Real Estate Agents Must Evolve In 3 Ways: Efficiency, Millennials and Mobile

family selling home real estateSmall businesses need to be on top of their game to stay ahead of the competition – no one knows this better than those in the real estate world.

Real estate agents are small businesses.

From meeting with clients to managing an office to showing homes and units, brokers and property managers never have a shortage of things to do. To keep this pace, they’ve been early adopters of technology to stay competitive and organized in a crowded market.

We asked Nat Kunes, Director of Product Management for AppFolio (web-based property management software) to give us his tips and insight for real estate professionals.

According to a recent survey commissioned by AppFolio via SurveyMonkey one third of small and midsized real estate professionals plan to invest more in technology to give them a lead over their competition. But where to start? Here are three tips from real estate pros that every SMB can use to kick start their own technology revolution and blast past the competition.

Time is Money – Embrace Efficiency
Don’t scramble to coordinate accounting, calendaring and bookkeeping. Focus on your business by spending time with your customers, cultivating sales and dreaming of your next big product or service. Take a cue from the real estate industry and ditch older, outdated software and pen-and-paper bookkeeping. In fact, according to AppFolio’s SurveyMonkey findings, 38% of real estate professionals have already made the move to use property management software. Examine the number of cloud-based solutions that don’t require software and are accessible at any time from any location.

Rick Ebert, the owner of Austin Landmark Property Services (ALPS), started out as a real estate agent selling investment property in Texas. He soon discovered an opportunity to open a property management business that people could rely on and trust. As the business grew, Rick learned to work smarter and stay in touch with technology to keep his business growing at a fast clip. “You always have to put your A-game out there,” says Rick, “In this marketplace, it is critical to stay competitive.Time is money. We are saving a tremendous amount of money by not having to print and file everything.”
Modernize – Millennials Mean Money
Millennials matter; they’re about a quarter of the population. There are 74.3 million 18-34 year olds making purchasing decisions every day, with the majority accessing their information online. Want to win the millennial market? Create a social presence for your business, make your website easy to navigate and provide communication portals that can be accessed on any device at any time, to reach this key audience.

Real Estate professionals have already learned this lesson, AppFolio’s survey revealed that 39% are issuing Email/SMS notifications, 25% say they are marketing vacancies on social networks and 14% are offering online rent payment options to attract millennial renters.

Go Mobile
Mobile technology is essential for small businesses to operate their businesses online. By being both accessible and fully capable of doing all of the work necessary for the business on-the-go, the overwhelming majority of small businesses see immediate enhancements to customer service and company productivity, according to this year’s Sage U.S. SMB Survey on Mobile Devices.

Like other SMBs that foster increasingly on-going relationships, rather than one-time transactions, real estate professionals are running their businesses on a mobile device. A third (30%) of real estate professionals in the AppFolio and SurveyMonkey Audience query said they are extremely reliant on their mobile devices to run their business with an additional 20% saying they are likely to increase their reliance in the coming year. Overall, 38% of real estate professionals are adopting integrated property management software solutions and eliminating older, less modern software to modernize their business.

Money—Modernization—Mobility. With these three concepts, you can start putting modern technology solutions to work for you, and see your customers rave and your profits increase. If small businesses don’t utilize technology, they’re bound to fall behind the competition. The better and more efficient way to grow your relationships is with technology that offers convenience and productivity to both you and your customers.

 

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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