Organized by volunteers, Real Estate Bar Camp is a completely unstructured day of sessions led by anyone who steps up — on any topic. Here’s how it works: REBarCamp attendees volunteer to lead a session on whatever topic is of interest to them and form roundtable discussions with other attendees. There are no individual presentations; a discussion group can pop up at any moment.
“We really build a conference on the fly,” explained REBarCamp founder Andy Kaufman, e-PRO®. The Berkeley, Calif.-based Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie real estate agent told meeting attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco on Thursday that REBarCamp “is open source — you guys do it yourself.”
Participants filled out cards with their names and topics of interest, and sessions were created based on the input. Some of the topics included going paperless, new real estate apps, international real estate, photography, social media, teambuilding, and ad campaigns.
“This really should be a party,” said Bill Lublin, GRI, CRB, CRS, a REBarCamp organizer and agent at Century 21 Advantage Gold in Philadelphia. “You’re going to be a little crazy today.” And crazy it was. Some groups drew dozens of participants, while others consisted of four or five people discussing around a coffee table. There were guidelines for session timeframes, but any session could begin and end when participants felt the time was right.
The majority of sessions were tech-focused, with one of the most popular geared toward new real estate apps. Here are a few of the favorites:
This app turns your phone into a hands-free panoramic camera. After you stand your phone upright on a flat surface, the app triggers the vibrate mode and causes the phone to turn around in a circle, capturing a 360-degree panoramic photo. One practitioner at the REBarCamp session said the app has eliminated his need to hire a photographer for his listings.
Capture a home’s floor plan without having to take measurements. Using your device’s camera, this app takes note of the corners of a room. With this information, the app creates a digital floor plan of every room you’ve scanned.
You’ll always know when you’ll get the best nighttime or daytime property shots with LightTrac. The app plots a given location on a map and calculates the elevation of the sun and moon and how much light exposure the location will receive at any given time. That way you can decide what time is best to take outdoor photos for that perfect dusk shot.
With Google Goggles, you can take a picture of anything, and the app will match your image with Google results. It’s not an exact science, but it can give you a pretty good idea of what you’re looking at.
OK, this isn’t for your business. It’s just for fun — and it got a huge laugh from the crowd. SitOrSquat plots your location and indicates where the nearest bathrooms are. “That’s more useful to me than anything else right now,” one attendee joked.