Realtors and Technology

I help several Realtors within Northwest Arkansas in my business, Moran IT.  These customers have a particularly need to be extremely mobile.  Over the years several technologies have come out to help them in their business.

But first a little about how a Realtor does business.  Realtors typically spend about 50-60% of their time out in the field, 30-40% in the office researching and marketing their businesses, and the remaining time spent with clients during meetings to close on houses.

As you can see this presents several challenges in order to keep their technology costs low, after all every business must keep costs down to make a profit.

Because of their unique challenges, I have come up with several technology choices to best service this type of business:

imagesMLXchange  This is a software product by their local realtors board that must be used in order to “List” houses on the market.  Basically, the MLXchange software is the “market”. 
Most realtors don’t take full advantage of this cloud-service/app.  For one thing, realtors can keep their entire client-base, including status (searching, selling, etc…), full contact information, personal information like birthdays, and so much more.  Second, the MLXchange software allows the realtor to setup repeat searches designed to email their clients when houses are found that match their criteria.  And so so much more..  (email, calendaring).  This Web App leads me to my second piece of technology for realtors:

verizonNetBook with cellular internet access.  Now I know what your thinking, this will cost too much…but I would like to differ.  Verizon has a $199 down and as low as $39.99/month for an HP Mini netbook with 3g internet access.  This means you can access MLXchange while in front of a house… Just imagine it, you could be showing a client one of several houses, when they ask you something new.  Log into MLXchange via your netbook and have the answer immediately.
Just be sure you pickup the car-charger and possibly setup a “platform” within your vehicle to sit your netbook onto.  I built my own personal laptop mount out of a specially cut piece of Plexiglas, a 1 foot lead pipe and a few screws.

Lastly you’ll need a telephone.  Let’s face it, your a realtor, you need to have some way while in the field for your customers to contact you.  A cellular phone is the absolutely best way to do this.  My phone of choice… an iPhone.  Yes, I know, everyone is jumping onto this band-wagon… but there is a very good reason why people like it so much, this phone just works!  With the million plus add-on apps, ease of use and storage space… I did a quick search and found hundreds of realtor related applications, everything from mortgage calculators to Property search apps… An iPhone would keep you in-touch with the world.  And after all, isn’t part of being a good realtor 110% “being in touch”.

Shameless Plug Warning:  Ok, one last thing you will need to be a realtor on-top of his/her game… a good Tech person.  You need someone who has the expertise to solve any problems with the technologies I’ve recommended here and most importantly the patience to work with customers and not “talk down” to you like most techs out there.  Call Diana or Daniel with Moran IT at 479-250-1112 if your in Northwest Arkansas.  We want to help!!!

See there I go… shameless plugs, tisk, tisk, tisk.  But you know what, it pays the bills… right?

Cellular Broadband on your HP Mini 1000 running Windows 7

hp_miniSo, you’d like to use that fancy new broadband modem you ordered with your HP NetBook.  Only problem is you’re so ahead of the curve with technology that you’ve taken advantage of the free year-long Windows 7 RC.  That is the dilemma… how to get your Qualcomm un2400 broadband modem to work on your fancy new operating system.  This problem took me a while to figure out.  Finally thought it just started working… and the first post I’m making is this one 😉

Here are the pre-reqs you’ll need:

  1. HP Mini 1000 NetBook with WWAN Modem, Windows 7, HP Wireless Assistant*, HP Connection Manager version 2, HP Multi-WWAN Drivers 

* The Wireless Assistant isn’t listed as one of the downloads for the HP Mini 1000, so I was forced to browse Google till i found a different hp laptop that had it for download.  Only requirement I needed for it was that it run on Vista.

If you have all of the pre-requisites then it’s time to get started 😉

1. Install Windows 7 onto your netbook.  You can follow my instructions on another post to learn how to install it via a bootable USB thumb-drive…

2. Now install the HP Multi-WWAN Drivers, this is the latest drivers and I had no problems with the installation or it’s appearance in device manager.

3. Install the HP Wireless Assistant*.  This will help the connection manager control the power’d state of your WWAN PCI-e card.

4. Lastly, install the HP Connection Manager version 2.  They just released this software back on 3/19/09.  This is a welcome release.  Before when i was running Windows 7 Beta, I was forced to use version 1 which required administrative permissions to execute.  I was able to get cellular broadband to work with BETA… but this solution here is far better!!!hpconnectionmanager-profile

That’s it, you’re done.  Now it’s time to configure the HP connection profile you will use to connect to the internet.  Open the HP Connection Manager version 2 and go to Tools->Profile Manager.  Edit the profile in the list, then edit your WWAN properties.  Adjust your settings to what I have to the right…

Save all that and you’re ready to test your connection.

double click the “HP Connection Manager 2” shortcut that was added to your desktop from step 4.  you should then see the below screen:


Click the “Power On” button and you’ll see this appear in the bottom right of your screen:


Once your wwan card is online and active you’ll see this screen:


Hit the “Connect” button and you should then be online and active… just as the following screen shows:


That’s it.  You’re now online and active… enjoy those 3G speeds!!!

Installing Windows 7 on your Netbook without a CD Drive


I ran into a little problem with getting a “fresh” Windows 7 installed on to my net book.  After a bit of research I found the following procedure… and it worked perfectly!!!

Without further ado… here are the Vista instructions for how you can create a bootable USB drive to install Windows 7 on your system.

1. Format USB flash drive to NTFS format

For Vista users can directly format the USB drive to NTFS formatformatL

2. Disk-Part the Drive

On the Start menu, navigate to the command prompt entry. Right-click and select Run as administrator.




list disk

Record the disk number of your USB flash drive.


Select the USB disk.

select disk X (X is the drive number of the USB flash drive)

List the current partition. Record the partition number.

list partition

Select the current partition and make it active.

select partition Y (Y is the partition number of the USB flash drive)



3. Prepare the OS files

Download Windows 7 file to your desktop.

Download and install PowerISO from

Right-click on the Windows 7 iso file and select Extract files. Extract the files to a folder (you can name the folder any name you want, but for illustration purpose, I name it win-7) in your desktop.


In your command prompt, cd to the windows 7 folder.

cd Desktop/win-7 (Change the destination to the folder that you have extracted)

cd boot

bootsect /nt60 X: (X is the drive latter of your USB drive )

Now, copy all the files from the Windows 7 folder to the USB flash drive.

Reboot the computer. Remember to change the first boot device to your USB drive in the BIOS.

You should be able to install Windows 7 from your USB flash drive now.

HP Mini Restore Problem… Solved!!!

Recently I installed Windows 7 Beta on my netbook, then wanted to test the restore process to get it back to Windows XP.  I used the windows home server to backup my netbook originally and to backup the installation of windows 7.  This, I thought, would allow me to jump back and forth between XP and W7 at will.

The biggest problem happened though.  The windows home server bootable restore wizard doesn’t recognize my netbooks LAN card.  Thus making restores impossible.

I was distracted for a short time while I exchanged the netbook for another with a WWAN card.  But now I’m back and solved the restore problem.

A long time ago I purchased a copy of Acronis TrueImage Workstation, a backup/restore solution I was using to backup customers hard drives. 

I used it to create a bootable disk on one USB thumb drive, and used a second much larger thumb drive to backup my XP image.

Now I can restore my XP drive at will… Yay!!!  Thus giving me the comfort level to move forward with additional Windows 7 testing.

HP Mini Fiasco, or In Search of a WWAN Antenna

hs2300 3G WWAN card So… I purchased my mini without the WWAN card and purchased it separately in an attempt to save myself $50.  It worked kind of…  I got my mini in and a week later I got in the WWAN card via a separate order.  I open up the mini to install the WWAN card and to my dismay I find no WWAN antenna wires.  So what does any sane person do… refer to the manual.  I locate the product number of the antenna and proceed to call HP to order the missing part, this is where things get interesting.

I spend the next 3 hours on the phone being passed between 20+ people all telling me they don’t know what I’m wanting, it’s not in stock, they can’t find it… the list goes on.  When they realize they can’t help me and I’m not hanging up they quietly pass me down the line to the next operator where I describe my problem again, and again, and again, etc…

My persistence paid off though…  After 3 hours I got round-robined back to someone who passed me along 15 people ago.  He felt so bad, I’m guessing, that he helped me from that point on.  They were not able to get me the part I needed and offered me an alternative option:  Return the Mini I had and order another with exactly the pieces I need. 

In the end I spend an additional $60 from my original order… and I can now return the WWAN card I ordered separately and get that money back.

All said and done, I should have ordered the mini with the WWAN card in the first place… but I was trying to save a few bucks.