6 things every real estate agent should automate

6 things every real estate agent should automate

19 January 2018

Busy agents typically handle constant back-and-forth phone calls, an endless stream of messages and emails, the overseeing of dozens of property listings, and the exchange of documentation between the parties involved in a deal. When juggling so many balls at once, it is easy to forget a task or make a mistake.

It’s time for agents to strike back.

Consider six tasks traditionally conducted by hand or in person that Bisnow suggests commercial agents should automate in 2018 to free up their time for more important tasks.

1. Data Management

There are dozens of tools, tips and tricks available to modernise data workflow.

Platforms like asset management and leasing platform VTS or Dealpath aim to streamline and manage CRE professionals’ workflow. These can eliminate the need for Excel spreadsheets and streamline communication and the documentation process between multiple parties and clients involved in a deal.

2. Data Analysis

Gone are the days of industry professionals sifting through pages of industry stats, market demographics, and data to determine industry trends and extract information that will help them make informed decisions.

In the U.S., companies like Reonomy, HouseCanary, and Real Capital Analytics house their own proprietary data and scan thousands of public and private records to stay on top of the latest commercial and residential real estate information, which they then sell on to agents.

“‘Data being the new oil’ is a much-lauded quote and companies in the CRE space are realising just how much data they have,” says The Digital Marketing Bureau founder James Dearsley.

“Equally, this is causing a need for platforms that aggregate the data into a single platform to make lives easier.”

“Take companies like Coyote, a company spun out of M7 Real Estate, which struggled to find its own data and CRM platform—so [it built one]. It was so successful that they spun it out into an independent entity as they realised the industry was lacking a suitable software provider for investment managers and property managers.”

3. Property Showings

Technology like augmented reality and 3D platforms have transformed property showings, in some cases eliminating the need for in-person tours altogether.

“One of the biggest value propositions that [3D and virtual reality] offers agents is the ability to operate more efficiently,” says Matterport Vice President of Sales and Business Development Mark Tepper.

“By leveraging immersive media, agents are enabling prospective tenants and buyers to experience spaces remotely from their computers and feel as if they were actually there. This technology significantly aids in the decision-making process and can eliminate the need for multiple follow-up visits to a property, freeing up agents to focus on other work for their clients and winning more business.”

4. Communication

Long-term direct marketing drip campaigns across email and text can be automated, proving extremely beneficial when it comes to sending follow-ups and reminders.

Another way to manage the influx of calls and messages is to utilise artificial intelligence-enabled chatbots to cut down on time spent communicating with people.

“There is no doubt that artificial intelligence is playing a huge part in the world of chatbots. There are companies who are already using chatbots for lead-generation purposes, filtering out leads to only get to the really important ones,” Dearsley said.

“Secondly, and perhaps more interestingly, chatbots are really helping in the property manager space. A sector that is littered with data around the problems with buildings can fuel machine learning algorithms that can begin to second guess issues that our buildings will have over time.

“Being able to predict problems before they actually present themselves means far better planning, both from an organisational as well as a financial perspective.”

5. Scheduling

Keeping track of appointments via Google Calendar is no longer a stretch. Even using smartphone personal assistant applications like Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to keep calendars updated is becoming common as a more efficient method of entering appointments.

“You use more tech on a daily basis than you realize,” says Buildout CEO Vishu Ramanathan, who recommends a web tool called Calendly to schedule meetings more easily.

6. Marketing

“Marketing listings and lead generation for agents can be fully automated and optimized using technology platforms,” says Chime Technologies Chief Marketing Officer Matt Murphy.

Platforms like Chicago-based Buildout customise marketing materials like flyers, brochures and proposals for real estate professionals by using a company’s blueprints to automatically populate documents and materials.

Social media is also a major factor when it comes to marketing. Agents can schedule and blast listing info to followers throughout the day without blinking an eye.