James' Blog about Property

Discussion, advice and philosophical points about all things property whether UK or International markets

My thoughts on technology and real estate…part one

Posted by jamesdearsley on March 27, 2009

We are fortunate to be working in one of the most fascinating industries in the world, in my humble opinion of course, but it is also a complex and challenging one as well.

One of the challenges in recent years for Residential Real Estate, both Overseas or Domestic UK, has been to communicate our message through to the client. Real Estate agents have always had a bad name for communication and so this is where hopefully technology can come in and help.

I remember the days when I was a negotiating, of working off of a “day book” (to let me know what I had to do that day) and a box file with applicant cards. This were the days before the heady heights of CRM systems which basically started to do the job for you! To me these systems were a revelation, though to others they were the worst things ever and they refused to use them! I always persevered as I could see that my clients would benefit – imagine how impressed they would be to receive a text message with details of new instructions which were automatically generated by the computer system as long as I put in the correct details!

Okay, they didn’t always work and I really had to persevere the first six months of clients complaining that they were getting text messages every morning at 6am and about 10 in a row all about properties they really didn’t want! However, the systems got more advanced and morphed into absolutely fascinating systems that really helped me get to the top and ultimately helped me deal correctly with my clients.

Move on a few years and into a slightly different industry we are still utilising technology today in the notoriously difficult world of overseas real estate where  you are dealing with developers who are building properties off plan, therefore details are sketchy at best and trying to offer your clients the best possible understanding of what they are buying. Not only this but at Atlas International we have our website translated into 16 different languages which adds to complications.

We are harnessing technology that will allow our clients to download property details from the web within 48 hours of bringing on the instruction. It doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when you consider your own domestic market, but when you consider that we are trying to sell a property thousands of miles away from where the client lives and we are now able to provide them with up to 5 pictures, able to tell them how far away they are from the aiport, golf course and beach (unbelievably important in our industry) and also, and most importantly, have it automatically translated (correctly) in all languages it is certainly helping all of my agents around the world in selling the properties.

The Overseas property market is really lacking in technological advances which is where Atlas International has found a slight niche in the market and which helps it to sell and we are trying to utilise the advances in the UK market to help us which is having results so far.

The next steps are working out how to utilise even newer technology i.e.:

  • Twitter – I can see its benefits in the UK market but can we apply this to overseas?
  • The world of Facebook – which I have still refused to join on my own moral grounds!
  • Video streaming – from what I hear the latest thing on Google’s list
  • Podcasts – I could really see this helping my industry
  • Live exhibitions on line – exhibitions help my world go round and so imagine showing a client the beach in Torrevieja while we are talking about it being 25 degrees and they are stuck in the Northern territories of Finland while it is snowing outside – fancy coming to Spain?!

It is my job to manage the sales people around Europe and Asia but I see the importance of utilising technology to help them to sell our properties. This is an exciting and challenging time in our industry but one that we are winning currently and I hope to keep pushing the boundaries to keep on pushing this whole property industry forward.

Any comments would be welcome about utilising technology…….Best wishes all.

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