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10 Ways Technology Can Save Agents Time and Money

April 23 2014

hourglass with moneyThe Web celebrated its 25th birthday last monthWeb celebrated its 25th birthday last month, according to the Pew Internet Research Project. It's hard to believe, but true. And despite some early skepticsearly skeptics, the web has been saving people time and money ever since its debut.

It's easy to think of examples. Email, something we now take for granted, saves people the time and expense of sending letters. Netflix saves its subscribers the hassle of schlepping to the nearest video store--and the monthly cost of unlimited streaming is far less pricey than the per video charge (and late fees!) that Blockbuster once charged.

Over the past quarter century, the Web has affected virtually every industry and many aspects of our lives. Real estate has been far from immune. Gone are the days of printed MLS books or of being chained to an office desk and landline. Mobile technology has enabled agents to conduct business from anywhere, and websites, social media, and more have made the Web an affordable and efficient marketing channel.

In what other ways can the Web make agents' lives easier? We've rounded up 10 of our favorite examples of how technology can save real estate professionals time and money.

1. Build a DIY Website - Gone are the days when coding knowledge was necessary to build your own website. Today, multiple turnkey website solutions exist. If you're looking to build a site for your business, we highly recommend exploring real estate specific website solutions. They come loaded with features agents need, like a built-in IDX search and specialized templates. Other solutions, like WebsiteBox, offer a wealth of backend tools like an integrated CRM, drip marketing capabilities, Google Analytics, and more. Most can be set up in under 15 minutes.


2. Capture Drive-bys - Remember the little box of flyers that agents used to attach to their yard sign? Thanks to QR Code and text messaging technology, keeping that box filled is no longer a necessity. Instead, add a QR code or text message number to your sign rider that consumers can scan with their smartphone or text for more information. It's a great way to capture leads, too, as many solutions will save the contact data of consumers and send it to you for follow-up.

3. Photos and Virtual Tours - Speaking of more information, what consumers most want to know is how a home looks inside. Modern technology makes it easy for you to take and manage photos with a digital camera and editing software. If you don't have editing software (try wallet friendly options like GIMP or Photoshop Elements), many website and virtual tour solutions give you access to basic editing functions like cropping, rotations, color corrections, captions, and more.

4. Better Navigation - If you've ever gotten lost on the way to a showing, you understand exactly how much easier GPS makes life now. Whether you use technology like Garmin, a smartphone or tablet with Google Navigation, GPS has prevented many a navigational headache and missed appointment. Bonus: Some showing appointment solutions will email you and your client maps and itineraries ahead of scheduled showings.

5. Field Calls on the Road - In addition to making driving easier, technology can make it safer, too. Most recent car models let you sync your smartphone to your auto's audio system, allowing you to safely make and answer calls and, yes, even respond to texts while on the road--no hands necessary!

6. Advertise Globally - U.S. real estate is a hot commodity abroad, and today's technology makes it a lot simpler to reach potential foreign buyers. You can start your global efforts with your site. WebsiteBox, for example, offers an on-site language translator in multiple languages. For reach that extends beyond your site, ListHub Global syndicates your listings internationally while still enforcing the data protection standards that we're used to at home. For your social networks, Real-Buzz offers translated IDX search widgets for your Facebook page.

7. Consolidate Your Tools - Did you know that there's technology that can improve your technology? While that might sound pretty meta, what we mean is that there are solutions that can consolidate your existing tools, making your life simpler. Take HootSuite, for example. From a single dashboard, you can update and manage your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media profiles. For a real estate example, we'll again turn to WebsiteBox. They have a website lead capture app that integrates directly into their aforementioned CRM. Leads flow directly into the CRM so agents don't have to worry about retrieving leads or entering extra data.

8. The Ease of Going Paperless - Ah, the paperless life! Products like transaction management, forms solutions and electronic signatures have greatly streamlined real estate workflows. Thanks to them, agents are better able to compete in hot markets, spend less time collecting signatures, and can collaborate on multiple documents involving multiple parties right from their computer or mobile device.

9. Improve Communication with Data - When it comes to technology, data is everywhere--the analytics from your website, the open rate of your emails. Smart agents can use this information to improve their communication efforts. Not sure which headline to use in your email newsletter? Try A/B testing and track the analytics to see which one performs better. Also, agents with CRMs that integrate into their website, like WebsiteBox, can track exactly what kind of properties, price points, and neighborhood their clients are searching for. They can use that data to suggest homes that their buyers are more likely to be interested in, and avoid wasting time with irrelevant properties.

10. Education from the Comfort of Home - Thanks to the web and distance learning technology, Realtors can keep up with their CE requirements and earn designationsCE requirements and earn designations outside of a physical classroom. Real estate professionals can learn plenty more via the web, too, like tips for using their favorite technology solutions, selling strategies, and more. Check out our Webinars section for inspiration.

What's your favorite technology for saving yourself time and money? We'd love to hear your suggestions below!