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"Run Your Business from Your Pocket!"

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Andy Burnett Photo
4/2/10 Interview with Andy Burnett

Sperry Van Ness/ William T. Strange & Associates
101 Park Avenue, Ste. 1010
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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Technology Advances for Commercial Real Estate

  1. Burnett started in the business after technology had begun to transform how business was done; he could not have accomplished all that he has done without using commercial tech tools.
  2. The most significant technology change for him in the last five years is the advent of the smart phone, which provides the ability to send and receive email and faxes and to access web tools such as LoopNet, Google Earth and GPS while on the go.
  3. His iPhone is his "office in a pocket;" using it, he can visit properties and projects while keeping in touch with business communications.
  4. The Site to Do Business can be accessed by a smart phone, and a pending app will make doing that even easier.
  5. Tips for using technology for commercial real estate apply to the residential side as well—specific commercial sites have residential counterparts.

Areas for Technological Improvement

  1. One improvement would be having more user-friendly apps because the industry is going in the direction of using smart phones rather than laptops for everyday business.
  2. LoopNet has an effective app; STDB, REIS and RealHound are following that lead; an app for the MLS would be extremely helpful for residential agents.
  3. The residential industry, with a higher volume of transactions, has led the commercial side in technology, but commercial practitioners are closing the gap.

Social Networking Relevance

  1. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can help agents keep in touch with clients, but they are not yet practical for doing commercial transactions.
  2. The importance of social media lies in building relationships through virtual networking; though a bigger factor for the residential side of the industry now, it is gaining relevance for commercial practitioners.
  3. Social networking sites are an avenue for meeting peers, which can lead to cooperation on transactions.

Cloud Computing Defined

  1. Cloud computing is the practice of saving files online rather than to a local server; Sperry Van Ness [SVN] is a pioneer in using online, password-protected document vaults—every property listing and related transaction information is uploaded or "cloud computed."
  2. The stored information—much of which is too big to send by fax or email—becomes available to the worldwide market immediately; it can even be accessed by phone.
  3. This efficiency practice also reduces the amount of hardware (computers and servers) required to support office operations.

Web-based Commercial Practices

  1. SVN’s Listing Link is a system of web sites for every property; each listing has its own domain name, and Listing Link blasts that individual property site out to key listing portals, including LoopNet and CoStar.
  2. Email links and cell phone information on each property web site direct inquiries back to the listing advisor; Burnett receives these messages on both his phone and laptop so that he does not need to be in the office to do business.
  3. Burnett’s phone is set up so that he can reply immediately to inquiries by sending a document vault passcode and web link for more detailed property information.

Smart Phone Apps

  1. The iPhone leads in the number of apps available, but other smart phones are beginning to offer their own.
  2. The Google Earth app pulls up aerials of properties and areas with birds-eye-view detail so good that it can even show the condition of roofs.
  3. Voice Memo is useful to record conversations with clients for later reference.
  4. The LoopNet app gives direct access to commercial listings.
  5. Apps can be used creatively for property marketing impact; e.g., use Google Earth to create a narrated video of a property and neighborhood to be sent to a client and/or posted on YouTube (via its app); a short YouTube video can attract viewers to the more detailed property web site.

The Next Technological Breakthrough

  1. With more apps becoming available, the next breakthrough for commercial real estate will be a shift of the industry more and more toward the use of smart phones.
  2. The ability to conduct commercial real estate business seamlessly from a phone anywhere in the world is close to reality.
  3. A missing function that may soon be fulfilled is a user-friendly, smart-phone format for Word documents, including a plug-in for a keyboard and external hard drive.

Favorite Places on the Web

  1. For political information, Burnett likes Real Clear Politics, and for news,, and (for his local paper, Daily Oklahoman).
  2. Socially, he uses Facebook to keep up with friends.
  3. is a helpful site for accessing scripture.

Contact Information for Andy Burnett:

(v) 405-602-2934

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Site to Do Business:
Social networking sites:

Commercial listing portals:
iPhone apps: Google Earth;
Voice Memo; LoopNet, YouTube
Real Clear Politics:
News sites: