If you’ve been a real estate buyer, seller, agent or manager for some time, the prospect of automation might sound too good to be true.
‘All of those arduous tasks, the ones that used to take hours of energy to execute – the forms, searches, communications, screenings, account reconciliations and transactional formalities – can you execute them near-instantly?’
Yes, that’s the deal. Automation is still on the bleeding edge of the real estate industry, but several consumers and professionals are beginning to embrace it. Various tools and platforms have emerged in the past few years that significantly streamline facets of the real estate process.
Below, let’s break down the role of automation by end-user, exploring how automating tools can benefit consumers, agents and property managers.
There are several automation tools available to consumers: free property estimators, simple mortgage calculators, listing searches, etc. But perhaps the most disruptive consumer-facing automation tool is Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace pioneered by Regan McGee.
On a platform like Nobul, consumers can automate their search for a real estate agent by entering specifications on verified ratings, sales histories, commission rates, etc. The platform’s AI-driven algorithm automatically generates relevant nearby real estate agents. Agents compete for the consumer’s business. And then, the entire relationship is serviced end-to-end by automation tools.
It’s a rare example of how automation can be a disruptive technology that shifts power to consumers. “The job of being a real estate agent is customer acquisition, not being good or bad at trading property,” McGee told Medium. “If you see somebody with a lot of “for sale” signs covering the neighborhood, they might be terrible at their job. If you are not using Nobul, you are never going to know.”
Agents can certainly avail themselves of a marketplace like Nobul. While it certainly isn’t a lead generation platform (Nobul works for the consumer rather than agents), the platform can be an excellent way for quality agents to gain automatic exposure to potential clients.
Still, real estate agents typically like to have some form of lead acquisition and nurturing software in their back pocket. Essentially, lead generation/management software automates what are usually manual tasks: finding, qualifying, communicating with, and keeping track of new leads. A lead management platform might suggest prospects, offer touchpoint flow automation (i.e. when to follow up and how often), and feature a sophisticated CRM for keeping everything in order.
Of the three end users surveyed in this article, property managers (arguably) had it the hardest, pre-automation. Property managers had to juggle several disparate tasks and concerns in their day-to-day life: collecting rent, fielding maintenance requests, delivering notices, screening tenants, monitoring turnover, and executing various accounting tasks. Each of these tasks was onerous – and each was completed manually.
Thankfully, the modern property manager can access a suite of automation tools. Paid platforms like Buildium offer a pretty comprehensive end-to-end consolidation of tools, whereas free platforms like TurboTenant offer slightly fewer features (and make their money from tenant applications). Investopedia gives an admirable overview of the options for property management automation software.