NEW YORK — Being the new kid on the block sometimes comes with baggage, but not at Real Estate Connect, which put five up-and-coming companies on stage Wednesday and gave them an opportunity to show off in front of a crowd.
It’s a tradition at Connect to single out five startups — designating them as the New Kids on the Block — and this year the conference also gave them the opportunity to do a real-time, five-minute demo of their product.
The current crop of New Kids on the Block offered tools for transaction management, leasing, lead-tracking, and more. The five:
RealSatisfied.com is a reputation-management service for landlords and leasing agents. RealSatisfied surveys consumers to gauge their experiences and satisfaction with leasing agents.
With the inquiry coming from a third party, rather than from the leasing company itself, "customers are more likely to give it to us straight," explained Chris Drayer, chief marketing officer. "The reports recognize opportunities for improvement."
And in the cases of unhappy consumers, "you can turn a bad situation into a positive one," he said. "You reduce the chance of a social media outbreak that can wreck your brand."
PicketReport.com is a neighborhood research tool that helps consumers who are considering relocating learn more about an area.
Bryan Kunka, co-founder and CEO, said the site offers nationwide, in-depth data from 300 sources on schools, crime and neighborhood lifestyle, with an emphasis on generalizations about typical lifestyles.
"We give the Cliff’s Notes on people who live there — age, income, families, what they do for fun," Kunka said. "You can dig super-deep into who lives there."
RealLead.com builds lead-generation tools that enable homebuyers to text, scan quick-response codes, or call and hear a voice recording of a property.
Consumers receive a prompt response to their inquiries and can view property photos and listing details; the agent also receives a text about the inquiry, with follow-up contact information, according to Caroline Cummings, company CEO and co-founder.
LeaseRunner.com provides a way for agents to track leases online and uses cloud-based computing to centralize the associated paperwork.
The online services include screening and accepting tenants digitally, lease-generation, and collecting the rent, according to Joe Buczkowski, company founder and CEO.
TheABCTool.com is an online transaction-management service that, in addition to organizing closing and other documents for real estate agents, was designed to keep homebuyers and sellers informed each step of the way.
Michele Serro, a former opera singer, told the audience at Connect that she developed the site in response to her own experiences as a consumer who was continually frustrated by an inadequate understanding of the timing and sequence of events in the transaction process.
The tool is designed to help what she described as "the emotional needs" of homebuyers by educating them about what to anticipate with each step of the transaction, thus avoiding misunderstandings and tensions that might derail a closing, Serro said.
"Knowing what’s going to happen next helps to calm their nerves," she said.
Mary Umberger is a freelance writer in Chicago.
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