January 10, 2015
More Success, Less Stress: RPR Mobile Keeps Business Close at Hand
By Maria Patterson
While the importance of mobile technology may be widely accepted these days, determining which apps will help you most is a mounting challenge for real estate professionals. As developers hit the market almost daily with new mobile offerings that promise a multitude of benefits, brokers and agents are, understandably, confused.
But what if there was a mobile program developed by REALTORS® for REALTORS®? Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) has done just that. With the launch of RPR Mobile™ this past September, RPR believes it has cut through the current clatter of mobile technology with an app that offers tangible benefits expressly designed for real estate professionals—all at no cost to NAR members.
By the REALTOR®, for the REALTOR®
“There is certainly an excitement among REALTORS® with mobile technology, and there’s a basic understanding that mobile does something well and usually easier, and people like that,” explains RPR® Vice President of Marketing and Social Media, Reggie Nicolay. “However, most real estate apps currently on the market put their focus on the consumer and the direct-to-consumer experience. RPR Mobile has been built for the REALTOR®, which makes it different than most. RPR is their back-office tool to ready themselves for conversations with consumers and prepare for activities like a listing presentation or buyers’ tour.”
According to Nicolay, the process began by making REALTORS® a part of it. “As a free member benefit of the National Association of REALTORS®, the first thing we did was create a task force of REALTORS® to understand what they wanted from their mobile applications,” he explains. “We wanted to make sure our mobile offering extended the current power of RPR by taking advantage of the features in today’s smartphone that aren’t available on our website, such as the camera, GPS, microphone, and other sensors. We went to the drawing board and figured out how to combine those features with the power of RPR’s database.”
For Sean Moore, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Mo., the fact that RPR Mobile was developed by REALTORS® for REALTORS® immediately set the product apart.
“This is our own product, not a vendor product,” says Moore. “It is something we were doing for our own industry and for ourselves, and to me, that’s always important. I believe in providing products and services that members will use, so that was my initial attraction. When you put more money and expertise behind a project, you end up getting a better product.”
Seizing the Power of ‘Now’
At the heart of RPR Mobile is its location functionality, an essential feature for on-the-go real estate professionals.
“The app is all about location,” says Nicolay. “It’s really easy for agents to understand that what they care most about, the property, is at the focus of the mobile technology—that they can be standing in front of a property with a client and get all the information they need right on their mobile device. That’s where we really tried to go. We wanted to make it intuitive and easy.”
For Kevin Tomlinson, a REALTOR® with One Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami Beach, Fla., being a real-time real estate professional is essential to operating successfully in today’s market.
“I’m a big believer in windows of opportunity—from what I know, they open and close before most people know they are even open,” explains Tomlinson. “With RPR Mobile, I can get property specifics and information now—and as most people would say in the real estate industry, ‘now’ is the most important time. If I’m driving by a house, whether I’m with a client or not, I want to know what’s going on with that house now. Instead of jotting it down, I can use RPR Mobile and get the information right away. With a tool like RPR Mobile that’s up and running and ready to go, I don’t have to wait for my assistant back at the office, I can just get the info I need and go from there.”
Moore concurs. “When I’m out with buyers in the field or in the car, I can get the data I need off of RPR® Mobile quicker than from any other resource,” he explains. “I’m always logged in and it knows my location. The geo-location feature is huge. I don’t have to search. I can take two seconds and tell people exactly how much houses are.”
Nicole Nicolay, a REALTOR® Associate with the Engel Group at J. Rockcliff REALTORS® in Pleasanton, Calif., was part of the beta test group for RPR Mobile and began actively using it this summer. She echoes Tomlinson’s emphasis on being able to seize opportunities whenever and wherever they occur.
“Being able to have access to the information I need no matter where I am is critical,” she explains. “RPR Mobile gives me the ease of knowing that if I’m out and don’t have my laptop, I can still pull over and easily access the information that’s available on my MLS directly from the app. This is the way we do business now.”
Power in the Palm of Your Hand
One of RPR’s most acclaimed features is its reporting capabilities, all of which are tied directly into RPR Mobile. “The reporting is professional and full of data to answer the questions clients are often asking,” Nicolay explains. “You have a tremendous amount of information, all in your pocket—wherever you are, you now have answers to those questions. From a neighborhood report to property activity, all of RPR’s reports are available in mobile. Getting an inquiry on a property and being able to immediately get back to that person with a branded report right from your phone is a really powerful part of the app.”
Moore works with several lead generation systems in an effort to gather as many seller leads as possible. With RPR’s Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM®) now available through the mobile app, he can get back to potential sellers with lightning-fast speed in order to turn more of those leads into clients.
“We all know you have to respond to leads quickly,” explains Moore. “When that lead comes in, no matter where I am, I can now generate and send the RVMs from the app on my phone. To be able to send a branded, thorough, analytical report is huge. The worst email you can send is one stating, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ I’ll pull over to the side of the road, fire off a report in a minute, and check it off the to-do list. We spend a lot of time adding appointments and to-dos to our calendars, but if we could just knock things off our calendars, we’d be better off.”
The quantity and accuracy of the data available through RPR is also second to none, adds Moore. “The conglomeration of all the data sources in one spot saves me time and money. It prevents me from having to go to the MLS, to public tax records, to the recorder’s website to look up loan information. REALTORS® owe it to themselves to calculate what they’re worth an hour. Before you make those decisions of what to do with your time—look to leverage it. Time is irreplaceable.”
Building Business while Gaining Balance
“Think about how people use their phones today,” says Reggie Nicolay. “Sometimes your phone is the only thing you have with you. Deals aren’t made in the office anymore. They’re made on the sidewalk or in a restaurant.” By allowing real estate professionals to quickly connect with clients on the go, RPR Mobile not only helps better serve today’s consumers, it helps REALTORS® live their lives.
“The app has helped me maintain a balanced life,” says Nicole Nicolay. “I can be out with the kids, and if someone calls about a listing, I can use RPR Mobile to bring up the property and call the agent. There’s a big difference between being able to handle it right then and putting off that client and saving that type of work for the end of the day.”
By taking full advantage of using the RPR Web application in tandem with RPR Mobile, Nicole Nicolay has been able to work more effectively to build business while in the field. “Not only do the website and mobile versions have the same info, it’s essentially a smart app, storing all the info from recent activity and searches,” she explains. “When preparing for an open house, I’ll run a neighborhood report and property report on my desktop before heading out and set out a copy of each with my listing flyer. The app is one of my go-to resources when I’m meeting people at open houses. It gives me a way to easily collect someone’s info when talking to them and then email them or text them a report from the app. RPR gives me a tool and resource to help educate my clients. I can showcase my knowledge of the area, and back it up with a great tool and resource; I don’t have to sell myself.”
“I can’t impress upon you enough how important time is,” says Tomlinson. “If a client needs something on the fly, a tax roll or a picture, I can get it off to them. Having the ability to get the information immediately is huge, because, in reality, five minutes later may be too late.”
Quality Updates to Enhance Business
RPR has already added many new features to RPR Mobile since its debut, including drawing custom search areas, searching based on school attendance zones, and viewing school information.
“The user interface is excellent,” says Tomlinson. “I’m the biggest fan of RPR and I just mentioned it at a big company get together we had. If you aren’t using RPR, you should be. It’s the tool that you can really impress with.”
According to Moore, “I just taught a class for my office last week and I told the room of about 40 – 50 agents, ‘If you’re not using the RPR Mobile app, you’re crazy. You’re working too hard.’”
For more information, please visit blog.narrpr.com/mobile.
Paige Tepping and Nick Caruso contributed to this article.