Real estate is at a crossroads on which core trade practices will be redefined forever. The industry’s technology is no longer focused on one-off activities like forms, scanners and email. It’s focused instead on building success into a larger ecosystem that comprises intelligent systems, streamlined workflows, machine learning, social media and consumer apps. Technology is moving so fast in this direction that real estate professionals essentially have two choices: embrace technology or stay behind.
What’s behind this technological shift? My thought is that the industry has recognized that an overabundance of specialized products is making things more difficult than they ought to be. After all, who wants to use multiple solutions that have their own logins and interfaces? Who wants to enter the same data and documentation several times? Who wants to contact three or four different companies for training and support?
Technology is moving away from this segmentation because it keeps real estate professionals from doing that which matters most: succeeding through quick action, accuracy and customer satisfaction. To brokerage staff, succeeding means simple workflows that reduce their risk of errors and enhance the accuracy of their work. To agents, succeeding means finding leads, closing them and providing superior client satisfaction along the way. And to the brokerage, succeeding means enabling agents and staff to do all of the above while ensuring clients get the real estate experience they came for.
Shifting to a larger ecosystem not only ensures that these users achieve personal success, but also allows them to share it with one another. This is what drove Lone Wolf’s acquisitions of Instanet Solutions and zipLogix, and informs our solutions and services to this day. We want to help real estate professionals—all of them—be better at what they do best.
Our real estate brokerage technology platform, for example, is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for the entire real estate transaction. It includes everything from forms, transaction management and back-office to an increasing number of integration points for upstream CRM and downstream activities for title, mortgage and other services. This platform is changing transaction management as we know it, and what once was a segmented, time-consuming process will become an integrated, seamless one. As an ecosystem, it enables REALTORS®, brokerage staff and management to collaborate in real-time and act on meaningful activities with speed and precision.
But integrations are only one facet of a larger ecosystem. The UX—which refers to the customer’s user experience while using the product, as well as the support, training and professional services they receive from the technology provider—and a REALTOR® focus are equally critical components.
A bad UX means that the product will fall short of helping the user and impair their productivity, while inadequate support, training and professional services will prevent the user from getting the most value out of their solution. If a REALTOR® doesn’t know how to use the technology, if it fails to meet their needs, or is simply not secure, then adoption is a pipe dream—and segmentation will remain.
In our progress toward ecosystems and complete technological solutions, it’s imperative to protect the interests of REALTORS® and preserve their pivotal role in the real estate transaction. At Lone Wolf, we form strong relationships with Associations of REALTORS®—national, state or local—as well as MLSs because we know that establishing trust in the technology is essential for its adoption. Trust, both in the solution and the solution’s provider, is perhaps the most significant factor if REALTORS® and the industry at large are to ride the fast-moving technological wave.
Mourad Zerroug is VP of Engineering at Lone Wolf Technologies. For more information, please visit www.lwolf.com.