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Mobile technology, the Internet, and social media tools have transformed the home buying process and the way REALTORS® and their clients do business, but these tools still can’t discount the value REALTORS® bring to a transaction.

Findings from the California Association of REALTORS®’ “2014 Survey of California Home Buyers” show 91 percent of those surveyed said they used a mobile device to access the Internet during the course of their home purchase. Buyers used their mobile devices to look for comparable home prices (78 percent), search for homes (45 percent), and take photos of neighborhoods, homes, and amenities (43 percent).

David Tonna, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, says due to advances in mobile technology, most buyers and sellers expect instant response from their agent, preferring to communicate by email and even text messaging. “No other form of communication puts us in constant contact with each other,” says Tonna.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 94 percent of REALTORS® nationwide now use mobile devices to communicate with clients. REALTORS® spend a median 44 percent of their time corresponding with, or doing work for their clients via their mobile devices.

Additionally, more than three-fourths of home buyers used social media in their home search, up from 52 percent who used it in 2011. Buyers said they primarily used social media to obtain buying tips and suggestions from friends (44 percent), neighborhood information (44 percent), and to view their agents’ Facebook pages (42 percent). The survey indicates with the increased use of social media, fewer buyers “Googled” their agent (50 percent in 2014, down from 68 percent in 2013), turning to agents’ Facebook pages instead.

REALTORS® see the importance of maintaining an Internet presence and using the new technologies to meet their clients’ needs, but also place focus on forging a personal relationship with their clients. “While using mobile technology to respond to clients, it should never take the place of being personally accessible to your client. A strong, personal relationship is still at the heart of every business,” says Tonna.

Tonna adds, “REALTORS® know their market and are experienced in handling the particular needs of home buyers. A REALTOR® can provide you with invaluable help in identifying homes and neighborhoods, negotiating for the best deal, coordinating the multitude of steps between contract acceptance and close of the transaction.”

Buyers, too, need to be aware that all real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate than other real estate licensees.

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The new support specialists have been trained on virtually every aspect of the system, its features and common tech support inquiries. Of course, transitioning to a new service system may have some challenges. In order to ensure the highest first call resolution, a larger than usual team of experienced Instanet Solutions staff will be working to assist the support specialists off site, as needed.

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PRDS Forms are an extensive line of REALTOR®-created paper and online forms for residential purchase and sales transactions. These forms are available online free of charge as a member benefit to all REALTOR® members of SILVAR and the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® (SAMCAR). The PRDS Forms library is simple and easy to use, up-to-date, and prints on plain paper.

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Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® will soon have access to real estate developments worldwide in addition to their ability to connect and share listings with other agents domestically and around the world through a global networking site, which is a membership benefit of the local trade association.

SILVAR REALTORS® currently have access to Proxio, a global networking platform, as a member benefit. The global network is much like LinkedIn for real estate agents, providing them with networking opportunities and an agent and property search.

Agents can connect with over 600,000 real estate professionals in the U.S. and in 140 countries. Their listings and marketing materials are automatically translated into 19 languages, 55 currencies and metric measurements. Members also get the entire MLS in different languages with a widget for their website that includes a full MLS search and translations of all properties in MLSListings Inc. and the Proxio SocialSearch™ Facebook app for their business page with full IDX in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

In mid-July, SILVAR REALTORS® will have access to Proxio Developer Showcase, a new product that goes a step further by helping property developers and real estate agents connect and work together to generate more sales and commissions. Agents can get to choose the developments they want to promote and the listings will be customized with their name and contact information. The website stands alone or can be linked to an agent’s website.

“As a REALTOR® association, we constantly strive to give our members the best tools so they can serve their clients fully and more efficiently. We live in a global community. Providing members access to a global network allows our members grow their business and provide international, as well as domestic clients the highest quality service,” said Paul Cardus, executive officer of SILVAR.

Janet Case, CEO of Proxio, said Proxio helps agents promote themselves as a professional agent who has a network of domestic and international agents. She noted consumers highly benefit from the new product.

“Proxio Developer Showcase can generate web pages, brochures and postcards for each project with the agent’s contact information, so every agent can increase their inventory by promoting new developments and providing interested clients with information on the latest real estate developments here and abroad,” said Case.

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