joe Butters, broker/owner of "A Better Way Real Estate & Property Management" in Ontario, can be reached at joe@abettrway.com or www.abettrway.com.

 

 


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