According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, 27% of real estate agents spent between $501 and $2,000 on technology in the past year. In isolation, this may seem like a high amount, but businesses across all sectors should be willing to invest in technology as needed, regardless of their budget.
The Internet has revolutionized the way in which agencies are able to conduct business, opening up various marketing and communication channels, and it is vital to take advantage of this to engage today's clients.
The more opportunities a real estate agency has to reach clients, the greater their chance to enhance sales. To make the most of today's technological advantages, real estate agents must be open to experimentation and exploring new avenues.
1. Maintain Active Social Media Accounts to Maximize Engagement
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are ideal for realtors. Accounts can be set up for free, though sponsored posts can be paid for to expand your reach to followers who may not otherwise see your posts. Visual media can be added to posts quickly and easily, providing users with high-quality images and videos of properties.
However, it is important to stay active on social media, engaging with followers as human beings. People are wary of companies using social media solely to advertise their services, and prefer to be treated with more respect.
Start discussions with your followers, respond to questions, and use a consistent tone across all networks. You should also use a professional attitude at all times, particularly if a follower is criticizing your services or listings. Appearing to be rude, inconsiderate, or taking clients for granted can be hugely damaging to your reputation.
Try to build a strong follower-base on at least Facebook and Twitter. Share details of new properties, offer advice, and draw followers' attention to relevant articles or blogs they may find interesting.
2. Embrace Speaking Photos For Effective Property Showcases
While platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook allow realtors to share exciting new properties to grab buyers' attention, SpeakingPhoto is a powerful new app for showcasing properties.
It's simple to use: just snap some images of a house or apartment, and then record audio to go with it. Using SpeakingPhoto, realtors can provide commentaries to talk prospective buyers through the property they are looking at. This enhances the online viewing process which can be static and time-consuming, creating a virtual walk-through right in the palm of clients' hands.
3. Switch to Paperless Cloud-based Documents
Cloud-based platforms have redefined paperwork for businesses across the world. Google Docs in particular is a fantastic option, providing spreadsheets, documents, presentations, and more. Cross-device technology allows users to access files on their laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and can be downloaded for offline work.
Eliminating paper from your agency's process reduces clutter, saves money spent on stationery, and makes collaboration far easier. Real-time commenting and editing replaces messy documents covered in annotations, and allows multiple users to work on one file even if they are in different offices, cities, or even countries at the same time.
Having access to online files also reduces the amount of paperwork realtors need to carry with them for meetings, and can answer clients' questions simply by checking their device instead of clumsily searching through multiple sheets of paper.
4. Use Virtual Meetings to Cross Geographic Barriers
Hosting meetings with prospective buyers from other cities or countries is complicated, time-consuming, and may even be impossible. Conference calls are a viable option, but this can feel impersonal, particularly when large sums of money are being discussed. They can also be difficult when you are standing in the property rather than your office.
Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) platforms allow audio-visual communication in real-time, with a high quality of performance, traditionally from a desktop or laptop PC. However, mobile WebRTC takes this further. Now, app developer SDK’s (software development kits) like Agora.io provide realtor’s app development team to integrate high quality voice and video calls directly into the realty firm’s app. Which will allow for high quality streaming video calls to show off properties with international or currently absent property buyers, all directly into your firm’s app.
Using mobile WebRTC makes it easier for realtors to speak with local and, especially, international client’s face-to-face, building trust and familiarity. Video can also be used to show prospects additional views of the property. Adding this technology to your realtor firm's mobile app allows existing and prospective clients to discuss listings with your agents, wherever they are.
5. Use QR Codes to Capture Fresh Leads
Adding promotional leaflets or listing-information to your realtor firm's yard signs can be a time-consuming process. There is also the risk that these may be torn from the sign, or drift away in strong winds, making your time and effort a waste.
An easier option is to add QR codes to your signs. This enables anyone interested in a particular property, or in discussing their needs with a local firm, can simply scan the code with their smartphone to gain more information. By receiving the details of a property to their phone within seconds, potential buyers save time spent searching online later.
As technology and online platforms continue to evolve, realtors should follow new technology developments, and explore the potential advantages they offer.
This guest post is written by JT Ripton, a freelance writer out of Tampa. JT writes on a myriad of topics, real estate and home improvement being a couple of them. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton