Side Note: 3 Simple Things Top Agents Want From Tech
Technology has an ever-growing presence in the real estate industry. Manual processes are becoming digital, one by one, and tech tools are popping up left and right, promising to solve for every productivity roadblock. New apps, tools, and platforms seem to appear every day, and their creators constantly promote their wares to top agents like you.
The thing is, all tech tools are not created equal, but it can be hard to determine what’s marketing buzz and what’s the real deal. Worse yet, vetting which tools make the most sense to leverage for your business is a costly, time-consuming process.
To alleviate the mystery around technology in real estate, we turned to the Side partner agent community to get insight on how to decide which tech tools are worth your time and attention.
The Results Are In: Here's What Top Agents Want From Tech
After talking with literally hundreds of top producers, agent teams, and support staff members (operations managers, marketing leads, admins), we found that technology needs to meet three (3) key criteria to be worthy of a top agent’s time and money investment.
Nicole Solari, Founder of Level Up Realty
1. Tech that’s fully vetted, managed, and ‘plug and play’ easy
Top producing agents want to work with a provider who manages technology on their behalf. In most cases, this should be their brokerage; but traditional brokerages continue to fail at meeting this critical need.
Nicole Solari, CEO & Founder of LevelUp Realty, explains, “Side has a team that vets technology for me. I know that they're thinking about what I do every day because they understand my business. When I was with the big brand, I felt that the vendors and the partners that they chose were not necessarily in my best interest. [Tools] were designed to fit every single agent, not top producers.” Working with a brokerage that truly understands every element of your day-to-day workflow is critical.
Fully managed also means having an engineering team dedicated to developing tools where there are holes in the market, tools designed to reduce or eliminate manual tasks. Side partner agent Deniz Kahramaner, Founder of Atlasa, explains, “Side did a special thing that no other brokerage I know of has done. They built tools, internally, [that are] better than any tool out there. But in areas where there's already a tool out there that's spectacular, they find and use it. MoxiPresent’s [CMA platform] is a really good example of this.”
Side recently partnered with MoxiPresent, an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use, customizable CMA tool that saves significant time on the data gathering and listing presentation building process. Mark Pages-Oliver, CEO of Range Real Estate, gives an example of how MoxiPresent helps his team simplify day-to-day workflows. “Prior to Side, we were using several different systems to try and coordinate all this [CMA] data. It was in a fairly haggard state. Now it looks way better. [Our MoxiPresent content| is branded to us, it's specific to our client, and we can dial it up or down depending on who we're working with.”
This is exactly the type of tool top producers need to increase efficiency and productivity.
Additionally, ideal tech tools need to be easy to use and easy to learn. If one of our partner agents picks up a new tech tool and it takes them more than a few minutes to master the basics, it gives them pause. No real estate team facilitating north of $50M a year in transactions has time to go through extensive training or to sit and watch endless software tutorials. Training needs to be brief, user interfaces need to be predictable, and the tools themselves need to be intuitive.
Time-saving tools give Mark Pages-Oliver and Caldwell with Range Real Estate more time to advise clients and engage with their community.
2. Tech that caters to everyday needs yet is customizable
Since no two businesses are structured the same way and no two real estate offices operate the same way, top producers must have access to customizable technology solutions. With many brokerages, this is a challenge, because the tools are what they are, and options to customize are limited and sometimes even nonexistent.
Additionally, as Nicole Solari explained above, tech tools are typically developed to support the most common denominator, the average agent who completes a handful of transactions each year. They aren’t designed to support top agents who have different business needs.
Real estate teams also struggle with tech tools, because many of them overlook team structures and their unique needs, even though teams are becoming increasingly popular. Side partner agent Anthony Navarro, Founder of Harper Real Estate, explains, “My previous brokerage wasn’t set up [to support] a team structure from start to finish. Side is so exciting because everything is set up for a team structure.”
With these things in mind, the need to customize happens on two levels. First, agents want to have the ability to build a custom tech stack. In order to accomplish this, agents need to work with a brokerage that gives them the freedom to pick and choose what tools they use. Second, top agents and agent teams want to be able to customize each individual tool; meaning they want to set parameters around its function and make it optimal in its ability to support how they do business.
Mark Pages-Oliver describes how Side helps him identify and access top tools, “Side has been great with providing us with technology best practices we never had before. A lot of our time was spent analyzing the marketplace and trying to [figure] out what would work best for us. So having a resource that says, ‘here’s a suite of tech that we know works well [is great]. It’s like a menu, and we just adopted everything. Our attitude is we're not tech experts, we're the real estate experts, and that was one of the reasons we came over and partnered with Side in the first place.”
As for customizations within the tools themselves, the makers of MoxiPresent carefully considered the needs of different agents and clients as they developed their product.“It really is the perfect fit for anyone because it is so customizable. I can give a beautiful 47-page, hour-long luxury presentation, or I can go [to a presentation] with an already savvy investor and give a basic presentation, marketing myself, and showing the way that I market properties.”, says Nicole Solari.
Deniz Kahramaner, Founder of Atlasa with Side’s Director of Agent Success, Jai Kohli
3. Tech that saves time (and doesn’t add to-dos to the list)
One of the biggest pain points across real estate processes is the fact that so many things are manual, even today. Also, despite being a very mobile career that requires lots of time out and about, many tasks require agents to sit down at a computer.
That said, one of the most important elements of catering to a busy agent's everyday needs is to make it easy to be productive on the go. Side partner agent Mark Pages-Oliver says, “Everything we've got is designed to make everything a little easier, a little bit more mobile.”
Deniz Kahramaner elaborates, “The core [Side] app is spectacular. It saves me so much time when making offers. And when you have a listing, it allows you to see analytics on the listing. It also allows me to capture my entire team's activity in one place. There's no other tool out there that comes even remotely close to that, which I think is the brilliant aspect of Side. When you look at other brokerages and the software they build, you will see that they've copied apps out there, and they've created an inferior version of all of those apps. Side intelligently picked what to focus on, based on what was not available, and that's why pretty much all of Side's main apps' features are a core part of our workflow.”
Tech tools that effectively eliminate, automate, or make it possible to do what used to be painfully tedious tasks on the go are in high demand. These tools are invaluable to busy top producing agents and teams, looking to save time in any way possible.
Side’s proprietary tech stack saves agents 62 days of time per year. That means Side agents have 62 more days each year to advise clients, build business, and even sneak away for that vacation they’ve been putting off.
MoxiPresent also helps our agents save time. Side partner agent, Nicole Solari, drives this point home. “MoxiPresent really streamlined and automated my CMA process. When I prepare for a listing appointment, I like to bring a lot of data. I used to have to go four or five different sources to get that data, and now, all I'm doing is going into Moxi, getting the data, and double-checking it in certain places. It used to take me an hour-plus to prepare for a listing appointment; now it takes me 20 minutes.”
So there you have it. Market dominators are looking for fully vetted, managed, customizable, plug-and-play, time-saving technology tools that support top agents and teams with significant volume, help reduce busywork, and streamline day-to-day workflows.