What tech, when?: Sarah Bell talks agent challenges, tech solutions, and how to find the right tools and support for your business

In a world of bright, shiny tech objects, what are the right tools for the real estate industry and when should they be deployed? PropTech entrepreneur and former industry insider, Sarah Bell offers her perspective on how to use technology to improve the human connection of real estate.

More productivity, greater efficiency…it’s the catch phrase of a real estate landscape increasingly turning to technology for leads, prospecting and communication.

And, as the past couple of years have proven beyond doubt, technology can and does play an important role in the industry. But it is not something that should be used in an ad-hoc manner and, in a people-focussed industry, there are also roles that technology should never fill.

Instead, using tech effectively comes down to seeking the right solution to a real problem at the right time.

In this episode of the Elevate podcast with Cass Charlesworth, AiRE co-founder and RiTA co-creator Sarah Bell draws on both her experience as an agent and as a PropTech entrepreneur to walk through when and how technology should be used to improve the real estate experience for customers, staff and business operations.

She defines the pain points that the right technology can solve and also outlines the instances when there’s no substitute for human interaction.

Sarah notes, the right tech solution will save agents time and increase their productivity, but it will enhance, not replace a human connection.

She then walks through some common misconceptions about big data, artificial intelligence, and technology capabilities with pointers for agencies looking to avoid expensive tech adoption mistakes.   

Sarah also discusses the recent milestone that saw digital assistant RiTA and parent company AiRE acquired by Australia’s largest property data provider, and looks at the benefits that will offer the industry moving forward.

In a wide-ranging discussion that is all about seeking the right support at the right time, Sarah then goes on to share an insight into her involvement in the RISE initiative, including the support that’s available to real estate professionals when it comes to their mental health and wellbeing.

The great issue in real estate that is not really talked about very often, is that the agent, as the provider of services, is the supply to the clients. If you are relying purely on your human supply, you are limited to the same 24 hours a day as Beyonce. So anything you can do to increase your supply as a service provider to customers, I think falls within the line of technology you should consider.” – Sarah Bell

Cassandra and Sarah also discuss:

  • How agencies should weigh up the adoption of technology, including defining the problem it will solve and determining the benefits that tech will offer.
  • Why Sarah believes creating predictable commissions is key to a successful real estate career and how technology can assist.
  • When to employ technology in the real estate process, and why there are times when it will never replace the experience of human interaction.
  • The common misconceptions about PropTech, and why it is not a predictive tool but instead one that helps agents improve efficiency by narrowing down the target.
  • Why RiTA and AiRE chose to partner with property data provider CoreLogic and how that will benefit customers in the period ahead.
  • How RiTA was developed to solve a real problem for the industry and the ways it has evolved based on customer feedback.
  • Why Sarah is involved in the RISE Initiative and how its focus on the wellbeing and mental health of real estate professionals has now evolved into an app.
  • Why real estate is a career with inherent risk factors when it comes to mental health and wellbeing and how agents, property managers and business owners can seek help.

Plus much, much more…

Sarah Bell on Elite Agent 

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.