With millennials now making up the largest segment of homebuyers, technology — especially for real estate agents — is more important than ever.
Millennials are tech pros, and they expect tech to be a part of virtually every transaction they embark on. And buying a home? That’s the granddaddy of all transactions.
As a Realtor®, using tech with these buyers can make you more approachable, more relatable, and a more convenient choice on the whole (and that could even equate to more referrals in the long run!)
If you’re fond of a more old-school approach, don’t fret. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to integrate tech into your day-to-day processes. In fact, there are dozens of handy apps and tools that can simply enhance what you’re already doing — just in a way that millennials and tech-savvy buyers will appreciate.
Here’s some tech to consider as we head into the busy summer homebuying season:
Tech for Enhancing Your Listings
Video tours and walkthroughs are huge hits with today’s buyers, and luckily, tech makes it super easy to create both. Animoto and Vidzor allow you to make videos using just photos of the home; Zillow’s mobile app can help you do it on the fly, while actively touring the home yourself. You can also use Matterport to create a 3D version of your properties, or TruPlace or Floor Planner to show the full scope of a home’s floor plan in an interactive and exciting way.
New tech can also help you create better listing photos, with apps like 360 Panorama or Diptic, or virtually stage rooms in your listings using tools like Sotheby’s Curate app or Virtual Staging Solutions. (The latter is particularly useful on new homes or homes the seller has already moved out of.)
Tech for Marketing Your Listings
It’s not new, but Instagram has become a great place for agents to market their listings — especially since you can pay to promote your photos, add links, and even target users by their geographic area and demographic data.
In a similar vein, Snapchat can also provide you a prime marketing opportunity — especially with younger buyers. Take your videos live and engage potential buyers in real-time, or post videos and snaps as you tour properties or post “for sale” signs. You can also advertise on the platform or create your own custom filters for just a few dollars.
Facebook’s Marketplace has also become a growing hub for home listings and can be a great way to connect with buyers in your specific location or neighborhood. Facebook Live is a good option once you’ve built up a following and want to improve brand loyalty and increase referrals.
Tech for Communicating with Buyers
Today’s buyers are big on texting, and thanks to a new set of agent-friendly emojis, communicating via text has never been easier. The emojis are available for iOS and Android phone and come with icons like keys, an open house, a sold sign, and more.
LiveChat lets you add an instant messaging function to your website, which is great for buyers in the research phase. Answer their questions, get them set up for showings and set the stage for a new customer right from your phone, in real-time. For buyers you’re already working with? Try Slack to instant message them on the go.
Tools like DocuSign and HelloSign can also help with communicating with buyers — particularly ones who can’t meet in person often. These apps allow you to send private, confidential documents digitally, which the buyer can then sign using their phone or computer. It’s a simple way to speed up paperwork and add convenience.
Tech for Scheduling Showings
No more playing phone tag with other agents and your sellers. CSS (Centralized Showing Service) and ShowingSuite make scheduling showings easier on you, the seller, and the buyer. The seller sets specific days and times the home is available, and buyers (via their agents) can request showings on demand. The tool will then text the seller, allowing them to either confirm or deny the appointment.
Taking on Tech
You don’t have to take these all on at once. Start with enhancing your communication methods (this is a prime concern for millennial buyers), and then gradually start to incorporate the rest. Remember, these tools exist to ease both your and your buyers’ burden, so don’t think of them as yet another task to tackle. Use them to enhance the services you already offer, and stay abreast of evolving technology to keep improving your customer experience down the line.
Once all is said and done, you can even refer your buyers to a tech-friendly lender like Embrace Home Loans. With a simple, convenient online application, we can get your customers qualified in minutes. Get in touch with a loan officer to learn more about our process today.