Just like a plumber would never work without a wrench, a real estate agent needs the right technology tools to get the job done. Most agents rely on their brokerages to supply these tools, but no two brokerages are alike. A multi-state corporation has different needs from a local team. Luckily, the process to evaluate technology tools is the same regardless of brokerage size.
Start with the budget
All real estate brokerages have a technology budget. Firms may earmark the funds under different operating expense labels, such as “marketing” or “software,” but the budget exists. How much the brokerage is willing to spend drives the selection process.
What technology addresses needs?
Technology exists to make life easier. Pinpoint the technology that will make the real estate team’s workflow more efficient and add value to the services. For a small team that lacks the support of an in-house marketing team or an IT department, defining the most critical team technology needs is vital to staying on-budget and providing value to the brokerage.
Look at scalability
New or small-team brokerages view scalability through growth. Will the technology product adapt to changing team needs? Having to switch providers because the first platform can’t easily handle the growth costs extra time and money small-scale teams don’t have. Larger brokerages can view scalability as a “load” problem. Can the platform handle the team’s load? What about during busy peak periods–does the service slow down or can it quickly add computing capacity to keep up?
Simple user interface
All technology tools deployed across a team need a simple, intuitive user experience. Anyone on the team should be able to log in and start using the platform in less than an hour. When evaluating a technology tool, ask, “Will we need special training for everyone to understand it?”
Must be mobile
Since most real estate work doesn’t happen in a cubicle, mobility is key. Evaluate the technology tool for its compatibility with devices. For brokerages, it’s helpful if the platform has a mobile app for Android and iOS operating systems. The software should sync in real-time across platforms.
A large brokerage may carry in-house software. Will the outside platform integrate into the in-house tools? Or, will IT need to write the software or code to make the two platforms sync? Smaller brokerages will want to know what integrations exist right now, both to see if it works with a currently used service provider and to plan for potential additional services as budgets and needs change.
In the end, it all comes down to three factors: needs, budget, and simplicity. The technology tools should address brokerage needs, be simple to integrate into daily workflows and fit into the technology budget.