New Technology Frontiers for Real Estate Agents to Conquer: Part 1

by Chicago Agent

By Casey Reagan

Where We Are Today
Examining the future role that the Internet and technology will play in the real estate world requires understanding of the impact the Internet has already made on the industry.

We primarily see two effects from the Internet:
1. A refocusing on customer service. The Internet has provided consumers with direct access to more and more data, resulting in clients taking an increasingly active role in the process. The net result is elevated expectations of customer service from agents. This holds true both online and offline.

2. Dramatic changes to how and where agents invest their marketing dollars. During the last three to five years, there has been a dramatic shift in how marketing dollars are spent, resulting in an increased focus on online marketing. The key to success is to have a strong integration between online and offline marketing that allows agents to efficiently and effectively initiate relationships and nurture them into closed business transactions. Today, having an integrated web technology platform is paramount to getting the best return on investment.

Brokers and agents that we see excelling are those that have successfully tuned their strategies to meet today’s expectations for customer service, whether it is by providing instant responses to online leads or taking extra steps to assure sellers their home is being professionally marketed. At RE/MAX, our focus has been to provide every office, agent and team with the technology and resources required to compete effectively.

Extra effort is also made to ensure that everything is user friendly. We don’t want agents bogged down with technology, rather we want to enable them to do their jobs more efficiently.

What Agents Should Look for in Web Systems
Data, data and more data! In today’s world, with the ever-increasing demand to have access to data, it is critical to have a website that provides the consumer and client a 360-degree view of the market place. This means it’s not enough to just have a property search. A good website will also have access to recently sold listings, foreclosure listings, new construction, commercial and luxury properties, etc. Whether you are trying to attract homebuyers searching the market or provide sellers with an accurate understanding of home values, having a complete dataset is critical. With distressed properties accounting for up to 50 percent of the transaction volume in certain markets, agents need a complete dataset when helping clients evaluate their purchase and sale decisions.

At RE/MAX, our focus has been to not only provide data, but also allow the user to piece together the fragmented sections of the market and see it as a whole. By doing so, we garner consumer loyalty. Whether, as an agent, you consider sites such as Trulia or Zillow as a competitor or a place to advertise, these sites have attracted large audiences with their data, even though it’s been challenged on accuracy, likely a result of not adopting data standards that support broker exclusivity. As an industry, we are failing to educate the consumer to the advantages of utilizing a singular accurate search platform powered by data that is regulated for integrity by the MLS. Our goal at RE/MAX is to provide the consumer with a comprehensive dataset and to back it with experienced agents who can get results.

Agents need to look for web solutions that are holistic in nature. Their websites need to be an integrated marketing platform that allows them to accomplish two things: effectively promote their web presence in order to drive traffic to their site and effectively service the web clients generated.

Stay tuned for Part II of this series In our upcoming issue, which focuses on mobile technology and social media.

Casey Reagan is chief technology officer with RE/MAX Northern Illinois. He can be reached at caseyreagan@rfcpinc.com. Visit illinoisproperty.com or m.illinoisproperty.com (mobile site) for more information.

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