Though real estate professionals increasingly use technology in their daily routines, staying up-to-date on new platforms and systems will be one of the biggest challenges for brokerages in the next two years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report.
It’s vital that brokers and their agents leverage advancements in technology. Knowing what tech tools are available and how to use them well can be the edge you need to streamline your day-to-day tasks and grow your business. Here’s a look at some of the most affordable and necessary tools for staying competitive in today’s tech-obsessed market.
You probably already know that cloud-based technology allows you to access important business files from any internet-connected device. The cloud helps businesses improve collaboration, manage growth, lower costs, secure data, and ease resource management.
But what you might not realize is that cloud storage goes beyond an online storage drive. Many platforms provide tools that will help you stay organized and efficient, including client management systems and email marketing solutions. Google offers a suite of cloud-based business solutions, such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Cloud. A busy agent needs to be able to pull up files or related notes on a property or client on the go, and cloud storage is the best solution.
Some concerns with cloud services include reliability and security. To secure data, most systems already use a combination of encryption, authentication, and authorization processes. To provide added reliability, cloud storage companies rely on redundancy techniques, so no single point is vulnerable. This is highly important as more real estate companies are becoming targets of cyberattacks.
Route Planners for Showings
If you’re showing multiple homes to clients in one day, you need to take the quickest route possible. Work that out with route planning software, which allows you to enter multiple addresses and map the most direct route to each location. There are free multistop route planners and subscription-based services. Some options include Routue4Me, RouteXL, SpeedyRoute, and My Route Online.
If your office isn’t paperless already, using e-signatures is a big step toward getting there. Companies like DocuSign, a REALTOR Benefits® Program partner, allow you to upload important documents online from a computer, smartphone, or tablet. There’s also DocuSign Transaction Rooms, which gives brokerages a transaction management system for the entire office, secured in the cloud. This makes the sales process move faster so you can keep your buyers happy.
Social Media Scheduling
Social media is a relatively low-cost way to reach prospective buyers and sellers, and 88 percent of companies use it, according to an eMarketer survey. You need to have a presence in the social sphere because consumers actively use social media to discover new brands and build relationships with businesses.
While social may be vital for your business growth, spending time actively posting relevant content to connect with your network is time-consuming. Social media scheduling software allows you to write all of your posts at once and then schedule them to publish at certain times of the day on certain days. You can also use scheduling platforms to track the analytics of your posts. Find out which content performs well with your audience and what time of day you receive the most engagement. Social media scheduling software can range from free to $50 per month. Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, and Tweetdeck are just a few of the platforms available.
Photo Editing Software
With 89 percent of home buyers relying on listing photos when searching for real estate online, it’s increasingly important for agents to showcase every property in the best light possible. But in real estate, photos are not only used for marketing a property; they are also often used to communicate with clients and other agents. For example, you may need to snap a photo of a property feature that needs to be fixed prior to a completed sale to send it to the seller’s agent.
Photo editing software gives users the ability to edit pictures on your smartphone. You can highlight problem areas before sending a picture to a contractor or enhance a listing photo before posting it on a website or sharing it on social. Examples of photo editors include Snapseed, PhotoShop Express, TouchRetouch, and SKRWT.