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The Checklist Manifesto

“You want people to make sure to get the stupid stuff right. Yet you also want to leave room for craft and judgment and the ability to respond to unexpected difficulties that arise along the way.” -Atul Gawande, M.D.

I picked up a book this week called The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande.

Eye. Opener.

I always knew we were on to something when we built GoConnect but I had no idea of the far reaching impact a simple checklist can have. Surgeons. Pilots. Commercial construction crews. Engineers. The World Health Organization. Chefs. They all use systems of checklists to perform their jobs at the highest level under conditions of extreme stress.

These checklists are not intended to replace years of experience or remove the artistry with which you conduct business. We use checklists because, sometimes, while we are tackling the really hard stuff…we forget about the stupid stuff.

Here’s the thing. Gawande tells countless stories of professionals adopting checklists, and the challenges that accompany any type of change to an established system. But when he said a Boeing pilot had worked for A DECADE to develop a series of checklists for pilots I realized we have been failing you. We can’t let you do this on your own. That’s too much to ask.

So I talked to a number of top performing agents and teams who have shared their checklists with me. I am translating them into GoConnect sized tasks (i.e. they fit on your phone screen) and creating an exhaustive list of possible tasks for you to use. Hopefully you will use them as a guide to build your templates in GoConnect, or add tasks to a particular transaction. Feel free to print them out or share them with other agents. If you have items you’d like to add, email them to me. I will translate and add them. Here is the first one: New Listing Checklist

I realize a real estate agent’s checklist may not save lives like a surgeon’s…but if your checklist can help you catch a stupid mistake the day before closing when two families have full moving trucks…you may save your own life. :) Shout out to Joe Rand for the book recommendation!

New Listing Checklist

These tasks are pre-loaded in GoConnect

Listing agreement signed

Schedule home staging

Auto search in MLS for area

Lockbox on home

Design flyer

Build listing website

Testimonials from neighbors

Schedule photographer

Measure house

Install sign

Enter listing in MLS

Enter showing instructions

Set up email feedback

Upload disclosures to MLS

Post to Social media

Update real estate websites

Deliver flyers

Weekly update

Update listing website

Open house

Listing expires in 2 weeks

The following tasks are all less than 28 characters long, which means they fit nicely on your GoConnect screen without being truncated. Feel free to use any or all of them. Add them to your templates. Add them to specific transactions. Email this post to a friend. Share it in your office. Enjoy!

Confirm appointment

Confirm client contact info

Preview competition

Research sales

Review tax record

Obtain neighborhood map

Order septic permit

Order well permit

Review deed

Review public records

Verify legal description

Review zoning

Verify legal names

Confirm schools

Review survey

Obtain house plans

Obtain list of updates

Discuss showing instructions

Verify loan status

Obtain HOA information

Obtain HOA bylaws

Gather utility info

Lead based paint disclosure

Property disclosure

List of features

Get extra key

Send welcome video

MARKETING

Schedule videographer

Order virtual tour

Post to Facebook

Post to Twitter

Post to Instagram

Post to Flickr

Post to Pinterest

Add to company website

Just listed cards

Special features cards

Direct mail piece

Need flyers? (weekly)

Review activity & pricing (weekly)

Seller net proceeds sheet

Adjust price (monthly)

Call your seller (weekly)

Whew. Sorry this list is kind of ugly. It’s a work in progress.

You can also replace generic tasks with ones that are specific to your company like “Send welcome video” could be replaced by “Send BombBomb email.” Stuff like that.

Questions or suggestions? Post them here.

My Listing Sold Checklist

These tasks are pre-loaded in GoConnect in the “My Listing Sold” template. This is your contract to closing checklist for your listings.

Scan & file contract

Confirm $ to escrow agent

Turun in paperwork to office

Change status in MLS

Confirm inspection

Request repairs

Schedule closing

Email clients closing details

Seller info sheet complete

Schedule final walk thru

Pick up closing gift

Cancel utilities

Verify repairs are complete

Get invoices to attorney

Final walk thru The following tasks are all less than 28 characters long, which means they fit nicely on your GoConnect screen without being truncated. Feel free to use any or all of them. Add them to your templates. Add them to specific transactions. Email this post to a friend. Share it in your office. Enjoy!

Contract to client

Intro closing coordinator

Deposit earnest money

Collect additional deposit

Inspection ordered?

Confirm inspection time?

Appraisal ordered?

Update from lender? (weekly)

Review inspection report

Appraisal okay?

Review contract docs

Order seller closing docs

Closing address to seller

Solve title issues

Recommend movers

Coordinate seller proceeds

Coordinate seller payment

Remaining oil/propane?

Review HUD

Remove sign

Remove lockbox

Seller move out process

Cleaning expectations

Change mailing address

Whew. Sorry this list is kind of ugly. It’s a work in progress.

You can also replace generic tasks with ones that are specific to your company like “Send welcome video” could be replaced by “Send BombBomb email.” Stuff like that.

Questions or suggestions? Post them here.

Buyer Contract Checklist

These tasks come pre-loaded in GoConnect in the “Buyer Contract” template and will help you manage the contract to closing process for your buyers.

Scan & file contract

Deliver $ to escrow agent

Turn in paperwork to office

Confirm MLS Status

Send Welcome email

Order Home inspection

Order pest inspection

Email contract to lender

Attend home inspection

Request repairs

Schedule closing

Email closing details

Schedule final walk thru

Buyer info sheet to attorney

Order home warranty

Verify repairs are complete

Get invoices to attorney

Final walk thru

Closing gift

The following tasks are all less than 28 characters long, which means they fit nicely on your GoConnect screen without being truncated. Feel free to use any or all of them. Add them to your templates. Add them to specific transactions. Email this post to a friend. Share it in your office. Enjoy!

Contract to client

Intro closing coordinator

Deposit earnest money

Collect additional deposit

Inspection ordered?

Confirm inspection time?

Appraisal ordered?

Update from lender? (weekly)

Review inspection report

Appraisal okay?

Review contract docs

Closing address to buyers

Property survey

Solve title issues

Recommend movers

Certified funds reminder

Remaining oil/propane?

Review HUD

Change mailing address

Reminder of closing survey

Whew. Sorry this list is kind of ugly. It’s a work in progress.

You can also replace generic tasks with ones that are specific to your company like “Send welcome video” could be replaced by “Send BombBomb email.” Stuff like that.

Questions or suggestions? Post them here.

Top 5 takeaways from NAR Annual

From technology, to policy, to emerging trends here’s a few takeaways from my visit to NAR’s annual meeting and expo in New Orleans last week.

1. Watch out for the youngins. In the last 5 years, the Young Professionals Network has grown from 2,000 members to 12,000. The leadership is smart and savvy and they care about the future of our industry. They understand policies and thrive on collaboration. If they want something changed, they will get it changed.

2. Marriage equality is a game changer. Household formation remains the primary driver for movement in the housing industry. With newly formed households, expect the LGBT community to become a strong presence in the near future.

3. Millenials. I know. I know. (more about young people?) They are the largest segment of our buying population. Get on board.

4. Predictive Analytics. This will be a buzz word in 2015. You’ll hear about it. Imagine the idea that your CRM can take your database, social media, and web analytics and put them through a fancy algorithm to spit out the people in your network most likely to move. It is wildly complex and will be too much for most agents to handle. But those who take advantage of it will be the most efficient agents in the business.

5. Virtual reality. This technology is going to crazy places. It won’t hit the mainstream for a while but picture your buyers sitting in a special booth in your office wearing Oculus goggles to virtually experience a 3D floor plan of any home on the market. Futuristic.

Bonus: I am convinced agents will fall into one of three categories. 1/3 will try every new technology out there and figure out how it helps their business. On the other end of the spectrum, 1/3 will use absolutely nothing and love it. They will be able to operate their business just fine for a while. Then there is the middle 1/3. They can use technology when it helps them, adapt to new technology, but still run their business with a laser focus on the basics – creating and maintaining personal relationships.

Bonus bonus: Don’t go to Harrah’s at 2am. :)

GoConnect integrates RealSatisfied to send client satisfaction surveys

RS logo shieldYesterday we launched a new feature in GoConnect and it’s wickedly cool. Update to version 1.3 of the app, you will see a new button under Premium Features in your settings menu. (It’s premium…but free). :)

Clicking here will allow you to link your GoConnect App with a Real Satisfied account. If you don’t already have an account set up, I suggest going to their website first and signing up. Here’s the quick set up process. It takes about 5 minutes.

1. Go to www.RealSatisfied.com

2. Sign up for the Agent Lite account with the same email you use for GoConnect.

3. Complete your profile (include your picture and company logo for best results).

4. Verify your account by clicking on the link in your verification email.

5. Go back to GoConnect and click “Activate” on the RealSatisfied set up.

6. The word Active will appear next to the word Real Satisfied.

Once that is done, the app will automatically send buyer and seller surveys when you “Confirm Closing” on a transaction.

I did it yesterday. I literally giggled with joy when I saw how fast it happened. :) I had a buyer client who closed on a home yesterday morning and I sent a real survey – to a legit customer. It was almost instantaneous and she absolutely loved it! I prepped her for the email which helped set the expectation. I’ve never done this on a consistent basis in the past.

This is going to provide a level of professionalism I never thought I could achieve without some big complex feedback system. And it’s more consistent than sending a Survey Monkey survey because it happens automatically.

Since we are waiting…

Since we have been waiting for over two weeks for Apple to approve our latest version with the big bug fix (thanks a lot iPhone 6) we had to do some other cool stuff.

So we hooked up with the guys from RealSatisfied to do our very first integration with another company! RealSatisfied is a platform for sending post-closing surveys and collecting client testimonials. They typically implement their service with large brokerages and associations but we are integrating them into GoConnect – leveling the playing field for the individual agent!

Shhhhhh! We haven’t made any official announcements yet. More details to come next week. I will be doing a live video interview with their President (and one hell of a guy) Jeff Turner. Keep your eyes peeled for the link so you can join us and ask your questions. To answer your first couple questions – no, it is not mandatory, yes it is awesome, please get over your fears of doing surveys, and it is free. :)

Have a great weekend!

Bugs fixed and approved

Sorry it took so long! A few weeks ago we launched GoConnect Pro which allows you to sync your account across multiple devices. Way cool. A few days later we discovered a significant bug which we fixed right away…and then we waited for 3 WEEKS to get the change approved. Like the iPhone 6 launch was soooo important. :)

Good news is that it’s all set! Apple approved the iOS version, Android version is done and our server has been reset. You may want to hard close your app and reopen it, that should trigger the changes after you install the update. (Version 1.2.1)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goconnect-real-estate/id711519894?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.startfromscratch.goconnect

Enjoy life!

kate and I in san diego

Every Friday I like to give you an update on the development of GoConnect. We have some exciting things going on but today my wife and I are in sunny San Diego (Hotel Del Coronado to be exact) for my best friend’s wedding.

One of the best parts of GoConnect is that it allows you to work more efficiently so you can enjoy life. Today, that’s what I’m doing. Hope you are too.

Stay tuned! Big stuff coming this month. PS. I’ll be back in San Diego for an ever October 28 with the San Diego Association of Realtors. If that’s your hood, I hope you’ll come see me.

GoConnect Pro now available!

The three main benefits of GoConnect Pro:

1. Sync – HELLO iPAD! You can now sync your devices. Your iPhone, iPad, Android phone…whatever you want. You can log into your account from any of them.

2. Safety – Your data will be backed up and easily recovered if you replace your device or add a new one to your collection.

3. Search – There is a predictive search bar for your transactions and contacts to make finding people and houses a whole lot faster!

*Even if you don’t buy GoConnect Pro, you should update to version 1.2 because there are a few bug fixes

Here are some more Q’s & A’s:

Do I have to use GoConnect Pro? Nope. The free version of GoConnect may be plenty of horsepower. If you only care about working on one device, rock on!

Where can I find GoConnect Pro? It can be activated in the Settings Menu.

Will Pro allow me to share my account with my assistant? Sure! If two people want to use the same account that is cool with us. Just be aware the app is not designed for multiple people to work simultaneously on multiple devices. There is a few second delay from when you close the app to when it updates the file.

How much does it cost? There is a monthly subscription of $19.99 and it is paid through your iTunes account.

I was a beta tester and have the free data back up plan…now what? Good news! You can continue to use the free version of GoConnect, and the free data back-up plan, for as long as you want. We don’t have the ability to prorate GoConnect Pro, so if you upgrade, we can’t give you a “credit” for the free back up plan.

Can I just buy the data protection plan without upgrading to GoConnect Pro? Sorry, but no. We are retiring the old DPP.

I’m sure you’ll have more questions…please post them on Facebook. We will get them answered right away. And if you love something, feel free to post to social media or write an app-store review. It’s really helpful for us.

Enjoy!! Zach Schabot GoConnect, Founder