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BackAgent’s robust decision engine revolutionizes the real estate industry

Lonnie Plaster has been a part of Long & Foster Real Estate since 2003, starting as a managing broker in Virginia, and rising to the role of senior vice president, regional manager of Montgomery County and Washington, D.C.

In 2011, Long & Foster merged two separate offices in McLean, Va., which brought about 260 agents under one roof, but presented some challenges, as well.

“One of the issues we were having was how to take this number of people and create a mechanism for everyone to communicate and be on the same page in regard to how the transaction was managed, as well as some of the back-office functionality,” says Plaster. “At the time, Long & Foster didn’t have that kind of platform in place, so I went looking for something to fill that specific need.”

Plaster learned about BackAgent, brought it in on a trial basis and was very impressed with its transaction management platform.

“BackAgent was different than the competition, as it offered some back-office solutions in addition to transaction management,” says Plaster. “In fact, BackAgent managed the training calendar, an online version of the office roster, conference room/common area scheduling and floor duty, while providing a platform for agents to share information. As a manager, I was able to go in, set the business rules and allow the platform to manage the process.”

Under Plaster’s leadership, the newly merged office became Long & Foster’s second billion-dollar office—and the BackAgent system played a large part in this achievement.

“The system helped us take two offices that were run differently and align them so that we had the same systems in place for everyone,” says Plaster.

Although Plaster has moved up the Long & Foster ladder and is no longer at the office on a day-to-day basis, he notes that BackAgent is still being utilized by the firm’s agents and employees.

“When I became the regional manager of Washington, D.C., we implemented BackAgent for the D.C. offices in order to offer a paperless solution and a platform for our Agent Services Group,” says Plaster. “This allowed 24/7 online access to the transaction, providing yet another level of support for our agent support operations.”

There’s also a promotional part of BackAgent that Plaster feels a lot of people don’t understand or know about.

“Let’s say it’s Friday afternoon and an agent has a new listing or open house and needs some marketing materials for the weekend. The agent can simply go in and create a fact sheet, property brochure or other promotional item in just 30 seconds,” says Plaster. “The agent can create a PDF and print the piece on the spot or send it out for professional printing if they have more time.”

Plaster also found BackAgent’s support to be incredible, explaining that there were certain challenges in the marketplace due to its three jurisdictions (D.C., Virginia and Maryland), which made it necessary to be able to manipulate the platform accordingly.

“The BackAgent staff worked with us to make this happen,” says Plaster. “They’ve jumped right on anything and everything we’ve ever contacted them for.”

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