CB Bain and CB Seal Continuing Education

CB Bain Upcoming Classes in April and May (New Classes Added)

New Brokers- Fast Start Training- April 8-12th- next week…
(this won’t be offered again until August)

Special Sessions for Personal Safety Training for Brokers coming up in April (only time this year)

April 11th- “My Will to Survive” Personal Safety Training for Brokers- Lake Union office
April 25th- “My Will to Survive” Personal Safety Training for Brokers- Vancouver Square office


Here is a list of other upcoming classes in April and May…

CB Bain:

CB Seal:


To view all of our upcoming training opportunities please visit: www.cbbainsealtraining.eventbrite.com

Google Chrome

6 Chrome Extensions to make my Gmail Shiny

 What is your favorite web browser?

Mine is Google Chrome, I have been using it as my default browser for a couple of years now and because I use so many other Google tools, Google Chrome is the best choice for me.  What I like most about Chrome is that it is clean,  fast, and not prone to crashes. Chrome is also customizable with the ability to select apps or extensions to install which will add functionality and allow you to customize your workflow.

What exactly is an extension?

Our company CB Bain | Seal recently transitioned to Google apps and mail and  I have been spending time in each branch office for training.  There are a few features that many of you have asked for so I spent some time testing out new extensions for Gmail as well as other programs to create a more fluid workflow.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my other favorite apps and extensions with you, but today I would like to address a few of my favorite  Gmail helpers.

Attachments.me – This  extension allows you to add attachments  to your email as  you composing your message  right from your Dropbox, Box,Google Drive or Sky Drive accounts.  You can also save attachments from your received email to these accounts with a click of a button.  On your Google apps bar is a paperclip icon which shows a current count of email attachments for you to review and save. Cost: FREE



Grammerly Lite – You have all been waiting for this one! I do believe this is my favorite new extension. Grammerly, checks your spelling as you type not only in your Gmail,  but on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere on the web. As you type it will underline your incorrect words and when you hover over the word, it shows you a list of correctly spelled words. In addition to spell check you can check your grammar usage, punctuation, contextual spelling and definitions.  It is even checking this post as I type it. Cost: FREE

Powerbot for Gmail –  In addition to Google, I am a pretty big Evernote user and I like being able to send an email or group of emails right to a folder in my Evernote account as a backup. When you install the Powerbot extension, it installs a button right inside your email and you can quickly send the email a notebook. You also have the option to insert a note or notebook directly into an email your are sending.  Cost: FREE



Right Inbox for GMail – Not only does this handy extension allow you to schedule an email, you can also track to see if it was opened (without requesting a read receipt), if your email contains links it will track to see if your link was opened and you can set email reminders! Cost: FREE for 10 emails per month or $3.95 per month for unlimited emails.

Smartr for GMail (video link)- Smatr is made by the folks who created Xobni, which I used with Outlook before switching to Gmail.   It was great to find that they had created  Smartr for  iPhone and Gmail.  Smartr, gathers all of your contacts together to give you a more robust way of looking at the information. Connect your  Facebook and Twitter accounts to Smartr and you will see  social information for you contacts too.  You will need a Free Xobni account to use Smartr.  Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry and most web browsers. Cost: FREE

WiseStamp  (video link) If you have received an email from me, you may have noticed my signature block which was created with Wisestamp. Create  a signature from a template and include contact information as well as links to all of your social profiles all in a neat signature block.  You can also choose to add your last status update or even a random quote. There are several webmail services supported. Cost: FREE or paid version for additional templates.

The links in the titles above will take you to the website for more information. How do you find these useful helper apps and extensions?  Go to your Google Search bar and type in Chrome Extension!  Have fun exploring!

Real Estate Home Buyers and Sellers are online are you?

According the National Association of REALTORS ® over 90% (9 out of 10) of homebuyers begin their home search online.  As a savvy business person I am sure you will agree that you need to have an online marketing plan as part of your overall business plan if you are to be discovered by the online consumer.  In addition to your own personal website there are a few key real estate profiles that you will want to setup.

So as the song says, let’s start from the very beginning…

How do you decide which profiles are the most important? That’s an easy one.  Where do people look for real estate online? This list with the hyperlinks to the setup page for each of the recommended sites should help you get started.

Online profiles to establish  CBBain.com/michaelackerman

CB Bain.com or CB Seal.com profiles will give you an online presence to display your, bio, client testimonials, listings (current or sold), videos (profile, property, and community) as well as co-brand you with your brand which has a strong local presence.

The Coldwell Banker National profile will give you an increased presence with one of the most trusted brands world-wide. Many consumers around the country recognize and choose the Coldwell Banker brand and they may not know to search for Coldwell Banker Bain or Coldwell Banker Seal.  In addition, Coldwell Banker brokers globally use the national site as a resource for referrals when they have clients relocating or looking to buy a second home.

Google profiles are important because we know that everyone is Googling everyone these days.  Don’t you Google a new client after you meet them?  Well buyers and sellers are online searching too and in many cases are forming opinions about who they perceive to be the local real estate experts based on the search results.  As of July 31, 2011 Google will require that all profiles be public (only your name and gender are required to show). They want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find what and whom they are searching for.  If you already have a Google profile and it is set to private, you will need to change it to publicly viewable or it will be deleted as of July 31.

Google Places allows you to claim your business listing online.  I suspect with the recent addition of Google + this will be the way the online business profiles will be established. When you claim your Google Places profile, you can add enhanced information about your business services that you are not able to add on your personal Google personal profile. Note: Google only allows one business per location which should be the CB Bain or CB Seal branch office listing.  As you create your profile, you will be offered the choice to indicate “Service Area” which does not require a physical address. I would not recommend that you use your home address for your business listing.

Realtor.com is a must because it remains the number one most searched site by consumers searching for real estate. For the listing broker you have the ability to showcase your listings and when you have a profile, potential buyers/sellers can contact you directly, if you don’t have a profile with contact information setup then the inquiry goes to the office number. Go to Realtor.com and search for your name under search for an Agent, click on your name and you will see “Login” to Control Panel to update your profile (it’s free).

Trulia.com and Zillow.com are the number 2 (Zillow) and 3 (Trulia) ranked real estate search sites just after Realtor.com.  Zillow has formed an alliance with Yahoo.com to provide the listings data for the real estate search on Yahoo.  Both offer information and many services for both home buyers and sellers.  The Zillow “Advice” and Trulia “Voices” forums allow consumers to ask questions and you as a knowledgeable broker have the opportunity to answer questions and share your expertise with potential clients. In addition to the search and information capabilities of Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com and Yahoo real estate, all of these powerhouses offer a way for consumers to write reviews about the service they have received from the real estate agent/broker.

Setting up your online profiles as part of your online marketing strategy will enhance your online presence. This is of course is by no means a complete list of all the places you can establish a profile or participate online.

Tip: To make the process of filling out the profile information go more quickly I would recommend that you create a document containing all of your information so that you can cut and past into the various profiles. Please use a current photograph and make sure the information is timeless. Instead of saying “20 years in real estate” say “in real estate since 1991”, this will eliminate having to go back and change the number of years on all your profiles.

It’s not too late to claim your profiles and get started with your online marketing plan.



Think Google for Real Estate

I have always been a Google Girl and here is why.

Linda Aaron Google SearchMany of you already know this about me but I am a big fan of Google and the amazing number of FREE tools Google provides to all of us in the real estate industry.

I attended the Coldwell Banker Generation Blue Conference a few weeks ago and Stefanie Hahn’s presentation “Be Google-Tastic”  was an excellent session, with standing room only (or in my case sitting on the floor). In fact both of these sessions were full to overflowing which tells me there is a huge thirst for technology knowledge among real estate brokers across the country.  Here is a link to Stefanie’s Be Google-Tastic presentation deck and video.

Today’s consumer is very web-savvy and they are looking for a real estate broker that is too. They fully understand the importance of online marketing  for their home and expect  their home to be showcased on the most important websites using the latest technology.

Think Google for Real EstateDuring the closing session at Gen Blue, Sam Sebastian, Director of Local and Business to Business Networks from Google gave this presentation “Think Real Estate with Google“, pay attention to the way home-buyer’s use Google.  This is a  54 minute video but believe me it will be well worth your time (excellent overview of where things are headed).  As you watch Sam Sebastian’s presentation pay particular attention to the statistics about mobile.

Is your website “Mobile Ready”?

The Gen Blue conference was a good confirmation to me that CB Bain | Seal is and has been on the right track with our focus on education for our brokers. We not only offer real estate practice, law and broker development classes but we also offer  technology and social media training classes on a regular basis. Many of which are FREE clock hour classes for our brokers. If you are not embracing technology and new communication channels you might want to rethink that. Today’s consumer is fully emmersed and will expect you to be too.

Here are the Google tools I use on a daily basis:

  • Alerts
  • Analytics
  • Chrome
  • Earth
  • Feedburner
  • Gmail
  • Goo.gl
  • iGoogle
  • Keyword Search Tool
  • Map
  • Places
  • Picasa
  • Profile
  • Reader
  • Search
  • YouTube

Here are a few must haves if you are an iPad user

  • Search
  • Earth
  • GMailMaps
  • Places

What Google Tools do you use?