Hot new tech from NAR Midyear
June 11, 2018
Artificial intelligence, digital automation, hyperlocal marketing, and 3D posts for Facebook. These are just a few of the hottest technologies that new companies – and established ones –showcased at NAR Midyear.
Officially called the “REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo,” Midyear is where NAR members go each May to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities and, of course, the trade show.
Here are some of the hottest new tech offerings – both products and services – for agents and brokers that were on display. As a reminder, it is possible that not all of these new technology may be available throughout all of North America yet.
It touts itself as providing “high-quality photo editing, virtual staging, floor plan redraws, and CGI renders at (an) unbelievable price.” Grammar aside, BoxBrownie is all-pro when you see their before-and-after offerings. Their offer can be summarized in just two words: photo magic.
If you have an empty room, but would love to show it fully staged with furniture, BoxBrownie does that. Have a dead brown ¬lawn in a photo because it’s the middle of winter – or summer? Not a problem. BoxBrownie can give you a lush green grass and turn any season into blooming spring with bright blue sunny skies to match. Or what about a house for which you need a nighttime shot with the rooms all lit? Other software that has tried to do this automatically have gotten the shadows and the interiors all wrong. BoxBrownie nighttime photos gets them all right.
This is one tech company that stood out at NAR Midyear for several reasons. First, their technology looks fresh, practical and cool. Second, it’s highly relatable as it attempts to dramatically improve what every agent does: post and use listing photos in all their marketing. Third, agents will love their price points: if you want to use their service for just one picture, you can, and it could cost you as little as $2.00. All of their pricing is far less than the alternatives. They are a NAR REach Class of 2018 member. Their website – with pricing and lots of before and after photos – is at boxbrownie.com.
If Google and Salesforce had a baby, they might very well have named it Streak. Streak is Gmail with a native CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software interface. If you know how to navigate Gmail, you won’t have a lot of struggles finding your way around Streak. It isn’t just a Gmail widget-like experience (think SalesforceIQ or Insightly). It is fully CRM entirely weaved into your Gmail account.
Its deep integration with Gmail eliminates a few of the biggest objections that agents who still don’t use CRMs have: it’s pretty intuitive, it’s a program agents probably already use, and the leads that come in from Zillow or realtor.com and many other lead gen sources are automatically identified and readied for a response.
The downsides? Some agents and brokers might find the price tag high. The monthly subscription isn’t as expensive as most Salesforce options, but the $49 a month price tag for a single user isn’t cheap. Then there’s the fact that Gmail spam rules prevent any drip marketing campaign integration coming from Streak. The Streak sales people tell you that’s a good thing since email marketing barely works today anyway. Details at streak.com.
zavvie: This tech firm’s DNA comes from a real estate brokerage. It was born out of the technology used by 8z Real Estate in Boulder, Colorado, the fastest growing brokerage firm in Colorado last year. Their focus: hyperlocal marketing. They practically wrote the book on it. Earlier this year, zavvie published the first White Paper on Hyperlocal Marketing for Real Estate.
They’ve been on a roll ever since and have expanded from Colorado to coast-to-coast. Inman News just nominated zavvie and 8z Real Estate for an Inman Innovator Award. NAR just announced zavvie is part of their NAR REach Class of 2018.
zavvie creates a hyperlocal platform for an agent to dominate his or her neighborhood online. Through neighborhood websites, neighborhood Facebook Pages, and actively contributing to sites such as Next Door, zavvie helps agents digitally farm their neighborhood. While zavvie automates some of the social media content posts for agents, zavvie also makes it super easy for agents to post content from their mobile app on the go during their regular workday activities. zavvie targets brokerages, teams and even has an individual agent offering that starts at $299 a month. Learn more at zavvie.com.
Technology is driving the rebirth of concierge moving services being adopted by brokerages. MoveEasy is one of the newest entries, and it is leveraging the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface) to reduce the stress of moving for home buyers and sellers.
Let’s face it: nearly everyone hates moving. Just the planning stage alone can be maddening: you have to make so many phone calls. You have to find a mover, get bids, worrying about packing and possibly storage. But that’s just the beginning. You have to stand in line at the post office and pick up your moving kit. Then you have figure out which gas and electric utility providers, cable or satellite company, and Internet services firm provides services to your new home. Worst-of-all: you have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get your new driver’s license with your new address. The entire process takes so much time and is a significant stressor. Most agents just let their customers go it alone.
MoveEasy is a service an agent can offer their customers for free. It acts as a virtual concierge and puts everything at the fingertips of the home buyer, so they can go online: click, enter and select. For agents, it’s a free service that makes them look like rock stars because they don’t lift a finger. For brokerages, it’s a no-brainer because there’s a potential revenue share for every new service the customer orders. MoveEasy is fully integrated with MoxiWorks and say they can integrate with just about any CRM. Check them out at moveeasy.com
Chime IDX integrated with CRM: Chime uses an ad management system to generate leads. Leads are directed either to your Chime IDX Website or your Facebook page. There, they are prompted to register. The inbound lead data is collected and goes into your Chime CRM. The Chime CRM then uses Artificial Intelligence to send an email to the new lead and an alert to the agent that they have a new lead.
Chime’s pricing model offers a starter version at $25 a month (no lead routing) and a pro version at $49. While it provides a team collaboration feature, teams have noted in online reviews that the product is not as well designed for a team as it is for individual agents. Chime has done well integrating with the major ad portals, all the primary email platforms, and many marketing offerings. It continues to integrate with other software. It is a NAR REach Class of 2018 member. The website is chime.me.
From the folks that gave the world three-dimensional home tours without the need of headgear or glasses, Matterport has a cool little feature they added and were talking about at Midyear. Agents know that Facebook marketing remains one of their most powerful and cost-effective ways to maintain top-of-mind awareness and generate a new kind of lead process: inbound, where the leads reach out to the agent. That’s the magic of social media marketing.
Matterport has a neat feature for its users that is largely going overlooked. It will instantly generate a “mini-movie” for a Facebook post. These video teasers, just 10-15 seconds in length, showcase one’s 3D Video Home Tour, and include a shorter animated GIF file for use as well.
Here’s the coolest part: Matterport used Deep Learning (aka Machine Learning) to create and automate this process. The agent or broker does not have to do a thing. These are generated automatically as Matterport Spaces with more information here. Check out their cover video on Facebook here at the top of the page. Find them at matterport.com.
More tech ahead:
There were more great tech firms at NAR Midyear, and they are sure to be an exponentially higher number in Boston at NAR Annual. From Active Pipe, a hot startup that offers automated email marketing to Quigler, a high-tech compliance solution firm (both NAR REach Class of 2018 members), Midyear scratches the surface of what’s out there. With innovations in areas like Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, we can expect to see even more breakthroughs for agents and brokers in the months ahead.
For insight on other hot tech trends from Tech Helpline, check out these articles:
Drone-in-a-box for real estate? How Drones Are Transforming Real Estate Marketing
Future Tech: Tools that will change our work and our homes
A Quick Review of Smart Home Technology
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