Real estate is changing rapidly, and it is often difficult for agents to keep abreast of what’s new, what’s hot and what’s not.
I’ve been in the PropTech world for a few years and have taken a keen interest in this space.
I’ve watched many applications come and go, but it’s the ones that stick around that you need to keep your eye on.
Here is my list of emerging property technology that, as an agent, you’d be wise to keep a very close watch on in 2020.
I know it may seem odd to start with CRMs as they have been around for the best part of 20 years, but their evolution over the past 12 months has been extraordinary.
The best CRMs no longer just organise your contacts.
They no longer simply remind you of the people you should call or those you need to send an email or letter to.
Leading companies are now creating full automation for all of your contacts and allowing agents to communicate with long-term contacts without having to think about it. Pre-set, long-term, follow-up trails help create a narrative, story experience for your clients.
They help your prospects to get to know you in an informal and personally engaging manner.
Keep an eye out for increasing integrations with social media accounts and data capture from your prospects’ activities online.
The better systems automatically take your new contacts’ social media information the moment you add them.
This has huge potential for creating better connections moving forward, including creating automatic social media ads for things such as new listings and just sold campaigns.
Still in its infancy, AI is an area many people are throwing large amounts of money at.
It has the potential to radically change the way we source information and how we interact with current, future and past prospects.
So, what is AI?
It is machine learning.
It is a set of algorithms that learn as they trawl through copious amounts of data.
Moving forward, real estate specific AI will allow agents to track consumer habits, and the systems will analyse what people are looking at and what actions they are taking online, from what web sites they visit, to what links they click on.
Then it will determine what the likelihood is of those people completing a future action.
So, a person who clicks on finance company links, the REA links, open for inspection links and then ‘Why sell with us?’ links, might be reasonably expected to buy a property, sell a property and secure finance all within a short time.
The AI system will sort through the mountains of data with your multiple systems and provide you with a daily report of those you need to contact for appraisals and even finance referrals.
The actual mechanisms of this process are infinitely more complex and difficult than that.
My example is a simplified illustration of how artificial intelligence will play a part in real estate.
ONLINE OFFER MANAGEMENT
There are options here including Sold Online, Openn Negotiation and my company Market Buy.
These platforms allow buyer offers to be submitted online with the information transmitted to all transaction stakeholders instantly.
Like many other industries, instant and online transactions are inevitable and it’s just the details that need to be worked out for more widespread industry adoption.
These processes come in many forms and as a new industry, we are still working out what is the best format for agents.
The likely answer is that there will be several options for agents to choose from and, like CRMs, there will be features of each that suit agents more so than others.
In the three years the main players have been around, we have online auctions, closed tender-style processes and more transparent private sale offerings like my company.
There is no right answer.
One thing that has become clear is that consumers are willing to make the leap and it’s agents who will need to catch up.
Leaders in the field want to make transactions more accessible and easier for consumers to navigate.
Consumers want the freedom to make offers online, so it’s time to examine these platforms.
Your ability to ignore this reality is diminishing fast and as an industry, if it’s not offered to consumers, they will find a way to do it without agents.
Of the four or five main players in this space at the moment, the main thing we have in common is that we exist as agent-only services.
We are determined to support the agent’s role in the transaction.
No one can guarantee that the next new entrant has the same desire to safeguard the role agents play in transactions.
This is a big area that is yet to gain the traction it should have in the industry.
Today, many consumers make choices based on what they find online.
It’s the secret shopper of the 21st century and picking and choosing a review site to concentrate your efforts on is important.
It’s not feasible for most agents to submit or source reviews for all of the available providers.
If you did, you would have to ask clients to submit to REA, RMA, Google, Facebook and your own site. It’s just not realistic.
Each has its benefits, but the best advice I can give you is to focus on two, the two that best resonate with your business and the ones where you think you will get the most benefit.
Next, ensure clients submit reviews consistently and promote them heavily where you can.
This builds your digital presence and makes it much easier for you to be found in online searches.
Weigh up where you want to be seen and where you think your ideal clients will spend their time.
Go hard on those sites but don’t underestimate their importance.
Every review adds to your digital footprint and they are a powerful tool for lead generation.
The world of real estate is changing and it’s an exciting time to be an agent.
There are so many tools in the marketplace now and so many more to come.
Don’t be afraid to try new things but understand they won’t all work for you.
Find your path, choose wisely and you will find it easier to stand out in a congested marketplace.
The future is here now, and you don’t need to be a multinational to own your personal digital space.
You just need to know how to choose the right partners to help you and be willing to try new things until you find the right mix.