Some things never change, but fortunately in the real estate world a lot has evolved in the way business is done. It used to be that MLS published listings in a book and there was no such thing as an online listing. Today, instead of cold calling, we cold-email. These are just a few of the things that have changed in doing business in real estate. Let’s take a deep dive into all the ways the business of real estate has changed over time.
Agents Don’t Prospect By Telephone as Often
Many agents are not choosing to pick up the phone and cold call anymore, they are instead reaching out via email. This has helped improve the process of cold calling because prospects can return an email at their leisure rather than having to catch someone at the right time by calling. Real estate agents can spend less time on the phone and more time closing deals all thanks to the wonderful system of emailing. Prospecting can also be done via email campaigns, which can also be tracked to see results such as open rates and click through rates, which can help agents weed out cold leads.
Communication is Automated
Many agents are using drip email campaigns to stay in contact with prospects and clients. This is an efficient way to stay on top of communication, but it may also hinder true relationship building because automated communication limits face-to-face communication. Because consumers demand immediate responses to communication, the real estate industry is being pushed to automate these communication processes in order to provide timely responses. In the past, there was no communicating with prospects and clients via text messaging or social media, but now these are highly utilized forms of communicating and fewer and fewer agents and consumers are making actual phone calls.
There is More Available Information
With the internet, consumers can now find all the information they could ever want, making it harder for real estate agents to prove their value because they have to find a value add that cannot be found on the internet. The interpretation of this information is what the real estate agent must now use as leverage for sales pitches. Real estate investors can now see all of the information on a home online and take virtual tours and put in an offer without ever stepping foot in the home. The Internet has truly changed the way real estate works by allowing for consumers to gather information with the help of a realtor. Remember – just because the consumer has the information doesn’t mean that they have the tools to make the best financial decision.
Real Estate Agents Have Become Marketers
The most successful real estate agents have become their own marketing machines. They know how to properly price and position listings for maximum exposure. Real estate agents can no longer just list a property; they must market the listing. Any agent can list a property on MLS, but successful real estate agents know how to market. Agents are now creating email drip campaigns to send out to prospects and clients, creating home flyers and utilizing social media to help boost the exposure of their listings. LinkedIn is a prime platform for marketing both properties and agents themselves as it allows them to post relevant articles and give commentary to establish a strong digital presence.
Transactions Are Being Done Over Text
With so many millennials buying homes, the way transactions are being done is changing. For decades, a phone call has been a real estate agent’s primary tool of the trade, but now consumers prefer to handle transactions via text rather than phone calls. It isn’t just this younger generation that prefers text either; older generations are also beginning to prefer to handle communication via email, text and social media. With this change in how transactions are being handled, realtors need to establish a mode of communication that works best for the buyer so that they can receive quick responses. Apps such as DocuSign are also making it easier to streamline the process because all legal documents can be signed on mobile devices without having to deal with all of the hefty paperwork like in the past.
Greater Emphasis on Customer Service
With the Internet comes the opportunity for clients to write reviews about their experience working with the agent, which means that realtors need to put a greater emphasis on customer service. Clients expect realtors to be their partner during the process of buying or selling their home and want their realtor to be able to answer any and all questions. The competition is fierce for realtors so it is crucial that they are the market experts.
Social Media is a Game Changer
Social media has truly changed the real estate game because it provides an opportunity for agents to interact with buyers and prospects more efficiently. This also presents unique challenges because it is an added time commitment. Agents now have to ensure that they are engaging with buyers on social media to help make them feel like they are a part of their business. Social media is a great way to offer insight and market knowledge to connections, peers and prospects and to help establish market dominance.
Real Estate Agents Can Accomplish More
Technology has allowed real estate agents to do so much more. Smartphones allow agents to now provide information and status updates, set schedules for open houses and showings and so much more while out in the field. Agents are no longer chained to their desks or a computer; they just need a device that has Internet access. Due to mobile activity skyrocketing, real estate agencies are investing in technology and tools that support agents with online marketing strategies.
Other technological advances assisting real estate agents include:
- Cloud-based info storage security
- Improved functionality utilizing enterprise software
- More reliable communication applications
- Greater coverage and lower costs for high-speed internet access, cell service, and Wi-Fi
- Online marketplaces that coordinate connections between agents, brokers, sellers, buyers, renters, and investors
Homes are Selling Faster
The home buying and selling processes are moving faster because now consumers are having their first “showing” on the Internet rather than in person. Now, real estate agents aren’t wasting time taking buyers to homes that they have not seen yet and it is cutting down a lot of the time spent trying to narrow down the options. In the past, agents have had to spend time taking buyers to lots of homes and showings just to be able to cross those homes off the list. The Internet is accelerating the process and helping agents close more deals in shorter time periods.
Renting is Becoming More Popular
Consumers are more open to renting homes due to the roller coaster of values home are seeing. Down payment requirements are deterring younger generations from purchasing homes and changing the real estate market as a whole. More multifamily units are being built and this is affecting the prices of homes on the market.
Reputation Management is Crucial
Decades ago, word of mouth was one of the easiest ways to gain new business, but now real estate agents have to ensure that their reputation online is of the utmost standards. One bad review could affect future business. This is why it is so important for agents to make sure that their clients are satisfied with their work. Another way to manage reputation is to utilize testimonials and showcase them on the agents’ blogs and websites.
The old way of doing real estate is no more. Technology has overcome almost every aspect of this business by streamlining processes, changing the way we communicate and helping to provide ways for agents the work outside of the office. While agents are utilizing the new ways of doing business in real estate and thankfully being able to avoid the dreaded cold calling via telephone, technology is also putting more on their place. Social media has added a new element to the game as consumers often look at social media to help them determine which agents to work with and expect to communicate with agents via these platforms.
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