With the holiday season upon us, we tend to start thinking about how our waistlines have a nasty habit this time of year of expanding as this year comes to a close and the new one begins. Fear those Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas cookies no more- we’ve found fitness apps that will help you stay active and healthy this holiday season so you can start your new year off on the right foot.
You’ve checked your pockets, the car, retraced your steps twice – but it seems your phone is missing. Cue the panic that sets in once we realize our partner in crime is gone. It’s hard not to imagine some stranger holding your beloved, trying to gain access to your accounts, and invading your personal space.
However, if you know some simple tricks and steps to recovering lost phones or even remotely wiping your device, you may be better off than most in the unfortunate event of a missing phone*.
If you haven’t read our tips to prevent the ultimate aggravation of not being at all prepared in the event your phone is lost/stolen* go back and read our article here.
Your phone is with you at all times, until one time, it’s not. That’s when you realize that you are never prepared for this to happen. Panic sets in.
This is easily preventable – not losing your phone, but retaining control over finding it. There’s also ways to prevent hundreds of dollars from going missing from your wallet anytime your phone takes an unsupervised swim, or a drink from the toilet. You’ll thank ‘past you’ who was wise enough to purchase a warranty when it costs you hundreds less to replace your phone after an accident.
Here are a couple tips to help make sure you’re saved from the headache that comes with a lost or damaged phone.
While we may not like to discuss it, the fact of the matter is that there are risks involved in being a real estate agent. Agents are often called upon to show vacant homes to strangers, conduct listing presentations at a stranger’s house, or host open houses alone. Recent events involving Arkansas Realtor Beverly Carter who was kidnapped and killed showing a vacant, bank-owned home to a stranger and a California real estate agent who was assaulted while securing the lockbox on a new listing have put safety at the top of everyone’s mind.
In this article, I’d like to show you a couple of tools available on your phone that you can incorporate into your safety strategy. As a disclaimer, the apps and tips in this article will not keep you safe. As Inman contributor Theresa Boardman points out, mobile apps are not the solution to safety. These are merely tools that you should consider adding into your overall safety plan. I encourage you to first follow the safety guidelines and requirements provided by your office along with your association, whether it be at the local, state or national level. If you’re office or association doesn’t have safety guidelines in place, then take the steps to develop your own safety plan. Your safety is ultimately your responsibility. Before delving into some of the tools available on your phone, here are a few articles and resources that can help you to develop a more comprehensive safety plan.
- Safety for REALTORS® (compiled by the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®)
- Realtor Safety: Helpful tips for keeping safe on the job (compiled by Louisiana REALTORS®)
- Safety Awareness for the Real Estate Professional (compiled by the Georgia Real Estate Commission)
Both Android and iOS devices have location sharing capabilities that allow you to share your location with specific people. Sharing your location could be one way to have people check-in on your whereabouts in addition to the occasional text message or phone call. You may even find some uses for the location sharing outside of business, such as trips to a shopping mall or crowded amusement part.
While there are many apps and services that will allow you to share your location, I am going to stick to two methods provided by Apple and Google. Since these companies control the operating system of the phone, it’s a way of limiting the number of companies who can access my location. So yes, I am a little paranoid about privacy.
Messages in iOS 8
If both you and the person (or people) you want to share your location with have iPhones with iOS 8 installed, you can share your location using Messages. Simply select the conversation with the person (or group) that you want to share your location with, press ‘Details’ in the upper right corner, and on the next screen select ‘Share My Location’. You will then be asked if you want to share your location for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. You can disable the location sharing whenever you like.
For a more in-depth description with pictures, see this article courtesy of the site WonderHowTo: How to Send & Share Your iPhone’s Current Location in iOS 8.
For a solution that works across platforms, you may want to try Google+. Google+ is that “other” social network that hasn’t really caught on, but there are some useful things you can do with it. One is the ability to share your location with a set group, or a circle in Google+ terms. Of course, anyone you want to share your location with in this fashion has to have a Google+ profile setup for this to work.
Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, you can follow these instructions which Google has put together: Share you location with Google+.
Here’s the video they created that shows some of the other uses for location sharing:
As with location sharing apps and services, there are quite a few apps that cater towards personal safety. I am going to highlight the Guardly app here, since they’re business is built around security and safety. However, if you aren’t comfortable or don’t like Guardly, there are a number of other apps, along with wearable technology solutions, mentioned in the Inman article: Real estate agents using apps, wearable tech to stay safe.
Guardly is an app designed specifically with security in mind. Its safety features are easy to engage. When you open the app, it immediately start a countdown timer, at the end of which an emergency alert is sent to your family and friends contact list that you setup when you download the app. Cancelling the alert takes you to the preferences screen where you can access Guardly’s other features, or you can manually send an alert to any contact list you’ve setup.
In addition to alerting friends and family in case of emergency, the app can also automatically connect with emergency services, provide real-time location tracking, and allow you to activate an emergency beacon in the form of a loud whistling sound. Some of these features are part of Guardly’s paid service, which costs $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. You can get more details as well as watch a promotional video at their site by clicking here.
This article is not meant to heighten paranoia nor should it induce fear. I decided to write this because I’ve met a lot of outstanding real estate professionals over the last ten years who I care about, many who have become close friends. By providing a few tips and suggestions, I’d like to encourage them to incorporate the tools available to them through their mobile phone. However, and most of all, I’d like to strongly recommend they take their safety seriously and make it a priority to create or adopt a safety strategy if they don’t already have one in place, regardless of whether it involves the use of technology or not.
We are pleased to announce the availability of the Riskin Associates mobile application. Based in Montecito, CA, Riskin Associates has been the top selling Santa Barbara real estate team for the past decade. The award-winning team lists some of the most coveted estates on the south Santa Barbara coast. We were engaged by them to create a mobile application that would add to the services they provide their buying and selling clients that have made them a market leader.
Goals and Approach
For the design of the application, we took queues from the Village Properties mobile website we developed since the Riskin Associates team is part of the brokerage. We decided to keep the overall flow of the application intact, but the branding, content and functionality needed customized for Riskin Associates. We wanted to accomplish a number of goals with the modified design:
- Produce a clean, elegant design that conveys the elegance and luxury of the properties they represent
- Provide a vehicle for them to highlight and market their distinctive properties
- Incorporate visual imagery that reflects the unique nature and beauty of their listings and the surrounding area
- Create a finished product that would further differentiate their brand and set them apart as a leader in the market
Key features of the application
In order to develop the key features of the application, we evaluated their online presence which uses vivid photos and imagery to highlight their property listings. We wanted to provide a similar visual experience on mobile and give Riskin Associates the flexibility to highlight the different properties they represent. In addition to the essential features such as property search (both by location and by criteria), methods to contact the team, and an about us section, we incorporated the following:
- A vivid home page focused on a full width image that can be dynamically changed by Riskin Associates
- A featured listing section that allows them to highlight the properties they represent – each listing is its own interactive photo gallery that can be compiled and controlled by the Riskin Associates marketing team
- Links to custom content created by the marketing team such as property brochures that are hosted through Calaméo
You can access the application via any iPhone or Android device by opening the browser (or Safari) on your phone and going to www.montecito-realestate.com. You will be automatically redirected to the mobile application where you can learn more about the Riskin Associates team and explore their featured listings.
Raising the bar for service and performance
It was a pleasure working with the Riskin Associates team on the development of their mobile application. The energy and enthusiasm they brought to the project is evident in the finished product. It is a reflection of the time and personal attention that they give each of their clients. It shows in all aspects of their business, particularly in the level of service they provide their clients and the attention-to-detail they put into their marketing materials. With the availability of their mobile application, they have another tool that reinforces this high level of service, whether it is used for marketing properties or helping prospective buyers identify properties to purchase.
The Riskin Associates mobile application is another example of how leading brokerages and agent teams are embracing mobile to raise the bar on the services the provide their clients, differentiate themselves in the market, and further reinforce their leadership position in the market