Developing technologies have undoubtedly created ripples across a wide range of industries including financial services, retail, entertainment, communications, transportation, and manufacturing. They have significantly enhanced efficiency by improving resource distribution, automating processes, and boosting overall productivity. Interestingly, over the years, this trend has been comparatively slow in the real estate industry, despite the fact of it being considered one of the prime industries in America. As a matter of fact, by the end of 2014, according to the Federal Reserve, real estate had already clocked $40 trillion in value. Instead of technology, realtors largely relied on relationships to drive their businesses. The markets of residential, multifamily and commercial real estate have not been entirely reliant on information flow, but rather on human professional networks built from many years of working together.
In the early 2000s however, things began changing for the better. The first wave of technology, Real Estate Tech 1.0, introduced critical real estate data on online platforms. The second generation, Real Estate Tech 2.0, began equipping brokers, realtors and agents with software tools to improve their businesses by harnessing data and coordinating operations more efficaciously.
Real Estate professionals who previously relied on statistics Excel spreadsheets, pen and paper can now leverage cloud-hosted databases to boost collaboration and facilitate workflow automation. By eliminating manual processes which were both tiresome and erroneous, professionals have now been able to save time and money, consequently boosting their profits.
These benefits have drastically revolutionized the industry, attracting more investors not only on the real estate front, but also in software development and tech service provision. Consequently, different software versions began flooding the market, with various developers all promising the same thing- workflow automation and optimized portfolio management.
With each software version coming with a different set of functionalities, it must be confusing for most real estate professionals. Which dynamic tech solutions can you seamlessly implement in your business for the best results? To help you in making a decision, we’ve listed 5 of the top real estate technologies according to applicability, practicality and functionality:
This is arguably one of the most comprehensive real estate tech tools out there. In a market of over 133 million housing units collectively valued at over $25.7 trillion, Property Matrix could never have come at a better time. It’s a cloud-based software that offers a full suite of management applications with functionalities like CRM, building maintenance, property accounting, tenant and lease tracking, plus property marketing. All these are accessible through a simple, user friendly interface designed to facilitate quick access to the wide range of tools suited for both commercial and residential properties.
To optimize user experience and help you save time, it allows you to filter specific units from your portfolio, track maintenance requests and manage invoices from both your PC and tablet. In case tenants need to make a payment or request for maintenance, they can conveniently do so from the tenant’s portal, which is synced to the owner’s portal.
If you have a large portfolio of properties to manage, you’ll be pleased to learn of its additional robust accounting features, which significantly simplify the process of tracking and managing individual payments. It accepts a wide range of payment options including check, ACH wire transfer, and credit cards, which are subsequently reflected in real time on the transactional history and reports pages. Automatic pay reminders and recurring payment scheduling help tenants make timely payments and consequently improve service delivery.
At a cost of just a dollar per unit, Property Matrix is ideally priced for both small and large real estate management firms.
Thanks to the web, human beings are increasingly developing a visual culture. People are now more interested in images, pictures and videos than plain text. That’s why 83% of prospective home buyers would prefer taking a virtual tour of different homes through the internet before they can even think of booking for physical tours. Of course you could take photos of your properties and subsequently market them of online social platforms- or you could take an even better option by leveraging Onvedeo.
Onvedeo is gradually changing how agents list their properties by shifting from regular images to videos, which have a higher response rate. Instead of just letting you post that video directly on your website and vlogging platforms, the application introduces a rather interesting twist- your video is included in high quality localized video clips, which are shot by professional filmmakers on different neighborhoods across the country. Editing is subsequently done by professionals in different languages, and highlights, among other things, local amenities, transit score, walk score and mortgage data.
To improve your chances of landing new tenants, you could share the final videos on Youtube, Social Media, or embed it in your website, considering video listings in search engines have a 41% higher click through rate compared to regular text.
All this comes at a cost of a free first video which is subsequently followed by $49.95 per month or $9.95 per video, depending on what’s cheaper to you.
80% of all prospective home buyers spend most of their time scouting through online platforms for potential homes they could settle for. The more the information posted about a property, the more the views and subsequently interests it will attract.
Of course Onvedeo will boost your ranking and overall click-through rate- but unfortunately, although it’s increasingly efficacious, it’s just not enough. You need more to effectually bag prospective customers immediately you post a new property for rent or sale. And that’s exactly where TruPlace comes in.
In addition to Onvedeo, TruPlace will give you the ultimate edge over your competitors by further optimizing virtual home viewing. Through it, you can prepare and distribute floor plans to your respective properties, consequently providing your prospects with additional, more comprehensive information on the sizes, alignment and orientation of rooms and spaces. As a result, you’ll avoid the all too common scenario where prospects make an inspection appointment only to be staggered by property conditions that are far from had been earlier depicted in marketing images.
According to its developers, at a flexible cost of $199-$289 depending on your desired package, TruPlace will help you sell your properties 67% faster.
With TruPlace and Onvedeo helping you generate interest and convert your prospects into warm leads, you’ll need Doorsteps to engage and bring them closer to finalizing deals. The application principally targets first time property buyers or renters, who unfortunately, don’t have a lot of informative resources to rely on. Instead of blindly scouting through the internet for information, Doorsteps grants them free exclusive access to their respective agents, who on the other hand, provide relevant guidance.
So, how does it work? After logging in and paying a fee of $25 per month, you’re expected to begin inviting and signing up an unlimited number of prospective property buyers, who as a matter of fact, are granted free unlimited access to all the site’s resources. After signup, things start getting interesting, especially for you. You are able to get into your leads’ minds by viewing every resource they scan through, and interacting with them when they raise questions or need further clarifications on various subjects. Gradually, you’ll begin building trust, which has proven a major driver for the 80% of property sale deals which are closed through agents.
Your success as a real estate professional is not entirely dependent on static applications that are only optimized for properties. You’ll also need a reputable customer relationship management tool to effectively manage all the leads you attract. With an ROI of $5.60 for every dollar, this strategy alone will significantly propel you ahead of your competitors, considering that only a minority of the 47% of businesses leveraging CRM are real estate companies.
Contactually is currently one of the top go-tos for real estate agents who need an intuitive, customizable CRM system that not only offers real time tracking, but also marketing and sales automation features. Its user friendly dashboard offers quick links to all its lead tracking features, and displays relevant information including notifications, calendar events, recommended follow ups, actions, lead contact information, and daily reminders. If you need to follow up on your leads, you could take advantage of its ScaleMail tool, which is perfectly ideal for those types of leads who need more attention than a canned newsletter.
The software, which syncs across Salesforce, Outlook, Gmail, plus Android and iOS devices, also comes with an in-browser tool that you can use to curate content and share it with your contacts. To further build relationships, take advantage of the wide range of tools in its Content Libraries.
Of course, just like other amazing applications, these functionalities come at a cost. While Basic users pay $35 per month, Professional users pay $59 per month and the Enterprise plan comes at a cost of $125 per month. If you’d like a cheaper option, you could consider paying it on an annual basis, which translates to $29, $49 and $99 per month respectively.
In as much as we insist on these tools, the onus is on you to do a comprehensive assessment of your firm and its corresponding needs, to be in a better position to choose an ideal set of tools. As you do so, remember to ask around for recommendations from experienced real estate professionals particularly the tech gurus. If you discover a new tool that works well for your company, drop in a comment and let us know. We’ll be glad to learn from you.
Images courtesy of Property Matrix, Onvedeo, TruPlace, Doorsteps and Contactually