Every broker-owner will eventually face the same choice: Subscribe to a technology service to help manage the business or try building on your own.

Dominic Morrocco

For Dominic Morrocco — the co-founder of M Squared Real Estate in Washington, D.C. — the answer to that question is two fold. First, Morrocco said at Inman Connect Monday that brokerages which build their own technology can save significant amounts of money on subscription fees. And second, a brokerage may be able to scale up proprietary technology more easily than something they merely subscribe to. 

Morrocco described himself as a technologist who came to real estate with the goal of streamlining the experience for Realtors.

“I wake up everyday,” he said, “and my only goal is how to make business easier for the agent.”

Morrocco went on to say that an agent who does $10 million in sales in a year may end up spending $120,000 to get there. Some of that money could be saved by reducing subscription fees to tech-based services, such as customer relationship management platforms. And a company that builds its own technology may be more capable of beefing it up as the company grows and adds both volume and agents.

He added that brokerages can use consumer tools, such as WordPress or Google — meaning they don’t have to be staffed by tech wizards in order to have their own tech-based tools.

Jonathan Boatwright

Jonathan Boatwright — the owner of Realty Austin and also a speaker at Monday morning’s Inman Connect session — said his company has also built its own technology and advised brokerages to focus on a customer database.

“I do think the foundation of it all is having a customer database,” he said.

But both Boatwright and Morrocco said that building tech tools isn’t for every brokerage. Before embarking on a tech project, brokerages need to look hard at their goals and objectives to see if they’re really ready for that kind of a endeavor.

“You can waste your money easily on some of these technology platforms,” Boatwright added.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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