Ask Mary Wallace, a top-selling realtor with Coldwell Banker in Oak Lawn, Illinois, how she’d describe her first six months on the job, and she’d say it was brutal.
Not only did she struggle to meet the needs of her clients, but her initial excitement for real estate had “turned to dread.”
She. Was. In. Over. Her. Head.
Like other realtors, she was well aware that clients can often approach the home buying process with high expectations, and then react negatively when those expectations are not met.
This was certainly the case with her first client, a seller who demanded to be let out of her contract when a nearby, lower-priced home generated more interest than hers.
Not exactly an easy start, but Ms. Wallace stuck with it and the following year closed $6.2 million in sales volume.
She – like other realtors – learned to overcome setbacks and achieve great success by working hard, setting clear goals, and using great business tools.
And you can too!
Keep reading to find out which business tools are great for real estate and why they can help you to “close” faster, while simultaneously keeping with federal privacy protection laws.
1. Automated Marketing Content
Producing high-quality marketing content can be costly, especially for a realtor just starting out.
Conversely, established real estate agents may not have the time to produce regular marketing content.
Well, tough cookie!
Sellers and buyers don’t care why you can’t deliver great marketing content.
They care that you don’t.
In truth, sellers and buyers rely on email newsletters and other marketing content from real estate professionals to help them make smarter decisions about the home buying process.
Without great marketing content, your real estate business could lose valuable site visits and leads.
Luckily, Tools for Real Estate offers an affordable solution for content creation.
Here’s how it works:
- Their writers craft original content for your real estate business
- You review it
- Once approved, the content goes out to your mailing list
Another prominent player in marketing automation is Campaigner. This top-rated company even offers “30 days of free email marketing and social media integration,” according to its website.
There are a number of players in the game, so finding a great content provider for your real estate business should be easy. But take your time and find a service provider that can deliver the quality of content your business needs.
2. 3-D Modeling
It used to be that home staging was the secret to selling a home faster and for more money. You could give life to an empty home with rented home furnishings or renovate a lived-in home with fresh paint and new sinks.
Today, real estate professionals are turning to 3-D modeling to boost the appeal of their listings. And it’s proving dependable.
Here’s how it works:
- Position a 3-D camera in a room
- Allow the camera to rotate 360 degree from each spot
- Scan the images to create a 3-D model
The great thing about 3-D modeling is that it allows a prospective buyer to experience the full potential of a home without needing to schedule a preliminary visit.
Potential buyers visit fewer homes and you eliminate unqualified and disinterested buyers more quickly—saving yourself time and convenience!
The upside to 3-D modeling is simple:
- Dramatically improves home tours
- Separates out “lookie loos” from potential buyers
- Attracts foreign buyers who aren’t able to attend a showing
As for the downside?
Well, cost may be a factor for some.
As of 2018, the cost for owning 3-D modeling software and camera equipment starts at around $4,500. Low-quality equipment is available, but we’d warn against going that route.
Instead, simply outsource your 3-D modeling for a fraction of the cost you’d pay to own it.
Companies like Home ScanD produce 3-D models for $200 per listing.
3. Scheduling Software
Now that you have a potential buyer – or better yet, an offer – you’ll need to start scheduling meetings with prequalified applicants.
If you have not already incorporated great scheduling software into your real estate business, then you’ll want to do so now.
Top benefits include:
- Schedule showings online 24/7
- Block out restricted times
- View, edit and share multiple schedules
- Send appointment notifications to clients
- Generate work orders
High-end scheduling software may even allow you to accept deposits, create reports, and manage client reviews.
In effect, scheduling software lets you manage and attract potential buyers, while ensuring that all your appointments are set in a timely manner.
It can be especially helpful for realtors handling multiple properties or managing a large team.
4. Mortgage Calculators
Mortgage calculators are a great business tool for any realtor.
Not only are many calculator free to use online, but they also allow potential buyers and sellers to calculate closing costs. Rich Levin, a national real estate speaker and sales coach, advises:
“Get sellers’ mortgage balances. Find out what else they plan to pay off with the proceeds. Then complete a detailed net sheet. Use a conservative sale price. Inflate the numbers a bit, so you can assure them it will likely be more in their pocket.”
Karl's Calculator is a favorite among top real estate professionals seeking to help their clients determine:
- Down payments
- Origination fees
- Title company fees
- Appraisal costs
5. Online Faxing
The numbers are crunched and a final decision has been made.
Well, paperwork, of course – and, along with it, privacy concerns!
While it may be suitable to use email to keep in contact with potential buyers, or as a way to send out appointment notifications, it’s simply not safe for sending private data.
Online faxing offers a solution.
Using encryption technology, you can safely and securely send:
- Forms for transferring property titles, securing loans or transacting property
- Forms for amending or assigning a lease
- Forms for collecting financial or credit information
Investing in a great fax app allows you to build client trust, while simultaneously ensuring quick turnaround times for confidential forms.
Plus, most information-sharing laws across the country restrict real estate businesses from sharing private contact information through unsecure email.
Unless you’re willing to wait the several days it takes for regular mail to go from your office to a client’s home, then a great internet fax service, like eFax, will serve your business well.
A Final Word of Advice…
You’ll need to decide which business tools work best for your real estate business. But as you make that decision, feel free to take advantage of promotional offers that will let you test out a service before committing to it financially.