Technology

How real estate technology can ‘catch up’ with open APIs

From one tech company to another

A note to my fellow real estate technology vendors:

At the highest level, we (the tech providers) are focused on delivering best-in-class technology and ensuring that our clients have a great experience with our products. However, the concept of “a great experience” has vastly evolved over the past few years, and companies with painful legacy systems simply won’t survive.

After the big search portals digitized our industry, agents were shaken. We saw consumers, for the first time, searching for their own home information rather than relying on the expertise of a real estate agent. The outcome: a new way of doing business that was anchored around these portals because there was no efficient alternative.

The next disruptor we’re about to face? Connectivity — the principle that agents can, and will, make themselves invaluable to clients by providing a combination of helpful digital tools to ease the process. In order for connectivity to work, however, the tools we provide must sync, and then sync to the tools the consumer uses (think mobile devices, customer relationship managers, etc.). These products need to play nicely, communicate intelligently and speak instantly to one another.

We’re living in a tech revolution, and the key to this level of connectivity is using our APIs (application program interfaces). Agents and consumers alike are hungry for digital experiences provided by us.

Still, clients often tell me that real estate tech needs to “catch up.” Many of us have APIs, but we haven’t opened them up to collaborate with each other. By embracing a more open API culture, we can make it easy for clients to adopt our value propositions; we can communicate that doing business with us is easy as pie; we can enable our partners to help us innovate.

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Benefits of connecting via API

When Updater decided to take the time to build an API, we did so with long-term benefits in mind. Here’s just a slice of what we’ve learned along the way, which proves that opening up your API mindset can enhance your business.

Create innovative products

New business opportunities are just around the corner — “the next” social platform, wearable tech, mobile 2.0 and much more. By allowing partners to “remix” the core functionality of your API, you’ll help unlock possibilities and the true value of your hard work.

Build valuable connections

One of the best parts of offering an API is that you won’t be going at it alone — you’ll build solid connections and partnerships with other key players in the industry. By working with partners, you’ll continually receive constructive feedback on how we all can better meet industry expectations.

Scale your market reach

By opening your business to API opportunities, you’ll be able to scale your business in many directions while co-creating new pathways for client engagement. Consider it an opportunity to expand your product’s functionality and your overall reach, rather than getting bogged down in compatibility issues.

Save resources

None of us have an unlimited supply of developers. Relying on our own internal engineering departments will not allow us to innovate at scale. By turning to the larger pool of resources and thinking outside of our four walls, we can knock down our barriers and limitations to deliver those amazing experiences we promise our clients.

What do we know? The stakes are high. With a portal merger behind us, top execs leaving for innovative startups, and VC funding flowing into the industry, real estate tech is hotter than ever before. Our clients are craving technology solutions that fit their needs, so there’s no time like the present. Dip your feet or jump right in — either way, don’t miss the API boat.

Jenna Weinerman is the marketing director for Updater. With an extensive background in relocation, she’s dedicated to helping brokers, Realtors and property managers deliver a consistently excellent client experience. Follow her on Twitter.

Email Jenna Weinerman.