Working smarter, not necessarily harder, is key to success for real estate agents today. By decreasing the amount of effort you put into day-to-day tasks, you’ll be freed up to improve your clients’ experience in areas that traditionally cause lots of frustration—particularly the closing process. As a result, you’ll gain lifelong customers who will refer you to others. Here are five technologies that can help you get back time in your day so you can get there.
1: Personal Website and Social Media
A strong digital presence is essential to your business’s success. In particular, your personal website can help you find more leads—here are some features that will bring it to the next level:
- Lead capture form: this form is a pop-up box that allows you to collect website visitors’ contact information. You can then add people to your newsletter, or reach out to learn if they’re buying or selling, what type of home they’re interested in, etc.
- Live webchat function: these tools allow website visitors to send messages that you can receive and answer in real time, making it easier for leads to engage with you.
- Interactive map: this feature allows users to view your listings on a map via dropped pins so they can conveniently search for homes based on location.
In addition to having a strong website, be sure to maintain your social media presence. A reported 53% of agents use social media daily, and 44% say that they got a new client thanks to social media in 2020. Research how to market on the two most popular platforms for real estate: LinkedIn and Facebook. It you’re catering towards millennials, Instagram is important, too.
2: Virtual Tours and Staging
A pandemic-inspired trend that is here to stay, virtual tours are a great way to share listings with a wider audience. A survey found that real estate listings with virtual home tours get 87% more views than those that lack them, and 67% of people are asking for them these days. Investing in a 3D camera, as well as software for editing, can ensure that your tours stand out. Alternatively, you can partner with professional photographers who are experts at creating virtual tours.
Virtual staging, which uses graphic design software to enhance property photos, is another option for saving time and money on interior design without compromising quality. It’s an effective tool—a study found that 82% of agents said that staging a home helped buyers see a virtually staged property as their future home. There are lots of affordable virtual staging options available, ranging from do-it-yourself software to companies that deliver customized experiences.
3: Customer Relationship Management Tools (CRMs)
Customer relationship management tools, often referred to as “CRMs,” automate key processes throughout the sales cycle. Several real estate-specific options exist that allow you to capture leads, manage contacts, and market properties. Some CRMs offer email marketing campaigns, provide reports on your campaigns’ performance, and can integrate with other digital tools such as text messaging and social media.
These features result in time savings and smoother workflows, while keeping your customers engaged so they’ll return to you when they’re ready to buy or sell in the future. We suggest researching CRMs based on your budget and business size to find one that fits your needs.
4: Websites for Expanding Your Reach and Acquiring Listings
Getting word on the street about listings is crucial for acquiring leads. Multiple listing services (MLS) allow brokers to share listings with other brokers, incentivizing the sale of a property by earning payment if a property they list sells. Over half of buyers have used MLS websites to find a new home, meaning that you should explore working with firms that use MLS if you want to maximize your market exposure.
It’s also worth looking into partnering with websites like Zillow and Redfin, which list properties and connect agents with customers. A key difference between these websites and MLS is that the latter provides more detailed listing information and faster listing times. Depending on your objectives, you can cast your net wide and use both tools, or choose to focus your efforts.
5: Closing Technology
The closing process is notoriously one of the most stressful parts of the homebuying experience. Lengthy delays, black boxed processes, and tedious back-and-forths on the status of a transaction can eat up your time and sour the experience for customers. Considering the importance of referrals (in 2021, 68% of home sellers found their agents via a referral, and the typical Realtor earned 34% of their commission from referrals ), providing a more painless closing process can greatly improve your business.
Doma is one such company that provides technology for ironing out wrinkles in the closing process. Its online portal delivers agents and clients automatic updates on the closing process, saving you time and helping clients stay informed. You get prelims faster thanks to automated order opening and accelerated title. And for the things that humans do better than computers, you work with escrow officers who are supported by technology and a dedicated expert team. Partnering with Doma allows you to deliver a high-quality experience and get time back in your day to focus on other ways of improving your business.
Invest in Technology to Gain a Competitive Edge
By investing in technology to optimize certain tasks, you’ll see your productivity grow both in the short term and over time. A wise way to reinvest your time is in improving the closing experience—after a negative closing experience, your chances for a positive ongoing client relationship, or receiving a referral, are slim. But with more time freed up, you can focus on providing your customers a high-touch, seamless closing that leaves them excited for what comes next. It’s best to start sooner rather than later to maximize these gains.