Technology is an essential part of any successfully run business, which remains valid for the real estate industry. Staying on top of industry trends is especially important for agents as every intricate part of a transaction can improve using technology and software. In this article, we will cover some of the most useful and innovative solutions out there to help any agent run their business ethically and efficiently as possible.
#1: Client Relationship Management System
Relationship and lead building is one of the essential parts of real estate, and maintaining those relationships keeps many agents busy with new transactions or referrals. Many CRM systems keep contacts organized and categorize them based on activity, likeliness to act, and life milestones. These systems have automated marketing materials and transaction anniversary reminders to ensure that you’re keeping in touch with your contacts on those particular dates.
Seasonal marketing material can also be sent to your contacts to provide tips and tricks or just a simple happy holiday message. Most of these platforms sync with email and personal calendars to document all client interactions. A few of the most popular CRM platforms used for real estate are HubSpot CRM, Salesforce Essentials, and Pipedrive.
#2: Contract Management System
The days of preparing packets of paper forms and meeting with your clients to get wet signatures are long gone. Many online systems allow the agent to upload all necessary documents used in their MLS and paperwork to transaction-specific files. The added feature of electronic signatures will enable forms to be completed online and then sent to clients for their prompt review and signature within these systems. This functionality is especially handy for offers submitted with tight deadlines.
Another benefit is the ability to share access with your transaction coordinator or office admin to accommodate help needed with your busy schedule or if you’re taking some time off for some R&R! A few of the most used systems that incorporate great features and ease of use are Dotloop, DocuSign, and Adobe Sign.
#3: Appointment Management Systems
Once an agent has done the hard work of winning a listing or gaining a buyer, searching for a home, or setting up scheduling requirements in the MLS is next. Utilizing an appointment management system such as ShowingTime will allow appointments to be entered, confirmed, and tracked with ease.
For the selling side, agents can set up showing hour restrictions, lead notice requirements, and home access details. On the buyer side, agents can request one or multiple showings, and the system will provide a map route and showing instructions with access detail reports for effective time management. The appointment management system can be linked to your MLS if approved to allow easy access for all agents to schedule or confirm a requested appointment for prompt approval.
Programs such as Showing Pro capture showing feedback that you can provide to your clients regarding price, condition, or any comments given you feel would make the home more marketable. Most of the feedback forms are customizable for property-specific questions, or you can pick from a list of standard items and automated to be sent following a showing. These are one of the most beneficial systems that can help manage busy real estate agents’ tasks!
#4: Electronic Lockboxes
The advancement in technology for methods to enter a home has grown significantly in the last few years. Many new electronic lockboxes such as SentriLock, provide access to a home and have features that enable notifications to be sent to the homeowner to notify them that the showing is complete. If an out of area buyer’s agent wants to show a listing but doesn’t have a membership to an electronic lockbox system, the listing agent can send a one-day code for easy access. The one day code is especially handy in that the listing agent wouldn’t have to go to the home and let them in! Also, one-day codes are helpful for an appraiser, inspector, or engineer who typically may not have access to an electronic system.
Systems like Supra eKEY have an access tracking system that enables notifications to be sent to the listing agent when the key is removed from the lockbox. The notification message is a great safety feature as the agent can notify the homeowner if there wasn’t an appointment scheduled or try to track down who may have entered a property without permission.
Many new products will continue to emerge, and existing products will evolve into new and improved staples. There are many out there to choose and research if you’re in the market for technology solutions. In addition to doing online research, real estate events and conferences often have vendor fairs highlighting companies that provide these services. They will often conduct demonstrations and give an overview of the features and benefits of the services they offer and may give a discount specific to the event.
Discussing products with the vendors is a great way to determine what system may work best for you and will be most compatible with the technology already being used. As always, networking with other agents in your area is still an excellent way to get advice and feedback on the technology you may be interested in and determine if it will have a good return on investment.
About the Author: Brooke Tanner is a Real Estate Express alum and real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Schmidt in West Michigan with over 20 years of customer service experience. She strives to be the best resource and trusted advisor for all buyers and sellers by staying on top of industry changes and trends.