Real estate professionals are pouring more money into mobile technologies to make their businesses more efficient and expand their reach to clients, according to the 2013-14 Realtor Technology Survey conducted by NAR's Center for Realtor Technology.
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The survey, based on more than 1,200 responses, found that brokers spent a median of $1,410 on technology for their real estate business last year, up from $1,122 in 2012. Agents spent a median of $848, up slightly from $822 in 2012.
Tools that allow for conducting business quickly and conveniently from any location were rated the highest by Realtors. In the survey, they cited the most valuable technologies for their business:
Smartphones and tablets — iPads, Androids, Surfaces, or Kindles — are the tools that are most likely to be on Realtors' shopping lists this year, with 29 percent of those surveyed saying they plan to purchase one this year. Realtors say they spend a median of 44 percent of their time corresponding or doing work for their clients on a mobile device.
The most popular smartphone among Realtors continues to be the iPhone. Fifty-two percent of Realtors say they own an iPhone for their business, while 36 percent use Androids and 3 percent use Blackberry devices.
Besides technology devices, real estate professionals are increasingly using social media to generate leads and stay in contact with clients. Ninety-one percent of REALTORS® say they use social media: 70 percent say they use it to build relationships and network, while 64 percent say they use it for marketing and generating leads. Facebook is the most regularly used social network among real estate professionals (at 77 percent), followed by LinkedIn (75 percent).
"Technology has transformed the way Realtors do business, but in real estate, being high-tech can never come at the expense of being highly accessible," says Mark Lesswing, NAR senior vice president and chief technology officer. "Advances in smartphones and social media have made it easier for Realtors to stay in touch with their customers, but maintaining a strong, personal relationship with clients is still at the heart of the business."
The full results of the 2013-2014 Realtor Technology Survey can be downloaded at crt.blogs.realtor.org.