As you gear up for the 2014 spring selling season of rising home prices, higher inventory and increasing lending rates, technology can be a major contributor to building a successful real estate business. Below are my top tips on how real estate technology can help you better communicate with your client, reach a broader network of potential buyers and attract the best upcoming talent to work at your brokerage.
Be easy to access:
Even if your website is mobile-optimized, is it easy to navigate? Potential clients should be able to easily find your contact information, search bar and social media links at the top of your site. When a client contacts you on social media do you respond as quickly as you do to a phone call or email? Make sure you have downloaded the apps for every social media network on which you have a business presence.
Use virtual open houses to expand your reach beyond your local market: Host a virtual open house for your out-of-state buyers or provide potential buyers with a virtual tour of the neighborhood using the Google Hangout app or Facetime.
Automate your open houses to capture more buyers and sellers:
A successful open house is a fantastic way to generate awareness of your business, meet new clients and most importantly, sell your listings. Digitize the sign-in process at your open houses to take the guesswork out of potential buyer follow-up. An open house app, like Open Home Pro, lets visitors sign-in via your tablet, automatically follows up with those visitors, and tells you which visitors you can turn into future clients.
Identify buyers most inclined to close:
Identify the visitors at your open houses who most inclined to buy. Open Home Pro determines if a buyer is prequalified for a mortgage or currently working with an agent. The app also lets you take notes of each prospective buyer’s interest in the home, and his or her timeline for buying. Later, you will be able to access their contact information and notes in one place. The Open Home Pro app will email guests the listing details, a local map and your contact information while the open house is in process.
Send your sellers a weekly report on how you are marketing their listing. During their open house, use Open Home Pro to note visitors’ feedback on the property. After the open house, share the notes with your sellers so they can make updates while you make the sale. Post open house, the app will send important information like a price decrease to potential buyers, which could prompt them to make an offer.
Grow your team and attract a new generation of agents:
One of the best ways to attract younger agents is to incorporate technology in all aspects of your business (recruiting agents, administrative tasks, client interaction). According to CareerBuilder.com, millennials will account for 36% of the American workforce in 2014. Attract attract younger agents by providing them with the technology needed to work on the go. Purchase Wi-Fi for their tablets or store all your company files on a cloud computing system like Dropbox so your team can work from any location. Consider purchasing app subscriptions like Evernote or Todoist to keep your team organized.
Manage your business from your pocket:
Complete the majority of your administrative tasks from your phone so you’re not tied down to a desk.
Eliminate your paper trail by using: Google Drive to access and share all your Microsoft Office documents (Excel, Word, Power Point); Right Signature to sign contracts and agreements with your fingertip directly from your phone; Genius Scan + to turn any piece of paper into a JPEG or PDF file with this app’s photo upload feature.
Leave your bulky camera in 2013, and use your phone as your primary camera. Apps to help you include: Camera+’s digital zoom, ability to control the exposure, photo clarity and special effects result in professional quality photos; 360 Panorama will highlight your listing’s spectacular backyard view and provide potential buyers with a 360 degree visual; Pic Stitch will show potential buyers the lifestyle your listings could offer, by creating collages of the best neighborhood restaurants, shops, and scenery.
About the author: This was a guest contribution written by Doug Breaker, president and CEO, HomeFinder.com