If you’re working in real estate, you know how important it is to stay on top of the latest information. You know you need to act quickly and balance the never-ending tasks associated both with finding new clients but also serving those clients to the best of your ability. It can get overwhelming at times, and topping it all off, your income might be highly sporadic, adding a level of stress to your daily work that few professionals in other industries would understand. The following will explore a few online solutions that can help you take control of your business, wellbeing, and bottom line.
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, it’s time to embrace technology. Yes, in some neighborhoods, in-person meetings and handshakes are still the fundamentals of good business. There’s no need to stop valuing and prioritizing these things, but you’re cutting yourself out of a huge chunk of the market if you’re not using technology to help you connect with potential clients and share your current listings with a wider audience.
Beyond this, the internet can be a fantastic source of information. If you start looking, you’re sure to find websites that offer daily updates about the latest trends and factors impacting real estate prices. There are countless newsletters you can sign up for that deliver the most important information from around the web in your niche straight into your inbox every morning or every week. Don’t miss out on the chance to be aware of a trend or change in the industry before everyone else does. Embrace technology.
No matter what business you’re running, accounting is key. Not only will it keep you from having a big mess to deal with when tax season rolls around, but it can also help you stay aware of how your choices are impacting your bottom line. Having all your accounting information easily accessible and updated can show you exactly when, where, and how your business is growing.
Combine this information with knowledge about recent advertising campaigns, new platforms used, approach changes, and other factors, and you’ll have a pretty clear and immediate picture of whether a particular strategy is working.
As well, for many people, accounting isn’t the part of their business they adore the most. Online accounting software can help you minimize the time that accounting takes and reduce the risk of errors when it comes to calculations. This can result in you spending more time doing what you’re good at out in the field.
Local MLS Plugins
While you’re probably aware of some of the bigger multiple listings services available to you, it’s important to search for location-specific options as well. Take, for instance, the Michigan MLS Realcomp; this plugin allows you to search for properties listed by lots of local associations of realtors like the North Oakland County Association of Realtors, Livingston Association of Realtors, and Lapeer and Upper Thumb Association of Realtors, among many others. If you’re an agent working in the Michigan area, you’re going to want to be able to easily connect with all these associations and the properties they’re listing.
Take the time to research what MLS plugins are available given your current location and reach out to them. See which associations you don’t have access to too easily on their lists and sign up if they’re able to fill in some gaps for you.
While LinkedIn is perhaps not known as a real estate agent’s home, it is a platform that should never be overlooked. LinkedIn’s conversion rate is 277 times higher than Facebook’s—that’s a huge difference, and a bit part of that massive increase in conversion is that LinkedIn is business-oriented. There are fewer social posts making it far easier for your marketing posts to be noticed.
It’s also worth noting that LinkedIn’s demographics have lots of crossover with your target demographics. 77% of users are 30 or older. Half earn $75,000 per year or more. Half are college graduates. And the big kicker is that 90% of LinkedIn users are making household decisions.
One of the best elements of LinkedIn is how connections work. You can see how many people you’re connected with within common upfront and center, and this could immediately result in more trust with a potential client as they know you’ve worked with thirty people they know. Buying a home is an incredibly emotional process, as you know, and this means trust is critical.
Setting up an account is easy, taking half an hour or less to fill out your complete profile. Once that’s done, seek out some past clients and connect with local home builders, construction companies, and relocation services professionals for local businesses, as well as HR professionals who help new employees find housing.
Finally, LinkedIn’s blogging options (you can publish articles that you’ve written) is online marketing gold as they all have stellar domain authority. Domain authority is the ranking search engines give each webpage online and helps determine where a webpage will show up in a search engine. If you write (or hire a ghostwriter to write) posts about searching for a new home, explaining the basics of real estate agreements, and breaking down the meaning of popular real estate terms, not only will your LinkedIn profile receive some steady traffic, but you can include a link to your website which boosts your website’s domain authority as well. This can help you climb up those search engine rankings (especially if you take the time to search engine optimize your articles).
Website Optimization Tools For Home Searching
Digitally, people expect more than ever from all businesses they interact with. Your website needs to work well with searching platforms to make things easier for your clients; this means you want something user-friendly that has features people actually want and need. Take, for instance, comparing a tool that allows your clients to invite friends and family into the search process with one that doesn’t have that feature. As an agent, you know that people tend to search for homes with the help of everyone they know.
Tools for home searches that are optimized to function with your website can also keep clients on your website longer. This is also a huge factor in your domain authority ranking and can, therefore, help you show up higher in search engine results bringing more organic traffic and potential clients to your website.
Applications For Uploading, Hosting, and Sharing Video
If you’ve been watching client behavior in recent years, you know that people strongly consider their digital introduction to home when deciding whether or not to see it. This means photos and videos are critical in property listings. Take some time to explore the different applications and online tools available like Matterport, which offers 3D tours of homes, or Periscope, which allows you to live-stream virtual open houses so people can watch you walk them through the home without needing to show up in person.
You might also want to get creative with an application like Speaking Photo, which allows you to record audio on top of your photos so that when people look at an image, they can hear your explanation about what they’re seeing and why it’s better than the competition.
Reviews Are Your Friend
Another spectacular aspect of online tools for real estate agents in the plethora of online reviews available. Not only does making tough decisions take up a lot of time and energy (decision fatigue is a huge component of why people feel so overworked and exhausted these days) it can help you understand potential applications and drawbacks of online tools without needing to purchase them yourself.
When reading online reviews, be sure to consider both commentaries from real estate agents and clients. Ideally, you’re looking for an in-depth review of a tool or software that explores each feature in-depth, explaining how easy it is to use, how it can integrate with the technology you’re already using, and any search engine optimization options available. If you’re torn between a few options, take some time to read online reviews. Patterns will quickly emerge, and you might find you make choices much faster.
Of course, it’s important to critically read reviews, and this means taking a quick peek at other reviews a particular reviewer has posted. If the reviewer is constantly raving about everything they try, they might just be a cheerful, optimistic person. If they’re complaining about how everything sucks all the time, they might just be a cranky person. Try to avoid reviews from either side of the emotional spectrum, focusing on reviewers who have spoken highly of some products or services and negatively reviewed others.
Sometimes moving quickly is necessary to get the perfect home for your client. This means paperwork needs to be streamlined so that it can get into the hands it needs to, be read, signed, and returned quickly. Millennials don’t have printers. Yes, some millennials do, but most don’t. When it comes to the few generation Z folks who are just entering the home search, the chances of finding a printer are even slimmer. Find an application you trust that is easy to use that allows people to digitally give their signature on documents.
This is going to save you so much time, it’s almost funny. Most millennials will need to go to the library, office, or print shop to print off a contract, sign it, and scan it. This means that they’ll have to take off time from work, find a break in their workday, or get the kids ready, get them in the car, get them out of the car, and into the location with a printer.
Many of them also don’t know how to do this, so they will be mighty frustrated by the time they sort it all out. Save all that time and energy and get familiar with an e-signature option. Get comfortable explaining the steps involved in using it and start getting contracts back in record time.
Platforms And Tools Built For Sharing
Again, sometimes in real estate, speed is of the essence. When you’re looking into any online technology to help support your business, you need to be keeping in mind the sharing possibilities. Being able to share lead listing landing pages quickly and efficiently can mean the difference between a quick sale or a client who got into the discussion fast enough to nab their dream home. Whenever you’re considering a software, plugin or tool, figure out how people can share what they need to share on it. Sharing capabilities can also help you narrow down multiple choices if you have them.
Email Tracking Software
Real estate agents send a lot of emails. You’re in constant conversations with potential clients, both cold and warm leads, and other professionals like home inspectors. One massive headache that comes with your business growing or shrinking in the email space is waiting, completely unsure whether your email has been read, buried in a junk folder, or missed.
To help deal with the stressors of waiting to hear back, you might want to work with an email tracking software; there are free options and paid ones with more features. Basically, email tracking software shares with you when someone has opened your email or when they’ve clicked on a link within your email. This can help you figure out what subject lines are gaining people’s attention and which ones they scroll past, which can be a major help when crafting cold emails in particular. Many software options also allow you to send follow-up emails automatically after a lead opens an email, downloads documents, or clicks a link you sent. Analytic tools can also let you know the ideal time to send emails and the ideal day of the week based on past email performance.
The above list should have given you a few ideas of how online technology, tools, and applications can help support your real estate business. The world of real estate can be daunting, but helping a family find their dream home can be bewilderingly rewarding. Using technology can help make the boring or hard tasks easier on you and help you keep all elements of your business connected.