Working with buyers is about 50-55% of our business as a real estate team. We love it. Truly, helping buyers find what is next for them in their lives is the lifeblood of what I do. It drives me. I take great pleasure from helping buyers, seeing them and their lives unfold in the place that my team and I helped them find!
I say this all the time, but a home can be the most tangible expression of who you are. So discovering the most perfect home for you is truly a calling, for me. So, making this process as frictionless as possible looks like this. At its essence: Spending time with a buyer, quietly, learning about them and what they are looking for, what they live, and then, quietly, magically, in the right mode- the right property appears. I leverage my relationships in the brokerage community, we negotiate in a way that everyone feels (relatively) good about, and we move the process forward.
That is the ideal world. And once the closing happens, I would like to think that is how everyone remembers it. Memory is good in that way. We often just recall the good things (hopefully).
However, in reality, there are many challenges in the buying process, and some which technology can help with.
One of the most challenging aspects of this process is the two-way communication between us and our buyers about listings. I’m quite sure that both agents and buyers will agree, things get bogged down within email, answering questions without lots of noise and clutter getting generated. We aren’t interested in competing with successful people’s livelihoods- cluttering inboxes with answers.
A clear example is group email conversations. Too much wading through mess in email, easy to miss content, easy to lose the trail. WhatsApp has solved for this in many ways to keep communication moving forward, but it’s also crazy in a large group that the conversation will move way, way far away and you’ll lose things that have already travelled way down the river.
Then, the alternative is texting for information, which is clearly a way of avoiding the inbox. But how to keep track effectively of what information is needed? How to keep a team in the loop about everything? Text is efficient, often effective, but the wheels also come off the bus with it, too, often.
Slack and other chats are helpful in team settings, but again- thinking about real estate, all of the photos, listing information, etc.
The issues are varied, and generate not just from the buyer side, but from the broker side as well. We’re on the go, want to do what’s right for our buyers to ensure that they see things in real time, great properties. So we text, email, call about properties, whatever happens- and things get incredibly hard to manage.
The other issue- being on the go, there are many places where we find properties for buyers, and where buyers are looking? How do we keep it all straight, making sure that we’re all on the same page?
Really, wow can we keep everything in one place? Elegantly, allowing for communication to take place, to stay organized, etc. –
Lastly, we have lots of people that we want to be involved in the conversations about home. Generally, one person on each side- buyer or broker- takes the lead in communication. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a “posse” on both sides who want to be in the loop. I mean, welcome to 2020. Think people on my team, from the buyer director, to my chief of operations, or agents on the team who want to know about good new listings. And on the buyer side, spouses, parents, or people whose opinions matter. Perhaps even an architect who will be working on the apartment, whether a job is big or small.
So many platforms get some of the way there, but nothing has done a very good job for very long.
Enter Realty Crunch. I was lucky to be approached by a client who invested in this startup, and the result is a very slick, and very effective interface that has solved, and continues to solve for, the issues we described.
- Brokers can use any platform to add a listing to a “wall.” A broker and his whole team can see the communication for each listing and for the whole wall. Brokers add their comments on the go about a listing- why they like or hate it.
- Photos, floorplan and basics are there, enough to know whether it passes the first test.
- Easy access to link to the property website, which again is any real estate website, for all of the details. The app is platform agnostic. Buyers look where they want and add properties. Agents add properties where they look. No new adoption of a platform you don’t like. If you like Streeteasy, great. Zillow? Fine! Company-specific sites? Also great.
- Clean chatting where questions are organized by property.
- Buyers can add properties and can add their whole crew to the wall.
- Multiple walls by neighborhood. It can be broken into easy pieces.
- You get notifications on email and the app, but you don’t have to add the app right away to see what’s going on.
There’s a lot more to it, but the idea is that it’s an ecosystem where buyers and brokers can effectively communicate. And it looks very pretty, too.
More to come, more functionality. In the meantime, I’m working to get all of my buyers on it. And I think this is something that will make the brokerage community more effective.
Nothing replaces the expertise of a particular broker. But this makes the relationship between buyers and brokers more seamless, which is what I’m always going for. We keep our eye on the horizon, keep sailing towards that happy island, but pray for wind. And as few big waves as possible, too.
More to come- but so far, really the best thing I’ve found.