Smarter Than a SmartPhone: Technology that Gives Realtors the Competitive Edge
When Trulia CEO Peter Flint told Fox News that technology is transforming the role of
real estate agents, his aim was primarily to promote the company’s new app. But what Flint said is true: technology can make you soar above your competition or render you obsolete.
Homeowners and home buyers have access to more information than ever before. They don’t need a real estate agent to tell them what houses are available on the market, what a particular neighborhood is like, when a price on a home drops or when an open house is scheduled. They have all of that information — and more — on their phones, tablets and laptops if they download apps such as those announced by Trulia on the Jan.17 broadcast of Fox Business News.
Potential clients may wonder why — or if — they need a real estate agent. But technology isn’t your enemy. Used properly, technology is your best friend and most trusted marketing consultant.
Potential Rise in For Sale by Owner Properties
In 2011, about 1 in 10 home sales was completed without a real estate agent, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They haven’t updated their statistics, so the number of For Sale By Owner sales may have changed in the past year.
Still, if 90 percent of homeowners think an agent can help them sell a home better than an agent, the landscape is far from dismal. It’s up to you to prove to any homeowner that you have more to offer than a yard sign, (used by 44 percent of owners selling homes on their own), Internet listing (used by 33 percent) and friends and neighbors (used by 27 percent).
But to properly promote yourself to buyers and sellers, you may have to become more tech-savvy than agents were in 2011. The NAR reported then that the biggest investment in technology planned by agents and brokers were smartphones (38 percent), iPads (29 percent) and digital cameras (17 percent).
Keeping Up with the Joneses
Considering that nearly half of all Americans were using smartphones a year ago, it’s going to take more than springing for a new iPhone to keep up with clients. Pew Research reported that 46 percent of Americans owned smartphones in 2012, 8 percent more than the number of realtors who told NAR they planned to buy one.
It’s essential that you keep up with technology trends. This doesn’t mean you have to buy every app and gadget that hits the market, but you must know as much as your competitors and clients. With that goal in mind, here are some just-launched and soon-to-be-launched technologies announced in January by Inman:
- NuOffer: The software app makes it possible for real estate agents to write and submit offers on home and other properties from anywhere they can get a Wi-Fi signal. Imraan Ali, the CEO of NuOffer and a realtor, says he can complete an offer in two minutes using the app.
- Contactually: The service, says company founder Tony Cappaert, helps real estate agents and brokers organize and manage their phone, social media and email contacts.
- Curaytor: The software collects Facebook conversations relevant to real estate professionals. It helps agents and brokers find answers to questions without directly asking anyone — the answer may be in 1 or more of the 50,000 conversations collected by Curaytor.
- Revestor: Helps real estate agents find properties for investors based on factors such as capital returns and cash flow.
Budgeting for Technology
About half of real estate agents and brokers planned to spend $500 to $2000 on technology in 2012. Plan your 2013 marketing budget with cost-effective technology in mind. Software that helps you generate leads faster and cheaper than you currently acquire potential clients will lead to bigger profits. Software that helps you locate coffee shops and dry cleaners. may be less helpful as many clients can probably access that information easily themselves.
Technology doesn’t sell houses, but it streamlines your business practices so you have more time to make sales rather than pursue them.