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"Powering Success With Today's Tools!"


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Mal Duane Photo
2/3/06 Interview with Mal Duane

MetroWest Homes
12 Library Street
Framingham, MA 01701
Biography

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Changes to Her Real Estate Business

  1. Since her last interview with Jack Peckham in October 2002, Duane has shifted from doing business as MalDuane.com to MetroWest Homes; she picked up the idea from the Society's interview with Ira Serkes of BerkeleyHomes.com.
  2. She was reluctant to move away from her personal identity, but the generic name has proved to be a stronger search term and a more effective identity in the marketplace for her real estate services.
  3. A major aspect of the change was a corresponding shift in her Internet marketing; MetroWestHomesForSale.com replaced MalDuane.com as her primary web address; other, secondary web addresses such as FraminghamHomesForSale.com and FraminghamHouse.com also take people to the new primary site.
  4. The shift in focus to a more generic stealth-marketing approach has expanded recognition of her business in the marketplace and has been an advantage for her agents; web business has grown 100% of MetroWest clients use the web site at some point; the firm now is able to choose whom to work with.
Expansion of Company Services

  1. Several new services for MetroWest clients are implementations of technology Duane discovered through the Real Estate CyberSpace Society.
  2. One of her favorites is RealEstateShows Duane's company was one of the Society's test cases; she has found it to be a fabulous, user-friendly virtual tours program that captivates viewers it is a superior product that is easier to use and costs much less than what she used previously.
  3. Society members get unlimited 90-day use of Real Estate Shows for free and then pay only $99 per year for continued unlimited use (Duane used to pay $25­$45 per tour); the reason behind the low price is to encourage agents to really use the service.
  4. MetroWest purchased a buyer presentation from another Society connection, RealEstatePowerTools.com; her agents can burn unlimited CD copies of a detailed buyer presentation to ship out to people looking at houses online every day; the educational, interactive program provides valuable knowledge for anyone wanting to buy a home.
Exciting New Equipment

  1. Duane runs her real estate business according to webcentric marketing, so she is always on the lookout for the latest tech tools and services; her favorite new piece of hardware is her Treo 650, which has replaced her laptop.
  2. The versatile Treo 650 can accommodate her complete database; after hearing the recent interview with Pat Zaby, she is in the process of enhancing it with his Respond product to expand the real estate capability of her Outlook and synch with the Treo.
  3. Duane uses the Treo to keep her appointment calendar and to take digital photos with its built-in camera feature she recently emailed a photo to an interested client while driving by to check out the property.
  4. Documents To Go software on the Treo allows her to load almost every document she uses (purchase and sales agreements, offers, etc.); she can fax any document to her eFax number and get it back as a PDF the PDFs can be emailed, burned to a CD or loaded into Documents To Go; Duane presently has the capability to function paper-free.
  5. Duane presently uses a Sony VAIO®, but she recognizes a tablet(REDtabletTM) as the next step up for presentations, paperwork in the field,and MLS searches with WiFi.
Using a Transaction Platform

  1. MetroWest uses Settlement Room through Society membership; improvements to it have added features and have made it easy to use.
  2. Settlement Room is especially helpful with clients who are relocating because they can securely check progress on the transaction online.
Growing Impact of the Internet

  1. The pool of buyers is becoming progressively Internet-oriented; probably 80% check the Internet first to educate themselves; that initial online process might take consumers two weeks to two months before they are ready to seek an agent a reverse of the past.
  2. Duane finds herself showing far fewer homes before getting an offer on average 10 now vs. 30­40 before; the streamlined process is a blessing for the relocation buyer, who can select/eliminate entire communities online.
Advice to Agents on Technology

  1. There are wonderful products available to build a tech-savvy business; agents should not hesitate to get involved with email and Internet marketing.
  2. Use what you buy; find new things that will help you build your business and don't procrastinate in applying them.
  3. Another hot item that Duane recently found is an appealing national service for consumers that gives an agent exclusive rights to a ZIP code at low cost WhatsMyHomeWorth.com; it generates leads for Duane without her having to do anything.
Other Favorite Web Sites

  1. LinxWebTM is an efficient web-based relaying phone service.
  2. GoToMyPC.com makes everything on your office PC available to you at home.
Tech Assessment of the Industry

  1. Fabulous tech tools available are easy to use, affordable and make agents shine with professionalism; there is no excuse not to work with them.
  2. In the next three years, technology will continue to enhance the position of agents; instead of being threatened by technology and the access it gives the consumer to information, Duane finds that it makes her life and the quality of work she does better.
Contact Information for Mal Duane:

(v) 508-416-1800
(f) 508-628-1872
(e) MalDuane@MalDuane.com
(w)www.MalDuane.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Mal Duane's primary site: www.MetroWestHomesForSale.com
Sample secondary sites:
www.FraminghamHomesForSale.com
www.FraminghamHouse.com
Virtual tour service:
from Members Only at REcyber.com, click
RealEstateShows
Buyer presentation resource: www.RealEstatePowerTools.com
Favorite tech tool: Treo 650
Real estate software enhancer: Pat Zaby's Respond
eFax: www.efax.com
Smaller-than-laptop products: REDtabletTM; Sony VAIO®
Settlement Room: from Members Only at REcyber.com,
click Settlement Room Center
WhatsMyHomeWorth.com: www.WhatsMyHomeWorth.com
LinxWeb: www.linxweb.com
GoToMyPC: www.GoToMyPC.com