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MTO v.3…I’m “IN”

It?s been a long time in the making, but we?re happy to welcome you to MTO v3! Can I get a ?woohoo??!

And since so much has changed in the blogosphere since Reggie first conceptualized and created MTO back in 2005, I thought it might be nice to look back over the last 5 years. [Read more…]

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Chicks Love MTO v.2

No, you don?t need to adjust your monitor settings.? We launched MyTechOpinion? version 2? tonight. Chad made a great suggestion at our weekly offline meeting (yes, we do make it out of the office once in awhile). And before we knew, Reggie?s weekend had been spent whipping us up a new blog.

Reggie had created MTO version 1 on the Blogger platform. Ouch! And secretly longed for his own WordPress blog?especially after creating so many rockin? real estate blogs for others. However, he wouldn?t dare mess moving from Blogger without keeping our link structure intact. But after a little(LOTS) research, he decided to go with the Maintain Blogger Permalinks Plug-in. Reggie?s time finally came and we?re happy with the result.

You?ll notice that we?ve incorporated some new features along with better sorting ability to quickly identify helpful articles. Our new platform and design allows us to showcase more technology content.? We?ll be adding more video and social media tools as we get going here!

Please let us know what you think!

If you?ve enjoyed MyTechOpinion – Technology for Real Estate, please subscribe to our RSS feed.

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Starbucks Makes Decision That Could Save Real Estate Agents Money

Don?t get too excited, Starbucks isn?t giving away free mochas. They are giving you an opportunity to get Internet access in Starbucks locations for free.Starbucks? long time partnership with T-Mobile to provide paid Internet hotspots in the company?s stores is coming to an end. Starting in April, AT&T will be replacing T-Mobile as Starbucks? Internet service provider.

The new AT&T-Starbucks deal provides AT&T DSL subscribers (those with 1.5Mbps packages or higher) with free Wi-Fi Internet access at all company-owned Starbucks locations. This means that your $25.00 a month home DSL connection will provide you with over 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country, free of charge.

I see this as real competition for cellular phone based mobile broadband services. My current AT&T mobile broadband subscription is costing nearly $60 a month. That is $720 a year. Ironically, most of the time that I use that connection, I am at or within walking distance of a Starbucks.

Once the transition to AT&T is implemented in my area, I will be cancelling my mobile broadband account and switching from cable Internet access to DSL at home.

With real estate agent budgets so tight right now, this tactic seems like a smart one. Besides, if you aren?t within 2 minutes of a Starbucks, you probably won?t be getting a cell phone signal anyway.

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Get Marketing, Get Real Estate, Get 4Realz

If you are a real estate agent with a passion for technology and great marketing tips you should consider attending one of the upcoming 4Realz Internet Marketing Seminars. (Especially if you live in the SoCal region!) 4Realz featured speakers, Dustin Luther and Jim Marks, promise to share great marketing advice for real estate agents. I have witnessed Dustin in action several times. He has a great way of breaking down complex issues and helping you focus your time and effort in real estate marketing activities that get results! They currently have three seminars scheduled for Southern California (room for only 100 participants at each location).

  • Los Angeles on March 6th
  • San Diego on March 19th
  • Orange County on March 31st

The type of material they plan to cover in the full-day course includes (1) quality website features and design, (2) engaging in existing social networks, (3) building an online community with blogs and (4) tracking and conversion to maximize return-on-investment.

The seminar costs $149 for a full-day course. This includes a light breakfast , full lunch, and 8 solid hours of valuable real estate marketing advice! Click here to register and check it out for yourself!

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Is eSignature Technology Right for Your Real Estate Business?

As a real estate agent you probably have some basic understanding of how digital signature technology can help your real estate business. Maybe you could reduce the risk involved in holding and storing documents, gain time efficiencies by signing documents on the spot or even overcome geographical restrictions. Yet from my experiences many agents are sitting on the sidelines, not ready to jump in. Maybe it?s the result of not understanding how accessible the technology has become. Or is it the issue of legality?

First let?s address the legality of an eSignature. In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed a federal law titled Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) to ?facilitate the use of electronic records and signatures in interstate and foreign commerce by ensuring the validity and legal effect of contracts entered into electronically?.

With the ESIGN Act stating clearly that ?a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation.? It paved the way for companies to start creating today?s eSignature platforms. Today in real estate eSignatures can be accomplished with various technologies, such as VREO Real Estate Dashboard or DocuSign. However they both deal with the digital signature in different ways and both have distinct advantages.

VREO real estate dashboard is a software application installed to a tablet PC. VREO dashboard allows agents to sign contracts and documents with a stylus pen on the screen?without ever printing a piece of paper. Once you?ve collected the required signatures, simply send to the other party using your dashboards integrated email or fax options. This technology proves to be very convenient for the mobile real estate agent who wants to conduct business anywhere, anytime! Note: An Internet connection is not required to collect signatures.

DocuSign on the other hand is an online solution enabling real estate agents to capture digital signatures via the web. As a result geographical distance between you and the recipient(s) is not an issue. In 2004, DocuSign integrated with Zipforms (Winforms) to provide online signature processing. As a result of the integration, real estate agents can print contracts into a ?digital envelope? and then place ?Stick-eTabs? wherever a recipient?s signature or initial is needed. This digital envelope is then encrypted and saved to a secure location. Your recipients will receive their invitation by email, and they will need to authenticate and sign the contracts. In the authentication phase the recipient must provide basic identification and pick a signature. Then it?s time for the recipient to review and sign. When complete, each of the parties is notified of the updated contracts.

Where are you with eSignatures in real estate business?

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New Recent Reader Widget from MyBlogLog

You may have noticed our new ?Recent Reader? widget from MyBlogLog. If not, take a look. The design has been updated and now you can access additional information about your readers. When scrolling over a reader avatar a flyout box will appear with reader details. You can then find out more about your visitor by easily clicking through to their MyBlogLog profile and community pages. The new widget is also infused with a quick link for adding visitors to your contacts. In addition, MyBlogLog readers can simply add themselves to the site?s community by selecting the ?add? button at the bottom of the widget.Currently, MyBlogLog offers a choice of seven colors and 2 layouts for your widget. You will need to adjust the flyout box based on your blog layout. There are a couple of known glitches:

  1. Iframe Blocks Flyouts: If you’re displaying the widget code in an iframe, set your flyouts value “none”.
  2. Mac Firefox – Flyouts vs Flash: This is a Firefox bug w/ CSS transparency and absolute positioning.

MyBlogLog has plans for those of us who prefer optimum customization and promises we?ll be able to upload our own skins very soon. Also, stay tuned for major changes on your MyBLogLog profile. In the coming weeks, your profile will be getting a facelift and new integrated features?.taking your profile from static to dynamic!

Getting Started: To update your ?Recent Reader?widget, go to your MyBlogLog community page and click on the ?widgets? link under your community description.

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How Neat Are Your Receipts?

You may not have been very organized when it came to your real estate business receipts last year, but there?s a handy technology tool that can change all that for you this year! Neat Receipts is a scanner/software combination that will organize all your receipts, expense reports and other business documents.

After sending your documents through the scanner, the software will automatically catalog the information making manageability a snap. You basically turn your piles of paper into organized digital files. That?s right, from piles to files.

I?ve witnessed the efficiency of this tool first hand. My stepmom takes Neat Receipts with her wherever she goes (like lipgloss), ready at a moment?s notice to scan those ?write-offs?! It?s quite amazing to see how effective and organized one person can be. She inspired me to try one on myself?and I haven?t looked back at my piles since!Neat Receipts 3.0 Features:

  • Smart sorting
  • Enhanced PDF functionality
  • Keyword search
  • 2007 tax categories
  • Scans quickly and easily
  • Image viewer

Neat Receipts Version 3.0 retails online for $229.00, or purchase in bulk to save. Click here for pricing. Sorry Mac users, you’ll have to wait until March/April 2008 to get your version.

To learn more, watch this demo.

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Have you been Blogged?

With over 100 million blogs on the Internet, how do you discern which ones make it to your Google Reader. Blogged.com is ?better blog? directory and organizer. The authors and editors of Blogged scour the Internet and blog submissions to identify ?better blogs? for different content areas and award each a score. Editor reviews are provided by professional editors who evaluate a blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style. The closer you are to 10, the better the blog you have. Use keywords to search for blogs and see if your blog made the cut!

MyTechOpinion was contacted by Blogged recently because they had given us an excellent score of 9.7! When searching for ?real estate? we are currently the top rated blog. For business, we rank in the top 6 just under Seth Godin and SEO of the Sea. And for technology, we are #7 right under the Google Blog!!!! Thanks Blogged?.MyTechOpinion greatly appreciates your opinion!