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— by Hana LaRock

Facebook Portal for Real Estate Agents: A Handy Gadget or One You Can Do Without?

As a real estate agent, it’s important to stay on top of the latest tech. With many agents concerned about how this technology may take our jobs away, smart agents are adapting instead of straying away. But, just because there are new devices hitting the market every day, doesn’t always mean it’s worth buying. Facebook Portal is a new video chatting device that’s gaining more popularity, and tech-savvy real estate agents might be wondering if Facebook Portal is a good choice for them. Let’s find out!

What is Facebook Portal?

Facebook Portal is a video communication device created by Facebook, that takes video chatting to the next level. The design looks like a digital photo frame, and the device uses Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology to follow people around a room as you video chat. It can zoom in on multiple people (and, won’t assume pets are people), and eliminate background noise as you go about your business. No more having to hold up your phone or tablet as you multitask or shushing those around you.  

The main features/things you can do with Facebook Portal are:

  • Video chat with your contacts on Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp, even if your contacts do not have Facebook Portal. This includes group calls with up to seven people.
  • When you’re not calling, you can use the device as an electronic picture frame, displaying photos and videos.
  • With Amazon Alexa, you can use Facebook Portal to write a grocery list and order groceries, check the weather, get birthday reminders, or any other features that you can do with voice control.

Currently, there are four types of Facebook Portal: Portal, Portal+, Portal Mini, and Portal TV. Portal TV allows you to do video chats through your TV instead of the Portal itself. 

The Pros of Facebook Portal for Real Estate Agents

If you’re thinking of getting Facebook Portal—and, if you’re someone who just loves gadgets—then Facebook Portal can certainly make your personal life more convenient. As far as your professional life as a real estate agent, if you conduct a fair amount of business via Facebook, then this tool can certainly make collaborations with potential clients and colleagues easier. 

Other pros are:

  • As a real estate agent, you have your hands full a lot of the time—literally. Facebook Portal will allow you to conduct calls while you continue working on whatever you have in front of you.
  • You can access other apps with Facebook Portal, like Spotify Premium or Pandora, if you want to listen to music while you’re in your office.
  • Many of the first conversations that real estate agents have with potential clients happen over Facebook. As a matter of fact, the social media platform can be one of the best ways to bring in clients. If you start a conversation with someone via Messenger, you can always jump to a call if they have the time. This will no doubt speed up the process, and due to the functions of Facebook Portal, you don’t have to necessarily stop everything you’re doing to get to a more quiet place. 
  • Though you can use it to help with work, Facebook Portal also offers real estate agents a nice way to keep family and work life separate, since the device is definitely not as business-oriented as others on the market. 

The Cons of Facebook Portal for Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents are no strangers to the power of technology. And, while it’s good to stay on top of the latest gadgets and devices that are hitting the market, it’s also important to use your money wisely. It can be overwhelming, the number of technological options that are out there. But, it’s worth doing your due diligence not just for the money, but to make sure that the technology is not doing more harm than good, especially in a time when our data is at risk.

The cons:

  • The primary function of Facebook Portal is to be able to video chat. If this is not something you do too often, then it’s not necessary, as you can use your phone or laptop if you do need to video chat.
  • The Amazon Alexa integration is a bit wonky, which can be frustrating for a device that’s meant to capitalize on being “hands-free.” And, though you can do some smart-home functions with it, it’s not quite there yet.
  • Security is always a major concern not just with Facebook as per the Cambridge Analytical scandal, but with devices in general. Cybersecurity should be a major concern for anyone who conducts business online, and real estate agents should want to keep their clients safe just as much as themselves. That being said, you can shut off the microphone and camera on the Portal when you’re not using it, but remember that there’s always a chance your privacy and data is not being protected. In fact, Facebook has already admitted to collecting and selling data they receive from Portal.

 

So, Should I Buy Facebook Portal?

For someone who spends a lot of time talking to friends and family via Facebook or Whatsapp, Facebook Portal is definitely a fun accessory to add to your home or office. And, starting at $129, the price is in line with other tablets. However, the concerns about data privacy and overall functionality may not make it the greatest tool for real estate agents, especially those who are getting business from other forms of marketing. 

Nick Baldwin, co-founder of Lab Coat Agents has recently purchased Facebook Portal. When asked about his experience with it, he said, “Because it has to be plugged in it isn’t portable like an iPad. But, it’s good for digital consults with sellers and buyers because they don’t need a Facebook account to do a video call, and the camera follows you around when you walk so you can teach and show a presentation as if you were there while always staying in the picture. In that sense, it’s great.”

 

Do you use a Facebook Portal for real estate? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

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