UPDATED: Agents and brokers have a love-hate relationship with realtor tech.
This isn’t exactly news, and it’s not really limited to folks in the real estate industry. But outside of real estate, not too many people are using realtor tech tools, and I’m musing about real estate and how the market is going to eat less prepared agents (and possibly brokers) alive if there is actually a serious downturn in sales.
Update: So far we haven’t seen a downturn in sales outside of the “marquee” markets like San Francisco, Southern California, New York, Connecticut, and other very expensively priced areas. Many places, such as Phoenix, have a rapidly dwindling inventory, but the market seems to be in a holding pattern.
The price increase for rentals on a monthly basis has also outstripped the increase in mortgage prices for purchasers in the more moderate and lower priced market; this leads to a situation in several places where it’s once again cheaper to buy than it is to rent.
You can do your own google search and figure out whether or not you believe the market is actually going to correct, I’m not here to make market predictions, I’m here to talk about what realtor tech products are available for smart top producers to keep their spots on the upper tier of the list.
I’m also not going to bother lamenting all the ways that Zillow, Opendoor, Offerpad, and so on are basically screwing real estate brokerages and agents out of a ton of money, although homeowners on the buy and sell side of the equation are likely very happy to see those fat commission checks being reduced exponentially when they look at their net transactions.
Time waits for no man. Or woman. Or robot, for that matter.
As time goes by and technology keeps advancing, it begins to make one wonder if there’s a reason to have brokers and agents, or if we can – a la Waymo, simply move on to self driving cars, cutting drivers and car salesmen out of the picture – do the same in the real estate industry. Do we really need agents? Or perhaps having a broker, with a few office type assistants, to manage the paperwork flow is the way we will see things done in the future. After all, NOLO is huge for a reason…
My list of stuff that smart real estate agents, brokers and realtors will need to master this year to stay on top of the dog pile:
Lead generation – this is the big one, so I’m putting it at the top. Realtor tech starts and ends with lead gen, since new leads are the lifeblood of agents, especially in a slow market. When no one is selling, you have to find new buyers. When no one is buying, you have to work even harder to find new buyers. Facebook is trending downwards, Instagram doesn’t allow you to post anything more than the link in your bio unless you are a verified account and buying ads.
Basically you are left without a lot of options – you can keep buying ads from Zillow, Realtor.com and so on, but you’re competing with a minimum of a half dozen other agents on every lead (I know this because someone put my number into their inquiry with Realtor.com by accident a few days ago. Ugh…)
Personalization – this may not sound like it makes any sense at first, but hear me out. You spend the time and money to get the leads, but then you lump them all into the same bucket and send them all the same email, with the same information, or you send them all the same promo items over the holidays (please, I don’t mind fridge magnets but enough with the calendars that are too tiny to actually use!), without even thinking about how those customers and their referrals aren’t all the same and therefore shouldn’t get the same collateral every time. For goodness sake, even the Safeway puts out customized coupons based on what you buy, not what the guy in line in front of you just bought.
Location & Proximity – realtor tech should be all about matching up prospects with their location – you are, after all, selling houses or other location specific property, aren’t you? If a prospective buyer is driving buy the perfect property, why are you not instantly and immediately making sure they know you’ve got something for sale??? This falls right into line with personalization – how you are not working that angle like a madman simply escapes me.
Follow up – this is another part of the sales process that can easily be handled with a bit of automation and some clever thinking. Mobile is the most important thing going these days – really, new freaking smartphones cost 3X the amount of a basic laptop computer! – and if you are not optimizing everything you do for #MobileFirst then you may be so inept and incompetent that there is no help for you. Get with the plan already, it’s 2019, and it’s not about you, it’s all about the customer.
Well, if you’re still reading at this point, I’m going to assume you’re actually interested in a piece of realtor tech that pretty much covers all of the bases in the list above. It also does it pretty easily and it won’t break the bank (although we are going to consider raising the prices with every 1/10th of a point that new home starts go down this year… ok, just kidding. Ok, kind of kidding…)
UPDATE: With the scarcity of lower priced inventory looming over the horizon in most of the major markets, and the recently announced expectation of a ‘boomer flood’ of properties starting to come into the market – properties that are either age restricted, too big, or in undesirable locations for millenials, Gen Z, etc to be interested in purchasing, I cannot stress enough that finding as many ways to make contact digitally, and then to maintain that engagement, becomes paramount to building a future pipeline for both listings and potential purchasers.
One of the big reasons that renting is becoming so expensive is because more people want to rent – especially in the older age brackets. Home ownership rates are low, even compared to pre-2004 levels, and the younger set doesn’t want to move into areas without decent walkability and livability. They simply aren’t interested in purchasing 5 bedroom behemoths and going into deep debt to furnish them and pay the utility bills, only to have to get in the car every time they want to go somewhere.
The MobileWalletMarketer platform is a perfect vehicle for realtors, real estate agents and brokers. By leveraging mobile wallets to deliver your marketing and advertising message, you’ve taken the “build an app, support an app” out of the equation, and that alone frees up so much in dollars and time for you to work on what you do best, which should be listing, selling, or both.
[SEE IT IN ACTION: Take a closer look at how it can work for your business – PRODUCT INFO]
Target your customers by neighborhood, home size, home configuration, you name it. A little bit of thinking before your groups are set up results in your ability to provide information, education, and yes – listings – to customers 24/7, and to do it in a way that’s actually relevant to what they are looking to buy.
If you are a listing agent, showing a prospective seller their property on a mobile ad campaign is even more of a high for them than a single property webpage listing. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.
When it comes to followup and requesting referrals, moving your buying or selling clients into a second, or alternate, grouping, means that you’ll be able to message them with a clear and concise CTA; they won’t be inundated with listings or other collateral that doesn’t apply to their situation.
[GET A DEMO – Want to see it personalized for your business? – SIGNUP HERE]
The brilliance of mobile also means that you can leverage all of your existing content in a myriad of new ways. Offer prospects, customers and referrals the chance to access your blog, vlog, social media pages, and more, all with one tap functionality. Lead your prospective customers through their journey with you as their guide.
I’m not going to go into all the bells and whistles the platform has in this article; it’s been done enough times in the blog here on the site that you can find whatever you are looking for pretty easily. My suggestion is that you add a mobile ad campaign to your phone and see what is available as far as links, app launching, CTAs, one tap, etc. You’ll be glad you did.
UPDATE: If you are building for the long term, again, consider the effect that being digitally connected – directly – not via social media or some other app that controls your data – will have on your ability to transition your client base and marketing efforts to the next set of connections.
And when you’re ready for a demo, just let us know.
This article was originally written in January 2019, and was recently updated with new or additional information.