There are very few careers that require as much self-determination and motivation than real estate, but there are also very few careers that give you the freedom that real estate agents enjoy. To get ahead in this profession, you don’t need to out compete other agents as much as you need to focus on delivering a great experience to your clients, because property sales involve a lot of hands-on attention and it’s a big industry. At the same time, if you’re going to work cooperatively with the network of professionals in your area while providing the clients who come to you with a great buying or selling experience, you need to be able to rise above the pack and provide competent, organized service that makes them want to recommend you to anyone they know who is looking to make a deal. This is where real estate agent tools for productivity and organization come in.
One of the best ways to become an accomplished agent is to invest in the toolkit that lets you do more while spending less effort, so you can provide prompt replies to questions, follow up on paperwork, and keep in touch with all your clients, including those who are still very early in their property search process. Luckily, there are a lot of productivity tools out there that don’t require a huge up-front investment, including many that are available to you for free. Here’s a rundown of some of the most useful real estate agent tools in today’s marketplace. It’s 2020 now, so if you’re still using older alternatives to these options, it might be time for you to update your toolbox so you can keep providing great service.
Document and Information Sharing Software for Real Estate Agents
Putting the right information in the right hands is a big part of your job, and it’s not just making sure the right paperwork gets put in your client’s hands or helping them understand what the next steps they need to take will be if they want to close. You’ve also got to be able to collaborate with other professionals, including the agent representing the other party in a transaction, members of your own office team, and any outsourced labor or contract work you need. The following apps and tools work well whether you are collaborating with your content writers on a new blog series, laying out design changes to your site, or sending documents that need to be reviewed before a signing.
Dropbox and Google Drive
Both Dropbox and G-Drive work well for storing documents and sharing them, but only one of them comes with a full support suite you can use to collaborate online.
When you use Google Drive, you gain easy online access to these other tools through the same Google account.
- Google Documents
- Google Sheets (Spreadsheets)
- Google Calendar
By contrast, Dropbox does not offer its own line of collaboration and editing tools, but it does offer fast, seamless integration with most major stand-alone word processors and a few online ones, including Office 365 from Microsoft. Of course, you’re probably going to need some space to take care of the organization and brainstorming parts of your collaborations, so you’ll want to check out these tools to round things out.
Creativity and Collaboration
The following tools are a great addition to your toolbox. They can help with image creation, sharing and promoting, and just generally staying organized with your team.
- Canva – provides fast, easy image editing that can help you avoid an expensive photo editing suite when you just need to web optimize interior and exterior property photos
- Placeit.net – provides hassle free templates to promote your personal brand. For example if you want to promote a listing, your website or your app you can easily use formatted stock images to upload property photos, your logo, a phone screenshot and much more!
- Promo.com – is a website dedicated to fresh relevant marketing videos. This is a great tool to create memorable videos with your messaging for any of your marketing initiatives.
- Slack – provides you with a chat space you can limit to just team members, so it’s easier to have informal group communications
- Evernote – and similar note-taking apps provide you with an easy to sync cloud resource for jotting down ideas you’ll need to expand on later
- Docusign or Dotloop – Both popular in the real estate field, they are a secure way to handle all of the signatures needed during the buying and selling process.
Client Outreach, PR, and Social Tools for Real Estate Agents
You’re also going to need resources that help you get the right information in front of your customers, including new listings, updates, and resources for reaching out when they want to view properties.
Communication and what the public see and think of you are the most important parts of this. Here are some ways to make more of your online experience while spending less time managing your marketing and fielding customer inquiries.
- Hootsuite offers a range of tools to manage Twitter and other social media platforms, and it supports early post scheduling as well as automated reposting with easy to manage rule sets, so most of your social media time can be spent in 1-on-1 communications.
- MailChimp provides mailing list services with a generous free to use service for small lists, and it scales easily with priced-to-upgrade features and tools for larger lists as your operation expands to need them, so you can manage emails to groups of clients as well as newsletter distributions to keep people up to date when new listings hit the system.
- Matterport is the tool you know you wanted but you just didn’t know existed. 360 virtual tours, floor plans, create 3D spaces with measurements, post directly to social and more. If you’re in a high-end real estate market, this is a must have tool.
- HomeStack provides you with an app that reflects your personal brand as an agent and is tailored to the areas where you work, allowing you to provide access to listings and property information directly to clients, using the MLS you’re already familiar with, and in a way that always leads back to you when they are ready to learn more. This keeps your clients from being distracted by Realtor.com, Zillow, and the like and keeps them focused on you.
With the right social media and outreach tools, you can provide customers with everything they need to window shop until they are ready to see properties, streamlining the work you need to do to convert casual leads into solid clients who are ready to make a purchase. That reduces a lot of the administrative work that goes with the job, allowing you to put more of your focus back on the individual client. Real estate CRMs are the rising trend in tech tools for agents.
Wrapping It Up
In an industry that is both competitive and collaborative, you need the right tools to make the most out of every relationship. Even prospective clients who don’t wind up buying can wind up as great sources of word of mouth advertising, and many of them will return when they are ready to go through with a purchase if they have a great experience when they are looking more casually. Set yourself up as an expert with resources they can really use and they will remember you.