Real Estate Brokers & Technology

Where are real estate brokers really leveraging technology? Where are they not? What opportunities does this provide for Realtors, investors and technology developers?

There is an incredible disparity in the use of technology in the real estate industry. Despite a lot of talk in the media about highly innovative technology, there is some serious doubt as to how many are actually implementing advancements in technology. Subsequently, those neglecting or avoiding these advancements may only be hurting themselves.

Where Real Estate Firms are Investing in Tech

The 2014 NAR profile of Realtors showed an incredibly low level of investment in technology among agents. Investments in their real estate websites continued to come in second place behind cars. The National Association of Realtors recently released its 2014 Profile of Real Estate Firms. The first red flag of note is that around 40 questions surrounding real estate websites, technology and education were removed from this year’s survey. According to the data, the responses to this year’s survey showed the top 10 areas firms encouraged or directed agents to use specific software were:

  1. Multiple listing
  2. CMAs
  3. Electronic forms and contracts
  4. E-signature
  5. Contact management
  6. Document prep
  7. Transaction management
  8. Social media management
  9. Graphics and presentation
  10. Virtual tours and staging

The percentage of firms which push specific technology on their agents in these areas ranges from 86% at the top, to just 32% for home visualization services. The 6 tech categories which firms least get involved in with their agents are:

  1. Property management
  2. Video
  3. QR codes
  4. Marketing automation
  5. Loan analysis
  6. Agent ratings

Only 9% to 28% of firms got involved in these areas.

Real Estate Website Technology

If real estate firms aren’t that big on operational technology, perhaps they are at least doing more when it comes to the basics of real estate websites. Over 50% of Real Estate Firms had these 5 Features in Common:

  1. Property listings
  2. Agent and staff profiles
  3. Mortgage and financial calculators
  4. Info on the home buying and selling process
  5. Community info and, or demographics

Less than 30% had links to other real estate providers such as mortgage lenders, appointment schedulers, or live agent chat features.

The Opportunities

Data shines the light on major opportunities for hungry Realtors, real estate investors and others looking to serve the industry to better connect and do more business. First, let’s say that while successful real estate industry pros should absolutely feel fine about rewarding themselves with nice rides, most may be far better off investing in their marketing and technology. Unless all of your meetings are in your car, and you literally drive into networking events, or at least have them wrapped in QR codes leading to your website and drive around all day long, you vehicle may not be as big of a deal producer as imagined.

If you’ve got to show off, you can always rent “super cars” for special occasions -even super yachts and private jets if you like. However, most may find these toys and luxuries are best left as rewards from profits made.

CMA tools appear to be among the most used, yet they aren’t appearing on site for users. Many agents say they’d love better CRM, but this technology also remains fractured and separated from others parts of the business. Right here many could get a huge leap on their competitors.

Real estate firms are becoming more social, which is great. However, it is clear that few are doing enough or nailing it. The truth is that if more real estate salespeople, investors and companies just nailed social they’d have more business than they could handle.

Unfortunately, the other data shows pretty low level marketing and specifically online marketing efforts. Remember not, not only are close to 100% of home buyers searching online first, over half are using mobile devices to do it.

There is also a clear disconnect in actual contact. Great investments are being made to serve up information. This can be powerful for inbound marketing. Still there appears to be room for significant improvements in shortening the distance between parties, and speeding up contact.