@gent App: @properties New App Facilitates Communication, Transactions Between Brokers

by Stephanie Sims

AppAd_FullPg_ChicagoAgent.indd

@properties has long been a brokerage known for its tech-savviness. But now, in addition of using top apps, the company has developed an internal app of its own. This is the first app for @properties to develop.

The app was created with the goal of cutting down time wasted by agents sifting and sorting through office emails that didn’t pertain to them. Called the @gent App, it functions similarly to Twitter, with all responses organized by topic or hash tag.  Brokers post, reply to and search for content, and specify topics of interest by using hash tags. They are alerted to new posts only when the content in that post matches a topic or person they are following, and thus, cuts down on an agent’s overwhelming amount of e-mail.

According to a statement from the company, the app’s technology is “revolutionizing the way @properties communicates about and transacts real estate by enabling a number of functions:

  • It allows @properties’ brokers to match homebuyers with homes for sale and vice versa
  • It aggregates the knowledge base of the firm’s 1,100 brokers in a searchable database
  • It significantly reduces the amount of e-mail clogging corporate servers and broker in-boxes

According to Michael Golden, the @gent app has reduced @properties’ incoming email by 30 percent.

“It used to be that a broker had to sift through dozens of e-mails to find the two or three that mattered to them. People just stopped reading e-mail, so there was always the potential for a communication breakdown,” Golden says. “Now, our brokers tell the app what information they want to receive, and the app delivers only that information. When they want info on a different topic, they can search the app and find all past conversations on that topic.”

While cutting down on emails that are useless to agents is a great innovation, this app goes a bit further – @properties agents now, instead of emailing the brokerage about their clients’ listings before they are listed on the MLS, are using the app to alert their colleagues. Once an agent has a client interested in a certain neighborhood, like Bucktown, for example, using this new app, they can choose to follow posts regarding properties in Bucktown.

Because @properties agents are using this app to promote their listings before even putting them on the MLS, according to Kevin Van Eck, director of agent development with @properties, several agents have been able to close deals for their clients without even listing the properties, if the client is okay with the deal.

Last month, Chris McComas posted a listing for a loft condominium in the West Loop and was soon fielding requests for showings. Less than 24 hours later, the condo was under contract after multiple offers. The property never hit the local MLS, nor did McComas ever send out an e-mail; he only alerted @properties to his listing through @properties’ new internal app.

“The @gent App was created to help our agents become more efficient, but it’s also created an advantage for our clients in that we’re able to continue providing the highest level of exposure and access in a market where consumers demand both,” Van Eck says. “This increased level of exposure has had an extremely positive impact on our agents’ ability to create buzz surrounding new listings as well as in capturing new clients.”

The @gent App was developed exclusively for @properties by Yapmo, a Chicago-based tech startup co-founded by Paul Everton and Jason Pritzker. It is only available to @properties’ brokers, and consumers can’t access or use the app. The adoption rate is also reportedly high, according to Van Eck, and @properties is seeing usage levels exceed our expectations in only the second month of operation.

This may only be the first app that @properties has developed, but they are working on developing an app for consumer use in the near future, and hopefully, several more as the company sees fit. “We are continuously developing and testing new technology that we can offer to our agents so they may become more efficient and which allows them to better service their clients,” Van Eck says. “While we’re innovating consistently, we want to ensure that our systems are functional and applicable for all of our agents.”