Real Estate Webmasters takes their unique passion for web development and real estate into the future
Real Estate Webmasters (REW) has been combining state-of-the-art design, proven SEO expertise and advanced programing skills to give their clients the most effective sites and backend systems on the web. Now, the company is looking toward the future. Here, CEO Morgan Carey discusses the issues facing modern brokerages, and how technology can alleviate those matters.
Nick Caruso: Real Estate Webmasters has always been a leader in mobile. In fact, you were the first to create responsive sites. How do you see this evolving, and what is REW doing to meet these challenges?
Morgan Carey: I see mobile going in two directions. First, users now use apps for very specific things at very specific moments, or “micromoments.” Going forward, there will be apps that provide immediate access and gratification in such moments, allowing for a more positive user experience and more transactions. The second is on the agent/technology side—CRM, IDX, predictive analytics and intelligent lead routing. These tools are crucial to a brokerage’s success, as winning the response/conversion game means winning at real estate. We have full iOS and Android R&D teams developing front-end and back-end mobile apps, covering all aspects of the transaction. Mobile development has become our No. 1 technology investment.
NC: What are the key technology issues facing real estate companies today?
MC: I recently did an audit of 500 of the top independent real estate companies, and over 50 percent did not have a mobile-first platform or any mobile-facing technology. This is causing them to lose traffic to newer, tech-savvy startup brokerages and portals. It’s also putting them at a severe disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and retention.
Large companies have the advantage of scale when it comes to pricing, whereas smaller companies still need similar technology, but their per-agent cost can be quite a bit higher. A consumer doesn’t care if you’re small or large; it’s just important to appear as if you have the best tools, technology and a full inventory to capture their interest.
NC: What are the most important emerging technologies impacting the real estate industry?
MC: Virtual Reality has great potential to disrupt the industry in terms of how content is consumed. Another great innovation is image indexing—the ability to gather vast amounts of data from visual images. Imagine if you didn’t have to fill in the MLS with information on a property because technology knows everything about the home from the pictures you uploaded. That technology exists today, and is something we’re working with Google to launch in 2017.
NC: How important is company culture/personality when choosing a vendor?
MC: Marketing and technology is hard. You need to understand it, implement it, and generate adoption, typically partnering with a vendor. That partnership is easier if you like the people you’re working with and your mutual company cultures are compatible. You know if you invite those people to a company event, they’re going to represent you very well and maintain the integrity and energy you’re creating as you would with them. Technology is never perfect, so compatible culture and good business relationships really matter and help you get through challenging times successfully. Bottom line, it’s just more fun working with people you really like.
NC: You’re now setting your sights on international business. Why is it time to look beyond North America?
MC: Many international franchises are connected to us either directly or indirectly. Although real estate is done differently, there are fundamental similarities in terms of technology and how to search for properties. If you have great tech that allows people to search the way they want to, there’s a lot of crossover. Europe is our primary location of interest, but we have interest in South Korea, too. There are super progressive companies there that are doing great things. Also, emerging Asian markets like Indonesia and Malaysia represent the largest percentage of potential buyers for the next decade. And because they’re emerging, real estate specific technology is virtually non-existent. We’d love to fill that void!
For more information, please visit www.realestatewebmasters.com.
Nick Caruso is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at email@example.com.
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