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Essential Online Tools For Real Estate

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The Best Online Tools And Technologies For Realtors

This article was originally posted on the Home Value Leads blog and is reposted here for discussion. 

Many reports and studies have shown the importance of the Internet in the real estate world. The National Association of Realtors conducted a survey that showed that 91% of all realtors use some type of social media for their business. 37% of all agents surveyed reported that their personal or company website was the single best tool for finding new leads. However, NAR also says that the average agent only receives 3% of their business from their website. There is plenty to learn about the best online tools and technologies for realtors who want to maximize their success in the digital realm.

Email Software

Sending and receiving emails are critical tasks for the success of your real estate business. A powerful email client will help you organize correspondence and hold on to messages that contain important information. Popular email clients today include Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird. The best client for you will depend on your personal preferences and needs.

File Sharing Tools

Being able to transfer files quickly can be important when you want to access documents about a certain listing or send supporting materials to your clients. With a file sharing system like Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Drive, you will be able to get to important documents whenever you need them. Sophisticated file sharing tools offer compatibility with mobile devices as well, which means even if you are not in front of your computer you can access or share important files.

Photo Databases

Pictures are extremely important in real estate; they allow buyers to make a preliminary decision about homes they like, and they allow sellers to get their home exposed to a larger number of people. Using an online photo album tool like Flickr or Picassa will be very helpful for uploading photos of your listings. You can even use these tools to organize them so that you are able to instantly point your clients to the right place to see pictures of properties they are interested in. Don’t forget the power of sites like Instagram or Pinterest for sharing these photos for others to see as lead generation tools.

Invoicing And Accounting Tools

Some of the best online tools and technologies for realtors are the ones that allow them to handle the financial aspects of their business. Choosing the right accounting tools depends on the size and type of your business. If you have an entire office to manage, accounting tools like QuickBooks and Sage will help you keep track of expenses and payroll. If you work alone as a realtor, you may prefer software designed for personal use like Quicken or AceMoney. Software such as Invoicera can create customized invoices and send them online to receive payments instantly which would be great for property management, but wouldn’t be useful for the average agent. There are many options in this field, so be sure to do some research and choose one that works well for your financial style.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

The days of note cards, sticky notes, and shoeboxes are long gone. If you are still working with these, you need to get with the times. Look at getting a powerful CRM that can manage much of your database automatically and keep you informed of where they are in the process and what you need to be doing to move them along in the process. Check out services like Follow Up Boss, Contactually, and 5Street. 

Realtors who ignore the rapid development of the internet run the risk of being left behind in an industry that is increasingly moving to the digital world. These are a few of the best online tools and technologies for realtors today. Make sure that you learn as much as possible about these and other tools that have the potential to help you run your real estate business more efficiently.

Photo Credit: By: Mike Licht

Posted by

Brian Rayl

Licensed Dallas Real Estate Agent 

Co-Founder of Home Value Leads

What is Home Value Leads?

Seller Lead Generation Tool

Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Brian - This blog provides essentital information about thriving and surviving in today's real estate profession.  When I was first licensed in 1981, we were just beginning to become computerized.  The MLS was a book published once a week. There were no fax machines, or cellphones.  I was one of the first, if not the very first agent in Sacramento to get a pager.  We've come a long way since then!

Aug 29, 2014 08:40 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Brian - CONGRATULATIONS on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Fart’s Club group! 


Aug 29, 2014 08:43 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Essential yes, and basic you bet. It an agent views this as a business then this is the very least they should do and we are not talking about a lot of money to do these things.

Aug 29, 2014 08:53 AM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Myrl Jeffcoat - We've come a long way haven't we! Technology has always been a passion of mine and I made sure that I incorporated that into my real estate business. 

Joe Pryor - Absolutely basic and absolutely essential. There are so many other things that are "cool" or "handy," but these are MUST HAVES. I don't know where I'd be without Gmail and Google Drive these days. 

Aug 29, 2014 10:06 AM
Florida Tolbert Team Keller Williams Advantage
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty in Lake Nona - Orlando, FL
Keller Williams Land Luxury Division Specialist

always great to see good articles recycled and it appears more than a few have been missing all this new technology. 

Aug 30, 2014 04:08 PM
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

Great post! However, I find some still like to get an actual note from me. I did you an automatic mail out software... I need to rev that up again.

Aug 31, 2014 09:22 AM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Kevin B. Tolbert PA Team - It amazes me how many agents don't have some of the basic materials for business. 

Sussie Sutton - Hand written notes and personal touches are still an essential part of client care as well as lead conversion. Technology can't replace the personal touch. Thanks for mentioning that!

Sep 03, 2014 04:26 PM
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers
2nd comment. I use to use Grasshopper for mail out and nay do that again soon
Sep 03, 2014 10:24 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Spot on, Bryan. I've been using email, CRM's, Evernote for what seems like forever now. The photo data bases I need to do more with. As for the accounting side, I let my husband worry about that (have to keep him busy with something, afterall now that he's retired).


Sep 04, 2014 07:12 AM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Sussie Sutton - What? No Happy Grasshopper? I love them and so do my clients! Of course, it fits my personality perfectly. What happened with them that turned you off?

Nina Hollander - LOL. Keep that boy busy or he will turn to a life of rest and relaxation and that is never a good thing for a man. ;)

Sep 04, 2014 05:07 PM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

This is a great post about what is needed to run a business these days, Brian.  Thanks for a comprehensive look at the tools!

Sep 07, 2014 09:22 AM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Thanks Suzanne McLaughlin!

Sep 12, 2014 10:57 AM