From slow appraisals to MLS interfaces falling behind agents’ needs, a few tech companies are eyeing solutions for brokerages, according to panelists at Inman Connect New York.
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Running a real estate brokerage comes with more than its share of headaches.
Every once in a while, a solution comes along that helps solve a problem agents and brokers face along the way.
At a panel discussion at Inman Connect New York, representatives of three real estate technology companies discussed some of the big challenges for brokerages that their firms have been trying to address.
Amy Gorce, CEO and managing partner of the PRESTA consulting company, led the conversation between President Jeff Allen of CubiCasa, Chief Sales Officer Alissa Harper of Inside Real Estate, and CEO Frederick Townes of Remine.
Here are three pain points they identified that brokerages are facing, and how their technology companies are trying to resolve them.
1. Appraisals endangering the closing process
It’s a familiar refrain for agents across the country.
Their buyer clients finally find themselves under contract, only to learn the entire closing process hinges on how the lender appraises the property.
Worse, lenders are taking longer to appraise properties, and are not beholden to a buyer’s schedule. This can put a buyer at risk of blowing past their appraisal contingency deadline.
That’s where Allen’s company and others hope to step in. With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac expanding authorization of so-called desktop appraisals, there’s an opening now for technology companies to streamline this process.
Allen’s platform enables someone with a smartphone to perform a property scan. The results of that scan are run through Cubicasa’s artificial-intelligence software. The result is a fully rendered and measured floorplan that makes a personal visit from the appraiser unnecessary.
“The specific opportunity we see here is shortening the window of time in the closing process where everybody is on pins and needles, waiting to find out what’s going to happen,” Allen said.
2. Technology overload for agents
Agents have a lot on their plate, and technology is supposed to streamline their work.
Yet too often, Harper said, brokerages task agents with learning how to use a variety of unrelated tech platforms to do their jobs.
The typical agent can find themselves overwhelmed by the number of tech tools at their disposal, Harper said.
The brokerage can also find that keeping all this data in separate places blunts the effectiveness of having it in the first place.
“As a brokerage,” she said, “if you don’t have a handle on your data — [if] you don’t have a central operating system where agents can engage, where customers can engage — it’s very difficult to actually execute.”
Harper’s company’s main product, kvCORE, was designed to offer most of the primary tech functions a brokerage needs in one interconnected service. From leads to listings, transactions, customer relationships and marketing, this integration is meant to solve this pain point, Harper said.
3. Reliance on outdated MLS tools
For Townes, there are two types of broker: those who rely on the traditional tools provided by an MLS, and those that are using newer technology to empower their agents.
These older methods can get in the way of what brokerages actually want from their MLS interfaces, Townes said.
“Adoption seems to block enablement, and enablement is what you need for execution,” Townes said.
Townes’ company is one such company angling for this business.
Remine offers a suite of services for MLSs, and the brokerages that work with them. These services include front-end property searches, the ability to add and edit MLS listings, display of public records and consumer information, and document and transaction management.