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Robots in Real Estate: Movoto Is Revolutionizing Smart Property Listings

“Hey, remember that house with the robot in it?” Movoto is experimenting with cutting edge technology to make their listings stand out. Top agent Christopher Diez shares his experience helping pioneer the new era of “smart” properties.

My journey in real estate extends far beyond the 13-plus years of experience I’ve had as an agent—I come from a family of Realtors, and I’ve been fortunate enough to watch how the industry has evolved from when my parents were agents to becoming one myself. Advances in technology have been on every agent’s radar for decades, but the industry has been notoriously slow to adapt. How many other business sectors still rely so heavily on physical mailers in an age when snail mail has become almost obsolete? That’s why becoming an agent at a technology-enabled brokerage like Movoto and experiencing firsthand how much emphasis they put on empowering their agents with the latest technology has been a breath of fresh air, and as I’ve seen with my own eyes, a worthy investment.

Now I’m proud to say we’re one of the first to utilize something as novel as a robot to help sell homes.

Chris Diez

‘Join’ Me In

It started with our Managing Broker, Max Diez, exploring how we could leverage technology to maximize our agents’ time and better communicate their expertise, as well as make the entire experience more efficient and pleasant for both buyers and sellers. He had done some research and learned about different robots that were being used in other industries. The idea is that it could enable agents to be in two places at once. I suggested we put it to the test and have a robot stationed at one of my open houses where I could ‘join’ in from a remote location and answer prospective buyers’ questions in real time.

The robot is essentially a screen that sits on a motorized carriage system that I control remotely via a mobile or desktop app. It’s completely Wi-Fi enabled so no matter where you physically are, you can follow a potential buyer around an open house, see what they’re seeing, and have a live conversation through the screen.

First Impressions

I was surprised by how easy it was to adopt. There wasn’t any cumbersome installation involved and I downloaded the software without a hitch. The only limitation was that it can’t surmount big humps or stairs. Movoto backed me the whole way, determined to try anything that could boost their agents as long as it was financially viable. Logistically, as long as you have reliable Wi-Fi, it’s ready to go.

The value it provided was evident in its maiden voyage. Not only was I able to join the open house without having to physically be there, I could also connect a buyer directly with a lender who answered mortgage questions or another agent who answered questions about the school district and neighborhood amenities. Whereas agents usually have to respond to questions about a house by telling buyers they’ll get that answer for them later, I could research and access that information instantly and share it through the robot. It allowed me to, literally, roll right in, answer questions, connect them to licensed professionals, and even begin the offer process if they were ready.

The Wow Factor

Beyond the convenience, the undeniable “wow” factor was exciting to see in action. The seller, other agents, and buyers were absolutely blown away by it. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the first reaction was, “What is that?” before their confusion transformed into, “That’s so cool!” They had never seen anything like it. Buyers, particularly in such a tech-savvy market as the Bay Area, were impressed with the level of care we were putting into make the listing unique and memorable. And it wasn’t long before the initial shock wore off and they were communicating with me naturally through the robot.

For the agents, they recognized it as an absolute game changer. When I explained its value to them, they were floored. In its most practical application, agents could seamlessly juggle multiple listings, property tours, open houses, and broker tours. If they invested in several robots, they could join at two or three open homes. It could also act as powerful training tool for junior agents who could be at open houses and gain real-world experience, while a senior agent offered support through the robot.

But what about the bottom line?

After just two open houses, the property received 21 offers, all above the asking price. A good agent knows that there is never one factor in the success of a home sale, but there’s no denying that the robot made the property stand out. Not only was it an extra set of polish for a listing in such a tech-savvy area, we were able to reach more buyers with real-time information, and it allowed us to move quickly and efficiently in a market where transactions move fast.

While I wouldn’t put any one thing on the success of this listing, if you look at the sum total of parts, Movoto had leveraged the latest technology to give the entire experience a futuristic, cutting-edge feel throughout. And I can confidently say that that translated into more appeal for the property.

The Future of Real Estate Technology

To grow your business as an agent, you have to be able to scale. That means hiring a ton of assistants as your client base grows or finding smart ways to leverage real estate technology. Cold calling every potential buyer or agent in the industry 24 hours a day wouldn’t come close to achieving the reach you can get with a singular Facebook post, and is definitely not scalable. Technology like the robot is.

Robots are just the first step toward the future of technology, and Movoto has made a very bold, aggressive statement by becoming an early adopter. Soon, agents will be able to do everything virtually—from virtual reality tours to digital contracts. Finding homes on your phone is already the norm, and smart locks and smart thermostats that provide remote access are becoming the norm. Movoto is truly pushing the envelope as a technology-enabled brokerage that recognizes this shift and is investing heavily into making these tools available to their agents.

And, let’s be honest, how cool is it to respond to a property tour request no matter where you are with, “I’ll be there!”

The post Robots in Real Estate: Movoto Is Revolutionizing Smart Property Listings appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Love Where You Live – Amar Kothary, San Jose, CA.

I reside in southeast San Jose with proximity to Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Downtown San Jose while still maintaining the individuality of my immediate surroundings. It is nothing short of perfect. Perhaps the best aspect of my neighborhood is the widespread adaptability it offers for all to thrive. There is a place for the stereotypical American family, for the engineer from China, for the grumpy middle-aged man, for the widowed old lady who loves to bake cookies, for children who love everything from theater to 3-D printing to synchronized swimming, and for me. It’s difficult to relay others’ opinions and experiences, so here is why I love San Jose, California: the memories I’ve made here. This was the past week of my life.

On Monday evening, my cousin from Vancouver flew into town. After eating some homemade enchiladas, we took a trip to the community hot tubs, where we spent thirty minutes speaking with a middle-aged woman about language acquisition. Tuesday arrived, and we spent the day in Downtown San Jose. At San Pedro Market, we had a sampler of the cuisines of the world ranging from authentic pizza to savory crepes to sizzling tapas to beautiful sushi.

Our mouths and caffeine addictions were thrilled by Philz Coffee, a hipster coffee shop that individually brews each cup, offering customers the opportunity to choose their level of sweetness, level of creaminess, and delicious flavor, such as dark chocolate with cinnamon and hazelnut. On Wednesday, my cousin joined my friends and me on our usual five-mile run filled with hills around our housing development. As per our tradition, we rewarded ourselves with mini Häagen-Dazs ice creams at our local grocery store.

Following this, we drove for one hour up a windy road to the top of Mount Hamilton to Lick Observatory, where we were actually inside a cloud. After driving back down a bit, we pulled over and gazed at the most beautiful, fiery, and glowing sunset I had ever seen. And of course, being the Californians we are, we made sure to take pictures that would later be seen on Instagram. Thursday evening was perhaps the most memorable night of all. After a late lunch of Vietnamese Pho, we ventured to Christmas in the Parkan annual tradition in Downtown San Jose. Here, we enjoyed two hours of outdoor ice skating followed by an additional visit to Philz Coffee.

We then went to admire the beautiful Christmas trees and displays that are organized by various organizations in San Jose, such as NVIDIA and the local Girl Scout troops. The next morning, we dropped my cousin off at the airport.

While the description heavily consisted of food, San Jose is filled with diversity, activities, friendliness, intellect, nature, city, and beauty. I, along with any other resident, am proud to call this place my home.




The post Love Where You Live – Amar Kothary, San Jose, CA. appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Love Where You Live – Sheri Sanford, Burnsville, MN.

Sun, swim, waves, and diversity of culture, Miami, Florida has it all for an outstanding vacation spot. Miami is a melting pot of culture, highlighting its diversity through art, entertainment, easy living, and food. Taking one step into the Miami heat from MIA airport, one can immerse themselves into the one city that represents destinations from all over the world. The variety of languages you can hear on an everyday basis can make a person feel like they are in a whole different world. Along with the diversity of cultures, one can enjoy Miami’s finer aspects as far as nightlife, first-class dining, spas, exquisite accommodations, and entertainment. For those that want to delve into Miami’s true self, there are thousands of acres of everglades to explore, miles of beautiful beaches, and endless wildlife at every corner. Living in my hometown of Miami, Florida for ten years I learned a lot about some of the best places to go, some heavily advertised, and some little holes in the wall that will push your vacation over the top as one of the best.Miami South Beach“Miami South Beach” by Gary Bembridge is licensed under CC BY 2.0

First, starting with the famous South Beach, which was featured in numerous movies and TV shows such as “2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Ballers,” “Burn Notice,” and many more. I tell visitors that South Beach is unlike any other experience in the country. You can see everything from a million dollar McLaren drive by to a guy juggling on a unicycle riding down the road with a snake slithering around his body. South beach is full of unique quirks that make it unlike anywhere else. For adults, the nightlife is lively, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants to visit all with optimum entertainment. For the kids, there are miles of beautiful beaches, sandcastle competitions daily, Botanical gardens, and plenty of other attractions near the beach such as the Miami Seaquarium, State Parks, and Jungle Island. Miami Beach will always be a vacation mecca for families or couples looking to get away.


The acclaimed Mango’s Tropical Café is one of my favorite places to go in Miami. I used to go all the time with my parents to watch the dancers on the stage while enjoying a pina colada and a delicious dinner. The Mango dancers immerse you into Miami’s Spanish culture and provide all-night entertainment while enjoying dinner including salsa, bachata, hop-hop, break-dancing, singing, Brazilian samba, cabaret, belly dancing, Michael Jackson tributes and many more. If you’re ready to party the night away, the restaurant has a huge dance floor with a DJ all night long and provides plenty of fun for 21+. If you’re looking to sit back, relax and enjoy the show, they have an abundance of dining tables available for a front row view of the show.

Living in Miami for ten years allowed me to find the hidden gems of the city, one such place I particularly enjoyed was Robert is Here Fruit Stand and Farm. Away from the big city lights, Robert’s is a local food market selling anything from homemade juices, locally grown produce, and over 1,000 different honeys, jams, and jellies.

Everglades National Park“Everglades National Park” by Daniel Zimmermann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The store is sandwiched between Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the country, and Biscayne National Park, an underwater park that protects Florida ocean wilderness and corals. The best part about Robert’s is by far their famous thick, creamy milkshakes! They have a variety of flavors and they are out of this world. My all-time favorite is lychee and key lime! A milkshake I crave weekly and definitely a stop I recommend when in Miami. After listening to live country music, enjoying a delicious fruit milkshake, and a juicy ripe mango they cut up for you to enjoy for lunch, and grabbing a homemade key lime pie to go, you can stop by in the back to visit the petting zoo! They have a variety of birds, including ostriches, macaw parrots, ducks and emus. They also have pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and turtles. Having a solid five stars on Yelp for many years, it is a great pit stop if heading south to go to the keys or one of the numerous wildlife parks.

Wynwood Art District, Miami“Wynwood Art District, Miami” by T.Tseng is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wynwood is another place in Miami unlike any other place in the country. Graffiti once seen as urban decay, is now an accepted form of art work in Wynwood. Artists from all over the world are able to express themselves on the walls of Wynwood and it subject to a new tour in one of Miami’s trendiest places. Wynwood has thousands of beautiful legal murals on the walls surrounding art galleries, restaurants, bars, clothing stores and entertainment. Wynwood is also home to the world-famous Art Basal where artists from all over the world come to share their unique art pieces and murals. “Wynwood is also now home to the world’s largest installations of murals by multiple graffiti artists” (Washington times). When I think of graffiti, I think of tags from local people spray painted on a train, but in this case, it is completely different. Wynwood is full of the most amazing, beautiful works of art, huge murals you could only dream of seeing. Walking or biking through the streets of Wynwood feels like you are submerged into a different world; a world of color, freedom, and beauty.

The last hot spot in Miami that I love to visit is the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. If you love unique museums packed with fun ways to learn, this is the place for you. This six-level museum features a huge planetarium, a three-level aquarium featuring South Florida’s aquatic ecosystems, dinosaurs, space travel, a touch pool, ways your body works, a giant brain model, monster fish, everglades ecosystems, water shapes, and many more, this museum can peak anyone’s interest. The museum staff provide educational and interesting shows and demonstrations at each exhibit. This museum can be enjoyed by children, families, couples, and individuals; people of all ages. This is definitely a go-to spot when visit Miami.

The post Love Where You Live – Sheri Sanford, Burnsville, MN. appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Love Where You Live – Joyce Tiong, Austin, TX.

Welcome to Austin, Texas, home to the best food, music, and greenery in all of Texas. Now you might expect me to mention the Capitol building or the annual Austin City Limits music festival, but did you know that Austin is home to over one million Mexican free-tail bats? Or that the University of Texas at Austin has a pond smack dab in the center of campus with dozens of friendly turtles? However, if you aren’t a bat or turtle enthusiast, don’t worry. There are still plenty of things for you to enjoy. So, sit back and relax as I give you an exclusive, insider’s tour of the best city on earth.

First up on our tour, the thing that everyone loves most: food. Austin was named one of the top twenty foodie cities in America and is home to some of the best restaurants and food trucks in the state. Austin’s food is as diverse as its people; whether you’re searching for a healthy salad or some Korean kimbap, Austin has it all. And if you’re like me, with a huge sweet tooth and even bigger disregard for the freshman fifteen, then places like Voodoo Donuts, a restaurant famous for its quirky donuts, or Lick Honest Ice Cream, a local favorite, are perfect for you.

Now that you’ve eaten your way through the city, you can work off all of the extra calories by exploring some of Austin’s many green spaces. Despite being one of the largest cities in Texas, Austin has over 300 parks, making it the perfect place to take your dog or rowdy kid. The most popular park by far is Zilker, but if you’re looking for somewhere less crowded, Mueller Lake Park and the Waller Creek Conservatory are also great places to see. Austin truly is the best place if you’re looking to get in touch with your nature-loving self without leaving the comfort of the big city.

Lake at Mueller park“Lake at Mueller park” by Michael Coté is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Next up are the aforementioned bats. During the summer and autumn, Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge becomes home to the largest urban bat colony in the world. At dusk, you can stand on the bridge or take a scenic boat cruise and watch as the bats emerge from the bridge and disappear into the city to fight crime…I mean insects.

Congress Avenue Bridge“Congress Avenue Bridge” by Stuart Seeger is licensed under CC BY 2.0

And finally, perhaps my favorite thing about Austin is its walls. Despite how odd that may sound, Austin’s walls are the perfect tribute to the city’s liveliness. The many young artists that have made Austin their home have left murals that capture the spirit of the city. On more than one occasion, I have stopped at a random wall for an impromptu photo shoot with friends. So, if you really want to experience Austin, take a walk through downtown. Snap some pictures next to an artsy wall. Stop at a food truck. But most of all, let yourself wander. This city never fails to amaze.

The post Love Where You Live – Joyce Tiong, Austin, TX. appeared first on Movoto Blog.

How Blockchain Could Revolutionize Real Estate?

“Bitcoin gives us, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate.” —Marc Andreessen, Silicon Valley venture capitalist

Over the last 6 months, the buzzword has been cryptocurrencies, so when we started hearing that our agents wanted to get their commissions paid in cryptocurrencies – we had to look at the possibility of giving that option to our agents in California and Nevada.

The advent of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, has made quite a splash in the financial world and is generating enormous amounts of speculation, controversy, and discussion. Some argue it’s the currency of the future, while other experts question why virtual money holds any value at all. But whatever your views on these cryptocurrencies, the technology behind them holds immense promise for real estate transactions.

For us at Movoto Real Estate, we think that the real estate transaction is ready for a change because the process is about the same as it was 20 years ago. The evolution of the way we buy and sell real estate could mean that we use new technology to establish, review and convey real estate. Enter Blockchain.

What The Heck is a Blockchain?

The blockchain is the technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible. Digital bits of information (in Bitcoin’s case, payments, but in real estate, it could be deeds, titles, payments, etc.) are exchanged through a distributed network that doesn’t rely on a single entity to manage or administer it. It’s designed in such a way that only the owner of an asset can send that asset, only the intended recipient can receive it, it only exists in one place at a time, and transactions are public and easily validated. In short, the blockchain virtually eliminates fraud—especially the types of fraud common in the real estate industry like fake house listings, forged titles, and loan modification and rental scams. Even in today’s day and age of technology these scams are all still happening. How about if blockchain prevented these scams from happening?

Potential Effects in Real Estate

If nothing else blockchain holds tremendous potential for real estate and related transactions. For example: “With the blockchain tokens, there would be no need for title searches or a middle man to secure the title transfer. By using a blockchain-distributed database to prove the authenticity of the transaction, a homeowner could transfer title quickly without the need for a third-party verification. This technology could very well disrupt the real estate industry by making the escrow companies obsolete,” Hillary Hobson, Chief Marketing Officer of Highest Cash Offer, told Forbes.com.

Another way the blockchain would facilitate home sales is by assigning a digital ID to real property and transacting that digital ID on the chain. It could never be duplicated or transferred to someone who has no rightful claim to it. Say goodbye to that pricey title insurance.

Crazy right? 

Because it’s digital and decentralized, blockchain transactions can be completed in record time—a major plus when it comes to snapping up a great deal on a home. Ultra-fast transaction speeds would allow mortgage lenders to instantly assess the credit-worthiness of their borrowers and allow mortgages to be funded in hours instead of weeks. It would also ensure rapid payment from buyers who are paying for their homes without borrowing, using digital currency which is easily converted to cash. And all of these transactions are free or nearly free—a far cry from the steep fees and costs currently associated with home buying.

Though it’s relatively new and not well understood by non-technically minded people, blockchain promises to simplify and speed up buying or selling a home, applying for a mortgage, validating a title, and making and receiving payments. Instead of jumping through multiple hoops and waiting for weeks or even months, buyers, sellers, and agents can focus on the important part: the sale. Just know that Movoto real estate will be realistically looking at ways to incorporate new technology to make the real estate transaction easier and safer.

The post How Blockchain Could Revolutionize Real Estate? appeared first on Movoto Blog.

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The Hilda Jones Team

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Serving Northern Fox Valley Residents for 40+ years!

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