Five things to do in Kansas City

Headed to CMLS 2015?

Here are a few suggestions for some fun evenings in Kansas City.

  1. Watch the Royals in the playoffs Thursday and Friday night at beautiful Kauffman Stadium.
  2. Visit the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Features a 17-acre Sculpture Park and a prolific art history research library.
  3. Eat at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. In 2009, Anthony Bourdain named it one of thirteen places to ‘Eat Before You Die’.
  4. See Wicked at the Music Hall Kansas City.
  5. Download HomeSpotter (iOS or Android) and show the HomeSpotter team at the conference to receive a gift.

Aaron, Devin, and Ohan will be in Kansas City. We are redefining client collaboration with a 100% free solution for MLSs. Text us at 612-284-2828, or stop by booth #25 if you’d like to meet up and see what’s new!

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Fall Conference Schedule

Are you ready for the CMLS 2015, RESO’s fall conference, and the NAR annual conference?

The HomeSpotter team is amped to show off our new product! When you stop by our booth with our downloaded app you will receive a gift, so go ahead and download the HomeSpotter app (iOS and Android) today.

Here is a preview of our beautiful mobile-first home search with built in chat, making collaboration fast, easy and fun.

At CMLS, stop by our booth (table 25) and chat with Aaron, Ohan and Devin or text us at 612-284-2828 to set up a time to meet.

We look forward to seeing you at this fall’s conferences!

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HomeSpotter® Launches Free Mobile App Powered by MetroList® Services Data

We are excited to launch the free HomeSpotter app, powered by MetroList® Services data. This new mobile app provides MetroList subscribers and Sacramento-area home buyers with modern and practical features on a purely mobile platform. The app features in-app collaboration and killer search tools, ensuring agents and their clients have access to local, accurate and timely listing information. HomeSpotter is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets.


Chat About Homes



We eliminated switching between text, email and phone conversations. (Because multiple platform conversations are straight up annoying.) Now you can chat, share and collaborate with agents and clients all in one place. Share a listing with a client or ask another agent a question directly in the HomeSpotter app with our new in-app chat feature. Easy as apple pie.


Impressive Search Tools



You love searching for homes and finding the home that your client loves. Our modern and intuitive search tools give you access to all statuses and fields, making the home shopping experience a breeze. Search for homes within a specific area with our Circle Draw feature or hold up your mobile device and view surrounding homes with HomeSpotter, our augmented reality feature. Pretty cool, eh?


(Secret) Agent Tools



Okay, not so secret, but secure. Subscribers of MetroList Services can access agent-only MLS remarks and fields when signed in through verified credentials. Agents can also quickly access their listings and search for other agent contact info and listings.


Don’t Forget About

  • Interactive mortgage calculator – slicker than your average calculator, and boy, can you imagine a real estate app without one?

  • Directions to any listing – I ask google maps to navigate me even when I’m in my own neighborhood; perhaps I’m habitual reliant on technology? So, yeah, we have that in our apps.

  • Share a property from any listing detail page – HomeSpotter enables you to share your listings with the world with a click of a button.

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The Tools Tech Employees Use to Stay Productive

If I know one thing it is that there is a plethora of apps and tools out there…all vying for our attention. Another thing I know is that there are a lot of distractions out there (take this gif for example…). So when I observed twenty-something developers and programmers plugged into their computers and hard at work in our office I couldn’t help but ask this: How?! Curiosity took over and I needed to find out what tools our tech-savvy employees depended on for staying organized and productive at work. The list was large, so here are a few favorites.


1. No matter what you’re planning, Wunderlist makes it super easy to get stuff done. Set due dates and reminders, assign to-dos, share and work on projects with colleagues and access your lists across all major devices. Wunderlist is great for keeping track of personal and work goals and tasks all in the same place. 




2. Google Drive stores all of your important files, pictures and videos in one place that can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet or computer. Go ahead and share files easily with others and allow others to contribute to a document.


“Google Drive eliminates emailing attachments back and forth, making collaboration easy and fast. I can’t imagine working without it.”


3. Flycut is a clipboard manager for developers (but non-developers may find it useful, too). Every time you copy something, Flycut stores it in history. Later you can paste using Shift-Command-V and go through previous copies to select what you want to paste.




4. Workflowy is like your notebook full of lists – minus the messy handwriting and distracting doodles. With Workflowy, you can organize your ideas and notes in a simple bulleted list, add tags to easily filter your lists, and share lists with others.


“Workflowy is awesome for note taking and making lists. I use it every day.”


5. Find an interesting article or video that you want to save for later? Put it in your Pocket. Save pretty much anything from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite for later with the push of a button.




6. TextExpander saves your fingers and your keyboard (and your brain!) by expanding custom keyboard shortcuts into frequently used text and pictures. You can turn addresses, signatures and common typos into keyboard shortcuts that automatically expand.


 “TextExpander is the most useful app I have ever used. Hands down.” 


7. Trello is a project management tool that lets you make lists, create tasks, and add comments and due dates to help organize any project and make collaboration easy. The drag and drop format makes editing tasks and organizing calendars fast and simple.



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HomeSpotter combines messaging and home search in groundbreaking release

We’ve got news for you. Today, we released a new version of our mobile real estate app that seamlessly integrates chat messaging with home search. We believe every home search is a conversation, therefore, collaboration between home searchers and agents lies at the heart of the real estate process. The new HomeSpotter app makes it fast, easy and fun.


We saw that our users were copying, pasting, emailing and texting properties all over the place as they went through their home search. The process was still really messy. This didn’t make much sense, and our product team soon realized that every home search is really a series of conversations. There’s lots of communication during the home search process. Technology should reflect that reality, not get in its way.


We decided to combine our mobile property search experience with a familiar text message-like interface so that working and communicating with others through a home search app was simple. With HomeSpotter, users can now share property photo slideshows, not just links, have multiple conversations between friends and family and even facilitate chat between two agents that have full access to agent-only listing information. All of this takes place in one place within the HomeSpotter user experience.


We were ‘mobile first’ before that became a buzzword. Since our founding in 2009 we have worked with real estate brokerage companies and MLSs across the country to create a mobile search experience that rivals that of the big online real estate companies while delivering fresher, better property listings data. That foundation has set the stage for innovations like this.


Share, save, comment and chat…messaging meets home search – 100% mobile, 100% better than the old way. That’s what the next evolution of home search and HomeSpotter is all about.


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MetroList® and HomeSpotter® are the first MLS and vendor partnership to improve listing accuracy with RETS Data Dictionary 1.3

HomeSpotter® and MetroList® are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership, which is the first to utilize the new Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary 1.3, to provide MetroList Subscribers and Sacramento-area home buyers with an industry leading mobile app.  Branded as HomeSpotter, the apps — available for iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets — feature MetroList MLS data, in-app collaboration and powerful search tools, ensuring agents and home buyers have access to local, accurate and timely listing information.


Data to power the HomeSpotter product is provided by MetroList through a RETS Data Dictionary 1.3 compliant server. This is the first partnership between an MLS and a third party vendor to create a commercial product that implements the Data Dictionary.


MetroList Subscribers will also soon have access to HomeSpotter’s new suite of collaboration tools. The new collaboration tools will allow agents and their clients to share and chat about listings within the HomeSpotter app, streamlining the home shopping experience.


The new RESO Data Dictionary 1.3 defines real estate data in consistent terms and data structures, ensuring that each system “speaks” the same language. The Data Dictionary is significant in many ways: it allows for data to move between systems without losing information, reduces data translation costs and is easier for MLSs, vendors and other third parties to develop new, data-driven applications and services.


“For MLSs that are Data Dictionary-compliant, the data mapping process is much more straightforward,” Mark Leverentz, CTO of HomeSpotter said. “This means we can quickly onboard new MLSs and eliminate a potential source of errors from having data mapped incorrectly.”


“Working together with the Real Estate Standards Organization, MetroList was the first to receive, the Data Dictionary 1.3 certification,” said Tom Beede, CEO of MetroList Services, Inc. “With today’s announcement, we are pleased to partner with HomeSpotter and to be the first MLS to deliver on the value provided by RESO standard compliance.”


Aaron Kardell, founder and CEO of HomeSpotter, said, “We are excited to partner with MetroList and look forward to providing their subscribers with a mobile solution that improves their efficiency and productivity, while enhancing the service they can provide to their clients.”


The addition of MetroList to HomeSpotter’s partnership roster puts the company’s user base at more than 250,000 real estate professionals throughout the United States and Canada.


About MetroList® – MetroList Services Inc. is the largest multiple listing service in Northern California headquartered in Sacramento, the state’s capital. Formed in 1985 by the Sacramento Association of REALTORS®, the Placer County Association of REALTORS® and the El Dorado County Association of REALTORS®, MetroList’s ownership group has grown to include the Lodi Association of REALTORS® and the Yolo County Association of REALTORS®, and California Real Estate Brokers, Inc. MetroList acts as a seamless real estate information network serving more than 17,000 real estate professionals in seven counties: Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced and Yolo.


About HomeSpotter® – We’re obsessed with making apps that are beautiful and easy to use. They must also help real estate agents better connect with their clients, enhance their marketing and allow them to be more productive in the field. HomeSpotter delivers the best mobile search experience for iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, to more than 250,000 agents throughout the United States and Canada. The company was founded in 2009 under the name Mobile Realty Apps, then rebranded to HomeSpotter in 2015.


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HomeSpotter and ShowingTime partner on integration to increase the productivity of Huff Realty agents

HomeSpotter and ShowingTime announced a partnership to provide Huff Realty, one of the largest real estate firms in the greater Cincinnati area, with an integrated, branded mobile app that allows consumers to search for properties and increases agent productivity in the field by enabling them to schedule showings.

 The Huff Realty App – powered by HomeSpotter – is a home search app available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. The app features full MLS listing details, high-resolution photos, a GPS locator and an augmented reality feature to view nearby homes in real time.

ShowingTime, which is integrated into the Huff Realty App, streamlines the showing appointment scheduling and showing feedback process to improve efficiency. Agents can now request showings with their clients directly through the Huff Realty App.

“Our agents no longer need to go back and forth between devices, programs and applications to schedule appointments, as this integration allows the agent to connect directly to ShowingTime through the Huff App,” said Joe Carr, Marketing Director at Huff Realty.

“We are always looking for ways to increase agent productivity in the field,” Aaron Kardell, CEO of HomeSpotter, said. “ShowingTime has been a great long-term partner and we are pleased to extend this integration to broker apps with Huff Realty being our first partner.”

“We’ve worked with both Huff Realty and HomeSpotter for many years,” said ShowingTime President, Michael Lane. “This integration with HomeSpotter will provide Huff agents with added efficiencies to make them even more effective.”


About HomeSpotter – We’re obsessed with making apps that are beautiful and easy to use. They must also help real estate agents better connect with their clients, enhance their marketing and allow them to be more productive in the field. HomeSpotter delivers the best mobile search experience for iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, to more than 250,000 agents throughout the United States and Canada. The company was founded in 2009 under the name Mobile Realty Apps, then rebranded to HomeSpotter in 2015.

About ShowingTime – ShowingTime is the real estate industry’s leading showing management technology provider with 1.2 million active listings subscribed to its services. It equips MLSs, Associations, offices, brokers and agents with tools to schedule showings, generate feedback and report on activity. ShowingTime products are used by more than 53,000 offices nationwide and integrated with 200+ MLSs to manage 3 million showings every month.


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Is your mobile app ready for iOS 9?

Is Your App Ready for iOS 9?

HomeSpotter was just at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Apple revealed their music streaming platform, Connect, as well as a new version of OS X and iOS and updates to their car, home and watch software. There are a few headlining iOS features coming, such as multi-tasking support for the iPad and transit direction in maps. But in many ways, iOS 9 may be a quieter release since a lot of features will focus on small enhancements and increasing security and stability. We are pretty stoked about the new features announced in iOS 9 and are excited to incorporate the features into our HomeSpotter applications.


Here are some of the biggest features that should delight customers.


Transit in Maps

Apple’s maps app and third party apps that use embedded maps will gain the ability to provide transit directions on iOS 9. This is a feature that was removed when Apple and Google ended their partnership when iOS 6 was released. While there are a limited number of cities that will be included at launch, Apple appears to be focused on the details that will matter most to transit users. Apple demonstrated an indoor blueprint of a subway station that provided directions to the nearest entrance.


iPad Multitasking: Beautiful New App Switching UI

The app switching screen is getting a design refresh. Rather than displaying a screen of apps running adjacent to each other, the new interface organizes apps in a stacked format. This is a little bit like flipping through a pile of cards.


Swipe Over

Applications on the iPad will no longer be restricted to running fullscreen. While apps on iPad will still take up the full screen, swiping from the right side of the screen will present the last app that was active in a sidebar. The active app will be dimmed slightly to indicate that the sidebar app is active. This is handy for quick message or email reply or quick checks of your favorite social networking apps. Perhaps you are searching for homes and you get an urgent email notification. Normally you would have to switch to the mail app in fullscreen in order to respond. With iOS 9, swipe to the left from the right side of the screen to bring up your email application of choice and respond. Meanwhile, the home search app will fade slightly into the background while you complete your task. When finished, dismiss the email app and the previous app is right where you left it.


(Image source:

Picture in Picture

While video at full screen is one of the things that gives the iPad its advantage over smaller touch devices, it has always been painful to have to pause video when switching to other apps to quickly take care of tasks. In iOS 9, apps that support the Picture in Picture (PIP) feature will be able to shrink down to a corner of the screen while another app is active. No more pausing videos to send a quick message reply. Just tap on a notification or hit the home button to engage PIP. Perhaps you are in a FaceTime conversation and you begin to talk about your progress in searching for your latest home. With iOS 9, you can place your FaceTime video call into PIP mode which will hover in a corner of your screen while you launch an app to begin your home search.


True Split Screen Multitasking

Finally, if you own an iPad Air 2 (or perhaps a rumored iPad Pro…coming soon?), you can run two apps side by side with both active. You can drag your finger on the margin between the two apps and change which app consumes a larger part of the screen. The iPad will snap the windows between ½ and ⅔ alignment for the two active apps.


(Image source: Federico Viticci at MacStories. Follow him on Twitter @viticci)

iPad – Hardware Keyboard Support

When connected to a bluetooth keyboard, iPad will enable keyboard shortcuts for applications that build in support. Key combinations such as Command+Tab will engage the task switcher, just like on the Mac. Many other key commands will make editing documents much quicker, such as Command+B to highlight text. Third party apps will need to make an update to enable these commands. We expect third party apps to adopt these features quickly.


iPad – Text Selection

iOS 9 enables the user to turn the soft keyboard into a large track pad for text selections. Instead of tapping within the visible portion of the document and fiddling with getting the cursor, just place two fingers on the keyboard. The keys will dim out and move the cursor quickly to the desired position. iPad will gain some of the quick buttons introduced with the iPhone 6 plus, such as cut and paste buttons. These buttons surround the predictive text options that started with iOS 8.


(Image source: Timothy Reavis at iDownloadBlog)

Device Intelligence

Apple seems to have placed a lot of effort into little, automated enhancements to iOS 9. For example, missed calls from numbers not saved in the contacts app will still show a name as a possible match if found in a previous email. It will attempt to identify usage patterns and present apps commonly used at specific times of the day as an icon at the bottom of the lock screen.

Spotlight search and Siri will be able to display local content from third party applications. Forgot who mentioned that tweet about cat sweaters? Ask Siri or search Spotlight by swiping all the way to the left on the home screen instead of launching the Twitter app. Apple was quick to emphasize that this data is all calculated on the device and not sent through Apple’s servers.


News App

iOS 9 will introduce an app called News that will aggregate content from publishers, major and minor. This appears to be in close competition with Facebook’s instant Articles feature that was announced recently. Apple is also adopting the same revenue sharing model as Facebook. If the publisher uses their own ad network, the publisher keeps 100% of the revenue. If the use iAd, then they adopt a 70/30 model with 70% going to the publisher.


Power Saving Mode

Despite introducing iPhones with larger batteries last fall, many iPhone users still run low on power by the end of the day. Devices will be able to enter “Low Power Mode” when the battery level drops below 20%. This mode conserves battery by opting out of more power intensive processes.


We are excited about the new features in iOS 9 and look forward to making our apps more powerful. We expect our apps to consume less space on your devices and take up less energy when using your location. We will be able take advantage of the iPad’s new multitasking features and better integration with core iOS services.

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How to stay relevant in the real estate industry

Three Ways to Stay Relevant in the Real Estate Industry

1. Be local. Have you tried that new brewery that opened down the street? Wait, which one? The resurgence of local, craft beer is overwhelming. What is it about this local shift that has us all growing beards, and how can we implement this in the real estate industry? Just like authenticity and uniqueness is appealing to today’s generation of beer drinkers, the same goes for home buyers. Millenials, who make up a large chunk of today’s homebuyers, don’t want to be marketed to; they want to feel independent and responsible for their own thoughts. Therefore, they tend to support small and independent businesses. Luckily, the real estate industry is a localized industry at its roots. What sets an agent apart from an app is their knowledge of an area. An agent can tell their client about the neighborhood, can offer information on an approved development plan, and can recommend that coffee shop down the street (probably because they have worked from it numerous time this week). Serving a small, concentrated group of people and having a niche will help differentiate an agent in the marketplace and appeal to the younger generation of homebuyers.


How to create a niche:

  • Attend local council meetings
  • Participate in school district meetings
  • Become a member of the chamber of commerce
  • Download the CO Everywhere app to follow social activity and news in the neighborhoods you serve so you are always aware of the happenings
  • Volunteer at local organizations and support local businesses and causes


2. Be found where today’s consumers are – on their phones. Nearly one-third of all homebuyers, and 68% of first-time buyers, were 34 years or younger last year. According to the 2014 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, 58% of Gen Y (<33) and 53% of Gen X (34-48) use a mobile device to search for homes. In order to connect with the younger generation of home buyers, it is important to be found where today’s consumers are – on their mobile device. Consumers are still looking for homes, but, the way they do this has changed. This is the generation of looking things up on their phones. With companies like Zillow, Trulia, and, consumers can access a lot of information on their mobile device. Offering home buyers accurate data through a convenient tool and being available to them quickly will differentiate you from your competitors. This doesn’t mean you have to be a full-time techy. But, having some familiarity with emerging technology can strengthen your ethos in the real estate industry.


3. Be a solid communicator. With the emergence of smartphones and technology that can basically do everything besides eat for you, it is a little scary to think of what can replace humans. True – the needs for a real estate agent are changing, but agents are not replaceable. Think about it. Buying a home is not an easy purchase. Apparently, you can’t just go to the house shop and pick out a cute house, bring it to the register, charge it, and poof, you own a house now! It is a bit more complicated than that. Like, wayyyy more complicated. Because of the infrequency and complexity of the purchase, the high dollar value, and the uniqueness of every home, the agent serves as an expert to their client, guiding them through the entire process.  An agent should utilize their ability to clearly communicate and connect with their client and understand and accommodate to their needs. An agents knowledge about detailed local information that is not readily available on real estate websites, like local ordinances and future approved development plans, creates a strong bond with the homebuyer that will promote continuing relationships.

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HomeSpotter Image

No Meeting Wednesday at HomeSpotter

I have been lacking time to think. Substantial amounts of work and day to day activities to keep the business moving forward has depleted me. To effectively provide leadership and inspiration I need to take more time to think beyond all the “work” that fills my day. This morning I am working from a quiet corner at Caribou Coffee.

 A couple of months ago, HomeSpotter implemented “no meeting Wednesday.” This has been the best productivity hack we have had. Thank you, Aaron! Wednesdays have become not just a day to laser focus on important activities, but also a time to step away and think about our company and my team. Having this time allows me to ask questions like: Are we accomplishing the right things? How can I help us move forward intentionally? Am I helping my team thrive in the ambiguity of an accelerating software environment?

The real beauty of no meeting Wednesday is that I have time each week to plan and prioritize the things I want to work on. In the few short hours since I started this post, I listened to a Daniel Pink TED Talk, discussed a new course of action for customer success with a team member, revised a proposal, clarified a new app release with a customer and our development team. Okay, not everything was strategic, but everything was done on my terms this morning. I can’t wait until this afternoon.

So great to have a few hours of inspired work today!

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