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Let’s celebrate some of 2020’s bright spots in the real estate industry: record-low mortgage rates, wealth-building home equity growth, the adoption of digital closings and, among others, the regularity of online home tours and virtual industry conferences.
As someone who writes exclusively about real estate technology, I was privy to a lot of the technology that helped spark those bright spots.
Not all of the cool tech that emerged in 2020 was driven by the necessities of COVID-19 restrictions. A few of them were birthed prior to this year but remained in beta or various stages of soft launch. Let’s have a look at what I think are nine of the last 12 months’ most innovative offerings in proptech.
I compare WyzeGyde to DashCMA in that it looks to make better a single but critical part of the business. It has one focus — and nails it.
After rebranding from its model centered on iBuyer offer analysis, WyzeGyde has drilled down 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. It has ready-to-go fields for entering all relevant data, terms and notes for each offer, but it never loses sight of what matters most to the seller: the bottom line.
It comes with easy customer relationship management (CRM) integration setups, so information requests don’t get spread throughout multiple systems.
Replay Listings is a video search app for New York City apartments and condos. It works like this: the number of available listings in a district of the city are depicted in map points.
Launching into the map search, buyers tap, scroll and slide filters to narrow down location, price and amenities. Only the 1,000 “freshest” listings are immediately visible and can be seen in short, agent-recorded videos, most under 2 minutes.
With its review pending 2021 publication, HighNote is expected to make quite a splash in the online marketing world.
The software offers an online destination for agents to curate and present an array of promotional content and collateral for everything from listing presentations to team resumes. It’s very similar to a product called PointDrive, which was acquired and recently shut down by LinkedIn.
Video tours, brochures and bios can all be nicely labeled, organized and displayed via a custom URL. HighNote was co-founded by Mark Choey, a top producer previously with Climb Real Estate in San Francisco.
Yes, I’m well aware of what non-Keller Williams agents are saying to themselves right now. But this app is important primarily because it’s one of the most pivotal examples of brokerages’ collective shift toward in-house technology development.
It’s a big deal. And what Compass, Coldwell Banker and countless others are doing are big deals, too — regardless of your affiliation. These are fundamental changes in business model, not just cute add-ons to attract agents.
Super cool to interact with and even more so in how it can be used, this data visualization tool left beta mode in the summer of 2020.
Going well beyond economic trend data like where the next Starbucks is going to be built, TopHap’s prescience helps agents and brokerages become better informed by tracking where values are headed and how everything from freeway access to carbon dioxide levels impact what a person will pay for a home.
With a virtually unmatched interface that colorfully processes critical comparative market analysis (CMA) information into visible, actionable insights, the only thing holding this software back right now from its inevitable acquisition is that it’s currently only available in California. I can’t wait until they launch a companion app.
Adwerx Streaming Content Services
In the last few months, the advertising platform has been busy shifting things around (growing its enterprise account business) and building a platform to help agents and brokerages run commercials on ad-supported streaming content services such as Hulu, NBC, Fox, ABC, A&E, Discovery and the Food Network, among others. Major franchises can run national spots, and personalized ads can run according to zip code, if preferred.
Naberly 2.0 is now a serious CRM player with a powerfully spartan user interface that can support all the modern needs of today’s digital agent — a proprietary video email component, super-simple automation structures, in-app property searches powered by 125 MLS partnerships, and a Slack-inspired, conversational lead-routing system that also acts as a hub for agent activity.
Naberly’s new approach to empowering real estate business, managing contacts and marketing is one of the nicer surprises of the COVID era so far.
The video content app geocodes and verifies a user’s location (within 60 feet) when recording a property or subject, and then indicates (via a sleek map search) every spot a Yaza video has been recorded. It makes a good tool for agents who want to video-showcase communities, streets, retail centers and, of course, listings.
At any point, agents can delete a video, and it will vanish from their feed and from any social media network to which it was shared. Public videos can also be made instantly private or only available to followers. Plus, no video can be downloaded.
W+R Studios’ was acquired by Lone Wolf a few weeks ago, but expect its inventive tech to remain a featured tool in real estate offices around the country. Cloud CMA Live took the company’s popular market analysis solution and made it “shareable” via live web broadcast.
The CMA creation process that current customers are familiar with remains intact, but the new iteration includes “View Live,” an embedded launchpad for Zoom or Skype to present it in real-time in a one-on-one video format.
As a color football analyst diagrams a successful end-around, the new telestrator tool can vibrantly mark up the presentation to indicate streets, highlight map points of interest or better illustrate differing home features.
I’m very interested to see what can come of the W+R Studios suite under Lone Wolf. The industry’s collective support of innovation continues to impress me, and it’s that willingness to do what’s next that keeps the vendors we write about at Inman motivated to meet your needs.
For all of my devout tech-heads out there, thank you for another year of readership, feedback, and especially, the occasional suggestion about what else I should be doing with my life.
Unless this year ends as tragically as history will no doubt characterize it, I plan to be right back here in 2021. Happy New Year. Seriously.
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.