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The Resurgence of the Independent Real Estate Brokerage: An Open Letter to the Real Estate Industry
As leaders of big-box franchise brands stand on stages and pound their collective chests, making outlandish claims about their commitments to technology, independent brokerages are feeling more empowered than ever toward gaining market share. In fact, industry data supports this fact. After more than 20 years in this industry, my conclusion is there are two fundamental reasons independent brokerages are winning today. First, technology is leveling the playing field and allowing for more net broker dollars than in previous years, even while margins are shrinking more than ever before in history. Second, the typical agent in the United States makes a brokerage change every four to five years, and grows increasingly concerned about protecting their data, contact records, and book of business. Considering more than 82% of an agent's annual revenue is procured from their sphere of influence, this wariness makes total sense.
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Inside Real Estate Supercharges Agent Productivity with Enhancements to Popular kvCORE Mobile App
Inside Real Estate has announced enhancements to the kvCORE Mobile App and Dialer with new call functionality and on-the-go features that help agents boost productivity. The popular kvCORE Mobile App and Dialer allows agents and teams to run their business from anywhere with intuitive mobile functionality that currently facilitates over 55,000 phone calls per month between agent users and their clients. The newly updated app brings more kvCORE features into the mobile interface, making calling sessions a breeze.
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Residential Real Estate Software Platforms Growing Fast: Death of the Small Point Solution Firm
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Baird and Warner Launches Powerhouse Tech Platform kvCORE to 2,500+ Agents
Baird & Warner, one of the top 20 largest brokerages in the country by transaction sides and a market leader across greater Chicagoland, has partnered with Inside Real Estate to provide technology platform kvCORE to their 2,500 agents, across over 30 offices. The platform will serve as a comprehensive, central ecosystem, driving profitability and new business growth for the brokerage, their agents and top teams.
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Small and Midsized Brokers Power Recruiting with Core BackOffice
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Industry Acquisitions Drive Luxury Brokerage to Launch New Tech Stack
Willis Allen Real Estate, a leading luxury brokerage in the greater San Diego area, announced that they are launching a new tech stack for agents, "WAREhouse." The new platform will be launched in phases, with the first phase released to agents on June 17.
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Brokers Beware! That Old Tech Is Eating at Your Profits
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How Do We Use Insights to Drive Action?
In today's data-rich and data-hungry world, we often get the message that data equals value. But does it? If the answer to my question is 42, well then—what should I go do with that information? Often, it's only after we've put in immense effort to arrive at the answer, "42," that we realize we didn't get the value we were looking for. What if, instead, we focused on insights—and the value of being able to act on those insights?
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Let's Start Tipping Brokers
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12 Ways to Increase Your Real Estate Agency's Efficiency
As many aspects of the real estate sales journey become more complex than ever, the question we often hear is "Who will do this work?" However, when the question becomes "How will this work be done?" the answer lies with better processes and automation. It's very common to think of automation in terms of real estate marketing automation alone, but there are much bigger gains to be had in the real estate sector by automating elements of the entire customer journey, covering business operations, as well as sales and marketing. Automation can be applied to leads and listings and how they interact with the processes that take place along the sales journey: from marketing and capturing an initial lead to the final sale, and almost everything in between, including inventory management, task management, team support and CRM. There are 12 areas of the real estate customer experience that will benefit from automation and should form the basis of an agency's blueprint: 1. Mobile-first Create a new listing on location in just a few swipes directly from your phone and save valuable time. Eliminate the need to enter information multiple times. 2. Matching Property listings can be matched with leads automatically, saving time and improving your success rate. 3. Agency website Publish listings directly to your responsive agency website and be the first to show it to your customers. 4. Lead capture and management Capture leads anywhere — from Facebook campaigns, chat app or even your email inbox — to make sure you never miss anyone. Ensure your contacts are always up-to-date. Follow up on your leads and interact with buyers and sellers while on the move. 5. Visits and open houses Let your customers schedule viewings or visits whenever it suits them, and automatically add an appointment to their calendar (as well as yours). Automatically notify your leads with an email containing all the useful details. Send SMS or email reminders to minimise no-shows. 6. Direct marketing Enter leads once, and update information automatically in your subscription and campaign lists across popular email marketing and lead nurturing tools. 7. Communication Talk to millennials the way they prefer through online chat, SMS and social media, and interact with your team about a new listing, contact or business strategy while they're on the move. 8. Document management Leave your client with a positive customer experience by smoothly completing the sales journey with automatic document and form creation – e.g., Docusign. 9. Task management Smarten up your daily business processes with automatic to do lists, shareable notes, automatic reminders and other business processes tailored to your agency's workflows using your preferred task management tool. To save even more time, automatically include relevant information on leads, listings or contacts. 10. CRM Automatically update your leads data and contact information in your CRM. 11. Workspace automation Using technology such as SweepBright you can access the world's best apps through middleware firm Zapier and create your own perfect workspace, accessible on your mobile. 12. Publishing listings online Publish your listing to a range of real estate portals, social media & your own agency website with a single click. To view the original article, visit the SweepBright blog.
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Virtual Is Becoming a Reality in Real Estate
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Brokers: Does your real estate tech stack really help recruit and retain agents?
If you ask real estate brokers to list their primary pain points, their answers will converge around three things: recruiting agents, retaining them, and keeping them productive. These broker challenges are, of course, fundamentally linked. If you can't attract top agent talent and keep them productive, they'll leave, and you will never grow a thriving business. In fact, the average stay for agents at their current brokerage is just four years, according to NAR. You read that right: as a broker, you have just a few years (if you're lucky) to keep agents around before they jump ship.
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Comp Talks: Real Estate Agents (Part 2 of 2)
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The Importance of Quality Agent Onboarding for a Successful Team
The real estate profession is unique when it comes to joining a new brokerage or firm. Unlike with traditional job onboarding, there is a combination of requirements to be successful as an agent. New agents need a thorough and effective onboarding process. Many new real estate agents drop out of the industry simply because they didn't receive proper training when they started out. Here are a few tips for how to improve the onboarding process for new agents.
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MoveEasy Masters Brokerage Integration
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Are Your Agents Cutting Their Commissions?
Are your agents cutting their commissions and leaving money on the table? It's a pretty common scenario in today's competitive real estate market for agents to make concessions in their commission amounts to get a deal at any cost. But what is the real cost to the agent, the brokerage and everyone's pocket book?
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One Brokerage's Key to Success
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The Unseen Perks of a Strong Broker Tech Platform
It's 2018. Having strong technology at the foundation of your brokerage isn't something nice to have. It's a necessity. The benefits of incorporating great technology tools into your brokerage landscape are obvious: Increased agent productivity More leads More transactions Increased agent morale and retention
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How to Unlock Your Brokerage's Ultimate Power
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Visualizing Data to Understand Brokerage Performance
A recent survey found that the #1 challenge for brokers was understanding their agents' performance. This challenge was followed closely by an inability to discern how the brokerage was performing in a timely manner. While most brokers knew what metrics to look at, they didn't always know how to find them. Others, meanwhile, had all the data at their fingertips but didn't understand what the data was saying.
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RE/MAX Just Bought booj. Are You Prepared for What's Next?
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[VIDEO] Lone Wolf's Virtual Meet and Greet
Lone Wolf Technologies has been one of the fastest growing real estate technology companies for quite some time now. Layered on top of their leading competitive market share in brokerage accounting and back office solutions are a plethora of productivity solutions for brokerage. The latest jewel in their crown was the acquisition of Instanet – among the leaders in forms management and transaction management for MLSs and brokers. I tuned into the recording of their recent virtual Meet & Greet to listen in:
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MoxiWorks to Deliver LeadingRE Cloud Data Services Ahead of Big Franchises
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Moneyball: The Analysis of a Real Estate Agent
It's hard not to be romantic about baseball. The big names. The stories. Past accomplishments. To get the best players in Major League Baseball, you need to pay top dollar as winning teams don't come cheap. Or can they? Ever seen the film Moneyball (2011)? The film covers the true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics. The team couldn't afford top players and everyone predicted a disappointing season for the Oakland A's. However, the team's manager, Billy Bean, employed a unique approach to scouting and in turn revolutionized how the league itself analyzed players.
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Compass Is Coming to Your Town
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Key Aspects to Look for in a Brokerage Platform
Many technology companies are calling themselves a "platform." It's becoming a loosely used buzzword, but what makes a true platform is a technology that serves as the base for all of your technology solutions. It's the hub of your company's technology. As a brokerage owner, what should you be looking for when considering a platform for your business? Below are a few of the key things you absolutely must consider when vetting these technologies.
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Inside Real Estate Acquires BrokerSumo
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Everyone Is Moving to the Cloud
Fact: 70 percent of U.S. organizations are now utilizing cloud technology to run at least one application of their businesses. The growth of cloud technology adoption is on the rise as the business benefits have proven to be worth their weight in gold regarding profitability and efficiency standards. Gone are the days of investing heavily in never ending hardware, and with good reason. The infrastructure of old limited growth of organizations in several key areas that we all have come to demand from our "on-the-go" lifestyles. Vendors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft Azure are the leaders in cloud computing space that run backend of many of businesses today. While each company offers their own competitive advantages for cloud technology, they all offer standardized benefits regardless of industry, size, or sophistication.
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Will Redfin's Giant Team Take Your Market Share?
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How to Streamline Your Real Estate Transaction Using dotloop and iBroker
Integration to bring disparate technologies closer together is becoming an ever-more-popular trend as consumers come to expect increasing ease and fusion in their lives. Take the entertainment industry as an example — the Movies Anywhere platform syncs your Universal, Fox, Sony, Warner Bros., Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios digital media with Amazon, Vudu and other streaming platforms. And in health care, new electronic health records that can be more easily transferred and shared between physicians gives synchronicity to the patient experience. Those seamless technologies have taken longer to seep into real estate technology, however. Real estate brokerages and office managers typically have to juggle multiple tools and platforms in order to keep up with marketplace and consumer expectations, and that means a lot of duplicated effort — entering the same listing's information into several places, for example. But now, the ease of integration has arrived for brokerages in at least one big way: transaction management platform dotloop is now integrating with the powerful and simplified office management solution iBroker.
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The Importance of Quality Agent Onboarding for a Successful Team
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Which Back Office Platform is Right for Your Brokerage?
Last week, we took a look at the first of two back office solutions for brokerages. Today, we're highlighting brokerWOLF, a back office and accounting solution from our 2017-18 Technology Guide.
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Open Platform: The Newest Way to Run Your Back Office
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Is Your Back Office Management Working for You or Costing You Time?
Have you ever marveled at the time saved by a new route to work or a brand-new tech tool that's streamlining your day? Did you wonder at the time why you didn't make a change sooner? Like most business owners, you probably have strategies and techniques you've been using for years. You know they work, and you might not have considered tweaking or changing them since implementation — but that's like refusing to drive on the just constructed highway that cuts half an hour off your commute just because it's not the road you've always taken. This is pervasive in the brokerage business, where the daily administration and regular troubleshooting can easily consume your entire day, leaving no room for exploring new tools or growing your business. Unfortunately, if you aren't evaluating what you're doing on a semi-regular basis to look for efficiencies, you're missing an opportunity. What are your competitors doing that's saving them time — and how long will it take before that saved time becomes a marketplace advantage?
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Do You Have a Love-Hate Relationship with Your Brokerage Business?
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What Lone Wolf's Acquisition of Instanet Solutions Means for Brokers and MLSs
The transaction management software space is one of the most competitive categories of real estate technology. Today, Lone Wolf, one of the leading providers of broker accounting and management solutions, announced its acquisition of fellow Canadian company Instanet Solutions. This is the second transaction management software acquisition in the past two weeks. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. recently acquired a majority interest in Skyslope, another highly regarded transaction management solution.
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Don't Let the Keller Cloud Kill You
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Translating the Power of a Franchise to Your Brokerage
By Amber Taufen Indie or franchise? There are reasons to go either way as a broker — but if you've decided to establish yourself as an independent broker, then having the freedom to choose how you'll operate, hire, market and bill as a brokerage is probably important to you. On the flip side, you'll have to face the fact that you might be sacrificing some efficiencies — and some really fabulous technology tools — if you take the independent route. Most franchise brokerages are able to adopt new technologies early in the game, and that gives them a competitive advantage over independent operations that have no bandwidth to invest in the future. Software starts to get pricey fast, especially when you're just starting out and scaling up. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? Freedom to choose your path and powerful enterprise-level technologies that can help expand your business without breaking the bank?
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Rich Broker, Poor Broker: Breaking Free and Building Wealth in Real Estate with the 'Cashflow Quadrant'
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3 Reasons Reporting Analytics Are Imperative for Brokerages
Real estate is a numbers game and, because of this, it is imperative for brokerages to have the data they need to determine where their brokerage is succeeding and in what areas they can improve. Here are three reasons reporting analytics are imperative for brokerages.
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Top 5 Reasons Why Getting Real Estate Accounting Software Could Be Your Play of the Week
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Brokermint Matures into a Top Choice for Small to Mid-sized Brokers
Last year, we introduced you to Brokermint, an all-in-one back office platform that was just emerging as a serious contender in its niche. The article came right at the moment of Brokermint's "coming of age," so to speak, when the company was adding the crucial features—like eSignature support—that made it competitive with established tools in the back office space. A lot has happened in the intervening months, and Brokermint is now well down the path to maturity. They've spent the past year adding refining the platform, adding new functionalities, and making their reports even smarter. So what's new? Here's our exhaustive list of all the latest improvements from Brokermint: New Dropbox Integration Available
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Providing Best-in-Class to Your Agents
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Brokermint's Business Intelligence Reports Get Smarter
If back office solution Brokermint is one thing, it's smart. Because it houses transaction data, commission data, and accounting data all under one roof, Brokermint is able to generate detailed reports that offer powerful insight into the health of your business. The platform has gotten even smarter recently, thanks to updates to several of its reports and the addition of a few new ones. Here's a look at what's new: Performance Tracking for Teams
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How Integrating Quickbooks with Your Back Office Can Save You Thousands
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Friday Freebie: 2 Back Office Tools Go Head-to-Head!
An all-in-one back office solution or a platform that integrates with your existing tools? Different brokerages have different needs, and today we're highlighting two competing back office systems aimed at small- and mid-sized firms. Free trials and special offers from Brokermint and BrokerSumo Brokers in the market for a back office solution that handles commissions and billings have a world of choices available to them. At one end, we have enterprise-level packages that work great for massive firms, but are likely too expensive or too complicated for smaller companies. At the other end, we have leaner solutions like Brokermint and BrokerSumo that are better equipped to serve independent and more modestly sized brokerages. Both solutions are relative newcomers to the real estate technology scene and are targeted at a similar customer base. Both offer commission management, and both can integrate with Quickbooks or other popular accounting tools. So where do they differ? Well, Brokermint aims to be the do-it-all solution for small- and mid-sized brokers, and offers a complete transaction management component, complete with task checklists, integrated eSignatures, as well as tracking of tools like lockboxes and yard signs. BrokerSumo, on the other hand, offers integration opportunities with existing transaction management platforms like Dotloop. Rather than reinvent the wheel with regards to transaction management, BrokerSumo focuses on doing what it does really well—managing your commission plans and internal accounting needs like agent billing, direct deposit, escrow, generating 1099s, and even tracking the ROI of your marketing efforts. Which solution is best for you comes down to what you need. Do you already use a transaction management tool that you're happy with? If you just need a program to handle your commission and accounting needs, BrokerSumo may be the better bet. Are you looking to get all your back office needs—from transaction management to accounting to commissions—met under one roof? Consider Brokermint. If you're not sure which option is best for you, you can try them both for free—no credit card required. Better yet, we've negotiated additional special offers just for RE Technology readers. Check out the details of each opportunity below: Brokermint: Free 30-day trial, plus 10% off your subscription fees for life when you sign up here. BrokerSumo: Free 14-day trial, plus $50 off your first month with promo code RETECHJUNE. Sign-up here!
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3 Tips to Leverage Your Brokerage's Data and Build a Better Team
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Dotloop and NextHome Team Up with Back Office Upstart BrokerSumo
You may start hearing the name "BrokerSumo" a lot more in the months ahead. The upstart back office solution announced two recent agreements that could expand its user base significantly. Last week, the company entered into a partnership with NextHome, Inc. to provide NextHome franchisees a platform for managing office accounting, and the commissions and compensation of the firm's 1,700+ agents. Rather than stuffing its software with a lot of bloated features, BrokerSumo is a lean solution that focuses on doing one thing well: handling the financial side of your back office. NextHome Chief Strategy Officer Keith Robinson cited BrokerSumo's "blend of efficiency, accuracy and ease of use" as a major factor in deciding to offer it to franchisees. "As you manage your brokerage, your back office solution should 'just work' and allow you to be a better leader for your agents," says Robinson.
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms and Profit Power: Stop doing double work
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How Brokers Can Encourage Agent Tech Adoption
Technology has infiltrated every sector of business, making it virtually impossible to work effectively without making use of some sort of high-tech program, be it an application on a smartphone or a cloud-based project management device in the office. "Technology disruption," as it's called, has changed the way that most real estate companies conduct business. Completing day-to-day tasks in the professional environment has become more convenient, while work itself has become much faster paced. The prevalence of Wi-Fi, high-speed cellular internet services, and cloud technology means that brokers and clients don't have to schedule office meetings to exchange important documents—they can do it from anywhere in the field. While advancements in technology in the real estate industry have been revolutionary, their benefits are only fully experienced when all team members are on board—and, unfortunately, the Baby Boomer generation isn't as tech savvy as Millennials. The good news is that you can help them embrace tech in the workplace without feeling lost or overwhelmed. Here's how: 1. Explain the importance of data One of the biggest benefits of modern real estate technology is that it gives us access to important data that can influence how we interact with clients or develop marketing strategies. Brokers now have access to a number of apps that provide in-depth detail regarding financial projections, risks, property values, and even demographics, and all of this data is valuable when trying to close a high-end deal.
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Friday Freebie: Take back office tool BrokerSumo for a 2-week test drive
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What Do Running a City and Running a Brokerage Have in Common?
Picture a thriving city. This city is not prosperous because of business. At least not directly. It's thriving because its people have the services they need for safety and security—an aspect that allows them to pursue business, if they so choose. This city thrives because it has invested in its infrastructure. Roads, transit, waste, power, telecommunications, hospitals—all of these vital systems are strong and well-kept. These systems work to support the population and keep essential services available for all. This ensures that people are able to work and do business. Now swap out the word city and replace it with brokerage. What are the essential infrastructure services a brokerage needs to operate and ensure its employees are able to pursue success?
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The Tech Ecosystem of a Thriving Real Estate Brokerage
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Does Your Accounting and Commission System Help You to Retain Agents and Recruit New Agents?
There is a salesperson in the heart of every great real estate agent. They track their income year to date, look at their sales pipeline, and forecast sales and commission goals. For the most part, brokers who use many of the popular accounting systems do not offer a portal that allows agents to log in and see their performance. Newer technology systems for brokerage accounting are focused on giving agents actionable access to their financial performance. "Knowing your numbers" is at the core of every successful business plan execution. It's not about the plan, but the real numbers and the day-to-day changes that impact sales and profits. What are the steps to make it easy? We took a look at Brokersumo, a popular accounting solution for small to midsized brokerage firms. Its reporting function gives both you and your agents direct access to the pipeline of data, close rates, where the bulk of income is generated, and volume to date. Agents will be able to focus on where their best opportunities are, and you'll be able to quickly identify top performers. You'll get deeper insights to your agents and methods to incentivize them.
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3 Components of Transaction Compliance and How to Manage Them
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Product Review: BrokerSumo Delivers Comprehensive Back Office Solution
Time and again, we hear from brokers and agent teams that are frustrated with the back office management technologies available to them. Some spend an arm and a leg for big name solutions with cumbersome tools that are never actually used. Some make do by cobbling together multiple tools that are not industry-specific. That's why we were pleased to see BrokerSumo recently come into the running with an 'all-in-one' answer specifically for real estate. BrokerSumo is a robust new platform for brokers and agents to comprehensively manage day-to-day business—from human resource functions to commission management and even accounting. The single user-friendly portal offers only the features that brokers and agents actually need at an accessible price point. Simple Agent and Account Management for Brokers and Teams We were especially impressed with the way BrokerSumo streamlines all the processes and tasks that go into end-to-end agent management. For instance, onboarding new agents is straightforward and hassle-free with a clean user interface. While brokers can choose to input all of the new agent data into the system themselves, it is almost effortless to use the electronic onboarding platform that enables agents to e-sign and upload all the necessary documents. After entering the agents' email address, assigning a commission plan, and adding the start date, brokers can select whether to use an existing onboarding package template or create a customized one. With a click of a button—voila!—the new recruit will receive an email requesting online completion.
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Top 3 Tools to Integrate Into Your Back Office
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Commission Management from A to Z
The agent commission is one the most important things that brokers manage--and often one of the most complicated. Every company has its own commission structure, and it's common for individual agents within a firm to be on different commission plans. Additionally, agents have differing anniversary dates, splits, and recurring charges. All these variables mean that the room for error is high--mistakenly pay an agent less than what they're owed, and they're unhappy, stop producing and may even switch firms. Overpay an agent, and it's your bottom line that's unhappy. Most brokers mitigate this potential headache by automating commission management. Some use components that are part of their existing back office system or transaction management software, while others use third-party tools for commissions alone. Regardless of which option you prefer, there are some basic functions that any commission management solution should include. Today, we'll take a look at what those are. To help us get a deeper understanding of what to look for in a commission management program, we turned to Andrew Chishchevoy, co-founder of Brokermint, a back office solution that offers a robust transaction management component. "What we hear when we talk to companies is that brokers need a system to keep the information in their commission structures 'clean'--the splits, tiers, recurring charges," says Chishchevoy. "This is important because, ultimately, you use that information to pay agents. When the data is incorrect, that's where problems begin."
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A Solution for Login Paralysis
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A Simple Solution to Improving Agent Software Adoption
Real estate brokers are caught in a horrific problem where they buy software for agents that the agents never use. For example, if you buy a CRM solution for every agent in your brokerage, you are doing well if 40 percent of your agents use it! That means that you may be paying $10 to $20 per agent per month for software that your agents are not even using. When you start to add up the total costs of all software solutions that you license for your agents, the numbers really add up. Clareity Broker Dash Fixes the No. 1 Agent Adoption Problem If you talk to agents, or you ask software vendors what the no. 1 problem is for not using software, the answer is the same, "I can't remember my username and password." Solving this prominent problem is the single biggest way to encourage agents to use software. At the heart of Clareity's broker dashboard is our Single Sign-On solution. We work with your software vendors to create a solution where your agent logs in once and can access every software product you license from there. Imagine agents accessing marketing solutions, CRM, CMA, Lead Management, Accounting, Transaction Management, Digital Signatures, Forms, or any other software that you want them to use – even the MLS, in most cases!
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Tips to: Protect Your Broker’s License
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Which Back Office Reports Are Most Valuable to Brokers?
Reporting capabilities are a key component of brokerage back office platforms. Reports give brokers the ability to identify top producers, low performers, potential recruits, and even monitor transactions for signs of trouble. With the end of the year coming up, brokers' thoughts may soon be turning to how their business performed in 2016. However, the typical back office solution contains dozens of different types of reports, and it can be difficult to pin down which ones are most useful. To help us narrow down which reports brokers should focus on, we turned to Andrew Chishchevoy, founder of back office solution Brokermint. He pointed out over a dozen reports that Brokermint clients use to stay on top of their business. You can find analogous reports in the back office system you currently use. Reports for Monitoring Agent Performance "A quality agent report lets brokers see all information about their agents," says Chishchevoy. "You should be able to slice and dice that information to find out what an agent did, when they did it, how much they contributed to the company, and how much they earned. You can basically compare your agents in an apples-to-apples manner to identify top performers and those who may need help." Chishchevoy recommends using the following reports to keep an eye on agent performance: Agent profile report - A list of all agents with full profile information. Use filters to differentiate between active and inactive agents, as well as other criteria. Agent production report - See each agent's individual contribution, their commissions earned and sales volume. This is a multi-level report that allows you to identify top producers and their associated transactions. Reports for Monitoring Transactions A substantial part of monitoring your agents (and the health of your firm) consists of monitoring their transactions. Look for these or similar reports to accomplish this: Brokerage trends report - Get a high level view of what's happening in your business. This report shows the 12-month trend of listings that are new, under contract, closed and cancelled, grouped by month. For larger companies, filters allow you to break down these trends by office. Transaction documents report - This report finds transactions with missing documents so that brokers can identify potential issues. You can drill down by agent. Reports for active listings, pending sales, cancelled sales, and closed sales - Each of these are individual reports by transaction status. Brokermint software allows you to filter each report by agent so you can identify those with, for example, the most cancelled sales in order to identify coaching opportunities. Financial Reports Where's your money going, and what money is owed to you? These reports can help answer these questions, and more: Commission disbursement authorization report - This report shows transactions with generated commission disbursement forms. Brokers can use this report to determine which files are missing processed CDAs. Payments report - A detailed overview of deductions, like transaction fees, desk fees, E&O fees, etc. Brokers can filter by status, timeframe and agent. Earnest money deposit report - Shows earnest money deposits across pending transactions. Companies use this report to reconcile with their escrow account balance. Reports for Tracking Leads, Equipment, and More Hard numbers aren't the only thing that your back office solution can track. It can also track where your leads come from, your inventory of lockboxes and yard signs, and even the vendors you most frequently use. Lead source report - View all and compare your lead sources, and the ROI for each. "Because this is a contract to close product, we've included the ability to track of your marketing sources," says Chishchevoy. "If you have 20-30 different lead sources, you can analyze all that within the system to figure out what's working, down to the dollars spent and your ROI." Lockbox and yard sign - Track your yard sign and lockbox inventory. "We've learned that many, many companies need this," says Chishchevoy. "If they have, for example, 50 active listings, they hypothetically have 50 yard signs and lockboxes installed somewhere. They want to track those so that as soon as they sell, they can go and pick up the sign and lockbox and start using it again." Vendor report - Allows brokers to see the vendors used in live transactions, escrow, title, and beyond. Franchise and Custom Reports If you're a franchisee, you may have additional reporting needs that 'mom and pop' shops do not. Look for reports just for franchises in your back office solution to make communication with your corporate office easier. "Brokermint offers franchise reports within our system so brokers don't have to use a third party solution," says Chishchevoy. "Brokermint generates all needed reports in the needed layout that they can use to submit to their corporate office." And even though most back office platforms offer a wide range of pre-made reports, many brokers may find that they have special needs that necessitate a custom built report. Most solutions providers, including Brokermint, are happy to build these for you for a small fee. Contact your vendor to learn more. If you'd like to try Brokermint's reports for yourself, they offer a 30-day free trial. RE Technology members who want to continue using the program after trial are eligible for a 10% discount when they sign up at the link above.
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3 Foolproof Tactics to Recruit Top Agents
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Friday Freebie: Try Real Estate's Easiest-to-Use Back Office Solution for 30 Days
In the world of back office software, small and mid-sized brokers may feel challenged to find a program that "fits" their business. A lot of what's on the market today is either made for enterprise level firms, is overly expensive, or is simply too clunky and difficult to use. Today, we're going to look at a solution that upends the traditional world of back office programs--and scales to fit brokerages of any size, from small boutique firms to large, multi-office companies. Read on to learn more! Free 30-day trial of Brokermint, an all-in-one back office solution At RE Technology, we often say the best solutions are the ones that work for you, not the ones you have to work at using. What we mean is that any app or tech tool that you use should make your life simpler, and not be too complicated to use. Brokermint is a back office solution that fits this description beautifully. Not only does the app handle everything from transaction management to commission management, but it does it all in one easy-to-use interface that's clean and logically designed. Brokermint is relatively new to the real estate scene, but it's steadily building buzz and loyal users, thanks to benefits like: Complete contract-to-close management that keeps track of everything--from listings to lockboxes Tasks and transaction checklists to keep agents on track Complete transaction oversight and approval to solve compliance woes Automatically import MLS listing data to save time copying and pasting Automatically calculate and track commissions and disbursements Robust reporting capabilities to help brokers make smarter, data-driven decisions Seamless integration with Quickbooks and other applications to automatically generate invoices, checks, and more And much more! Brokermint is free to try for 30 days, and no credit card is required to sign up. If you like what you see, well, it's your lucky day! We've negotiated a special 10% discount just for RE Technology readers. Click here to start your free trial and claim your exclusive discount today!
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Tired of manually managing transactions? (10/26)
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The Value of Your Value Proposition
How do you recruit new agents? How do you keep the ones you've got? Just as agents need to prove their worth to their broker, brokers needs to prove their worth to the agents. Here are three ways to you can use back-office data to strengthen your value proposition: 1. Insight Show your agents how much money they've made this year compared to last. Email them their expense statements so there are no surprises. Show them how much money they can make by following your brokerage's standards. In doing so, you'll give your agents vital insight into how your brokerage fosters their success.
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Transaction Checklists: The Magic Pill for Compliance
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A Tool for Visualizing Your Transaction Pipeline
If you walked into any brokerage 10-15 years ago, you probably would have seen a board somewhere on the wall that listed all of the office's current transactions. With more agents working remotely today, those transaction boards are quickly becoming a relic. However, there are digital tools available that can help you visualize your brokerage's sales activity in a similar (and often superior) way. One recent favorite of ours is Brokermint, a young company based in San Diego that offers a back office and transaction management platform. What caught our eye is the prominent transaction pipeline on Brokermint's welcome screen. At a glance, brokers can see all of their active, pending, and closed listings, along with the net value of each. "The pipeline is about giving brokers more visibility into their business," says Andrew Chishchevoy, Brokermint co-founder. The company updated the pipeline feature in May, adding new filters that lets brokers view numbers like total office net, office sales volume, and office gross for all transactions. Brokers can click into individual transactions in each funnel section, and from there see everything about the transaction--including commission details, documents, actions that need to be taken, a complete activity log and more. It's an easy way to keep an eye on your bottom line and the progress of each transaction. (For more details on Brokermint's transaction management capabilities, read our product review.)
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What DocuSign's New 'Lead to Close Strategy' Means for Brokers
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Product Review: Brokermint Offers Complete Back Office Management to Small and Mid-Sized Firms
There's a new player on the back office management scene, and its name is Brokermint. We first started hearing buzz about this product almost a year ago in a handful of real estate groups that we frequent online. The software has grown up a lot since then--in April, they added electronic signature capabilities and, in November, integration with QuickBooks--making it a serious contender to replace existing systems as the back office platform of choice. Now that Brokermint has "come of age," so to speak, let's take a look at what it has to offer brokerages. Full Insight Into Your Business Brokermint bills itself as an "all-in-one" back office platform. And with the recent addition of eSignatures and accounting software integration, this is more true than ever. The solution handles everything from commission management, transaction management, reports, and more--all with the goal of increasing your firm's operational efficiency. Of course, to increase efficiency, a program must be easy to use. We've seen a lot of legacy back office solutions at RE Technology and, while powerful, too many feature interfaces that are clunky and confusing. This is not the case with Brokermint. The interface is streamlined and modern looking, and easy to figure out. We're particularly fond of the main page, which prominently displays your company's sales pipeline. Right from the get-go, brokers can see the sales value of their active, pending, and closed listings for the current month, as well as an overview of previous months. Users can click any section of the funnel to see the transactions involved; in the image above, for example, clicking the top section shows all active transactions. Click "Pending" and you'll see all pending transactions. You can access transactions directly from the pipeline screen, or you can navigate to the Transaction section.
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Tired of manually managing transactions? (8/31)
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How Efficient Are Your Office Staff?
How often do you W5 your company? One of the most common failings, in business and in life, is to fall into behaviors or patterns just because they are comfortable and easy. But are they really easy? Do we just do some things because that's the way it's always been done? What owners need to do, on a periodic basis, is ask the following questions about each facet of their operation. WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHY? What makes sense when you had 10 agents and one office might not make sense any longer with 100 agents and three offices. We must all be vigilant for opportunities to improve our businesses. Do we still print, fold and stuff agent monthly statements—why not e-mail them? Do we still write on deal folders or use sheet labels—why not auto-print them? Do you write checks to agents and staff—why not use direct deposit? If a common phrase in your office is, "I don't have enough time," maybe it's because of another common phrase, "We've always done it that way." Be aware!
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QuickBooks integration for your real estate back office (8/17)
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Aculist Turns Data Into Smart Business Decisions
Our 2016-17 Technology Guide features a few Realtor-owned companies--like Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline, both owned by Florida Realtors--and the product in this week's spotlight, Aculist-Edge. Aculist is owned by MLSListings, the multiple listing service based in Silicon Valley, so it should come as no surprise that MLS data is the lifeblood of this product. At its heart, Aculist-Edge is a business intelligence platform that transforms raw data into beautiful reports that brokers can use to make better business decisions. The platform consists of four components: Interactive Business Insights - Create interactive graphs and charts for an area, and gain insight into your business' performance. The platform can compare agents within a company and outside of it, and identify patterns that may impact management decisions. Interactive Market Insights - Create killer presentations and reports quickly, complete with beautiful, interactive visuals. Drill down and get the answers to questions like, How much over asking do homes sell for in my city? or What makes this neighborhood desirable? Market Reports - If working with Aculist's interactive data is a bit too time consuming for you, this series of market snapshots can be delivered to your inbox in seconds. Get insight into trends, KPIs, and more. The reports are PDF files that can be fully branded to your company. Web Widgets - This feature is slated to release shortly, and is a great addition to any website looking for a less static interface. Widgets turn data from analytics reports into digestible content that's constantly being refreshed on your website.
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Boston Logic Launches a Small Broker Game Changer
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Lone Wolf: Tools for the Data Driven Brokerage
Our annual Technology Guide is a free resource that educates brokers and agents about real estate technology products across a variety of categories. Traditionally, we post a series of accompanying articles that highlights each category and the questions real estate pros should ask when selecting a solution in that category. This year, we're mixing it up and taking a closer look at individual solutions. First on the list? Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies. Focus on Lone Wolf Real estate is a data-driven business, and we're not just talking about your listing data. Brokers sit on top a pile of information that includes client and lead contact information, agent information, transaction data, internal financial data, and much more. When in possession of tools to parse this data, brokers can gain insight on everything from which agents are underperforming to projected revenues based on pending transactions. Lone Wolf offers a suite of tools called the Complete Enterprise Solution that does exactly that. The heart of this suite is a back office/accounting program called brokerWOLF that lets brokers manage listing inventory, transactions, commissions, agent billing, accounts payable and receivable, and beyond. Most notably, brokerWOLF offers an impressive array of reports that give brokers a clearer picture of what's happening with their business. You can see an example of five popular reports here.
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Utilizing the Lone Wolf Business Directory (6/23)
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Who Is Driving Your Bus?
Your company is like a bus rolling down the highway, but are you driving or are you letting other people take the wheel? The fact remains that your company is, in fact, your company. While seeking out advice from professionals such as accountants or listening to your trusted administrator are good things, you need to do what is right for you. Lack of knowledge can put you at the mercy of others! Let's face it, running a real estate company is a challenging job. Many brokers today were salespeople yesterday where they only had to look after themselves. Ask yourself this: can my administrator take a two-week holiday without putting too much strain on the back office? If the answer is no, then you have a challenge. Many administrators are very helpful and do a great job. Others, however, make it so that the company can't function without them. This is called empire building and must be avoided.
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brokerWOLF Tips and Tricks (5/25)
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Back Office Solutions for Brokers
So often in real estate, people use terms in ways that confuse others. One of those confusing terms is Back Office Solutions. There are many different kinds of back office solutions. Knowing the differences can help brokers and their IT staff understand where to look to find the resources they need. Company Intranet Some people refer to a back office solutions an Intranet. A company's intranet is like a website, but it is behind a password so only company people can see it. They are extremely useful for sharing things like documents, messages, marketing materials and – most importantly – to be a launch pad for the many other software applications that are used across the company. Examples include CoreLogic's AgentAchieve or LoneWolf's WOLFconnect. Both products are commonly used by many of the largest and most successful brokerages in America and have proven to be scalable enough to serve even the smallest firms, too. Company Accounting Another common use of the term "back office" is an accounting solution. Although LoneWolf's brokerWOLF product is by far the most popular in real estate, there are other suitable solutions from firms like LanTrax ProfitPower and Emphasis. Where brokerWOLF is suitable for all sizes of firms, ProfitPower tends to be more suitable for large firms, and Emphasis seems to be more suitable to smaller firms.
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Does Your System Look Good?
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3 Alternative Sources of Revenue for Brokerages
Brokerages looking to increase their bottom line can turn to technology for options that don't require upping the percentage they take from agents' commissions. This is possible because of the internet, which has, in many ways, turned brokerages into media companies. Think about it--a brokerage supports hundreds, or thousands, of consumers researching information related to homeownership. You're disseminating information via your IDX or Virtual Office Website, drip email campaigns, digitally generated print material, social media, and so much more. Within these constant touch points with consumers lurks an opportunity for extra revenue. Here are three tech-centric methods brokers can try to boost their bottom line: Website Advertising From Google AdSense to real estate specific options like Aculist or REALM, extra revenue can be as easy as putting paid ads on your website. There's a real opportunity for opening up a respectable stream of revenue here, especially if your website traffic is high. However, this method is controversial and can easily turn off consumers if not managed correctly. To prevent alienating your audience, avoid intrusive ads that pop-up or autoplay audio. You don't want your website to be garish or off-putting!
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[INFOGRAPHIC] 5 Signs You’re Ready for a Paperless Office
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Lean, Mean Brokerage Machine: Technology Empowers Firm to Operate with Zero Debt
Cory Kammerdiener is a military veteran who applied the technical skills he honed as an Electronic Technician in the U.S. Navy to running a real estate brokerage with minimal overhead and no debt. He accomplishes this by operating his company, NewHomePrograms.com, virtually. The firm has 55 agents and eight brokers in six major cities across Texas and Florida. Rather than leasing physical offices and hiring staff in each of those places, Kammerdiener leans on technology to close transactions, engage his agents, and bring in new business. "If you look at any other real estate company that has offices in as many cities as we do, they probably have a broker, an office manager and someone answering the phones," says Kammerdiener. "But I'm pretty much a one-man operation. I'm the accountant and lead coordinator. I do payroll and transaction management. I'm literally filling in for probably 10 different people that a typical real estate company has to hire. I can do it all because of the software I use." Kammerdiener uses four programs, all integrated with each other, from Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies to achieve this: brokerWOLF, for accounting needs like managing commission structures, tracking expenses and listing inventory, and real-time reporting. WOLFconnect, a virtual front office management system that helps agents working remotely stay connected to the brokerage. loadingDOCS, a document and transaction management platform. globalWOLF, a website solution that automatically syncs online leads to WOLFconnect's built-in CRM. "We first built the company with the idea that brokerWOLF and WOLFconnect were going to be the foundation," Kammerdiener says. "We wanted to be able to grow not only in our city, but in other cities, as well. Lone Wolf allows me to expand our operations without having to hire a bunch of employees."
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Keeping Up with Technology – Where Does Your Business Stand?
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A High-Volume Brokerage on the Solution that Enriches Their Bottom Line
One of the principles of running a lean business is eliminating redundant processes, like duplicate data entry, and automating others in order to free your team from the grip of time-wasting tasks. Because brokers rely on dozens of elements--websites, accounting solutions, document and transaction management, and beyond--it can be difficult to untangle the knot of over-complicated data in order to streamline a business. That's why many enterprise-level brokers are increasingly turning to all-in-one solutions to handle the lion's share of their back office needs. Using one solution rather than several unrelated solutions means that data flows freely between components, eliminating mistakes and wasted time. Currently, there are only a few companies that offer all-in-one solutions. Today, we're evaluating one company that offers a full suite of solutions that encompasses accounting, a "front office" intranet, document and transaction management, brokerage and agent websites and more. We spoke with Teresa Powers, a long-time Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies' Complete Enterprise Solution user, to hear about her brokerage's experience with the software. Teresa Powers is the Director of Operations for RE/MAX Professionals in Lakewood, Colorado. Her firm adopted Lone Wolf's accounting solution, brokerWOLF, in 2006 and added the company's front office platform, WOLFconnect, and document and transaction management solution, loadingDOCS, in 2012 and 2014, respectively. One reason Powers' brokerage repeatedly turned to Lone Wolf's solutions is because even though they're feature-dense, they're easily adaptable to her business's unique needs. "Any canned software program thinks that they know how you should run your business, but that isn't always true," Powers says. "We have our systems in place, and we're able to take Lone Wolf's software and make it work with how we like to run our businesses and how we like to function. That has always been very easy to do." For RE/MAX Professionals, that means handling the needs of a multi-office, high volume production company that serves 400 agents. "I've got files being processed at eight locations and so to have everything go into one system, pretty much 99 percent error-free, is huge for me," she says. "We close over 6,000 files a year and it just saves me so much time."
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Listing Integration: The Possibilities Are Endless
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Having a Technologically Integrated Brokerage is Crucial to Recruiting Top Agents
Top performing agents have certain qualities in common. They are extremely organized and efficient with their time. Successful, proactive agents rely on maximizing their time in order to accomplish as many tasks as possible and to stay organized along the way. Like top performing agents, top performing brokerages also have certain commonalities. They use an attractive office environment to recruit and empower top performing agents. Attractive, in this case, means offering agents the tools they need to succeed. Being technologically integrated benefits your brokerage in a number of ways and can take on a number of forms. Here are some examples: Website and Multimedia Support: Having a cohesive online presence across all brokerage and agent sites will make your brand appear organized and trustworthy. Your customer-facing digital presence is an essential component of your lead generation strategy. Your beautifully designed brokerage website loses credibility if it is being referenced by agent sites that are ugly and disorganized. Find a website solution provider who can support your entire brokerage so that your agent websites will follow similar styles and formats, and agents will have access to the same support resources. The same goes for social media support. Keep a bank of branding resources such as high resolution logos, testimonials, videos, etc. that agents can use online. Form contractual agreements with media producers such as photographers, graphic designers and videographers. Offer their services to your agents as needed.  
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Broker Back Office Powered By MLS
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Back Office Solutions 101
This is the latest in a series of articles that explores the spectrum of technology products available to real estate professionals. Each article covers what a specific technology category does, what questions to ask before purchasing, and available. (See our previous article on CMAs here.) What are Back Office Solutions? So much of the business of a real estate broker goes on behind-the-scenes, in your back office. Functions such as accounting, lead routing, reporting, and agent management often fall into this category and are managed with back office software. Each back office solution is different, so it's important to understand what you expect from your technology. To help you learn more about back office solutions and how to use them, we recommend reading the following articles. They're a good place to get started: Broker Efficiency: How to put more money in the BANK at the end of the month What Financial Numbers Should Brokers Be Looking At?
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5 Tips To Help Your Agents Plan, Prepare, and Perform For Success This Spring
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Broker Efficiency: How to put more money in the BANK at the end of the month
Brokerages, large and small, face significant challenges they did not face 20 years ago. Profit margins have eroded and control over their independent contractors has been minimized. The consumer has taken on a much more vocal role in the process and is forcing transparency and responsiveness never before experienced. Some of these challenges are related to technology and the advancement of the internet, while others are cultural challenges that have come about through the changing broker/agent relationship. Many brokers focus the bulk of their efforts on generating sales revenue and gross commission income (GCI), but not nearly as much time focusing on ways to improve efficiencies and profit margins. With increased expenses and aggressive competition, this is more important than ever. "Understanding the data behind your business will help give you an advantage over your competition," says Lorne C. Wallace, CEO of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies. "Using reports to dive deeper into the numbers and really understand what's going on behind the scenes will show you who is not performing to the business' standards, and where you may be missing out on additional efficiencies and profit margins that could bring your business to the next level." Brokers today face numerous issues to make their business profitable. Technology is both part of the problem and the solution. Brokers that run their offices the way they did ten years ago are a dying breed. If there is one absolute in our business world today, it is the fact that change is happening exponentially. To be successful, brokers need to reinvent their business on a continual basis. Having the right infrastructure and view into their business is a key element to allow them to navigate these changes.
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Product Review: brokerWOLF
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Choosing a Back Office Solution
This is the latest in a series of 'Buyer's Guides' that feature questions to ask and options to consider before making a new purchase. See our previous guides to purchasing a CMA, CRM, Document and Transaction Management, Electronic Signature, Ad Network, IDX/VOW, and iPad App. What are Back Office Solutions? So much of the business of a real estate broker goes on behind-the-scenes, in your back office. Functions such as accounting, lead routing, reporting, and agent management often fall into this category and are managed with back office software. Each back office solution is different, so it's important to understand what you expect from your technology. Questions to Ask There are some important questions to ask when buying any real estate technology product and some that are unique to choosing a Back Office solution. First, let's look at general questions you'll want to ask. What are my objectives for this piece of technology and will this product help me achieve those objectives? What is my budget? Does my MLS or Association have any agreements with any vendors that might help me obtain this product at a discount or for free? What kind of customer service and training programs are available? Are there webinars and, if so, are they recorded so you can view them at any time? Is the vendor's online help sufficient?
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Did You Forget About the Data?
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How Accounting Data Aids Managerial Decision Making
Making decisions and finding appropriate methods to facilitate these decisions is the primary role of managers across companies worldwide. The types of decisions differ from business to business and industry to industry, but they all affect the long term success of an organization. The old adage "hindsight is 20/20" refers to actions making sense once it has already happened. While it's easy to look back at a poor move in a game of checkers and make sense of your decisions, there is a lot more data involved in making sense of decisions made in a business setting. In order to achieve this "20/20" insight into the performance of your business, you must have all of the data methodically recorded and segmented in a meaningful way. In order to achieve the production of meaningful data, you need to have a system that is relevant to how you operate on a daily basis. Powerful software allows businesses to generate meaningful reports in a timely manner and allows you to answer the questions that you need in order to make educated decisions. Are we doing well? Are things improving? Are we making money? How much?
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Standardizing the Offer Process
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Getting Into the Thick of It – Prepare For the Busy Season and Close More Deals
When preparing before the busy season, you may ask yourself, what can I do on a daily basis that will help me close more deals? The answer: be organized! With better organization comes more productivity which leads to more closed deals. Disorganization when things get busy will take time away from closing deals. Here are five ways you can become more in control and improve your organization skills. 1. Manage your active business: Use a solution that will assist you with organizing your listings and the buyers and sellers you are currently working with. It is important to maintain contact and build relationships with your past, current and future clients. 2. Reminders and to-dos: What is going on? You can schedule, plan, organize and set reminders on all tasks. With a software program in place, you can schedule your appointments, follow ups and set up notifications on what to do and when you need to do it.
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Technology Tools Used by Great Office Managers
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Going Green: Real Estate’s Paperless Movement
Chris Drayer of RealSatisfied says: Emerging trends in Real Estate that deserve our attention are often not very related. However today, there is a strong correlation between harvesting data and going green. Green is in. Todays consumers desire green products and services. 20% will pay more for recycled products and opt to work with companies that are careful with resources and care about the earth. Green is a growing market segment. "Twenty-five percent of consumers will buy a green product," says Kathy Crosett, "if it makes them feel like they are contributing to saving the environment." REALTORS® can appeal to those with an eco sense by selecting green products to work with. Consumers are voting for environmental sustainability – thus paperless is in.
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