As real estate technology advances, knowing where to invest your tech dollars can seem like an elusive quest. We’ve researched emerging trends and just how important they will be to real estate professionals approaching the new year.

Manage and nurture your contacts: Get a CRM that optimizes both.

If your goal is to maximize your ability to manage, nurture, and track your relationships, it’s important to invest in a CRM that facilitates engaging with your contacts in addition to simply managing them. A robust CRM will house the features you need that are specific to real estate and your personal business. This includes alerts as new leads come into your pipeline, whether through your website or other lead sources, your CRM system should automatically integrate contacts from third-party sources.

An integrated CRM must also come equipped with marketing solutions. Important features to look for include:

  • IDX website and integration
  • Newsletter automation
  • Customized email templates
  • Email blasts and drip email campaigns
  • MLS listing alerts
  • Professionally designed and customizable templates for flyers, postcards, and multi-step campaigns.

If there’s one piece of technology all real estate professionals should have and maximize, it’s a robust CRM. In an industry built exclusively on relationships, having a system that doesn’t just allow you to manage relationships, but helps you nurture and engage them is key.

Lose the hard files and get on the cloud.

If you’re still using a Rolodex, chances are your entire record-keeping ecosystem is a bit out-dated. Aside from running the risk of being disorganized and not being able to manage your business on the go, you risk losing documents with someone’s sensitive and confidential information – which could result in a lawsuit.

Cloud services can be a number of things, but typically consist of services, data, and software, available on demand, so long as the person trying to access has an internet connection. Cloud services are quickly becoming the new standard for digital products. Common cloud services include hosting services, storage, and software. For instance, Market Leader products, including websites, CRM system, and marketing center are all software services available anywhere, including mobile devices, via the internet – i.e., on the cloud.

Get Virtual.

To cater to all generational buyers, sellers, and renters, it’s increasingly important to keep up with technology capable of disrupting the real estate space. Conventional listings, tours, and open houses are trending digital to cater to millennials and Gen Z buyers. Younger, tech-savvy generations are conducting up to 90 percent of their research online before you’ve even made contact with them. Having impressive visuals, like virtual tours, on your website is becoming an expectation, rather than attractive luxury.

Sellers listing their homes have rising expectations as well. They want their properties marketed alongside the best of the best. Virtual tours have become on way to engage prospects viewing your listings and website. Thankfully, as technology advances and becomes more accessible, prices come to be more affordable (averaging about $300.00 for a 3,000 square foot home).

Virtual staging is another increasingly popular technology to lure potential buyers by turning empty spaces into furnished, perfectly staged rooms that better helps buyers visualize themselves in a space. Change wall colors, flooring, even upgrade finishes to help shoppers visualize a home’s potential. Virtual staging tends to cost much less than traditional staging, too, averaging between two and four hundred dollars. Be sure to disclose any properties that have been staged virtually, however, to avoid any unmet expectations in person.

Take advantage of analytics.
While analytics are less of a financial investment, they’re vital to tracking and managing your successes. Google analytics are free and offer valuable insights on every page of your website, the ability to drill down your pages and content to identify what performs best, and track your digital advertisements.

If you have business pages on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, each platform offers in-house analytics and insights to track your pages’ activities and performance. LinkedIn offers post analytics for individual pages, and in-depth insights for followers, visitors, and updates. Many analytics resources are available and free to use, so be sure to explore the tools you’re already using and the insights they offer. Remember: if it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved or repeated.

One big trend cultivating as we approach 2018 is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics can easily sound out of reach, but it’s likely you’re already using tools that feature this technology. In short, predictive analytics help you project future pricing on properties and neighborhoods by using historical data to forecast trends. This information most often comes in the form of CMAs. As this technology advances with the advent of Big Data and digital transformations, predictive analytics will be showing up in bigger ways as we approach the new year.

2018 is right around the corner and there are technologies worth investing in to give you a competitive edge. From managing your contacts and streamlining your marketing efforts to impressive listing visuals and tracking important metrics online, technology offers tools that will help you manage, grow, measure, and improve your business – all with a very transparent ROI.