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High-Speed Real Estate: Faster Response Times, More Transparency

How quick do you respond to an incoming online lead? If it takes you more than two minutes, you may be missing out on business, according to realtor.com® executives at a REALTORS® Conference & Expo session on Sunday called, “Combine Silicon Valley Knowledge With Real Estate Essentials.”

Nearly 40 percent of potential buyers recently surveyed by realtor.com® said that they were not being contacted by an agent after submitting an agent lead form, and that’s a real problem. “Response times are critical to success,” said Suzanne Mueller, senior vice president at realtor.com®. “Personalized responses are more important and directly impact satisfaction and the likelihood consumers will use that agent.”

So what’s holding agents back? In surveys, real estate pros told realtor.com® that too many tech options and disparate software systems—one for lead management, another as a CRM, and a third as a transaction management system, say—could actually be making them less productive.

In the meantime, consumers are demanding more from agents: They want rapid responses, greater transparency, and more market knowledge, panelists said. In realtor.com® consumer surveys, 95 percent of buyers say they already know pricing information about properties when they contact an agent; 80 percent say they already know the neighborhoods they want to target too.

“What they’re looking for is a local market expert,” Mueller said. “They have crossed the threshold of dreaming to engaging. This is a critical point for every REALTOR®.”

Fifty percent of buyers say they’re looking for an agent to share information about recent sales, comps, pricing trends, upcoming building assessments, average days on the market, insider knowledge about neighborhoods, future development plans, commute information, and school districts.

When consumers do move forward in a transaction, they also want to be involved in every step of the process, surveys show. Here’s how those desires break out, according to realtor.com® surveys:

  • 85 percent of consumers want notification of completed tasks
  • Notification of upcoming tasks: 81%
  • See all upcoming tasks in advance: 80%
  • Upload/share/sign documents online: 75%
  • Email summary of recent activity: 75%
  • All transaction members collaborate online: 74%
  • Online system to track all: Activity, tasks, documents, etc.: 73%

Also during Sunday’s session, realtor.com® executives plugged several new tools to help agents be more responsive and better showcase their market knowledge. For example, at the end of September, the company debuted realsuite, touted as a one-step productivity solution for lead and transaction management. The software is currently in beta and is available for free on a trial basis.

Also, realtor.com® recently launched “My Home,” which enables homeowners to manage their house like an investment online. Each home gets its own page devoted to charts on its value and an overview of what’s selling in the neighborhood.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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