Monthly Archives: June 2011

Are You In The Cloud?

As most tech-savvy agents know, being a successful on-the-go professional (like Realtors) requires instant accessibility from anywhere you are.  That is where being “in the cloud” comes in.   A recent article from the IAR breaks down all the different types of virtual document storage available to you. From Google Docs (which is free to any Google account holder)  to Drop Box ( a paid subscription)  you can attach files into virtual storage areas and access them from any computer at any time anywhere there is Internet access.

Now,  if you are a Charles Rutenberg Realty agent, you are already in the cloud.  The benefits of being an office in which agents work in Remote Locations, is that all of our documentation, as well as our agents documentation are all stored in our own company’s “Cloud”.  Our company cloud can be accessed virtually just as any of the other platforms out there.

In this technological age, the need for accessibility such as this is imperative in order to cultivate a successful business.

How do you utilize the “Cloud”?  Are you using a paid or free version? Id love to hear your thoughts!

The article referenced in this discussion can be accessed by clicking here

What Is Four Square and Why Should You Be On It?

I have to admit that I may have a slight addiction to FourSquare.  And, if you follow me on twitter (@Melinda_CRR)  you will notice that on weekends especially, when I am out and about running errands I check in virtually everywhere that I am.  Why, you ask, would I do this?  Do I really want the entire world to know what my errand running habits are?  No, not really.  But, read on to find out.

So- this App Called FourSquare.  It can be downloaded to any Android or Iphone Device. (you can also access it from the web, but it’s truly mean to be a mobile app)

Once you download it, you’ll set up your profile, and if you choose – link your FourSquare account to your Facebook and or Twitter accounts (I only broadcast to my Twitter-  I choose not to link with Facebook).  Once you are all set up-  you can go forth and proceed throughout your day as you normally would.

Say you stop at the local Starbucks.  Take your phone, open up your Foursquare App and “Check-In” at Starbucks.  Your check-in then will be broadcast out to your Foursquare Followers (more on this in a second),  and Twitter/Facebook if you have them linked.  The great thing about Foursquare and the main reason why I love it so much-  is there is distinct possibility that when you check in to say, Starbucks, that because you did so- you get free stuff!  I don’t know if Starbucks offers FourSquare incentives, but Chili’s, my local movie theater, local restaurants, and stores all have deals exclusively for FourSquare members.

In example-  Chili’s, when you check in, you receive Free Chips & Salsa.  If you are with a group of people and you all check in together- you get a free appetizer.

But, aside from the free stuff, it is also another great way to connect with people.  If one of your followers notices that you checked in at a movie theater and saw a movie they are considering seeing- it opens the door for a conversation and connection.

Also,  especially for Realtors, how great would it be to be able to take a client out for lunch, and already know ahead of time that they really enjoy a specific restaurant, because you see them check in to it frequently on FourSquare?  I’m quite certain a gesture like that would show them that you are truly paying attention to their likes/dislikes.

It is a social media tool, therefore, you will have to find people and friend them just as you would any other social media tool.  The benefits for using Foursquare are innumerable.  Not only is it a great way to interact, (get some free stuff), and personally connect-  but it’s just really fun to watch your scoreboard increase (and unlock badges).

Four-square’s main page does an excellent job at giving you the low down on using Foursquare, and I highly suggest checking it out at  And, if you are already an avid Foursquare user, look me up!  I’m Melinda Band if you are a Charles Rutenberg agent be sure to “Check In” the next time you stop by.

Our Agents Say It Best!- Homero Garza

We know that once you make the decision to come to Charles Rutenberg Realty, you will see for yourself what a great decision it was to make the change. However, changing brokerage companies is a big decision. Therefore, I wanted to share with you an agent testimonial one of our agents recently provided for us after a closing he had.

My name is Homero Garza, I became a REALTOR in Aug of  ’06.  My brother recommended Charles Rutenberg Realty to me and from the moment I interviewed with Ray, it was like a glove, it just made sense to me.  As though this company (Charles Rutenberg) had every intention to make you succeed because of the incentives.  I work hard with all my clients and this incentive gives me a GREATER reason to continue to work even harder.  As humans we tend to go for what we know, and the unknown has always brought fear.  Charles Rutenberg makes the transition easy and your efforts will have bigger dividends.

If you are considering making the change, consider the factors:  100% split, minimal fees, innovative Managing Broker and rated by The Chicago Tribune “Top Work Places 2010” to work for. Equipped with this information, why not make the change.  I am proof and continue to strive no matter what kind of economy we are in.  Work from home and work at the speed you desire.  Ray always reminds us that “success is not a destination, but a journey” Ray makes it much easier for me to continue with my GOALS.  Thank you
Here is Homero’s most recently closing check:
Less $275 Transaction Fee and $50 for Risk Management (E&O Insurance) Here Is What Homero Took Home:
At Charles Rutenberg Realty you get paid what you’re worth, receiving 100% less a modest transaction fee,and you get paid quickly as well!! Give us a call at 630-929-1100 and tell us Homero sent you!

How Utilizing You Tube Can Increase Your Visibility


  • You Tube exceeds 2 million views a day That is double the Prime Time Audience of All 3 Major TV Networks
  • The Average Person Spends 15 Minutes a Day Watching You Tube Videos – either directly on You Tube or videos shared through other websites or social media
  • By Using Video you have a 50x Greater Chance of Ranking on the First Page of Google
  • 73% of Homeowners Say they would be more likely to list with an agent that utilizes video
  • And yet- less than .8% of Agents Use It

Perhaps, you the agent, don’t know where to begin in regards to You Tube. Maybe you are afraid that you’re videos will look amateurish, or you maybe you are camera shy.

We all know that most home searches start through the Internet. And that before a person even picks up the phone to make the connection, they most likely have done lots of research online. Using You Tube Videos (either for an Introduction or for Home Tours) can increase the likelihood that they will find YOU when doing their searches.

The first way to increase your Google ranking for your personal web page, is to have an introductory video posted to it. These videos are brief (usually around a minute to two minutes) and showcase you, the Realtor. If you were to do a search on You Tube for “Realtor Introduction Video” you will find lots of videos in varying styles. I have found a few that are notable that I wish to share with you. These were found at random, and I do not know any of these Realtors personally. They are being featured here to showcase the different ways in which you can present yourself to your potential client.

The first Realtor introductory video I want to show you is from Matthew Coates of Arizona. His video not only has him introducing himself and proving some information about his business, and what sets him apart from other Realtors.

Keri- Ann Brownlee in Toronto has a simpler Agent Introduction video, in which, like Matt, she discusses her reasons for being in Real Estate directly with the viewer.

Rob Regan in San Francisco demonstrates the most basic of Agent Introduction Videos- in which, he is seated in front of his Web Cam, discussing his Real Estate vision with his viewers

As you can see, there are many forms of introductory videos that an agent can have. Whether you want to showcase a professionally produced and edited video, or you prefer the simpler approach. Grab a camera and perhaps a volunteer to help record you, and let people know who you are as a Real Estate Agent!

Free Real Estate Education and Training with @Zillow #Zillow

I received an email today from my friend Brad at Zillow.  He wanted to let me know all of the great FREE resources that are being made available to agents in the month of June.  He knows that we blog a lot about how important Social Media is for a Real Estate Agent, and wanted to point out the wealth of resources that are available to you as an agent, absolutely free of charge, through Zillow.

Especially since we have recently discussed their importance, I would like to point out two classes that could be extremely helpful.  They are:

Twitter for Real Estate on June 16th


You Tube for Real Estate on June 22nd.

I am planning on addressing You Tube & Real Estate later in the week with my own take on its importance, but I also suggest you sign up for both of these classes, and learn at least the basics of these two very important social media platforms.

Additionally, though we have already discussed Facebook on our blog, and how to set it up. There is a class on setting up a Facebook Page through Zillow Academy on June 24th, if you still need more information on it.

Even if you don’t feel technically savvy enough to utilize them just yet, a 1 hour course, that is free, to at least introduce you to these platforms, and develop at least a base familiarity can be extraordinarily helpful to you the agent.

You can find information on the classes offered, as well as register for any of them at

Still Not Sold On The Benefits of a Social Media Presence?

Yesterday, NBC’s Today Show ran a special from the Vatican.  In the special, interviewer Matt Lauer discussed with a Vatican spokesperson on their new position in the Social Media world.  Not only does the Vatican have several Facebook pages, but also is active on You Tube, Twitter, and has an interactive website they plan to roll out this month that will allow readers to interact with the Vatican.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because if an establishment as old as the Vatican realizes the importance of keeping with the times and immersing themselves into Social Media, you should too.

A recent discussion in our office, revolved around the same topic, and how Social Media is time consuming and can be very overwhelming.  True, it can be overwhelming, but if you take baby steps and learn one avenue at a time, soon you’ll be a Social Media guru.  I am hesitant to say that it can be time consuming, because yes you can use a good portion of your time on Social Media, but at the same time, perhaps there are other things you are doing that perhaps are not longer really helping your business.

I encourage you to take a look at our archives of the past few weeks with instructions on how to set up a Facebook and a Twitter Account, as well as having a presence on Zillow.  Next week we will be covering You Tube and how having a You Tube Presence can not only increase traffic to your blog (if you have one) but also can give you an edge over other Realtors who may not be as technologically savvy.  As the saying goes, ‘the times, they are a changing’, and we all need to move with the change or get left behind.