Real Estate Is Way Behind in Tech. Here's Why and How to Fix It.
How can industry professionals embrace today's digital tools to better serve their clients?
Real estate has given millions of people incalculable opportunities, from realtors who get to make a great income by helping people find their dream homes, to investors who revitalize run-down neighborhoods and create new housing. But despite all that, there are some flaws. There's one in particular that affects real estate professionals the most, trickling down to everyone else who touches the industry in any way. Namely, the industry is way behind when it comes to technology, and this has a dramatic negative impact on efficiency and profitability.
If you’re in the business, you understand the significance of this shortcoming. Not only does it impact your revenue, but it also leads to more work, higher costs and increased burnout. But when you leverage technology for increased efficiency and profitability, that means you can pay your team more, offer better benefits and a more enjoyable workplace, and serve more clients.
The first step is to identify where your bottlenecks are. For many, that's in following up with prospects and clients. This is a relatively easy fix now that there are countless Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools available, including many designed specifically for the real estate industry.
Every large franchise provides some type of CRM, but today, anyone all the way down to solo realtors just starting out can afford one. The key is to actually use it.
Most people simply enter names into the system and never do anything else until they find themselves in a slump and have to drum up business in a hurry. That doesn’t work. The whole point of a CRM system is to build and nurture relationships with prospects and clients. So you’ll have to keep detailed notes on these people and communicate with them regularly. Some of this communication can even be automated with drip campaigns, but just be careful not to overdo the automation.
Remember, if you make people feel like a number, they won’t be receptive. Just think of how you feel when you receive those automated, tone-deaf emails or DMs on social media. Fortunately, modern tech can go far beyond nurturing relationships or finding deals; what used to take a team of highly paid analysts can now be done with AI and big data.
Now, you may be thinking, “That’s crazy. There’s no way a computer can match my team’s knowledge and experience.” But here’s the thing: AI is already powering significant parts of your life and you probably don’t even realize it. The targeting for the Facebook ads you use to market your business is powered by AI. The GPS that routes you around congested traffic on your way to your next showing is powered by AI. And even Zillow, the real estate platform so many Realtors love to hate, is powered by AI.
When you conduct a Zillow search, you can select multiple criteria, but what most people don’t realize is that behind the scenes, AI is going outside of that criteria to find homes that you might be interested in based on a complex algorithm that analyzes human behavior. In essence, they’re using AI to give users exactly what they want. Not just based on their search parameters, not just what they say they want, but what they actually want.
AI is also used in evaluating potential development opportunities because it enables developers to analyze a mind-blowing amount of data and make accurate predictions from that data. This reduces risk and helps developers move more quickly with their projects.
While the real estate industry is way behind when it comes to technology, we can change that. Every day, new innovations are getting cheaper and easier to implement. And if we want to remain competitive in the coming years, we absolutely have to. Otherwise, we will lose ground to those who leverage it properly.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer