A fresh look at real estate tech: 6 agent and brokerage habits

by Cari Zwolinski

A woman uses a touch screen device.


For today’s real estate agent, technology is indispensable in getting the job done quickly and efficiently. According to NAR’s recent 2017 Real Estate in a Digital Age report, agents and brokerage firms rely on a variety of tools and tech habits to conduct business. Below are six findings from the report:


1. Believe it or not, there are still brokerages that don’t have a website. Ninety-three percent of real estate firms have a website, while firms without their own website account for just five percent. The lack of a website is often size related: Per the report, 99 percent of firms with a minimum of five offices have a website.


2. A residential real estate website can contain a vast amount of information, and for 97 percent of brokerage websites, property listings are the main feature. Giving that personal touch by offering a glimpse of agents and staff members is a popular move among 80 percent of firms. Sixty-two percent of brokerage websites have mortgage/financial calculators.


3. Residential real estate firms arm their agents with a variety of software to execute their jobs. Not surprisingly, 88 percent of firms encourage brokers to utilize multiple listings, and nearly just as many, 86 percent, advocate comparative market analysis tools. Electronic contracts/forms and e-signatures, coming in at 85 percent and 82 percent, respectively, are also highly touted; however, documentation preparation/management is less so, with 63 percent of firms promoting use of the tool.


4. Email rules. At 94 percent, Realtors’ most frequently desired mode of tech-based communication with clients is email. Texting is a favorite as well, with 90 percent choosing to let their thumbs do the talking. Thirty-four percent use instant messaging to connect.


5. Technology evolves quickly and real estate firms are focusing on staying abreast of the latest developments. Fifty-one percent of firms with three or more offices deem the effort of keeping up with technology a challenge.


6. Most Realtors – 56 percent – do not typically use drones in their business or office, but that will soon change. Of the 56 percent who do not currently use drones, 18 percent plan to use them in the future. Among the Realtors who presently employ this (literally) high-flying mode of technology in their work, just 3 percent personally use them, while 12 percent indicate that someone in their office uses them. Eleven percent of Realtors look to third parties when they wish to gather information from drones, hiring outside operators.

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