Rentomatic.com: Property Management, Rent Valuation Tool, Services of The Future?

Rentomatic Rentometer - Allison Atsiknoudas - CEO

CEO Allison Atskinoudas Rentomatic.com

Would you trust this woman by paying or collecting your rent online? CEO Allison Atskinoudas is betting you will and she may be absolutely right.

Rentomatic.com is a site that claims to be a simple alternative to property management, collecting payment for rent, and attaching value to rental properties in order to set a fair market rental price. The ease and convenience of such a system seem obvious; but overall does it work and if so what’s the catch? To find out more about the company go here

Webby Nominee in Real Estate category

How did I find Rentomatic.com? Their site was nominated for a Webby Award in the Real Estate category. This is an extremely high honor and speaks to the validity of the business, the site’s traffic and design, and the legitimacy of their business model. Zillow.com won the award but to be nominated is an honor

Online Rent Payment System

Only $5 per month per lease they bill tenants, electronically deposit the rent into the landlord’s account through their acceptance of e-checks, paper checks in 24 states and soon credit cards

Features: Advertising:

— Manage all your online advertising in one place
— Connect your ads to your property data
— Create a homepage for yourself or your business
— Create online property listings
— Automatically post listings to Google Base, Backpage, Oodle, and Rentometer
— Easily post your formatted listings on Craigslist
— Reporting of how many times each ad is viewed

Features: Property Dashboard

— See all your data at a glance
— Quick access to the actions you need
— Automatic alerts let you know what needs your attention
— Advanced reports show portfolio summary information

Features: Leases and Tenants

— Manage lease details
— Secure online tenant accounts for billing, payments, messages, and maintenance
— Supports multiple tenants for one unit
— Rent due and lease renewal reminders
— Tenant address book
— Custom notices

Features: Income and Expenses

— Works with our Online Rent Payment system for automated billing and tracking
— Export data to spreadsheets, and soon to Quickbooks
— Reports include: income and expense, monthly cashflow, Schedule E tax
— Tracks Loan-To-Value and net worth
— Automatic portfolio valuation
— Interface is built for easy manual entry

Rentomatic Plans

1. $9.95 per month up to 5 units

2. $24.95 per month up to 25 units

3. $59.95 unlimited units

Final Final

It is too soon to tell how Rentomatic.com will impact the market but the offering is robust, features and benefits indisputable, and business model built for our Web 2.0 world. Like any new system, the kinks will be worked out and process refined as the system becomes more seasoned.

One Fix in Progress: the rentomatic.com widget, an incredibly useful tool that could be part of sites for Realtors, property, neighborhood, city or towns, relocation sites, travel or college sites, needs to be made smaller. Right now it takes up too much precious sidebar space but tweaks are in the works to produce a minimized version.

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Blogging Realtor’s Traffic Tip #1: Stumble Upon Tutorial To Monster Readership

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This man’s name is Jason and if you adhere to his instructions you can bring instant readership and internet fame to you and your business. Jason is one of the writers of Gorilla Sushi a mashup of “humor, politics, technology, and culture”; a valuable source of business information when the mood strikes, Jason’s “Getting Stumble Upon Traffic” is by far the richest most information packed how to guide on Stumble Upon tactics available–as always it’s free. This is a overview so please reference Jason’s article for the indepth guide for your efforts.

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The following caveat is what drew my initial attention to Jason’s work:

“While I am not an expert on the subject, I have been using StumbleUpon to market myself for over a year and half, having made my fair share of mistakes and have had a few strong successes. Most recently I received over 76,000 hits on one post over the course of a week, including over 21,000 unique visitors in one day.”

What is StumbleUpon? SU is like a moving text and video dictionary of blog and web pages you can click through at your desired pace. When you land upon a page you particularly like or dislike you may vote a “thumbs up or thumbs down” for that page. You can also set your preferences so that the pages delivered with each click match what you are interested in viewing.

In addition StumbleUpon is a community of people. Within this community you have the ability to create your own page telling the world about you and your preferences–a social networking place in the vein of a less detailed Facebook or Linkedin. SU also rates their “Top Stumblers” which in turn helps develop you and your blog within the community.

Jason’s list of “tips and tricks” are broken down into three categories:

1. Become a StumbleUpon Member: SU has nearly 4.5 million members. SU matches high quality site pages, as you click the SU icon, to your preferences as you set them on the site.

Increase Your Standing In the Community:

*Stumble often, daily if possible
*Add a Review in addition to “thumbs up” when appropriate
*Discover new, quality sites
*StumbleUpon Photo Blog It
*Stumble Quality content-finding new quality sites and giving them “thumbs up” can add to your SU community reputation

2. Write Content That Is Going To Get Stumbled: As Jason advises ” There’s no sense in devoting every word that you write to the cause of Stumble fame but keeping SU’s potential in mind when composing a post can increase the likelyhood of getting multiple Stumbles.”

Types of Posts That Do Not Fare Well:

*Link dumps
*Personal posts require interest in the writer something the reader will not have developed
*Series Writing if it is not a one off or self contained then it will not work in this format
*News if it is not relevant in a month then it will not have legs

Types of Posts That Do Fare Well:

*How to Guides or Instructional type posts
*Detailed Posts with links, lists, pictures, something that appears to have taken time to build
*Poignant Posts that make a powerful point in a succinct, short manner
*Visually Interesting posts that bring pictures or artwork to life

3. Submitting Your Content: Writing a quality post is the best formula for Stumble success but here are a few tips Jason adds to help move the process forward.

*Use a Stumble Button on every post
*Place a Stumble Button in your sidebar to support the community
*Link to your StumbleUpon profile-placing it in your about page is a good spot
*Write a Post about StumbleUpon
*If you use Feedburner use the Stumble It FeedFlare

The following are crucial Tactics and Tips, regarding submitting content, which require more detail that can be found in Jason’s article:

*What and When
*Asking For a Discovery
*Your Vote
*The Bandwagon
*The Dark Side

Jason’s advise is simple  “Write something worth while and it will get Stumbled. Let the traffic come to you in a natural way otherwise your efforts will look spammy and garner you a negative reputation.” As always content quality is king-write well and they will come.

Jaxtr: A Realtor’s Widget Supporting “Radical Transparency” and the “24/7 Open House”

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Jaxtr, is an amazing widget that every Realtor should consider utilizing. Jaxtr is a free service where users may link their phones (cell or land line) with their online network (web site or blog) to receive or make calls worldwide while keeping their existing phone numbers private. This is NOT a new widget but for many Realtors taking their first steps into the Web 2.0 world, it is new.

Although a huge advantage to utilizing jaxtr is hearing from people who visit your blog or website, that is just the beginning. By adding a jaxtr link to your email signature, friends (worldwide) can call you with a click of a mouse.

Ease of use is important but even more important is the fact that you now have a method of avoiding the costly mega expense of international phone charges. There is no software to buy or download. Make or receive international calls for free.

If you decide to change your work or cell number, you simply add or update your number on jaxtr. Your incoming calls are then sent to the phone of your choice. In addition, jaxtr allows you to block callers or choose on a per caller basis which callers are sent to your phone “live” and which callers are routed to your voice mail.

The following is a description on how to sign up for a free jaxtr account and begin taking advantage of this cool widget:

1. Click on the huge jaxtr-sign-up-button.jpg tab at the bottom of start page.

2. “Sign Up Free and Start Talking Now” screen then asks you to fill out basic information as well as choose a screen name and password for your jaxtr account.

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3. “Find out if any of your friends have jaxtr links” page is an optional page which allows you to seek out friends on Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, or Outlook who also have a jaxtr account. If you wish to skip this process go on to the next step.

4. The “Invite” page allows you to invite friends and family to join jaxtr. You may skip this or invite as many folks to join.

5. jaxtr “Email Verification Page” has a dashboard at the top.

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6. To “Verify” your email address click on the link in red at the top left sidebar.

7. Under “Verify email address” click on the “click here” link. This will verify your email enabling
jaxtr to activate your account.

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8. Another way to verify is to proceed to your email account, open the jaxtr email, and click on the
link to verify your email. The link in the jaxtr email will then transport you back to jaxtr in order
to finish the registration process.

9. In the top left corner of your dashboard in red “Add your phone” so you can receive calls on your
phone. Click on this link.

10. Now you will be in the “Basic Information” screen. Go to the 3rd section to add the phone
number(s) you wish to receive calls on.

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11. You then will be prompted to click on the “call me” button. Jaxtr then calls your number to
verify the number and that it works properly within the system.

12. The “Congratulations” your number has been verified screen will appear; proceed by clicking on
“continue.”

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14. This final shot above is your home page. From here you may customize your jaxtr account, find
explore jaxtr features, and navigate your way through the tutorial sections of the site.

Jaxtr supports a Realtor’s blogging efforts by providing connectivity to you the expert. It is another cog in concepts of “radical transparency” and “24/7 Open House” that both Patrick and Kevin outline in great detail.

Remember to have fun with this new “toy” and remain open minded to the possibilities that widgets bring to our ever changing real estate landscape.

Capture Wiz: The Best Tool for Realtors to Capture Pictures and Screen “Shots” for their Blogging Purposes

One of the most challenging aspects to blogging is the technological hurdle this activity presents to new participants. Within this learning curve resides a number of valuable skills you will attain with a little research and lots of practice. One of the most important functions you will use is the ability to download pictures or “screen shots” to your blog posts. The best, most practical, and feature rich tool we have encountered is Pixel Metric’s “Capture Wiz” widget. The following is a step by step basic instruction on how to use Capture Wiz:

Capture Wiz, by Pixel Metrics, can be found at http://www.pixelmetrics.com. At this site you are offered a 30 day free trial in which to utilize the software and analyze it’s effectiveness. Capture Wiz comes in two formats: Capture Wiz Lite and Capture Wiz Pro. For your purposes, Capture Wiz Lite is the best choice.

Once you have registered and downloaded your “Free 30 Day Trial”, you are ready to begin learning about Capture Wiz. Capture Wiz is a tool to help make uploading pictures to your wordpress blog seamless and quick. It allows users to “capture” full screen shots or pictures to be placed on a blog post. Even more interesting is the fact that Capture Wiz gives the user the capability to capture “screen shots.” Screen shots are simply any size portion of a picture, image, or page you wish to use in your blog post. An example of a screen shot is the image below:

Capture Wiz Tutorial

The screen above is from the Capture Wiz site. The “screen shot captured” is encircled in red. Capture Wiz allows the user to save portions of images and pictures for uploading to your blog post. The Capture Wiz site provides a fantastic 5 minute tutorial with pictures that is self paced.

Here are instructions on the “Basic Screen Capture” a 3 Step Process:

Step 1: Move your mouse to the Capture bar and click “Area.”capturewiz-step-1.jpg

Step 2: Select an area by dragging the mouse (outline the desired area with left button held down then released once desired area is captured) capturewiz-step-002.jpg

Step 3: The Output tool bar opens. Choose the 2nd output icon titled “Save.” This will allow you to save the captured image to the hard drive on your computer. NOTE it is very important to save all images in JPEG format as that is the preferred format used by your wordpress platform. When saving you will create a folder in your document section.

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Once you have completed this task, you are on the last leg of your journey to having your desired image up on your post! All that is left is to go to the section for “uploading” pictures located just below the “content” box where you compose your posts on wordpress.

At the top is the “File” box which allows you to search for your capture wiz image that you just placed on your hard drive. Type the name of your capture wiz file and hit the “Browse” button to the right. A screen will pop up showing you your saved files. Select the file you wish to “upload” to your post and click “open.” The file you chose will then appear in the “File” box. Continue down to the “Upload” button below and right of this section and click on it. Your image will show up in a editor box. This allows you to choose, in the Show section, the size of your image either “thumbnail” or “Full size.” Below, in Link to:, you want to always chose “File” so that the picture can be uploaded to your post.

You will also be able to position your image by placing the cursor within the “content” area where you wish the picture to be placed. Click on that position and then move the cursor back down the page to the “Send to Editor” button and click on it. Your pictures should be in place within your post in the desired position. Remember to click on “Save and Continue Editing” so as to back up your work.

The best success with this handy and clever tool is to practice, watch the tutorials, and have fun!