Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer in the millennial generation or a Baby Boomer looking to downsize, chances are technology has become part of your real estate experience, beginning with an online search. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, shows that 79 percent of homebuyers say the first step they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.
But it doesn’t end there. Tech tools are important in most aspects of buying and selling property. So, working with a tech-savvy realtor will probably be pretty important.
Being “tech-savvy” is about having a realtor who is on top of technological trends and who knows how to use the latest tools to her clients’ advantage.
Here are five reasons you should consider hiring a realtor who employs the tech tools for maximum efficiency:
- Access: Modern life is hectic: with kids, work and other community obligations, today’s homebuyers are researching homes whenever they have a chance—on the treadmill, in the grocery line, at a soccer game. That means you need a realtor who is accessible. A tech-savvy realtor uses a variety of communications platforms to respond to their clients quickly. I spend a lot of time communicating virtually with clients via Facebook messenger, Zillow, text, email, and Instagram, whatever works!
- Efficiency: The home buying process can be complicated and a good realtor will serve as your navigator and guide—and that starts online. The tech-savvy realtor will have a comprehensive website that allows you to research neighborhoods, communities, and properties. Many buyers choose to do the basic research on their own, leading to a more efficient use of time with their realtor, who can focus on further customizing your search. Technology also enables realtors to have a wealth of information at their fingertips, such as a database of potential buyers and sellers. With a robust set of contacts and a smart phone, a tech-savvy realtor is able to match requirements to both buyers and sellers quickly, resulting a speedier sale.
- Exposure: Gone are days of sticking a sign in the yard, printing flyers and crossing fingers for people to show up at an open house. Today’s tech-savvy real estate professionals know how to use digital tools to maximize exposure for their sellers’ properties (and provide access to their buyers!) This includes sharing professionally taken photos across multiple online platforms, including websites and social media networks. In addition, a realtor’s website should be professionally designed, easy to navigate, and mobile friendly. Google penalizes websites that are not designed to respond to viewing on an array of devices with a poor ranking. You wouldn’t want to work with a realtor who is marketing your listing on non-responsive website. In addition, the realtor should leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics to boost their website, and in turn, increase exposure for their listings.
- Education: When should you list your house for sale? Does home staging help? Which renovations will boost your home’s value? What is the best way to prepare for your home inspection? How can you make a first-time home purchase less daunting? How can you evaluate a school district before moving into a new community? These are all questions I’ve been asked as a real estate professional, and I’ve answered these and other hot topics in-depth on my blog. A tech-savvy realtor will take a look at search volume on trending real estate topics to understand the concerns of their current and prospective clients, and take the time to help educate them via their website.
- Staying ahead of the curve: I’m fortunate to be affiliated with the best real estate firm in the world, Sotheby’s International Realty, which has long used technological tools to assist its associates, and has just launched the very first real-estate branded augmented reality (AR) application, called Curate. This proprietary application helps potential homeowners visualize a house as a future home by enabling them to virtually furnish and customize homes they are touring. The app brings a new peace of mind into the process with a selection of AR interior designs and objects to virtually stage rooms with furnishings and capture those images. Imagine
Of course, technology is no substitute for a real estate professional, who provides advocacy, expertise, connections, and negotiation skills that an app can’t deliver. There’s a balance to be achieved between taking off after the next shiny object in real estate tech and serving the needs of your clients with a human touch.