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
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.
Butters, broker/owner of "A Better Way Real Estate &
Property Management" in Ontario, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org