For real estate brokers and agents, the daily tasks of business in general can be time consuming, particularly when you consider a steady stream of phone calls, texts and emails as well as overseeing listings and all of the exchanges during a sale.
With so many items going on at once, it is easy to forget something or make a mistake.
Geoffrey Kasselman, an executive managing director at Newmark Knight Frank, says technology should be embraced.
“Nothing is immune from the forces at work,” Kasselmansaid. “Doing nothing is not an option.”
According to MetaProp co-founder and Managing Director Aaron Block, “more new technologists who have a real estate background coming to solve real estate problems.”
There are six key tasks that agents typically do by hand or in person that brokers could automate in 2018 to enable them to devote their time to more important tasks.
The first area is data management.
There are dozens of tools, tips and tricks available to modernize data workflow, including platforms which aim to streamline and manage agents’ workflow, eliminating the need for Excel spreadsheets and streamline communication and the documentation process between multiple parties and clients involved in a deal.
Automating data analysis also can save time. You no longer have to sift through pages of industry stats, market demographics and data to determine industry trends and extract information that will help them make informed decisions. Products from companies like Reonomy, HouseCanary and Real Capital Analytics, which house their own proprietary data and scan thousands of public and private records to stay on top of the latest commercial and residential real estate information, have this data available at your fingertips.
James Dearsley, founder of The Digital Marketing Bureau, noted that data is “the new oil.”
“Equally, this is causing a need for platforms that aggregate the data into a single platform to make lives easier,” he said. “Take companies like Coyote, a company spun out of M7 Real Estate, which struggled to find its own data and CRM platform — so [it built one]. It was so successful that they spun it out into an independent entity as they realized the industry was lacking a suitable software provider for investment managers and property managers.”
Even property showings can benefit from some automation, such as augmented reality and 3D platforms. These transform property showings, in some cases eliminating the need for in-person tours altogether.
Another area that can be impacted by automation is communication. Marketing campaigns can be automated, which can prove extremely beneficial when it comes to sending follow-ups and reminders.
Another way to manage the influx of calls and messages is to utilize artificial intelligence-enabled chatbots to cut down on time spent communicating with people.
Dearsley pointed out that there are companies who are already using chatbots for lead-generation purposes, filtering out leads to only get to the really important ones.
Scheduling may be the one area where automation can have an immediate impact for agents and brokers. Even using smartphone personal assistant applications like Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to keep calendars updated is becoming common as a more efficient method of entering appointments.
“You use more tech on a daily basis than you realize,” Buildout CEO Vishu Ramanathan said.
It can go a step further though. Ramanathan recommends a web tool called Calendly to schedule meetings more easily.
Finally, implementing automation in your marketing efforts can result in efficiency gains.
Technology platforms can automate and optimize marketing listings and lead generation.
Platforms like Chicago-based Buildout aim to do just that. The company customizes marketing materials like flyers, brochures and proposals for real estate professionals by using a company’s blueprints to automatically populate documents and materials.
Social media is also a major factor when it comes to marketing. Brokers can schedule and blast listing info to followers throughout the day without blinking an eye.