As I browsed the companies featured in Startup Alley at Inman Connect New York and heard the real estate tech tools and systems touted from the stage, the number of choices seemed overwhelming.

  • If you are looking for a standalone CRM, Realvolve has garnered a lot of industry buzz.
  • RealtyAPX has integrated almost all the functionality that an agent or broker could need.
  • HomeDisclosure.com is particularly compelling because of the depth of data it provides.

As I browsed the companies featured in Startup Alley at Inman Connect New York and heard the real estate tech tools and systems touted from the stage, the number of choices seemed overwhelming.

How can you tell which innovations are good for business and which are shiny objects or costly disruptions?

Two primary challenges that agents face when they add a new tool or system is the learning curve required plus the disruption to their business during the implementation stages.

The degree of disruption depends on how important the app, tool or system is to the overall functioning of your business.

For example, switching from Google Maps on your mobile phone to the Waze app is unlikely to disrupt your business. On the other hand, changing your computer operating system, your CRM or your accounting system could have a profoundly negative effect, especially if the provider goes out of business and leaves you hanging.

Given this scenario, which solutions from ICNY should you be considering for your business? Here are four possibilities worth your attention:

Looking for a CRM? Check out Realvolve

If you’re not using a CRM, it’s an essential component in growing your business and increasing your efficiency. If you are relying on Top Producer, Sales Force, Follow Up Boss or some other system, switching to a new system can provide some benefits that your current system lacks.

The pivotal issue is whether the new functionality is valuable enough to risk disrupting your business.

If you are looking for a standalone CRM, Realvolve has garnered a lot of industry buzz, and when you examine its functionality, the reasons are obvious.

Like most other CRMs, Realvolve allows you to track properties and transactions; manage your contacts; communicate with your database through email, SMS or social media; manage deadlines and synch with Google Apps and Evernote.

What makes Realvolve different is its use of predictive analytics. The system collects, stores and analyzes every task you perform including email, lunch meetings, showings and closings.

It also tracks your year-to-date income, average sales price, year-to-date commission and average commission. Furthermore, the system categorizes where each person is in your sales funnel (lead, client, past client, etc.) and helps you to evaluate where your time is best spent to make more sales.

Want everything in one place? RealtyAPX

Although there are plenty of tools available to agents and brokers, integrating them is a major challenge. RealtyAPX has tackled this problem and integrated almost all the functionality that an agent or broker would need in one place.

On the agent side, the CRM provides the same functionality as most do. The CRM is also completely integrated into its digital signature and transaction management platform. RealtyAPX also provides a simple email and social media campaign solution.

Its open house tool allows you to capture visitors from your mobile device. Also, you can automatically schedule appointments, request feedback, conduct surveys about your listings and send lockbox information with a click of a button.

On the brokerage side, it offers a completely paperless office solution, reports on the strengths and weaknesses in your business, all-in-one marketing reports, tools for sharing and distributing leads, custom and template websites, plus the ability to add widgets from your favorite websites.

Tired of carrying two phones? Get two numbers for the price of one with Mast Mobile

Are you one of the thousands of real estate professionals who carries two phones? Do you want to be able to distinguish between personal calls and business calls for yourself, your team or your office?

If so, Mast Mobile offers solutions for both individuals and companies that will save users time and money. Mast Mobile users have one work number for everything.

Unlike Google Voice that requires you to use an app, Mast Mobile separates personal calls from your business contacts with no extra steps required.

Looking for the best home disclosure report in the business? Check out HomeDisclosure.com

Until recently, Housefax was the best source for detailed housing disclosure information.

RealtyTrac, known for years as the best source for foreclosure and default data, has launched a powerful new consumer and agent tool, HomeDisclosure.com. As opposed to Housefax, which charges $9 per report after the first report, HomeDisclosure.com provides this data for free.

What makes this tool particularly compelling is the depth of the data that it provides; it includes 40 different categories and nearly 120 million searchable properties.

Data includes an estimated value of the property, school rankings, address and pictures of nearby sex offenders, the risk of environmental hazards such as earthquakes, flooding and tornadoes, plus crime risk.

The report also includes loan and equity information, building permits, tax history, bedroom-bath count and square footage data. The sales and transaction history, comparable sales and fair market rent value are also included. This is a powerful tool that provides your clients with the need-to-know data that they want.

Hopefully now that I’ve done the grunt work of rooting through a lot of new technology, you will be able to figure out which tools can help your business. Good luck, and steer clear of shiny object syndrome.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

Email Bernice Ross.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Housefax pricing changes.

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