It is apparent that in order to survive and thrive in the real estate industry today, real estate agents and real estate brokers must embrace every facet of technology and remain on top of the need to continually upgrade their systems. Beyond being necessary to our industry it is a melding with current societal standards.
Buyers have access to enormous amounts of real estate data, therefore they will quickly dismiss any real estate agent who responds with a shrug and “I don’t know”. When it comes to uses of technology, agents are competing with a fresh group of highly skilled professionals from other industries that have joined the independent sales sector as real estate agents. They come to the real estate industry already using and understanding contact management systems, PDA’s, virtual office, Microsoft products, Apple products, recorders, cameras, and scanners.
The real estate agents’ client base also expects to receive a fax via email, auto email alerts of new listings, instant CMA’s emailed over, and more. Technology is not only for a competitive factor; it is primarily a convenience factor for our clients. Once agents learn and embrace the new systems they will inherit a convenience factor that will save them time as well as increase their client base. Per the National Association of Realtors Center of Realtor Technology 2007 report, over 75% of real estate agents report that they enter their own listings into the MLS. How much time for additional tasks does that allow agents?
The Center of Realtor Technology 2007 survey reports the highest percentage of technology devices used by real estate agents are: cell phone (with no email or internet) 72%, digital camera 92%, and desktop computers 79%. 2007 REALTOR® Technology Survey. These percentages seemingly reflect that real estate agents over prioritize purchasing and learning to use a digital camera rather than expanding cell phone Internet tools and use of laptop computers. The majority of listing photo’s would be better left to a professional who can truly maximize the home, therefore making the most of internet traffic. Let’s see: enter MLS on their own, take pictures, upload pictures, produce flyers, etc on their own. We can only hope the real estate agents prospecting does not suffer and that the agents marketing is automated through services such as Quantummail. (http://www.Quantummail.com)
The introduction of ZipForm® (http://www.zipform.com) to the real estate industry has greatly improved transmittal time of transactions. Agents will benefit from fully utilizing all of the tools made available through ZipForm®. Further training, including electronic signatures, storing and editing templates and more; will be provided at this years National Association of Realtors national conference and Expo in Orlando Florida this November.
ZipForm® provides many additional products to assist agents beyond expediting purchase contracts. They have ZipForm®Concierge services allowing real estate clients to connect utilities and other services online, alleviating time consuming phone calls that add to the stress of moving. (http://www.zipform.com/products/) Additional homeowner and client services include Homeminders™, a 2 year home maintenance newsletter reminder, realPING alerts agents and increases response time, ZipForm®Esign for electronic signatures, ClientDIRECT™ newsletters, and the new Open House Library enhances benefits to potential buyers attending the open house. The open house library provides agent tips for a successful open house; sign in registry, buyer checklist, and moving tips.
It is all about service to our lifetime clients and the only way to give and maintain exemplary real estate services is to make better use of time by utilizing the technology tools created and available to our industry.
Cynthia Perkins, MA
Realtor, Educator, Coach
Champions School of Real Estate