The role of technology in real estate is flourishing but there is still room for additional growth in the real estate business. Nowadays it is hard to imagine doing business without the mobile phone. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is one of the most commonly used technologies and the popularity of the listing is on the increase. Although technology has been a friend to real estate agents, there is so much more to do to optimize the industry.
Real estate success is built on customer service. A real estate agent has to be available to meet a client’s needs and answer questions that arise in the meantime. Technology is an essential part of any successful communication strategy.
Ways that technology can help you:
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
In the old days, we used to keep client information in a calendar, on cards, or in file folders. If you were not in the same location as the hard copy, you were out of luck. This created a response delay until the necessary information could be obtained. Mobile phones on one hand became an important advancement but on the other were limited to storing numbers safely. CRM is the next step in the evolution of contact management. By storing information in a cloud-based application, you have access to this information wherever you are. You also have the ability to make and add notes or personal information such as birthdays, as well as the date of the last contact. Most systems can send reminders to keep in contact with your list or to celebrate your clients’ important events. All the information is available to you and your team once it’s in the system.
2. Property viewing sites
In the past, the only way to find properties for sale was to drive around the neighborhood or contact a real estate agent. Now, the MLS information is available to potential clients from a number of sources. Zillow and Trulia are among the most popular and widely used services. Clients can narrow their choices down by choosing search criteria such as the neighborhood, the number of rooms, and square footage. In addition, pictures decrease the time spent showing houses with obvious flaws. By limiting the search criteria by the prices, the clients can be sure they will keep within their budget. Real estate agents can have personal websites that allow clients to search while promoting their personal brand. Rentals are also available and searches do not have to be limited to the current physical location, and you also have a source of potential referrals for those looking to move to different areas.
3. Real Estate Management
With the expanding presence of the sites like Airbnb and Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO), property owners can reap the benefits of technology. Monthly rentals are also available through searchable sites, which saves time for the owner or manager of the property. Vacancy rates have decreased with the use of availability functions on the site. The searchers know exactly which properties are available and for which dates. Guests now have a wider range of remote or unique destinations to choose from.
Reasons that the real estate industry has embraced technology:
The real estate business doesn’t happen in an office for the most part. Agents are on the go, meeting clients, showing properties, and closing deals. Productivity in these areas depends on the ability to do business on the move. Real estate agents have had offices in their cars for years, now technology makes that office more productive.
2. Geolocation and Global Positioning System (GPS)
Location, location, location. It’s the first rule of real estate. GPS and geolocation make the rule simple. By locating both the agent and the client, geolocation allows a thorough review of all nearby properties. You won’t miss a great deal or an awesome listing. Geolocation alerts you to all the surrounding possibilities. GPS will get you where you need to go as real estate agents cannot know every part of the area they work in. GPS gets you where you need to go and ensures your clients will find what they are looking for.
3. Remote Work
A mobile phone, a laptop, and internet access are all you need to make an office wherever you are. Using cloud-based services such as email and file sharing, the information stays current from any location. The on-demand services allow the real estate agent to create marketing materials, print them and mail them from their laptop. A brick-and-mortar office is no longer necessary to conduct business.
4. Real-time information
Along with communication, information is a priority for a successful real estate business. Connectivity keeps your information current. New listings, client communication, together financial transactions update as changes occur. Being on top of information allows the highest level of customer service.
There are numerous apps that currently serve the real estate market like Propertybase, Property Metrics or BrokerWOLF. Because generic apps don’t always work for the specifications needed in the real estate market, custom software development proves useful.
Some key features to look for in a real estate app:
1. MLS/IDX integration.
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) or Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) is the industry standard for exchange of Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data. Any successful real estate app must be built on these standards.
2. Advanced property search.
This feature saves both you and your clients a lot of time by excluding properties that do not meet the buyer’s standards.
3. Listing syndication.
You want to have the listing up-to-date for both your buyers and sellers. It is crucial to ensure that all linked websites have the most current information.
4. Content Management System.
As content marketing becomes more important in the industry, you need a system that manages how your clients experience your brand.
5. Social Media Integration.
Your brand needs a presence on social media. Rather than managing each social media stream separately, save time and effort by using one platform to post to linked profiles.
6. Detailed statistics and reports.
Comparison of similar properties and information regarding the local market is useful when evaluating properties with your client.
Although there are ready-made apps for the real estate market, creating a custom app provides a number of benefits to real estate agents. Remember that both your market and your clients’ needs are unique. Creating an app allows you to take maximum advantage of the benefits of technology. Some potential additions to consider are:
1. Mapping feature.
Allow your clients to explore the neighborhood without leaving their couch.
2. Virtual Reality (VR) tours.
Pictures provide information about listings but a VR tour allows the clients to imagine themselves inside a property.
3. Mortgage calculator.
Your app can be linked to local banks and interest rates to provide your clients the timeliest information.
4. Virtual signatures.
Save time and effort in the paperwork while purchasing an estate by creating a validated system that creates a legally-recognizable electronic signature.
5. Organize your team.
By incorporating task sharing, delegation, CRM, and task management you can create the most product work environment for your team.
Your own app can be the solution to many of your work challenges. With one asset, you can increase your productivity and your client’s satisfaction.