Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Real estate agent tools can streamline your business, eliminate repetitive tasks, and help you connect with clients in new and exciting ways. But there are so many, it’s hard to know which ones you need, which ones you don’t, and which ones will elevate your game. Let’s review the categories of tools and look at some of the specific applications that can help you get the job done.
In this case, we are talking about digital marketing tools, not physical tools like tape measures and clipboards. We are also going to focus on the best real estate agent tools that are designed for the real estate world. Is TikTok a tool you can use for your business? Certainly, but it is not a program developed specifically to sell homes or organize a real estate practice. Consequently we are going to stay in the real estate lane and look at the programs that will directly affect your real estate business operations, time management and client relations.
Listings Tools for Your Real Estate Business
It’s hard to remember how we searched for homes before they were automated. The ability to get more and more exposure for your listings keeps increasing. Plus, clients’ ability to search through all the available listings is also on the rise. The trick is how to make the listing services work for you and your clients.
The big dog in the listing game is the MLS or Multiple Listing Service. There are about 600 of them across the United States and they constitute most of the listings out there – each one for the most part is local. As of now, the MLS databases are only accessible to real estate agents, so you are the primary access point for your clients for most of the information they need to find a house that best fits what they want.
There are, of course, other digital real estate agent tools for house listings out there, and most come with a price tag. You can certainly use some of the other services, but your first stop needs to be your local MLS.
CRM Real Estate Agent Tools
Sometimes the tools you adopt require you to find even more tools to help manage the tools you’ve got. A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) sort of does that. You’ve got all these tools to communicate with your customers. Keeping it all straight can be challenging (or maybe a nightmare), so a CRM system helps you do that. The CRM tracks all points of contact between you and your clients, and it includes details about the interactions that can help you know what to do next.
Example: You’ve sent out a bunch of emails about interest rates to a subset of your client list. Your CRM will prevent you from sending the same email to the same people. Now, what if one of your clients responded to the email or clicked through on a link. The CRM can record that customer interaction for future use, or even trigger the next action in a sequence or journey, designed to provide your clients need-based information.
Maybe you’ve got a group of potential clients who are looking but not ready to buy yet. You can set up an email campaign in your CRM system so they receive emails appropriate to them in their buyer’s journey.
That’s the short version. Some CRM systems are very complex and can do a lot more than just track communications. They have a rabbit hole quality to them where the more you figure out, the more doors of possibility present themselves.
The two big players in CRM are Salesforce and HubSpot. They do a lot, but then they cost a lot. If you are part of a real estate company that has more than a few team members, your organization may already be using one of these programs.. If so, you are in luck – they have a lot of features and a lot of functionality. They are not, however, specific to the real estate industry.
Some of the top CRM real estate agent tools include:
With the right CRM system, you can learn a lot about your customers and how your marketing efforts are working. It’s a great way to organize your work, prioritize your campaigns and automate your communication.
Business Intelligence Tools for Real Estate Agents
Having insight about the real estate market is good, but knowing everything you can about your local market is invaluable. That’s where Business Intelligence technology can help. These tools generate reports about your local market so you can make better decisions about where to focus your attention. Being intelligent is one thing, but sharing legitimate intelligence about your local market is incredibly important when talking to your clients.
For new clients, especially first time homebuyers, they want to know they are in good hands and have an agent who has their pulse on the local real estate market trends. For more affluent buyers, they will expect you to be able to talk local valuations, sales, pending properties and more. Good business intelligence will make you smarter and more confident.
Here are some of the top tools for real estate agent market intelligence:
As your practice grows and you get more experience, business intelligence reports will become a powerful tool in developing your real estate expertise. You will be able to see trends and get a micro level view of what’s going on. For example, if the headlines say that housing prices are declining, your business intelligence may tell a different story at the local level. Likewise, prospective clients may have lots of anecdotal stories about what’s going on in real estate, but the statistics you review through these tools can help you add clarity to discussions with your customers.
Hint: Considering sending a regular email newsletter to your client base, featuring information from your business intelligence tools. It will help to provide a lot of timely and insightful content; offering your clients added value and further displaying your local expertise.
Virtual Tour Tools for Real Estate
The virtual tour was popular before the pandemic housing boom, but it gained a lot of momentum during the time when customers were avidly searching for homes but didn’t (or couldn’t) visit a property. Now, virtual tours are standard. On the plus side, they are even easier to build than they have ever been.
There are a lot of packages out there, but we are going to focus on those that are specific to the real estate world.
- Kuula – This one is at the top of most lists of real estate virtual tour software. It’s easy, inexpensive and designed for real estate.
- My360 – This package is also specifically for real estate and has great customer service.
- Matterport – If you want a more 3D experience in your virtual tours, this application is for you.
- TourBuilder (formerly Panoskin) – This software integrates videos, photos, links, text, and maps, which can the virtual tour Google Street View.
- immoviewer – For 3D, 360 virtual tours that also incorporate video, this application was built specifically for real estate professionals.
Clearly, the sophistication of virtual tours has increased over the years. This caused us to ask ourselves: What if you could stage a house without doing all the heavy lifting and redecorating?
Turns out, you can. There are a bunch of virtual staging software applications out there that are worth looking into.
Scheduling and Showing Tools for Real Estate Agents
Some digital real estate agent tools are to help you interact with clients, while others are designed to help you organize your work better. Scheduling programs to help you set up open houses and showings are built to make your life easier.
These are some you might want to investigate:
- Spacio is an open house tool that creates a digital sign in sheet for customers. It collects contact information and will even send a follow up after the event.
- Calendly helps you schedule open houses and showings, making sure clients don’t double book
- ShowingTime will also help you schedule showings and manage the attendees.
AI Tools – The New Kids On the Block
To this point, we’ve focussed on real estate agent tools that are specific to your industry–home buying and selling. The newest tools out there are AI (artificial intelligence) programs and, in some cases, they can dramatically decrease your workload.
Let’s start with a tool called ChatGPT, which may become an essential tool for all of us. It’s a great tool that arrived a few months ago, and you can use it to do almost all of your writing. Once you get a feel for what it can do, you need to take a step back and take a look at how much of your business involves writing. This AI can generate email campaigns, blogs, video scripts, marketing materials, white papers, an entire real estate website –almost anything you can think of that involves the written word. And it’s good. The quality of the writing is solid and the more you work with it, the better it gets. The best way to see how it could work for you is to try it out.
In terms of graphic design and creating video content, Canva Create is worth a look.
Join Homes for Heroes – Be the Agent Heroes Want
Homes for Heroes can be a tool to help you specialize your business to meet the needs of specific clients in your market; and grow your real estate business by helping your local heroes buy, sell or refinance a home. You can offer them something special, something beyond the transaction, by saving them significant money as a way to thank them for their service.
Complete your registration and schedule a time to learn more about the benefits of being a Homes for Heroes local market specialist, and become the agent or lender your community heroes want to work with for their home and mortgage needs.