Real estate technology has become a hot topic lately. However, not every real estate company is adopting these technologies, and those that don’t risk being left behind. Nonetheless, the question remains, how should real estate agents and brokers leverage technology today to stay competitive? The answer lies in adopting a tech stack that works for you and your business. The right stack brings together all of the technology tools real estate professionals should be using in their business today. This article will discuss what a tech stack is (for those who are a bit late to the game) and what tools you should add to your arsenal to leverage your leads more effectively.
What Is A Tech Stack?
When used as initially intended, a tech stack means a combination of programming languages and frameworks that work together to create a software application. However, in recent times and due to the proliferation of different types of technology, it has come to mean a collection of technologies that businesses can use to increase productivity and ultimately boost sales. When it comes to real estate agents and companies, this can mean things like an IDX feed, communication tools, and more. The idea is to allow an agent to become more productive with their time and close more sales than before.
In today’s world, buyers are more informed than ever before and use technology to their advantage. A real estate tech stack is a way for agents to stay competitive in this market. Nevertheless, for a stack to prove effective, each component must be integrated enough with each other to avoid issues that could result in wasted time and possible miscommunication.
How Can A Well-Integrated Tech Stack Benefit A Real Estate Agent?
A well-integrated tech stack is necessary for a successful real estate business. It allows agents to leverage their time, communicate with clients more efficiently, and keep track of their inventory. The best way for a real estate agent to benefit from technology is by automating specific tasks. This will allow them to focus on what they do best, serving clients and closing deals. Essentially, the more integrated each component is, the more efficient your time will become. For example, you might want to integrate an internet data exchange feed with your website, which should automate updating a whole raft of property information. This will save time while improving the quality of your listings. But while all of this sounds amazing, what tools do real estate agents really need to become more competitive and efficient.
Tech Solutions All Realtors Should Add To Their Stack
Any agent worth their salt should always search for ways to maximize sales. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at which solutions are best for this industry and why an agent should add them to their technical toolbox.
Internet Data Exchange Feed
A real estate internet data exchange feed is a file uploaded to a multiple listing service (MLS) to provide information about a property. The listing agent typically uploads these feeds, but some MLSs allow for 3rd-party feeds to be used. The feed contains all of the information about the property, such as its address, price, and other essential details. The benefits of this real-time information for real estate agents are significant. They can use it to find out about new properties and listings that might not be listed on the public websites. It also provides them with a competitive advantage by allowing them to have up-to-date information about the market. Once integrated into your website, you will find that listings are updated on the fly, providing significant advantages in terms of saving time and enhancing efficiency.
Although many people use social media to find out new information, a well-designed website will always be essential for businesses. It acts as a calling card, a unified location to list your inventory, and an extra point of contact for interested leads. However, even though building a site has become easier than ever before, many agents simply don’t have the time nor predication to want to make one themselves. This leaves two options:
- Hire a developer: You will get a fantastic site but at a cost.
- Do it yourself: Cheaper, but the design might not be as alluring as one developed by a professional.
If you are starting and need to save some money, a website builder might be the next best thing. A website builder is software used to create websites and provides the user with several templates and some drag-and-drop features. The templates are usually customizable, and the user can change the color scheme and add pictures, content, and other elements to it. Some are free, and others are paid (or work on a freemium model), so it is up to you as to what you want to produce. Nonetheless, whatever option you select, you should ensure that you can integrate an IDX provider to receive the advantage mentioned earlier.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
CRM software is designed to help you manage your customers and provide them with personalized service. CRM software automates many tasks that are traditionally done manually, such as managing leads, tracking sales opportunities, and managing customer data. CRM systems are different from other types of customer management software because they are more focused on the relationship between you and your customer rather than on day-to-day operations. However, this personalized service can really differentiate you in the crowded real estate market.
Calendar And Appointment Applications
Without the ability to schedule meetings effectively, how can you expect to become more effective? This is where calendar and appointment applications come to the rescue. In the past, you might have seen an estate agent carrying around a physical diary full of appointments, dates, and a plethora of other information. Nowadays, people opt for online solutions for obvious reasons. Aside from the fact that they are always with you, they make setting up appointments a breeze. Best of all, there are a variety of free applications replete with everything you could ever require. For example, Google Calendar is cloud-based, integrates with your usual Google accounts, and provides the ability to include others when setting meetings. This is an obvious choice if you already use Google for your email and cloud applications. You should ensure that you have a separate account and calendar for your business so that you can integrate them for maximum effectiveness.
Unified Email Client
Unified email clients are the perfect solution for those who have several email accounts and want to consolidate them into one. If you work for a real estate company that provides you with a dedicated email account, this can be a real lifesaver. There are many benefits to using a unified email client. You don’t have to log in to multiple accounts, and you can use the same interface for all of your messages. This is especially useful if you need to access emails from different services simultaneously or if you want to reply to an email but don’t know which account it’s in. Furthermore, they can be helpful if you are a self-employed realtor since they can connect your personal accounts with your professional ones, saving you time and reducing confusion.
Project Management Software
Real estate projects are typically more complex than others, with a significant amount of financial exposure. If operations are to be completed on time and on budget, you must be efficient with your time and resources. As a result, it’s crucial to have software that can help with:
- Monitoring activities
Project management software is a type of software used to manage a project. The software usually includes features like timelines, task management, and collaboration tools. You can use this type of software for many purposes in a real estate business and, once integrated with an existing workflow, can dramatically improve productivity. They are primarily used for larger property companies, but self-employed agents can also use solutions like Trello to interact directly with their customers and clients. For example, suppose you are attempting to sell a house and have arranged for a photographer to visit. In that case, you can update the homeowners via Trello and inform them of the tasks they should complete before the photographer arrives (cleaning, rearranging furniture, etc.).
Media Editing Software
Although most images and videos will be edited by the professionals who take them, you may have to edit some of them yourself. However, editing software can be costly, so you need to perform a cost-to-benefit analysis. For example, if you have lots of time but pay someone to edit your images, you may find purchasing this software makes financial sense. Conversely, it might not be worthwhile if you have lots of business but struggle for time. Nevertheless, in today’s world of social media, you will still need to use something that allows you to easily create media fit for social media without dedicating too much time. Fortunately, you have many options as programs like Canva offer tools that are sufficient to make slight alterations to media and create socially engaging content.
Social Media Management Software
Social Media has become an essential marketing tool for any business today, especially for realtors looking for ways to develop and interact with high-quality leads. Social media is a powerful tool that real estate agents can use to market their properties and themselves. It gives them more control over how they are portrayed to the public, and it also helps them build their personal brand. Nonetheless, with so many channels these days, it can be challenging to keep on top of everything. At the very least, you will have to interact with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more if your business requires it. So what can you do to ensure that you have all relevant channels covered without dedicating too much precious time?
Social media management software is a tool that allows marketers to manage all their social media accounts from one unified dashboard (unified being somewhat of a consolidating topic here). It is a type of web-based application that manages these accounts by automating the posting process and scheduling posts. However, it can do more than this, and this kind of software can help with the following tasks:
- Scheduling posts
- Managing content
- Engaging with followers
- Tracking competitors
Cloud-Based Contract Solutions
Real estate is a business that involves a lot of signatures and legally-binding agreements between parties. However, due to the more dispersed nature of the industry these days, it can be challenging to meet with clients to get their signatures. Services like DocuSign can help you manage your business more effectively. It only takes a few clicks for you and your clients to sign all the essential papers with DocuSign. Moreover, if the document is sent to multiple parties, you can check whether they have seen and interacted with the document in question. This can enable you to expedite what was once a slow and tedious process.
Cloud Storage Services
When it comes to collaboration, a realtor who doesn’t use cloud-based storage and collaboration services has seriously dropped the ball and is missing an easy solution for a time-consuming problem. Services like Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive provide you with a range of features to store, share and collaborate on all manner of documentation. The service you choose will depend heavily on preference. Still, it is widely accepted that Google Drive is an excellent choice. It provides a healthy amount of free storage (with affordable options to upgrade), integrates perfectly with your Google account, and makes sharing a piece of cake. Whether it’s a contract, marketing material, or real estate media, keeping everything in one place and having it accessible anywhere is extremely useful for a profession like real estate that’s always on the move.
Creating a tech stack that works for your business will increase productivity, efficiency, and leads and ultimately enable you to close more sales. The solutions you add to your stack will depend on your budget, market size, and how you operate. Nevertheless, the ones listed in this post are a great place to start and should give you a solid foundation to become a modern, forward-looking real estate agent.