Tools for the Modern Real Estate Brokerage

At one time, the sign of a highly connected real estate agent was a mobile phone and a car trunk full of manila folders in file boxes. Now, however, there are an endless array of tech tools designed to help agents manage every aspect of their professional life, from client services to marketing to financial management. If you want to attract top talent and give them the tools to succeed, there are many essential platforms and systems to implement right now.

If you’re an independent brokerage, your choices may be driven by personal preference and budget requirements. If you’re a franchise owner, you may be constrained by the systems and processes put in place by your company’s policies and agreements. Regardless, there are a variety of systems available to help you do everything more efficiently and effectively.

Client Relationship Tools

A robust CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is an essential component of your brokerage’s tech infrastructure. There are so many CRMs on the market—how do you figure out which one is right for your brokerage?

  1. Find out what training and support options are available for your CRM and how the company will help you to onboard and implement their system.
  2. Sell your agents on the specific benefits of the CRM you choose, especially if you are switching from an existing system to a new one. They’ll need to buy in and that will depend on a clearly articulated value proposition.
  3. Look for a robust mobile platform for on-the-go updates and additions. So much of a real estate agent’s professional life is conducted remotely, so top-notch mobile access is a must.

Ultimately, the best CRM is the one that agents will use and update on a consistent basis. Try to match your new CRM with the marketing and client care activities your agents are already engaged in. That way you can show them how the new CRM will streamline and simplify their current business rather than complicate it.

Marketing Tools

Keeping up with marketing platforms and strategies requires tools that are intuitive and convenient. Here are some that agents will return to again and again.

Matterport

Matterport was one of the big winners during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, becoming an essential tool for virtual tours and remote property viewing. With increasing affordability and integration with iPhones, Android devices, and supported 360° cameras, this is a high-impact upgrade that’s easy to implement.

Canva

For flyers, brochures, and upgraded social media posts, Canva is one of the most important tools for your agents to master. With do-it-yourself graphic design and a wide variety of pre-designed templates, as well as a heavy-duty mobile version, Canva is an instant visual upgrade for all of your agents’ marketing collateral.

Grammarly

If agents are insecure about their writing skills, Grammarly provides additional reassurance. Available in free, premium, and business versions, you’ll find a range of different resources to make every property description, email, and client communication better. This is about more than correcting your spelling — it can help analyze tone and check for inclusive language as well.

Upwork

If you rely on well-qualified freelancers to supplement your support staff offerings, Upwork provides a host of tools to help you identify highly regarded professionals for almost any project. From highly skilled tech professionals to creative types for design projects, you’ll enjoy efficiency and a streamlined hiring and approval process across your organization.

Productivity Tools

Communication and collaboration are important for maximizing your agents’ effectiveness in your local market. These productivity tools are more important than ever in the remote and on-the-go modern workplace.

Slack

Slack is probably one of the most popular tools for productivity and organizational communication, providing a variety of ways to promote collaboration on projects large and small. With a huge number of integrations, you can combine the power of Slack with many of the other tools you currently use, including email and social media accounts.

Asana

Asana is designed to help keep everyone organized and on the same page, making group projects and staff support easier and more efficient. Through shared-space, timelines, and Pinterest-style boards, your team can stay up to date and in the know on all of your latest initiatives.

Trello

Trello offers a gamified version of workflow, helping you to break big projects into their component parts, assign them to different team members, and track their progress. This is a great way to manage organizational changes, process improvements, and content creation and distribution.

Transaction Management Tools

Your company or local association may offer a transaction management platform for your agents to use. Most of these will include document preparation and sharing, electronic signature options, and document storage. Some will also integrate with your local MLS for even more efficiency and convenience. These are powerful tools that can help your agents improve their efficiency and accuracy. Make sure your whole team is up to speed and well-trained to maximize the benefits of the platform you’re using.

Financial Management Tools

From tracking expenses for tax purposes to keeping up with in-house accounting, robust financial management tools keep your business running smoothly. You may want to be guided either by your in-house financial management staff or the CPA who manages your finances to find out which platform they prefer and why.

 

Ultimately, communication will help you to improve adoption and implementation of all of your services. Rather than a top-down approach where you’re constantly implementing new required platforms and processes, talk with stakeholders throughout your brokerage to find out their pain points and understand what services and features are most important.

Written by Christy Murdock Edgar

Christy Murdock Edgar is a seasoned real estate writer and frequent columnist for Inman. Her expertise in the realm of real estate has helped agents all over the world improve their content marketing strategies.