How PropTech tools can help agents build better businesses
Be kind and rewind to 1994. Fewer than 3,000 websites are in existence. Companies don’t yet rely on the internet for the bulk of their marketing. Local businesses thrive on word of mouth, some flyers, and a sizable ad in the Yellow Pages. Almost zero of the people you do business with have a website, and almost all your purchases are local.
Fast forward to now. Any company that experienced success in 1994 but didn’t adopt a website within the last three decades would assuredly not be successful now. Customer expectations changed as the world did, and a well-designed and functional website is a badge of trust that would-be consumers seek out.
Real estate agents who resist the PropTech phenomenon may find themselves in the same predicament in the not-so-distant future. Some wariness about certain tech trends is warranted, as the PropTech sphere certainly contains its fair share of tech companies bent on disruption. However, no tool can replace the responsiveness, trust, and expertise of a good agent — a fact that both customers and PropTech companies understand.
This doesn’t mean customers will flock to real estate agents who refuse to use every means available to close deals. Upwards of 3 million licensed real estate agents operate in the United States, and more than a few of them are already using PropTech to get their clients results. You shouldn’t wait 30 years to build your website, and you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to take full advantage of the benefits PropTech tools have to offer.
What Is PropTech?
The term PropTech encompasses every digital tool that addresses any part of the real estate market. It’s been used to describe topics as varied as:
- Commercial property sales
- Residential property sales
- Rental property payment apps
- Property databases
- Smart home devices
- Virtual tour and live stream apps
- Real estate–specific customer relationship management (CRM) platforms
When agents express apprehension toward PropTech, they usually mean a handful of specific companies that position themselves as competitors. However, blanket disapproval of PropTech is like a vegetarian declaring they don’t like food in general because they don’t eat meat. Tools that fall under the “PropTech” umbrella often deal with transactions outside of a residential real estate agent’s purview. Almost 50% of PropTech companies operate in the commercial property market, and nearly 70% of companies retain a B2B focus. Many PropTech companies that do operate in the residential space are built to make agents’ lives easier, not more stressful.
The slow adoption of digital real estate tools amongst agents can be attributed to PropTech’s slow rollout. The world started going digital during the ‘90s internet boom, and sectors like finance and retail used tech advances to revolutionize their industries. While FinTech, RetailTech, and the like took off, PropTech took longer to gain traction, despite the attractive value of American real estate.
But the slow start is over. The revenue of publicly traded PropTech companies hit $13.5 billion in a single quarter in 2021. Deals concerning PropTech tools were valued at $7.3 billion just in 2020. Agents don’t need to familiarize themselves with PropTech because it’s the next big thing. It’s the current big thing, and it’s only getting bigger.
Why agents should use PropTech
Agents may be hesitant to use digital tools, but customers are not. A reported 70% of home buyers express comfort in doing business over their computer — a number which stands to increase as younger generations enter the real estate market in droves. Any agent that wants to appeal to an increasingly tech-friendly customer base has to come to terms with the changing demographics and preferences of modern home buyers, many of whom:
- Are remote workers with flexible or changing schedules
- Are millennials who prefer to engage in digital spaces
- Are looking to close quickly in a competitive housing market
- Want their real estate agents to create a more efficient ecosystem for communication and support
Real estate professionals who worry that PropTech will cut agents out of the transaction miss the point. Customers can already put their houses up for sale without an agent, but only 7% of homeowners choose to do so. They trust agents to negotiate the best deal and to use their expertise and experience to provide smooth sailing during an often-bumpy experience. Even big-name PropTech companies who have tried to cut real estate professionals out of the equation have resorted to hiring licensed agents to steer their deals.
The best PropTech tools simply enable real estate agents to become more efficient and available resources to their customers. They also allow agents to automate administrative processes and focus on tasks that require human interaction. Imagine this scenario:
A chatbot greets a prospect as they browse your website. After asking the chatbot a few questions, the customer submits their contact information. That night, a house goes up for sale in the neighborhood they want to move into. Your real estate CRM pulls the listing from the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and sends out listing alerts to your lead list. Suddenly, you’re on the phone with your new lead to set up a showing for a home that’s only been listed for a few hours.
3 helpful PropTech tools for real estate agents
PropTech companies have made tools to address just about any real estate-related challenge that faces agents. Real estate professionals can increase their value to customers and streamline their businesses with help from PropTech tools like:
Homeward is a PropTech tool founded and largely staffed by real estate agents. Our product provides agents with two incredible opportunities to present to their clients: to buy before they sell or to make a cash offer on a home.
Imagine your customer has found their dream home, but they need the money from the sale of their current house to afford it. However, you know that this property will get snapped up in a heartbeat. You can use the Buy before you sell service to get Homeward to buy the new house for your clients, which lets them move in once the sale is final. When their former home sells and their mortgage is finalized, your clients will buy the new house back from us.
Our Buy with cash service keys in on a particular real estate fact: cash offers are four times more likely to beat competing offers that don’t use cash. The service functions much the same as Buy before you sell. We provide the cash and buys the house, and the new homeowner repays the company once their mortgage is finalized.
These two simple selling points make Homeward an invaluable tool in any real estate agent’s toolbox. The best part: agents get to keep their full commission while staying at the center of the transaction.
Ylopo attempts to bring real estate marketing into the 21st century with its slew of comprehensive digital marketing solutions. The PropTech platform enables agents to build an aesthetically pleasing custom website with features specifically designed to entice and engage high-quality leads. It’s also a Facebook ad-generating powerhouse that connects to the MLS to produce targeted ads for specific user segments.
With Ylopo, you can also:
- Impress home buyers with a robust Internet Data Exchange (IDX) home search feature
- Nurture leads at the right time with data-driven social, email, and text notifications
- Produce better quality leads using Dynamic Lead Registration
Website chatbots have been around for decades, but Structurely’s spin on the service is custom-tailored for those in property industries. The chatbot’s name is Aisa Holmes (a play on “AI Inside Sales Assistant), and your leads may never know she’s not a flesh-and-blood employee. Aisa fields queries from your website with uncanny accuracy and speaks conversationally with prospective leads about their wants and needs. Agents who opt into notifications from the app can follow conversations in real time and take over conversations at any point. Otherwise, Aisa’s fully capable of scheduling appointments for you herself.
Aisa can also:
- Converse with multiple leads simultaneously
- Nurture leads for up to 12 months or until they convert
- Update a linked CRM with data gained from conversations with leads
- Integrate with your existing scheduling tool
- Reach out to leads across multiple channels, including email and text
Adopt PropTech today to boost your business tomorrow
There’s no arguing the value of PropTech tools for agents fielding increasingly tech-expectant clients. However, all new tech tools come with a learning curve. Some agents used to brick-and-mortar methods and processes may put off PropTech adoption simply because they don’t understand how it works.
Luckily, most PropTech companies are aware of these barriers to learning. The best PropTech on the market comes equipped with user onboarding flows or demos that ease new customers into their product and show them the value of it upfront.
Take Homeward, for example. The sign-up process is simple and intuitive. You don’t need to spend hours wrangling an unwieldy app, as the app guides you through the process. If you’d feel better speaking with a flesh-and-blood human being, Homeward offers the ability to speak with one of its experienced team members about any of your questions.
Ultimately, PropTech tools like Homeward thrive when the agents that use them do. Let Homeward help your business thrive and start closing deals for your customers today.