Commentary by Suzanne De Vita
Agents are frustrated. Brokers, stumped. If the goal is to keep up with technology, why the abysmal adoption rates?
According to findings from the National Association of REALTORS®, recently released, brokerages commonly emphasize specific tools:
- CMAs and e-signature solutions (84 percent)
- Multiple listing service (83 percent)
- Electronic forms (82 percent)
At the same time, approximately 35 percent of agents are asking their brokers for CRM and/or predictive tools.
What does that tell us? Agents are eager to implement intelligent, synchronized technology, but are caught in a case of mismatched priorities. For them, it's about generating leads and referrals; for brokers, it's about leads, but also managing transactions.
In another interpretation: Agents are focused on nurturing their relationships, and hungry for solutions to support that. (According to NAR, in their day-to-day, 93 percent depend on email, and 95 percent on their smartphone—an indicator of how necessary it is for them to remain in touch.)
In addition, to cultivate their relationships, agents rely on social media, and with good reason. According to the findings from NAR, the highest-quality leads originate on social media, and agents leverage it to "promote business" (26 percent) and "help build/maintain relationships with existing clients." (Facebook is by far the most popular, at 97 percent usage, followed by LinkedIn at 59 percent and Instagram at 39 percent.) Just 13 percent of agents, however, have access to post scheduling tools, which can help with outreach significantly.
On the flip side, 46 percent of brokers are concerned about "keeping up with technology" in the next two years, NAR's stats show, as they contend with evolving systems and tools.
When it comes to consumer needs and technology, however, they're answering the call. When house-hunting online, 87 percent of homebuyers are looking for photos of the property, and 85 percent for detailed information about the listing. Ninety-four percent of brokerages feature listings on their website, giving homebuyers the information they need in their search.
Also, although 76 percent of buyers found their house in a mobile search, just 17 percent found their REALTOR® the same way. Aside from buyers clicking from their desktop, this could indicate two things:
- Brokerages lack mobile-responsive websites. (In my humble opinion, unlikely.)
- Buyers depend on recommendations and word-of-mouth, in addition to internet testimonials. (According to NAR, 57 percent of brokers include testimonials on their website, and 76 percent include agent profiles.)
So, there's both disconnect and harmony in real estate technology, and how it affects agents and brokers and the consumers they serve. How are you augmenting your business with technology? What are your challenges? Share them with me at email@example.com, or comment here on Housecall.