Five Ways Homebloq Helps Home Buyers and Brokers
The State of Real Estate Technology
There’s no shortage of real estate technology search apps. There is, however, a pressing need for real estate agents to provide more value to consumers. Well-run teams and large brokerages have in place working back-office systems and marketing tools, but those live behind the scenes, making it harder for consumers to more easily understand and see the value-add agents provide.
Many startups and technologies these days are doing their best to automate out the agent from the equation. Thinking along these lines (that, for example, removing the agent saves the buyer and seller money) flies in the face of data: 92% of transactions in 2018 were facilitated through an agent (per NAR’s 2018 Generational Buyer and Seller Report). The narrative is clear: consumers want to use agents but have a hard time working effectively with them.
There is a clear engagement gap that exists between consumers and brokers. NAR has made this the number one mandate for the year according to CEO Bob Goldberg, and this has been reflected locally, at least here in Chicago, by associations. As agents attempt to fight back against new business models and technology that threaten their livelihood, it’s important they have an inherent advantage: they’re in demand.
Digesting the numbers on Redfin, for example, paints a different picture. For a company that has so many leads it is happy to refer them out, it’s minuscule market share suggests few people find interest in actually buying and/or selling with the firm. They love the tools, they do not appear to love the services. This is where strong agents and tech-savvy teams can win. iBuyers? They’re gunning for the consumer as well, but are still cognizant of the role of the agent. I have no doubt that iBuyers will take market share, but I question their ability to create a sustainable competitive advantage, especially in less homogeneous markets than those found in the Southwest US.
Technology needs to enable the agent, but also needs to provide a superior consumer experience. Tools that do not help bridge that gap do not solve that problem. Here’s how we are doing that with Homebloq.
A Single, Shared (Mobile) Platform
Almost every agent we’ve spoken to in our backyard (Chicago) says they are logging into the MLS search tool dozens of times a day to check for new listings and client alerts. We think this is a crazy waste of time. Furthermore, tools that are only accessible to brokers provide no value to consumers, hence their migration to portals.
Over the past five years third parties like us have begun to build tools that can be shared between brokers and clients, especially filling the need on the mobile side. Homebloq allows agents to set up client portfolios, easily invite anyone who is a participant in the home search, and enables everyone to search the MLS, set up saved searches, favorite properties, and more. All of this is done in one shared space.
Too often we’ve heard from buyers that agents are communicating over various methods — from sending pictures of text messages to not hitting reply all over email — that create confusion and are painful ways to communicate.
Keeping everyone on the same page is critical and consumers are seeking transparency and and better communication. An MLS-powered search app with in-app messaging is an easy way to resolve these issues and help agents respond faster.
In order to provide value, agents need to spend more time on value-add activities, not spending time logging into tools that don’t send notifications and alerts. Millennials, the next generation of home buyers, expect data and communication freely, easily, and quickly. With Homebloq, agents and clients can see in real-time if there are listing updates, new messages, saved searches created, and more.
Agents are continually missing out not only on providing value to buyers who use portals, but on leveraging the data and insights provided by platforms who can gather behavioral trends and help brokers better understand their client’s search activities. Has your client started to search in areas not previously discussed? At new price points? These are things only tools that create engagements between buyers and brokers can do, such as Homebloq. When listing agents, buyer’s agents, and clients are on the same platform, reverse-prospecting becomes easier and agents can more effectively close more deals.
Keeping the Agent Relevant
What’s the point of all this? To provide tooling that benefits the consumer not only explicitly, but by creating an environment to also work more effectively with an agent. Agents who dismiss new technologies or business models as “seen this before” risk being pushed out of the industry. Agents, teams, and brokerages who wisely invest in technology can win back the consumer. We intend to help those in need — both consumers and agents — by providing this technology.