There’s a lot more to marketing a real estate listing than just uploading some photos onto the web and hoping for the best. The Multiple Listing Service of Long Island recently held its annual Tech Fair, where agents got pointers on how to use technology to gain a competitive edge and were introduced to the most cutting-edge tech tools in real estate – and there are a lot of them, says Beth O’Connor, director of technology training for the MLSLI. “It’s almost never-ending, the amount of new things coming out,” she says.
So how do you find a tech-savvy agent? Here are five things to look for:
1. Global marketing
If your listing is only visible locally, or even nationally, you could be missing out -- potential buyers don’t just live in the United States, says O’Connor. Your agent can up your exposure by using Immobel, a service that connects their site to international markets and offers the content in multiple languages. “If I were selling my house, I’d want to make sure my agent had familiarity with marketing internationally,” O’Connor says.
2. A consumer web portal
MLSLI has made a tool called Listingbook available to all agents. “A seller can log in online with a password, communicate with the broker there and see how many people have viewed the listing online, which is really powerful. It’s valuable to be able to see that they’re looking at your photos,” says O’Connor. “The agents are jumping in and finding it to be a great tool, especially with the younger buyers because they don’t want your phone calls. They want it to be text, e-mail, online,” she says.
3. Listing syndication
Certain sites receive an automatic feed from MLSLI, such as zillow.com, trulia.com, realtor.com and cyberhomes.com. But for a more customized approach, agents can also elect to use a program called ListHub, which permits them to extend the feed to additional sites. “Ask, ‘What sites will my listing be shown on?’ You should be able to get a list from the agent,” says O’Connor, who estimates another 20 or 30 sites can receive the listing at your request.
4. Electronic access to forms and documents
“One great thing that’s available now is the ability to send a consumer forms online that need to be filled out,” says O’Connor. A program called Instanet allows an agent to e-mail MLS and New York State paperwork, such as forms about lead paint, property condition disclosure and agency disclosure forms, she says. Not all forms can be signed by e-signature yet in New York State, but some can, O’Connor says.
5. Mobile technologies
MLSLI has a web address especially formatted to fit all the web content into the screen size of a typical handheld device. Consumers can use mlsli.mobi to access mlsli.com from a mobile device. Agents should be familiar with the latest smartphone apps. For instance, the same forms you receive through e-mail using Instanet can now be sent to your smartphone using a mobile application called DocBox2Go, O’Connor says.