With 1.4 million active REALTORS® looking for clients, digital transformation, and unprecedented low housing inventories across the country, home buyers and sellers have never had more choices. Buyers and sellers expect real estate professionals to use the same sort of mobile and cloud apps that are transforming so much of everyone’s daily lives. In today’s on-fire real estate market, using the right technology is more important than ever for buyers, sellers, and agents.
During the course of a real estate transaction, the endless moving parts create administrative headaches for REALTORS® and their clients. Technology is one of the best ways to deal with these issues and eliminate tedious tasks while mitigating burnout, one of the industry’s most present foes.
However, there are so many tech tools on the market today that it can feel overwhelming just searching for the right solution. Here’s a short list of five tech tools that should be in the arsenal of every REALTOR® in 2021 and beyond.
1. Electronic document signing capabilities tools
You’re probably very familiar with tools like DocuSign that allow you to sign, initial, and process legal documents securely and remotely. They’re popular for a reason: They allow REALTORS® and clients to manage documentation remotely and while mobile, offering an invaluable amount of flexibility in today’s fast-paced real estate market.
2. A showing appointment service
With unprecedented activity on the few available properties right now, appointments and opportunities are constantly moving. Appointments you schedule for one afternoon can be rendered moot that same morning because the house you were to show is listed as pending within hours.
Having a showing service to manage the ebb and flow of scheduling, as well as the inevitable changes that will come down the pipe, is invaluable. And it takes one more task off REALTORS’® plates, which is a great benefit.
3. Tools that provide up-to-the-minute market data
There’s a record amount of activity in the real estate market right now, and being able to quickly and accurately assess the market and property data is vital to providing the best client service. REALTORS® Property Resource and its app, RPR Mobile, provide detailed data not only about the property you’re showing, but properties around it.
If REALTORS® don’t have access to those tools, they’re doing their client a disservice. If a client loves a home so much they’re ready to put it under contract, but have lingering questions about the school district, property taxes, or other information, a REALTOR® should be able to access that data immediately lest someone else place an offer on the home within the hour it takes to drive back to the office and look up that data yourself.
Apps and programs that provide this up-to-the-minute data give REALTORS® who use them an advantage over those who just use the MLS. While the MLS provides active listing data, it doesn’t pull in public records data or county EPA data; you have to seek out other sources to find that information. By having all that information at your fingertips on one platform, REALTORS® can be more agile when answering client questions and evaluating properties.
4. Customer experience tools
Experience management solutions include mobile apps that enable seamless engagement between agents, buyer, sellers, and contractors. Creating great experiences means engaging and delighting clients throughout the buying and selling process. Making it easy to share listings, schedule showings, access homes, and provide feedback are all key to creating that magic moment when a buyer finds the perfect home.
But great experiences aren’t just for buyers and sellers. Great experiences are for agents, too. Selling real estate is hard and complicated. Agents need tools that reduce hassles. Like making it easy to cancel a showing when a home goes pending, or rescheduling showings when things change. Or making it easy to provide controlled access for out-of-region buying agents or contractors like appraisers and home inspectors.
A good customer experience tool will also include an agent safety feature. While September is NAR REALTOR® Safety Month, REALTORS® should always be mindful of their safety and the safety of their clients. REALTORS® using these apps can enable agent safety features, which alert a preferred contact if the REALTOR® using the app doesn’t interact with the feature or respond to notifications after a set number of minutes. This ensures agents remain safe and have the peace of mind that, should the unthinkable happen, someone will be alerted and come to the rescue.
5. Comparative market analysis tools
CMAs are vital when it comes to bringing in properties quickly to allow buyers and sellers to determine where their property sits in terms of pricing. Buyers can learn what the property values around their own property are so they can make decisions in terms of pricing, and sellers are equipped with property value data that will empower them to make smart financial decisions when thinking about purchasing a home. CMA tools can quickly assimilate comparative property data and help both parties see if they’re making a good choice, which is especially valuable when emotions are running high and the pressure of needing to make an immediate offer is looming over a client.
Technology and opportunities
While technology has been a boon to REALTORS® in countless ways, there are still some challenges that tech advancements have yet to solve. Right now, there’s a shortage of inventory – and the inventory that’s on the market is going fast. If buyers aren’t actively aware of properties for sale because they go on and off the market within 48 hours, that’s a missed opportunity.
If you have the right technology tools, you’ll be able to deliver a better client experience in a timely manner and make sure clients are getting all the information they need when they need it most. The real estate market is the most demanding it’s been in decades, and being armed with the technology to give clients the data they need the moment they ask for it is not only vital to customer service, but could result in referrals later on.