Estate agents have very complex jobs. Not only do they need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the houses that they market, but they also need to have extensive knowledge of the local area and its services. Before technology, estate agents had to painstakingly browse newspapers and familiarize themselves with the local area on foot. Now, estate agents are able to use technology to become “hyperlocal” guides – meaning that they are able to become experts in their immediate area.
This article will tell you all about this, as well as explaining how real estate agents in Chicago are becoming hyperlocal guides:
What does ‘Hyperlocal’ Mean?
Hyperlocal is a marketing term that refers to the process of targeting customers within a highly specific geographic area, sometimes only a few blocks or streets. A ‘hyperlocal guide’ is a person who is able to develop encyclopedic knowledge about a very small area. By learning about an area that their properties are listed in, estate agents are able to make the buying process easier for customers, because they can answer all of their questions and tell them everything that they need to know. If an agent is marketing properties in a new housing development or apartment building for example, by improving their knowledge of the area they will be able to tailor it to every single family and client that they work with and tell them the things relevant to them.
Estate agents do not have to go out on foot and canvass neighborhoods anymore, however. In fact, With the help of high-tech software and plug-ins, they are able to learn about areas remotely, from the comfort of their desks. Some of the information that estate agents learn about includes local amenities and transport links.
What Technology Do Agents Use?
Estate agency firms use many different types of technology. The most effective by far is MLS software. MLS stands for ‘multiple listing service’ and allows estate agents to learn a lot about a specific area in a very short time. This software is completely transforming real estate, making agents’ lives much easier. With it, estate agents in Chicago are able to receive MRED MLS listing alerts, allowing them to keep their customers updated with the latest properties and information. MLS software isn’t the only tech used by agents, however. Some other things include:
Virtual viewing applications have come in very handy over the last few years, allowing estate agents to conduct property viewings remotely. These applications have existed for a number of years but weren’t popular until the COVID-19 pandemic began. Estate agents were unable to show people physical properties, so they enlisted the help of these effective and useful applications. One of the main advantages of virtual viewing apps is that people don’t have to risk contracting COVID-19 or any other viruses when attending viewings, and they can view properties while self-isolating.
When the pandemic began, people were no longer able to come into estate agents’ offices physically and sign contracts. This made things very difficult for estate agents, when it came to the end of tenancy contracts, for example. Thankfully, online contract websites eliminated this problem, making it possible for estate agents to send contracts to people remotely and have them signed and returned by email. These websites have made the entire contract signing process much easier, removing the need for people to come in and sign them in person. Despite the pandemic being mostly over, estate agents in Chicago and across the United States are using these applications.
Cloud services allow estate agents to store information online safely and securely. Before Cloud services were introduced, estate agents had to keep all of their client’s information locked away in filing cabinets. If these cabinets were damaged or stolen, then they would lose their client’s information. Losing the personal information of clients could result in data privacy breaches, which could in turn result in lawsuits. Additionally, if a client’s information was destroyed or damaged, then estate agents would not be able to keep their records updated nor would they be able to get in touch with clients when new properties come to market.
Document sharing platforms are used to share important documents securely, without them being intercepted or hacked into. Document sharing apps are more or less the same as contract apps, though they do not allow people to sign documents, and they aren’t used for that purpose. More often than not the documents shared through these applications are encrypted. The application sends the recipient an email with a one-time code, for them to use when accessing the document. If they do not click the link and use the code in time, then they have to request a new code.
Deposit protection applications are also used so that estate agents can protect the deposit of tenants or people that are going ahead with property sales. Deposit applications are a very secure and effective way for estate agents to protect their client’s money. At the end of a tenancy, estate agents are able to manually release the deposit held, and the funds are returned to the person to whom they belong. Deposit protection applications are an extremely secure and reliable way of ensuring one’s deposit is protected. In some states and countries, their use is mandated by law.
Estate agents also use listing applications that allow them to upload properties easily and seamlessly to their websites. This makes it much easier to list properties and keep them current and updated. A big problem for estate agents in the past was finding the time to upload their properties, along with their photos. Additionally, it was very common before these applications for estate agents to have very old listings on their website that hadn’t been updated, which caused confusion among customers. Listing applications are a very effective way of keeping customers, clients, and investors updated.
Benefits of Technology
One of the main benefits of technology for estate agents is the amount of time that they save using it. Estate agents no longer need to attend physical viewings, wait for clients, and spend hours going to and from properties, just to be told by the people viewing them that they are no longer interested. Chicago is a large urban center, getting around it isn’t always the easiest. Traffic and road closures can suck up a lot of an estate agent’s time there. Thankfully, technology has allowed agents to deal with their time more efficiently. Tech has also made it easier for estate agents to market properties.
In addition to saving time, estate agents save themselves a lot of money. Getting around Chicago isn’t cheap, especially during weekdays in the city’s downtown district. By using software and technology, estate agents have been able to significantly reduce the amount of money that they spend on transportation. Saving money allows estate agent firms to invest in other more important areas of their businesses, such as expansion or finding new clients. Many people are feeling the squeeze financially because of inflation and the economy’s situation post-COVID, so saving money is always fantastic.
Technology allows estate agents to provide their customers with a better experience, improving overall customer satisfaction. For any business, customer satisfaction is everything. If a business is unable to provide its customers with a satisfying experience, then they will leave bad reviews, talk poorly of them, and never do business with them again. Conversely, if a business is able to satisfy customers, then they will leave positive reviews, talk highly of them, and return when they next need to sell or buy a property. Humans are creatures of habit, if they are treated well then they will always return.
Estate agents are able to fulfill complex requests more easily now. If a customer asks for a specific photograph of a property’s interior for example and needs it on short notice, then estate agents are able to refer them to their online viewing platforms. If a customer needs a copy of a document immediately, then the estate agents are able to send it to them by accessing their document software or logging into their Cloud system. Request fulfillment also improves the customer experience. If an estate agent is unable to fulfill the requests of their customers, then they will annoy them and potentially prevent them from returning for future business.
Finally, estate agents are able to significantly improve communication with customers and clients. Communication is absolutely crucial to a business’s success. Businesses with poor communication seldom last very long. Quality communication can be offered with the help of email, chat, and video software. Additionally, estate agents are able to provide their customers with their direct mobile numbers, so that customers can call or message them directly and receive instant responses. Communication should never be overlooked by any business. Many experts go as far as to say that proper communication channels are the lifeblood of successful businesses.
How Are Estate Agents Becoming Hyperlocal Guides?
With the help of technology, estate agents are becoming ‘hyperlocal guides.’ They are able to browse information indexes, store information, and communicate with clients efficiently and directly. Becoming a hyperlocal guide is a very effective way for an estate agent to drum up their business, impress clients, and provide an efficient service. All of the methods mentioned in this article help agents to become more effective guides. In fact, becoming hyperlocal guides is very beneficial considering many of the things that we have covered in this article. For example, when unable to online viewings, people physically see the neighborhood of the property that they are visiting. The agent their viewing will be able to tell them all about it, pointing any specific amenities that they might be interested in, and discussing transport links.
Being an estate agent in Chicago isn’t easy, because there’s a lot of competition. By utilizing technology and software, estate agents are able to outmatch their competition and provide better services. Becoming a hyperlocal guide is one effective way for estate agents to transform their businesses and achieve financial success.