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2020, well, that was something.
With all the challenges this year presented, it seemed like it would never end. Yet, amidst the chaos and unpredictable upheaval that was 2020, real estate managed to plow on.
And plow on it did, to the tune of record sales volumes in markets nationwide, powered in part by innovative ways to conduct business online. From fully digital deals to better social marketing, real estate technology providers upped their game big time.
Demonstrating creativity in addressing industry needs, finding new ways to make older tech better and most efficiently simplifying complicated real estate business processes — here are the top 11 products of 2020.
Verse is an automated lead engagement and nurturing service.
The solution is both bot- and human-powered and two-way, meaning that conversations held in Verse will also end up back in that lead’s profile in your CRM.
The software works like TripIt. It scrapes your inbox for notifications and pulls them into its dashboard, parsing and sorting the names and details. It then launches the appropriate follow-up campaign.
Preclose Go is an app for coordinating customer closing experiences.
Throughout Preclose, there’s a colorful, well-designed UX that minimizes the clinical nature of the business process it’s driving. It’s very mobile-influenced, light and approachable.
The company is also establishing relationships with some notable transaction tech, one of which is dotloop.
Preclose’s founder and CEO Rebecca Guthrie and her team are looking to transform how transaction coordination is defined, aiming to elevate a deal step long considered administrative. Yet, coordinators handle vital business intelligence and represent their brokerages to the public at a home sale’s most emotional juncture.
WyzeGuide gives agents a suite of tools for analyzing homebuying and selling scenarios, and helping clients make sound financial decisions.
WyzeGuide (formerly known as OfferBarn) took a major industry concern — iBuyers — and shed gleaming, detoxifying sunlight on their financial ins and outs, letting agents and their clients know how they compare to what the open market has to offer.
Recently updated, WyzeGyde now bores into seller-focused comparative financials, becoming a tool for transparent, dynamic Net Sheets, with some marketing value-adds to boot. Listing agents can work alongside their sellers to help them understand, dollar by dollar, how to best leverage their largest asset, and it never loses sight of what matters most to the seller: the bottom line.
Endpoint is digital title and escrow software for all parties affiliated with the closing process.
The app is the handheld offspring of a joint effort between First American and Boston Consulting Group’s venture capital branch.
It eschews clinical, document-driven experiences common in other emerging e-closing products in favor of a transparent, consumer-facing look and feel. Buyers get the most value out of Endpoint — and rightly so because every time a deal goes well for them, it’s a reflection on their agent.
Endpoint closed on a funding round of $40 million in November.
RelayThat automates the creation and makes easy the publication of all forms of digital real estate collateral.
Like others in its ilk, RelayThat allows non-designers to create everything from Facebook page covers to trifold prints and even posts tailor-made for Reddit. An account includes an immense stock image library, more fonts than you’ll need and some sharp productivity features that make it worth your creative consideration.
RelayThat will soon launch its enterprise-level offering as an appeal to the branding teams at large national brokerages and is in talks with more than 200 boards and big-name CRMs.
Studeo is software that creates multimedia digital storybooks for listings, teams, and brokerages.
Studeo makes listing presentations, homes for sale, agents, teams, brokerages — or whatever you want to market about your business — not just to stand out from the crowd but also rise well above it.
The company’s primary product is called a “storybook,” an online brochure, for lack of a better description. Each page turn reveals another chapter and is able to host video, high-resolution images, cinemagraphs, text and other forms of visual information you need to tell your tale.
Rebranded from SquadVoice, Auctm is a data services platform helping real estate brokerages better leverage CRM data and leads.
Auctm, a five-star rated app, wants the industry to know it’s not a lead generation company unless you consider pulling “left-for-dead” contacts from your CRM a form of lead generation. The company’s AI drags a CRM with a multileveled net of lead-analysis metrics to resurface and resuscitate drowned leads.
The company uses a network of home-office professionals (inside sales agent) onboarded directly by the company and trained on how best to set appointments quickly. Plus, the software matches the best ISA for each lead, providing them scripts and recommended methods of outreach or “omnichannel.”
EyeSpy360 is a 360-degree imaging and virtual tour provider.
EyeSpy360 can host eight tour participants. It’s also not designed to be live, but multiple parties can log in via its Live feature and jointly view, discuss and control a listing.
EyeSpy360 produces crisp dollhouse views with ceiling views and room measurements, as well as dynamic floor plans and exterior shots. What helps this platform stand out among its competition (which is growing by the day) is its on-screen dynamic labeling of home features.
Throughout the tour, interactive hotspots can open up descriptive copy, pictures, links to outside resources and video files.
NestEgg is a rental management platform for owner-operator landlords and small property management companies.
NestEgg can do as little or as much as the landlord needs it to do. But given its super-sharp user experience and engaging, streamlined functionality, there’s little reason not to engage it to its fullest.
New properties can be entered into the software in about 90 seconds, once familiar with the software. Lease details are narrowed down to the most critical: rent amount, due date, duration, start date, and fees or deposits (parking, pets, etc.).
The software can handle all aspects of leasing, including advertising vacancies with photos and ad copy and credit checks and application comparisons. The company will find and pay a local real estate agent to assist where needed. It uses official state (or custom) leases and charges only a month’s rent to handle it all.
(Review pending publication.)
Emerza is a technology company that creates virtual real estate environments for commercial and residential developers, and leasing and sales offices.
Emerza’s data-enriched, real estate and community visualization platform creates living, breathing development solutions. Its realistic, immersive models reveal what life will be like when an entirely new mixed-use community is built down the street or what home models will look like in a proposed 1,000-home subdivision.
In short, if you need to know what a single-family home or a 50,000-acre commercial, industrial center will look and act like, Imerza can do it. This is an incredibly powerful software offering with outstanding long-term potential for the industry.
(Review pending publication.)
AgentFire is a tiered website creation and marketing solution for real estate companies.
AgentFire sits in a unique lane on the web marketing freeway. It’s ultimately a web design company, but it’s created a highly flexible model with easy-to-add site marketing features that sets them apart from what the industry might know.
I think AgentFire’s selection of value-add tech is an ideal way for agents early in their career to establish a credible web presence that can easily scale in sophistication as their business does. AgentFire staff writes online guidebooks on topics such as selling during a divorce and relocating or on whatever else you might want to build a lead-capture effort.
(Review pending publication.)
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe
Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.