Posts Tagged as real estate tool (page 3)

Update Your Real Estate Technology

There are some 2.8 million real estate agents in the United States, and arguably most of them are using outdated equipment and technology. Agents, by nature, cannot work chained to a desk. Software designed for desktop computers is passé and not effective. But most agents haven’t made the switch. Is it time for you to update your real estate technology?

We’ve explored some related statistics before. The average agent, according to NAR and other research firms, is between the ages of 54-58 – not exactly the demographic known for its early adoption of real estate technology or technology in general. But technology is making huge inroads, as portable and mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones grow ever popular, helping to meet the need of buyers who are doing property searches in real time from their mobile phones, every day. Apple’s influence, with the iPhone and iPad, has practically revolutionized parts of the real estate industry.

Today, there is a firm niche for real estate software designed and developed specifically for mobile devices. These location aware apps and systems are available at a much lower price point than their desktop-based predecessors and cost a fraction of the money. Real estate agents now have the capability to work in real time, with all their business productivity software, no matter where they are.

Real estate agents can manage their businesses, from contracts to documents, listings, transactions, and more using mobile solutions, such as:

SmarterAgent. Suite of mobile MLS apps.

Cartavi. Simple document management and eSign designed for real estate agents.

PropertyCapsule. Property portfolio management software for iPad.

Open House Manager. Streamlines, synchronizes, exports, integrates and reports – for a complete mobile open house management solution for iPhone and iPad.

Skyslope. Mobile transaction management software for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.

Mobile Lead Capture. Automated, real time SMS lead capture.

TouchCMA. Mobile presentation tool for real estate agents.

Reesio. Mobile workflow and transaction management software for agents, brokers and transaction coordinators.

Dotloop. Links people, paperwork and tasks seamlessly, for real time collaboration from anywhere.

What’s your favorite real estate mobile app?

Has NAR Betrayed Agents With AgentMatch?

AgentMatch, the new offering from realtor.com, has agents in a tailspin thanks to realtor.com’s close ties to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In a beta testing phase now, and only available to limited markets, the system uses data, not word-of-mouth, to recommend agents to home sellers. The product is decidedly for the customer, and agents are in an outcry that the service will hurt, more than help, their real estate businesses. Has NAR betrayed agents with AgentMatch?

NAR owns the realtor.com website and “Realtor” trademark, and licenses both exclusively to Move Inc. (a company in which NAR is a minority stakeholder), under the terms of a 17-year old operating agreement. Many agents are now questioning why NAR would support this move by realtor.com when the end result is not in their best interests. NAR’s official mission is to “help its members become more profitable and successful,” after all. Giving certain agents a potentially unfair advantage does not fit that mission.

AgentMatch is a consumer focused website that allows home sellers to search for creditable agents in their area, based on MLS data. The system begins by asking the user to enter their home address. Using this address, it compiles a list of all real estate agents in the area.

It then analyzes the number of homes currently for sale, each agent’s average sold to list price, the number of homes each agent has sold, and each agent’s average days on market for the past six months. Using these statistics, AgentMatch presents the active selling agents in a home seller’s area, providing a view into the details and past recommendations, which realtor.com says will “help you choose the agent that’s right for you.”

NAR’s stakeholder relationship and close ties with Move have left many agents with a bad taste in their mouths, and the belief NAR is condoning a service that will negatively impact their ability to do business and attract sellers. Real estate, after all, has long been a business about relationships, not statistics. And the qualitative data provided by AgentMatch is said to be restrictive and unable to provide the full picture of an agent or account for high quality agents who are new to an area or the field of real estate. What’s more, the system favors agents who work as teams.

“Ranking purely by production alone doesn’t come close to reflecting the professionalism and level of customer service an agent provides. Our agents are in a customer service business. No other service industry is rated on numbers alone,” says Keller Williams President Mary Tennant, who has been vocal in her opposition of the experimental agent ranking platform.

This isn’t the first time an MLS-powered agent ranking system has been launched. Redfin, a Seattle-based brokerage firm, put the brakes on its attempt in 2011, citing inaccuracies in MLS data and concerns that rating agents solely on MLS data created an incomplete picture. The Houston Association of Realtors met with the same result a year earlier, after experiencing agent backlash and outrage.

Launched first in Boulder and Las Vegas, realtor.com President Errol Samuelson expects the service to expand, at least, to an additional five or six markets, and has told media that people’s fears will go away as they “start to understand what we’re doing.” AgentMatch, he says, is realtor.com’s bold step toward maintaining relevance and attracting customers from away from sites such as Zillow and Trulia.

Former attempts to modernize service to consumers have also been met with negative agent feedback, but Samuelson quoted NAR statistics that show 89% of homebuyers used the Internet to search for a home, but only 9% find their agent online, and said, “That discrepancy will not hold.”

Not so, say agents across the United States who now see NAR as a competitor, even though they are forced to maintain paid NAR membership as part of their state licensing requirements.

One Virginia-based agent has gone so far as to launch a petition on Change.org urging NAR and Move to disallow the syndication of agent statistics.

Realtor.com has responded to criticism in an official statement that “everything from the algorithm to the data to the presentation all the way to the copy are being tested and then redeveloped — based on response from consumers and feedback from local board memberships.”

What are your thoughts on AgentMatch? We’d love to hear from you.

2016 Real Estate Trends: The Move Towards Online Real Estate

Capture More Leads with Single Property Websites

You have no doubt heard of single property (individual listings) websites. These websites highlight and market a single property for sale, truly showcasing a listing. Used correctly, these websites will help to sell your real estate listings faster, at a higher price point. If that’s not enough, you truly can capture more leads with single property websites.

A service such as Listing Domains will enhance your websites with several lead generating contact forms, including free listing updates, which allows visitors to fill out a form to request email updates of new listings that match their specific criteria. Other helpful features include viewing scheduling, which allows prospects to request a viewing of the property at a specific time and date and the ability for website visitors to easily request additional information about your listing.

Other handy lead generating features on the Listing Domains individual property website service include:

CRM. The Customer Relationship Management tool allows you to view all your website leads, convert them to contacts, and export them to 3rd party software platforms like Outlook, Constant Contact and more.

Mobile Guestbook. Each single property website includes a mobile guest book lead capture form. This encourages the mobile visitor to leave their contact information so you can follow up with them directly.

TEXT-the-Domain Lead Capture. This upgrade option makes it possible for you to market your listing across a whole new medium. Prospects can TEXT-the-Domain of your property website to get all the listing details, photos and your contact information. In turn, their cell phone number is sent to you for immediate follow-up.

Branding and Contact Information. Every site will display your photograph, company logo and contact information. Your individual listings websites will all link to one another to help generate more traffic to your other listings. And, of course, each website will link back to your agent and/or company website to help generate traffic there, as well.

Lead Alert Text. The Leads2Text service enables your website leads to be sent immediately to your text enabled cell phone. If someone fills out a form on your website, Leads2Text will convert their message to text and transmit it to your cell phone so you can follow up while your prospect is still viewing your website.

RE Business Pages

Facebook Best Practices for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

When best practices are followed, Facebook can be a valuable real estate tool, producing a substantial return on your investment in the form of likes, shares and comments — the currency of influence on Facebook.

When best practices are followed, Facebook can be a valuable real estate tool, producing a substantial return on your investment in the form of likes, shares and comments — the currency of influence on Facebook. Each like, share or comment your Facebook business page elicits increases your circle of influence, spreading your marketing reach and generating more leads. Facebook provides daily opportunities to keep your name in front of former and potential clients and cement your reputation as the go-to real estate expert in your community.

If poorly used, Facebook can also be a huge time drain providing little return on investment. Understanding how people use Facebook and what makes them take a moment to like, share or comment on a post is the trick to using this social media tool to build your real estate business. In analyzing more than a million posts to the top 10,000 Facebook pages, social media guru Dan Zarella has created hard data that provides a foundation for a new set of Facebook Best Practices for Real Estate.

In our previous post, we noted the discovery that photos generate the greatest number of likes and shares and nearly as many comments as texts on Facebook pages. The following discoveries point to additional Facebook best practices:

  • Short, pithy statements of about 25 characters (half a tweet) receive the most likes. However, long posts of 800 characters (about 100 words) receive nearly as many likes and generate the most shares.
  • Facebook is person-to-person communication. Writing posts in first person (I, me) earns more likes.
  • Express a point of view. Neutral posts garner little reaction. Facebook users respond most often to positive or negative posts with negative posts generating the most comments. While this works for political commentators, negativism can be a liability for real estate agents. Focus on the positive and make liberal use of photos.
  • Use your Facebook cover photo to enhance your Facebook persona.

Properties Online’s Facebook App allows you to easily post your listings to your Facebook business page, increasing its marketing value.

tech tools

Real Estate Technology Is Key to Agent Success

Info, info, info is replacing the real estate industry’s old refrain: location, location, location. Today’s plugged-in consumers want to know everything about a property and the community it is located in before they’ll even think about scheduling a walk-through — and they want that info NOW! Real estate brokers and agents that invest in technology that allows them to deliver the information consumers want will succeed.

Real Estate Technology Is Key to Agent Success. Keeping up with new real estate technology in a constantly changing digital universe can be a challenge. A good resource is the annual Innovator Awards sponsored by Inman News which spotlight the year’s best real estate technology tools (see our previous post). Today we continue our summary of 2012 Innovator Award finalists and the changes they are bringing to the real estate industry:

  • Real estate websites are ramping up consumer services. Catering to consumer demand for information, savvy Realtors are expanding property and community information and adding interactive features to their websites. On the forefront are RealtyAustin.com which has added property tax information and price per square foot to the wealth of information already offered on its website and Seattle-based Redfin.com which offers do-it-yourself comparative market analysis tools.
  • MLS are becoming stronger service partners. In some areas (notably California and Denver, Colorado) multiple listing services are collaborating to consolidate MLS and IDX services into a single, accessible platform that can be used regionally or even state-wide. Some MLS have also started offering listing syndication, mobile services and other tech features to their members; and a growing number are using public pages to actively direct consumer searches to member Realtors.
  • Brand image development and protection is gaining importance. RealSatisfied is taking the Angie’s List approach to agent branding, soliciting feedback directly from clients and working to create standardized evaluation tools for the industry.

Info, info, info is replacing the real estate industry’s old refrain: location, location, location. Today’s plugged-in consumers want to know everything about a property and the community it is located in before they’ll even think about scheduling a walk-through — and they want that info NOW! Real estate brokers and agents that invest in technology that allows them to deliver the information consumers want will succeed.

Properties Online offers a full range of real estate website, social media, lead generation and technology tools designed to help agents and brokers grow their real estate businesses. Contact us today to find out how we can help you succeed.