Real estate technology, or proptech, is one of the industries that has produced the most unicorns in the last few years. Historically, however, the real estate industry has been among the lowest spenders by sector on technology. Despite being slow to adopt new technologies, real estate contributes 13% of US GDP, making it the country’s largest industry.
Such a large sector represents a huge market ripe for technological disruption, especially in the post-Covid-19 world.
How automation can improve the real estate process
Automated real estate transactions will soon be the norm. By digitizing documents and paper trails, technology improves information security for both consumers and agents. Processing payments digitally also increase transaction security and speed.
Many automated tools help reduce busywork for agents, freeing up their time to focus on tasks that require a personal touch, like building client relationships.
Automation can also help agents maintain consistent timelines and messaging. The expanded capacity to collect and analyze data allows agents to create informed strategies and concrete measures of success.
As a whole, automation saves agents time and generates more opportunities by scaling their efforts. This, in turn, creates more opportunities and increases revenue.
Over the last few years, the real estate industry has begun to prioritize technology.
With the addition of technology –large real estate corporations have hired CIOs and created technology budgets, and most agents recognize the importance of tech for remaining competitive. The consumer research experience has already been transformed, and 44% (nar.realtor) of buyers now begin searching for homes online.
The rest of the buying and selling process, however, can also be improved through technology that automates previously manual procedures.
The automated marketing tools market was valued at $3.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to nearly double by 2024. While agents can use much of the automated marketing technology that already exists, there is also a demand for marketing technology specifically adapted to real estate needs.
These real estate-focused tools help agents expand their reach and gain insight into their client base. For example, some real estate-focused tools generate targeted video and ad campaigns based on agency listings. Other marketing tools help agents create and manage social media campaigns across different platforms, automatically scheduling and publishing social media posts. Some even suggest existing relevant real estate content that agents can repost on their channels or use as inspiration.
Data analytic tools also help agents track content views and types of engagement. Based on that data, the software compares content performance, helping agents determine what marketing tactics are working best.
Automation tools can also help agents generate more high-quality leads. Chatbots, for example, allow agents to engage with potential clients through their website at any time of day. The chatbots provide information that moves the lead down the pipeline, so they are better informed when they speak with the agent.
CRMs designed for agents sync with real estate search platforms and agency social media profiles to gather leads across channels. Then, activity tracking tools monitor and sync potential client activity.
Using this information, agents can adjust their outreach strategy for those potential clients. For some, an automated follow-up sequence triggered by specific activities can be activated. Meanwhile, other higher-quality leads might require more personal attention.
Lead scoring tools help agents determine which leads they should prioritize for personalized outreach. In tracking lead activity and source, these tools also show where the best quality leads are coming from, which helps inform marketing strategy.
For agencies with multiple agents, lead routing software can automatically assign leads to agents based on geographic location. By streamlining and improving the lead generation process, these technologies increase lead opportunities and reduce the time it takes to turn a lead into a customer.
Agents’ everyday workflows
In addition to expanding the lead pipeline, automation can help agents manage their everyday workflow. Agents are constantly juggling many clients at different points in their customer journey, and automatically generated task lists can help agents track and sync their activities for each client by stage. Tasks can be assigned deadlines with automatic reminders to keep agents on schedule.
Calendar automation simplifies scheduling with clients, allowing agents to set windows for types of appointments and block off times for inspections and showings. Thanks to calendar updates in real-time, clients can find an available time that works with their schedule, avoiding the back and forth that manual scheduling entails.
For agencies with multiple agents, automation tools sync any updated information or documents, keeping everyone on the same page, and increasing transparency. Agent activity can also be tracked and evaluated to determine performance across the team.
The transaction process to close deals with clients can also benefit from automation technology. For most agents, this process is currently complex, slow, and mostly analog. For the real estate sector alone, technology for managing the transaction process has been valued as a potentially $100 billion opportunity. As a result, fintech solutions are on the rise, with the adoption of fintech quadrupling from 2015 to 2019.
The transaction process involves many steps, each with the potential for improvement through automation. E-signature and e-notarization technology would speed up the signing procedures and increase process transparency. Digitized paperwork facilitates smart contracts, giving all the involved parties access to the most updated version of the agreement and prevents tampering.
Digital money transfers also offer a more secure option for agents and clients.
After a money transfer is made, blockchain technology could automate the digital paperwork update for a faster and smoother ownership transfer. Using technology, agents can improve the customer experience by providing an easier, quicker transaction process, which results both in satisfied customers and efficient agents.
A turning point for the real estate industry
Due to Covid-19, many agents have turned to new technology to continue working. This period will likely be a turning point, marking the start of large-scale adoption of real estate technology throughout the sector. With the market potential, and numerous opportunities to improve security, efficiency, and consistency, proptech will be an industry to keep an eye on.
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