John N. Frank is former managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine.
Do You Have the Tech You Need?
The pandemic made clear which tech products are essential.
July - August
The COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp relief the indispensable role of technology in real estate. Minimizing in-person contact while giving prospects and clients virtual access to both properties and real estate pros kept the industry on track during a tumultuous time. In addition, agents and brokers used tech marketing tools to help them better target and personalize communication with their spheres.
Here are must-have tools for your arsenal if they aren’t there already.
Reaching for Innovation
Milestones, a tech firm with a next-generation customer experience platform, increases transparency throughout a real estate transaction. Then there’s Super, which offers repair and other home care services under a subscription model, and Feather, which provides furniture rentals without long-term contracts. They are among the eight startups in the 2021 REACH Class recently selected by Second Century Ventures, NAR’s strategic investment arm. REACH provides exposure to tech companies with high-growth potential for serving the real estate industry, and the program helps real estate pros learn about new tech offerings. Learn more at nar-reach.com.
Everyone’s familiar with Zoom, but consider alternatives like Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and FaceTime for Apple devices or Duo for Android devices. Zoom offers basic accounts for free that allow meetings for up to 40 minutes, while pro options cost up to $300 a year. An often overlooked component of video communications is proper lighting. A ring light, typically priced around $50, is a must-have.
360-degree camera or service to shoot virtual tour photos
Packages start at $69 per month for agents and $199 per month for brokers.
Buyers have come to expect 360-degree online tours. Tap into platforms like immoviewer, which can help you create interactive 3D home tours and integrated floor plans. If you take the photos yourself, immoviewer, a former participant in the National Association of REALTORS®’ REACH tech accelerator program, recommends a 360-degree camera like the Ricoh Theta Z1, priced at $288 to $1,000 depending on the model.
Virtual staging tools and photo touchup services
Prices vary depending on the service.
While professional photographs of a property are often preferred, sometimes you may need to take your own. BoxBrownie, another former REACH company, can brighten dark photos and virtually stage a room online. The company will virtually furnish a room for as little as $24 per image.