Technology a Boost for Chicago Real Estate Agents

August 21, 2011

I went to the Xplode Conference in Chicago on Friday expecting to hear how technology is a necessity to succeed in Chicago real estate these days.

“If you aren’t a tech-savvy agent in this world, you just can’t do business,” was a powerful opening statement from Ginger Downs, CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS.

But, that wouldn’t be what I would hear all day.

Now, I’m going to admit that because our website had a booth at the Xplode event, I did not get to soak in every word that every seminar offered. But some of what I did hear had a surprising overlying theme:

Matt Dollinger

Matt Dollinger of @properties

Technology isn’t the answer, it’s an enhancer.

“Technology can not save your business, but it can make your existing processes more efficient,” said Matt Dollinger, the V.P. of Strategic Development with @properties in Chicago.

Today’s consumers want information and action immediately, and there are many ways for them to get it, with or without an agent, especially online.

The Internet is a huge source of real estate information. The minute a home goes on the market, you can generally find the listing on five to 10 different sites.

So, it would make sense that 80 percent of real estate searches today begin online, according to Constance Freedman, the Vice President of Strategic Investments for the National Association of REALTORS.

“Real estate is changing,” she said. “We want to be on the forefront of that change.”

That change involves the Internet and the devices that connect to it, which I will get more into tomorrow.

But technology isn’t the end-all and shouldn’t be your entire business. While one client might appreciate taking notes on an iPad during a tour of homes for sale, another might be much more comfortable with paper and pen in hand.

So, the message seems to be: Use technology to get ahead, but stay in tune to each client’s different needs.

“Technology isn’t everything,” said Dollinger. “Do what works and add technology.”

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