It turns out that the old real estate expression “Location, location, location” isn’t just about property anymore. For real estate professionals seeking a competitive advantage, it’s also about the cloud – cloud computing, that is. Today, 80% of top real estate performers are conducting business in the cloud in some form or another, according to one cloud provider. Working in this manner makes a lot of sense for the real estate industry when you consider the types of benefits the cloud delivers, including the following.
Responsive client service
Cloud computing makes vital information (such as client data and property details) and tools (such as email and calendars) instantly accessible online, from anywhere with an internet connection. That’s why the cloud is such a game-changer in the real estate business: When clients have questions or concerns, agents can respond with “I’ve got it right here” instead of “I’ll have to get back to you.” Ultimately, agents can take action on the spot to quickly and confidently close deals.
Improved customer relationship management
As well as being able to serve customers on the go, highly mobile real estate agents also need to manage their relationships with those customers from anywhere – not just while sitting at a desk in the office. This makes cloud-based CRM systems for real estate preferable to on-premise solutions. Cloud CRM also enables multiple agents and brokers within the same organization to readily share customer information and data through the internet and mobile devices.
Efficient lead management
Brokers and agents can benefit from various cloud-based marketing email services that help with capturing, developing and managing leads. Services like MailChimp and Constant Contact make it quick and simple to not only send out emails, but also to track who’s opening which, what links are being clicked on and other information to help identify prospects.
Better internal collaboration
With cloud-based solutions like Office 365 or Google Apps, everyday communication and collaboration become much easier and more efficient than with traditional solutions. The cloud allows agents to securely store and share documents and files, so they don’t have to depend as heavily on sending attachments and other cumbersome methods. There’s also less risk of error since everyone’s working with one document in one place, which is a major advantage when going back and forth with multiple revisions to an offer or contract.
Tools for security and compliance
As anyone who’s ever attended a real estate closing can attest, the real estate business generates an enormous amount of legal paperwork filled with personal financial data and other sensitive information. Cloud storage and backup reduce the burden of securely storing all that paper to stay in compliance with the law. As one agent says, “By law, I have to keep files for five years. The old-school way to keep files is to put them in a filing box. Having a cloud would be great for me. This is something we’ll definitely be looking at.”
The cloud is redefining workspaces as more and more agents work remotely instead of at the office. Working in the cloud opens up the possibility of reducing a brokerage’s overall office space, as well as rethinking how space is used – more conference rooms and fewer cubicles and offices, for example. Also, with cloud storage available for documents, brokers may not need as much storage space for physical files.
If you’re in the real estate business and you’re not in the cloud yet, your competitors probably are! If a total transition to the cloud sounds like more than you’re ready to undertake, you can do it in stages – start with everyday communication and collaboration, then move on to other areas like CRM and storage. If you have questions, contact MyITpros and we’ll be happy to help guide you.