Using innovative tools, real estate agents can close on houses quicker and make their business run smoother. Let's take a look at some of the things that can be a great addition to any Realtor's tool kit for productivity.
Using some of this technology, you can become more efficient and put more money in your pocket.
Some of the larger firms provide free marketing resources for real estate agents. But agents at smaller firms — or who want to flex their creative muscles — create their own designs. That’s where Canva comes in.
Canva is a free graphic design software that agents can use to create everything from social media to flyers. With this easy-to-use software, agents can add listing photos, choose from hundreds of fonts, update logos, edit photos, and more.
Of course, some Realtors need or want to create their own marketing materials but might not be talented designers. For those, Canva comes pre-equipped with hundreds of free templates.
Simply choosing the desired type of design (postcard, Instagram post, flyer, etc.) will allow users to select a professionally designed template. They can then customize it with their name, logo, and so forth.
For easy, free marketing resources, Canva is an agent’s top tech tool.
Let’s face it, the typical real estate transaction requires many signatures - sellers, buyers, banks, inspectors… The list is endless. Agents are forced to drive, mail, or otherwise deliver contracts and paperwork to the appropriate party. And if there’s an error in the documents, a change in terms, or a signature gets missed, they need to do it again.
Chasing down signatures is exhausting and time-consuming. And it takes up the valuable time that Realtors could be using to work with clients.
When COVID-19 brought on lockdowns, Realtors around the country were forced to get creative. Videos replaced showings, and DocuSign became the norm. Now, instead of signing on physical paper, these numerous documents can be signed and returned digitally. There’s no need for contact between agents and clients or other signers.
With lockdown restrictions easing, Realtors who embraced DocuSign show no desire for going back to paper. The convenience and speed that come from digital signing truly make transactions easier for Realtors.
Tech-savvy agents have been using drones for years, but the newest software has made them even easier to use. With the technology readily accessible today, drones can capture still images, videos, and 360° panoramic views.
Drones are even capable of taking an overhead site map. This is an image taken by the drone looking straight down on the property. It can be useful when showing the layout of anything from a condominium complex to a gated community.
Drones can also be used to take multiple shots from one location, but rotating and tilting the camera. These images can then be stitched together to form a riveting 360° panorama, allowing viewers to move the camera at will to change the image. It’s a much more interactive experience than merely looking at photos or videos and can really make a property stand out.
Luxury listings are the perfect candidates for drone technology. It can perfectly capture the views of the manicured lawns, sparkling pools, and additional structures such as a pool house or guesthouse.
The proliferation of iBuyers has completely changed the game for some sellers. Sellers can choose to sell their home without the commissions - and expertise - of a Realtor.
Although each iBuyer is different, their methodologies are similar. Sellers fill out a short questionnaire or application. The iBuyer then uses an AVM (Automated Valuation Model) to determine the home's value and make an offer. Each iBuyer has its own proprietary algorithm, so offers can vary slightly.
The seller then has a limited number of days to decide whether to take the all-cash offer or walk away and use a real estate agent instead.
It may seem like a seller would save money by going through an iBuyer and avoid commissions. However, the opposite is often the truth. Most iBuyers don’t leave any “wiggle room” in their offer. The seller can take it or leave it. However, on the market, there is room for negotiation and other potential buyers that can bump up the sale price.
Also, the iBuyer’s final offer may actually end up being even lower. After a seller accepts their offer, the iBuyer will send a representative to inspect the house. Any repairs or improvements that need to be done will be estimated and deducted from the purchase price.
iBuyers can be useful for sellers who need cash in a hurry, but for the majority of sellers working with an agent will still be more lucrative.
Social media might not seem like a tech secret, but the way it’s used can be. Top Realtors know they need to be where their clients are. And now that millennials make up the largest group of homebuyers, that means the clients are online. Often.
LinkedIn is great for professional networking. But it’s not necessarily the place to find potential clients.
Facebook is a far better use of an agent’s time. Age and income-wise, Facebook users fall into the same demographics as potential home buyers. Realtors can create a business page that allows them to post photos and videos, communicate with potential clients, and book appointments - all on one platform.
Instagram is ideal for real estate agents. Images are the premise of Instagram, making it the perfect location for posting carefully curated photographs and using highly searched hashtags.
And it’s not enough to merely create an online presence. Agents must be willing to upload original and meaningful content and engage with clients. Simply posting a picture of a house won’t do. Buyers want information, tips, market updates… anything but sales-y content.
Videos of homes for sale have been around for a few years. But suddenly, they are popping up in almost every desirable listing. There are a couple of reasons for that.
First, with the COVID-19 pandemic not quite over, fewer people want to view homes in person. Buyers don’t necessarily want to enter countless homes during their search. They are potentially exposing themselves to the virus with every knob they turn or cabinet they open each time they do.
On the flip side, sellers don’t want strangers walking around their house, touching items, and forcing them to deep-clean after each home showing.
And, with more companies offering permanent work-from-home options, Americans are freed from living near the office. People can easily move to a different neighborhood or state. For buyers who are relocating, a video can motivate them to make an offer.
Because of the importance of videos, many Realtors are choosing professional videographers to film their listings. But tech-savvy agents are saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars by recording their own listing videos. With a sturdy tripod and good lighting, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference.
The future has arrived. Virtual reality (VR) is here to stay.
Virtual reality isn’t just for clients in lockdown or who are relocating. It’s for any client who wants to save time and avoid multiple showings and open houses. All the buyer has to do is put on a VR headset, and they can “walk through” multiple properties in a matter of minutes. They can then decide which, if any, of the homes are worth seeing in person.
And virtual reality isn’t just for home tours. Multiple companies are offering VR staging services. Once the video of the home is taken, the companies digitally insert the furniture and decor. An empty house is suddenly fully furnished, with very little investment.
VR enhances the buying process for both Realtors and buyers by creating a unique, immersive experience with little investment.
The real estate industry is constantly evolving, and so is its technology. Realtors who are early adopters will enjoy smoother, more successful transactions. And clients will appreciate the ease with which they can buy or sell their home, leading to a better experience for all.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed our review of some of the real estate technology agents should be thinking about using.
About the author: The above article on real estate technology tools was written by Anna Compagine Cohen. Anna is a Content Writer at UpNest, where agents compete, and you win. Anna has an extensive background in the real estate industry. She is a published author who specializes in real estate, personal finance, travel, and wellness. When she’s not writing, Anna can be found reading, walking on the beach, or spoiling her teenagers.