Less than 20 years ago, only real estate professionals had access to property listings via Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Consumers did not have the ability to search for desired homes in specific neighborhoods and were only provided with comparable property sales by their real estate professional. Over time, access to this information became more available as internet sites offered public access to MLS listings. At one point, it was thought that if the public had access to the listings real estate sales professionals would become obsolete, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As access to MLS listings has been opened to the public and technology has become part of our everyday lives, the need for a real estate professional to help with the buying and selling process is even more pertinent in today’s marketplace. The onslaught of information being thrown at buyers and sellers has necessitated that a true and practiced sales professional is in their corner to help them negotiate, wade through the glut of housing information and lead them through the process.
Additionally, the process of purchasing and selling a home has migrated to a more digital experience. Smartphones and tablets are now the norm and clients today prefer email and text to communicate. Social media is now a popular method to promote new property listings and homes are being shown on webpages via 3D technology, which allows buyers to take their own virtual tours before even stepping foot into a house.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) did a study in 2015 on the challenges of real estate firms and staying current with new technology was at the forefront of their concerns. Managing closing documents and customer relationships has necessitated companies to offer a multitude of products to the real estate sales professionals that not only enhance their immediate access to listings and files but also gives them an edge to responding efficiently and accurately to the evolving nature of home sales and transactions. This constant visibility into each step of the process also provides greater ease and transparency between the agent and client.
Smart real estate companies have invested heavily to give their clients secured online access to their transaction documents 24/7. Consumers want the advantage of accessing their closing documents when it’s convenient for them on their cell phones and tablets. Today, they can review their closing documents, sign them and access them months later during tax season, all via mobile technology.
Additionally, with the advances in technology comes the ability for agents to take on more business. Doing so efficiently requires access to client relationship management technology. These systems provide agents with customized marketing campaigns and templates and the ability to personalize their own websites. Today’s systems convert online inquiries into text messages so agents can readily respond and be the first to capture new leads.
As technology continues to evolve, companies also need to invest in education. Online tutorials and webinars on how to use software and applications to in-house programs at a success center on building personal skills can help agents stay abreast of the competition and ultimately benefit their clients. A great example is the smart home curriculum that Coldwell Banker Preferred provides to affiliated agents. The agents learn the requirements that designate a smart home and their clients then benefit from understanding how simple and affordable smart home upgrades can increase the value of their home.
Customers are looking for the most relevant and impactful information so they can make a well-informed and intelligent decision on what is often the largest financial commitment they will ever make in their lifetime. Our goal is to be at the forefront of the changes in technology and to adapt to the needs of salespeople so that they can ultimately provide superior service to their clients. The smarter real estate companies will already have these technological tools available to their clients and agents, those that don’t need to act fast or be left behind.
David Krieger became president of Coldwell Banker Preferred in January 2015, having previously served in various roles including real estate agent, branch office manager, and executive over the course of nearly 20 years.
Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 10 (September, 2016).
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