Rudy Molinet, Broker-Associate
Royal Palms Realty
933 Fleming Street
Key West, FL 33040
Article from the Key West Citizen
THE KEY WEST CITIZEN
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Realty company embraces technology
By Anne-Margaret Swary The Citizen
The local real estate market showed some signs of improvement in 2008, but Realtor Rudy Molinet has no plans to rest on his laurels.
Instead, he is embracing technology to help grow his business by developing an iPhone application, or "app" for short, for his company, Marquis Properties Realty, which he runs with his partner, Harry Hoehn.
"I had really resisted even getting an iPhone," Molinet admitted, explaining that he didn't want text messaging.
But he decided to "get with the program" after working with a 25-year-old client who preferred to do most of his communication with text messaging.
"Every generation has its technology and advances," he said. "I thought as a client: What would I want?"
Molinet soon began using his phone to search real estate around the country, finding that only about a dozen small companies in the whole country had developed iPhone applications for their businesses.
"I thought 'This is ridiculous -- the Internet is our thing,'" he said of the real estate industry. "Real estate in so many ways has been on the cutting edge of assimilating technology."
Molinet found a company that develops these applications and spent the next four months collaborating on one for his and Hoehn's company.
"They can view all the active listing on my Web page, or they can enjoy the full functionality of my Web site and search the entire Multiple Listing Service of the Florida Keys," he said.
Molinet estimates he spent about $2,500 between a graphic designer and the Web company that develops the application. It costs about $6 a month to maintain it.
Marquis Properties Realty's application also includes information on the company, Key West architecture, types of houses, neighborhoods and tourism information.
Current and potential clients can call or e-mail Molinet directly from the application.
Perhaps the coolest feature is a GPS function that allows clients to send messages or feedback about a home they come across in person.
So if a couple happens to drive by a home that has a for sale sign and wants more information, they can open the application on their phone while parked outside and select to send Molinet a message such as "I like this property," "Please set up an appointment" or "Let's meet here."
Molinet said he's already received several leads from this function.
"My hope is that other businesses will use this as an example," Molinet said. "The more that we can get the word about Key West real estate out into the world, it helps us."
Molinet said the use of iPhones and other Internet MLS sites is quite a leap from the way things used to be done when he became a Realtor.
Back then, each company had a large binder or book full of the week's listings. If a new property came on the market midweek, a photocopy or "hot sheet" of the listing was faxed or delivered to each real estate agency and added to their listings book. Eventually, listings became computerized, but they still weren't available on the Internet.
"For me this is a big stretch," he said of his new iPhone app. "But in these challenging times, we've got to be creative. We as a community have got to stand out."
Download Rudy Molinet's Key West Real Estate iPhone App