Real estate agents have already been running their business from their cell phone for a while, but the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the use of technology in real estate transactions even further, including making offers and signing deals. In this new era of smart real estate, your employees need access to digital technologies now more than ever.
“I encourage people to master the device they carry in their pocket 18 hours a day— their cell phone, which can be leveraged when it comes to marketing and building rapport with clients,” says Justin Havre of Havre & Associates of Re/Max First in Calgary. “Use it to shoot videos for social media and get your face in front of potential clients for free—all you have to do is hold the phone up, hit record and talk.”
In addition to using video for everything from client walk-throughs to 3-D tours, other technologies that are helping realtors stay competitive include cloud-based software and CRM systems to track leads and automate engagement with clients after they’ve moved into their home. The right technology means realtors can respond to customers remotely, build their brand more efficiently, delegate tasks and focus on buying and selling homes.
Top 3 Technologies Every Real Estate Brokerage and Agent Needs
Here are examples of current technology available to brokerages:
1. Concierge moving services
Admittedly, we may be a bit biased but we think MoveSnap should be at the top of any broker’s list in this category. Our online concierge moving services are paid for by real estate professionals and provided free of charge to their clients. The service helps home buyers and renters manage moving-related tasks like booking a truck, updating government identification or transferring utilities in a snap, helping them save time, money and stress. It’s an ideal client service tool to help you stand out.
“Canadians want to know their real estate professional cares about them and can give them the customised support they need,” says Tonya Currie, MoveSnap’s CEO. “This service can help agents differentiate themselves and emphasize the added value they bring to the table.”
CRM capabilities built throughout the platform help automate touch points at key milestones in the client’s move, including before, after, and yearly anniversaries. “People often get busy and forget who helped them previously, but these reminders allow them to keep the realtor’s name top of mind for future referrals,” says Currie.
In addition to helping professionals provide a better experience, MoveSnap allows them to more easily turn their prospects into a sale, improving conversion rates by 2%.
“Moving is the second most stressful experience after divorce. In a survey of 2,000 Canadians, we found 84% really want moving support. If we can provide home buyers with meaningful support, it helps our real estate partners stand out as superheroes, because we are an extension of them.” – Tonya Currie, CEO of MoveSnap
2. Virtual assistants
Virtual assistants (VA) can be a vital time-saving tool for realtors. Think of it as Siri for the real estate industry. Powered by artificial intelligence, a VA can answer clients’ questions immediately in real time and determine what else they may need. It can be integrated into your Facebook messenger, on your website, and with the contacts on your cell phone. Since VAs typically provide 24/7 support, your clients can get the information they want on a new property quickly no matter where in the world they may be.
3. Transaction management solutions
In the past, real estate agents had to drive to clients’ homes to complete paperwork for a deal and get their physical signatures. Signatures can now be sent electronically, but there are often multiple rounds of forms. A transaction management solution can replace separate form creation, e-sign, and other systems with a single end-to-end solution. In addition to cutting down on steps and paperwork, it helps realtors stay compliant, reduce errors and store transaction documents securely from anywhere.
Real Estate Technology Trends
Incorporating virtual tours on your website can keep visitors on your page for five to 10 times longer, getting you more views and boosting the visibility of your listings online. Home buyers are increasingly using in-depth video tours to decide whether going to physically see a home is worth their time. “It’s better to eliminate properties this way as it saves everyone time and allows us to be more efficient and focus on the properties,” says Dave Dubbin, senior vice president of sales at Sotheby’s International Realty in Toronto.
Some clients are happy to only review potential homes digitally before they make an offer, he says. “If they are on the investor side, it’s just about the numbers and cash flow analysis. But if they’re relocating across the country, a virtual tour is also a useful tool to assist them in their decision-making process.”
PropTech, also known as Property Technology, is spurring digital transformations across the real estate industry. More than $32 billion was invested globally in real estate tech companies in 2021, with the goal of fundamentally altering the way realtors buy and sell properties. MoveSnap itself is a proptech tool backed by RBC Ventures, but other examples include computer design software that instantly transforms a hand-drawn sketch into a 3D floor plan, smart buildings that leverage big data to automate heating and lighting, and drone technology to photograph large estates and high-rise properties.
While technology continues to be an invaluable part of the real estate industry, sometimes old school can be the best school. “When the pandemic first hit we made a decision as a team to dive into our databases and reach out to everyone just to check on how they were feeling and doing,” says Havre. “We weren’t trying to sell anything – we just felt it was our duty to connect with people in the community and they all said, ‘Thank you for talking to me’ and just wanted to chat.”
What is the Future of Real Estate Technology?
Josh Gibson, a Winnipeg-based realtor with Goodfellow Realty, says millennial consumers are savvy enough to research data ahead of time. “A younger homebuyer with children wouldn’t ask about school rankings, because they would know already,” he says.
What clients want instead, he says, is a real estate professional’s expertise. “They want my opinion on a home. They want me to point out things that could cost them money. Or be sure they won’t lose their deposit.”
Clients are now equipped with more information at their fingertips than ever before, making big decisions quickly and sometimes even independently. But Havre isn’t worried, he says. “Are there disruptors coming into the industry? Yes, 100%, but they won’t appeal to everyone. Most people require an advisor through the buying and selling process as they are hesitant to rely solely on technology while navigating the biggest purchase of their lives. What they want is a professional to dissect all the information and walk them through the process.”
Acquisition and retention require a multi-pronged, ongoing approach to ensure the right balance of tactics to keep talent engaged and interest potential new talent. A winning team requires a brokerage that provides their staff with the right tools (like MoveSnap!), training, support and a company culture that nurtures its talent.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgement of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.