How to automate real estate?
2018 as a year has been that of twists and turns for the real estate market. Despite that, the global real estate software market is expected to post a CAGR over 8% during the period 2018-2022, according to the latest market research report by Technavio. When we talk about the real estate industry, not much has changed in the past 50 years. Acc. to NAR, last year, 51% of buyers found the home they purchased on the Internet. But still, almost 88 out of 100 buyers use a real estate agent to handle the purchasing process.
Real estate is a market that is ripe for technological disruption. Whatever can be automated should be automated! When we have started discussing how to automate real estate processes, the first thing that businesses and realtors should try and figure out is what are the processes that can be automated? Automation will significantly reduce time on processes and release resources to the required areas and keep you ahead of the market and your competitors. Below listed are five areas in real estate where automation work wonders.
 Business Processes & Automated Workflows
A typical day in the life of a real estate agent is mostly spent completing, submitting and filing real estate documents, coordinating appointments, showings, open houses and meetings, creating budgets for monthly, quarterly and annual operations, maintaining and managing client databases and EMAILS. These repetitive, rule-based processes make for good automation candidates. These daily daunting tasks and overwhelming manual processes not only take up a huge time but also requires labor and resources that could be utilized elsewhere to seamlessly manage other core components of the real estate business and close deals on time. Process automation software can help here by managing the time and resources efficiently, auto-scheduling showings and open houses based on availability, sent follow up emails to clients, sent timely reminders and notifications and aggregate data to create reports for the C-level executives to act upon.
 Automating marketing
Real estate is a competitive market and one small mistake can turn your world upside down! This market has massive numbers of leads at any time that are often not maximized on. It’s a huge problem for agents to constantly follow up with every potential client and that also in time. A marketing automation software can start with collecting these leads and saving their information in a database. The more people in the sales funnel, the more potential for conversion and sales. Once the leads are collected, leads are channeled and segmented into appropriate lists, personalize them and send timely emails and reminders to the clients. The software can deliver newsletters, emails and text messages to keep interested clients in a constant loop, providing more opportunities to increase engagement and drive new business. Marketing is time-consuming but in the real estate industry, where customers are everything, appropriate tools make marketing easier and straightforward.
 Property management
Juggling properties, their progress, maintenance, defects, coordination with other project players and continuously communicating with clients is a daunting assignment that ends up inducing a high-stress level for the agents. Automating property management is no longer “a nice to have” feature but a necessity. A collaborative software (one such we built for our client) targeting both new homes and home renovation for all those involved in the process and making it interactive, easy and efficient to manage projects by bringing together all the related staff, process, communication and documentation in one central place can optimize the whole process without wasting valuable time and money. Many are broadcasting that artificial intelligence is the future of property management. Indeed! AI-based chatbots can help residents pay rent, extend lease and report issues with the property 24/7 so that it can be communicated to the required people and solved quickly and efficiently. AI and IoT together can keep a track of the device data and inform the property managers if devices are showing anomalies and predict if they in the future will.
 Accounting & Financial automating
Fiddling transactions, financial statements, accounts payable and receivable is far from easy. This is not Stone age and you shouldn’t be stuck with manual paperwork when it comes to payments and transactions. Hovering through piles of papers or running to post-offices because of some invoice getting lost is a thing of the past. Automating the whole process means a centralized system for end-to-end reviewing, managing and streamlining the payment process. With financial management automation, purchase orders once generated in the system can be tracked and sent for approval w.r.t company rules and then once approved, paid to the vendors. Invoices and pending payments, accounts payable and receivable can automatically be tagged to respective people and timely notifications can be sent and real-time visibility into transactions can be available.
 Automating field inspection
Quality home inspections can reveal critical information about the condition of the home and its systems. A preposterous quality check can result in the client to back out of the offer. Scheduling inspections, manually collecting data, taking pictures and further analyzing them to prepare reports and certificates is still pretty evident across real estate companies. Automating these inspections (A field App that we built for a company) help both the property manager and the field inspectors. Properties can be scheduled for inspection ahead of time and bookings can come directly from clients. Once every inspection request is being tracked, the system can match appropriate field inspectors and thus bring effortless management and intelligence in the process. The reports can also be completed on-site faster with pre-available templates, checklists, and easy image upload features. Edit the reports and generate professional reports in a click. Capture electronic signatures and share the reports online with the required people. Go paperless! Automating indoor and outdoor field inspection will reduce manual errors and eventually cut down the whole report delivery time dramatically without compromising the quality and preferably enhancing the quality and reliability in the process.
-:: Points to remember::-
Recently, it was reported that total investment in real estate tech has ballooned from $33 million in 2010 to more than $5 billion last year. Your clients can browse properties on their mobile and indicate interest in a few clicks. Make sure you are on the same page and can respond immediately, without having to dig through your emails to find information. Real estate automation should make your life easy but it should make your client’s life easier. A real estate automation software should keep you organized and eliminate manual processes and make everything digital so that everything can be interactive and transparent. A good real estate automation software should centralize all the information in one place and make it interactive and easy to share relevant information with all the major players and result in enhanced and improved customer communication, time to market and new growth avenues. It is probably another few years for a software to scan properties and spit out value, the rate of return and other investment narratives; but, the road to utilizing automation technology in the real estate industry might be shorter than some think.
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