Selecting a Real Estate Technology Partner

As a real estate broker, selecting a technology partner must be no easy task. Dealing with technology is not the primary focus of your business, yet your business depends on professional, dependable, usable, and affordable technology in order to have a web presence, generate leads, and communicate both internally and externally.

How should one go about choosing an appropriate technology partner? Let’s start with a couple examples of what doesn’t seem to work. Or, at least doesn’t seem to work consistently when tried by brokers.

Common Mistakes

A. Choosing a tech partner whose primary focus is something other than real estate. There are a lot of talented web designers and developers in this world, but real estate brokerages have specific enough needs that it’s hard to end up with a quality product from a company that only builds one real estate site. It’s not that it can’t be done, but it’s tough to justify the resources (both time and money) involved in developing a site completely from scratch that will be competitive for SEO, on-site search, content management, internal and external communications.

B. Looking only at local competitors to build a vendor list. Clearly, what your local competitors are doing is important. It’s worth understanding what they’re doing and why it’s working (if it’s working). But, what if real estate brokers in other areas of the country have far better websites than any of your local competitors?

C. Relying upon a single real estate industry consultant. Consultants in the real estate industry often provide good advice, but many also have relationships with specific vendors, which may limit your exposure to some of your options.

Better Ways to Choose a Technology Partner

1. Tap into your networks. If you’re affiliated with a national brand or part of some other coalition, ask around to find out which vendors are providing both a quality platform and professional service.

2. Find time for demos. It’s good to put together a list of features that you’re looking for from a technology partner, but it’s often the execution on those features that really separates one company from the next. Even if you’re not in the market today, it’s good to keep up on what’s out there so you can see if your current technology partner is leading, keeping up, or falling behind.

3. Talk to current clients. I can’t stress this enough. Is the prospective technology partner keeping their current clients’ happy? How do they communicate? How do they handle ongoing maintenance? Enhancements? In the best case scenario, a prospective technology partner may be able to put you in touch with a current client who came to them from your current technology partner. Be sure to talk to that contact to find out if the new partner is 10% better or twice as good as who you’re with now.

Considering the challenges that come with changing technology, it’s worth arriving at that decision through careful analysis of suitable partners. With tactics like those listed above, your chances of finding a technology partner who provides true value for the cost should go up significantly.

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