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Craigslist — a simple classified ad website with text all over became a classic icon of the early web with insane profits.

It happened because they took over the listing from paper to screen, where everyone could reach out quickly. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, saw the internet’s potential and how it would help do business in the near future. It was in the ’90s when he first noticed the apartment shortage and started listing apartment ads. That’s where the transformation of real-estate businesses began. From newspapers to emails and websites to web portal solutions, Facebook marketplace, and AR/VR experiences, real-estate leaped digital transformation.

Today, people are less likely to call the local agents to ask about the property. They start looking online on the apartment listing websites such as Apartment and Zillow or simply Google it. Facebook and community groups also act as digital agents. Hence, you and the other real-estate businesses have to find out ways to retain customers. For instance, your agents can engage in the community or social groups and can post the listings. They can help the one looking to buy/sell/lease property by directing them towards your business. You need to redefine your business in a digital sphere. The traditional approach is scrambling.

Want to know why the old-school method won’t work? Keep reading!

What Drives the Digital Transformation

Buyers’ experience is one of the key factors behind digital transformation. From the discovery of the property to maintenance and shifting, buyers want a seamless experience. They want a digital solution that can help them carry out all the property-related tasks in one place. Perhaps, a custom solution – web portal development that can bridge the gap between realtors, agents, property managers, landlords, tenants, etc. One that can provide transparency and accountability when large financial transactions are involved. A digital backbone that helps real-estate businesses with audit and validation of compliances from government agencies. And buyers with hassle-free tenure.

All in all, the buyer’s experience, transparency, and compliance together drive the need for a digital transformation.

Now, the next question is how you can achieve it?

There are different approaches to shifting traditional real-estate business to market-driven technology. Let’s explore them one at a time.

Ways of Switching from Physical to Digital Transformation

  1. Smart Search and Buy

Nowadays, people prefer researching before making a final call. And that applies to real estate too. People search online about selling, renting, leasing properties, whereas real-estate websites help them find a suitable option. The search feature and filters make it easy to shortlist the properties and allow buyers and sellers to communicate directly. Digital transformation is a great tool to revolutionize your real-estate business with prospects.

If you have your own website, you can implement features like voice search, SEO, digital advertising to increase the response rate to communicate with the customer. Along with this, you can empower them to like, share, and comment about the service/property. It will help you gain insights into what customers like and what they prefer.

  1. Chatbot

They have been around for a long time now. Businesses use chatbot technology to automate customer support. The technology incorporates text, voice, and messages to talk directly to the customers.

For real estate, you can use a chatbot to ask customers about fundamental questions like budget, location, and type of property they’re interested in. You would say even a filter can do that. Well, a chatbot can support multiple prospects at one time. This smart assistant can shorten the sales lifecycle by engaging with customers proactively and connecting them to the dedicated real estate agents.

You can hand over all your repetitive and mundane tasks to a chatbot. It can collect rental applications, schedule meetings, property tours, and plan your marketing campaigns. With the collected data about your target audience, you can tailor listings to your customers’ needs and plan target marketing campaigns.

  1. Self-Support

If you haven’t thought about web portal development yet, do it now. Web portal solutions, aka, property portals allow realtors to market their services, interact with the customers, and streamline their business operations.

First, it allows collecting and tapping in an extensive online customer database. It makes it convenient for buyers and sellers to interact, despite the geographical differences. Secondly, it offers location-based services. That means a customer looking for a place in Lower Manhattan can find suitable options available in that area. You won’t have to be at the forefront to help them find one. Besides, most customers prefer searching for properties online. A property portal can provide them with the space to find, shortlist, and interact with sellers. It would make it easy for buyers and sellers to contact the agents, brokers, and other staff.

You can manage your entire operations from one centralized location. Also, with portals, your team and customers can sort their queries themselves using a knowledge base. Some web portal solutions also provide a community feature. Here, customers can engage and act as a supporting hand for one another.

Going for a web portal development means you would be free of handling customers’ data and your team’s operation.

  1. Big Data and CRM

For your real estate business to be successful, you need data, a huge collection of data comprising – properties, owners, customers, companies, renters, agents, brokers, and every other stakeholder. Collecting it offline or on Excel sheets is not a wise option. It can lead to data loss, discrepancy, fraudulent acts, and more. You won’t know what’s performing better and what needs rework – the demand of properties in an area, agents’ performance, customer data, etc. Using a CRM tool will help you in many ways.

On the one hand, it will store all your customers’ data and their interests. You can learn about customers’ preferences, buying/renting/selling behavior, the property type they’re interested in, and so. CRM will also provide you with your customers’ activity – properties they’ve shortlisted, liked, viewed, interacted with buyers/agents, etc.

On the other hand, all this data would help you make sound decisions. You can predict the market conditions from property buying, selling, and investment perspective and the price.

This data will also provide valuable insights about the deals in a day, properties rented, new customers, total sales, and more. Most importantly, these CRM tools will help you with better staff, resources, and customer management. All your data would be safely stored in one place. And you can access the data and run your business from anywhere, anytime.

  1. Digital Marketing

How do you inform the customers about the new properties? Perhaps, you call them or send a message, updating them about other options. You might even leverage WhatsApp for sending pictures of the properties. But is flooding their WhatsApp with property pictures and details going to help?

Most of the customers would delete without even having a look. So, you need to think of a marketing strategy to approach your existing customers and generate leads.

A digital marketing approach like email marketing could prove beneficial. You can send out personalized emails based on buyer profile and previous engagement. If you put in relevant content, the chances of customers opening the email and reading it would be more. Your open rate and CTR could be higher than average 27% and 3%.

Another excellent strategy is pay per click. It’s a great marketing strategy for businesses seeking potential customers who are genuinely interested in their services.

Sharing valuable content, SEO, webinar hosting are other profitable digital marketing strategies that you can implement.

  1. Virtual Walkthroughs

Virtual tours are a kind of digital marketing strategy. But, they can do more than attracting customers. With AR/VR-enabled tours, customers can get an idea of what a place has to offer them.

Purchasing or even renting a place is difficult. There are various factors that a customer needs to consider. Locality, for instance, whether it’s at a commutable distance from office/school or not. Next, does it have all the amenities? Proper ventilation, comfort, room and kitchen convenience, and all the tiny elements that real estate businesses fail to understand. As a real estate business, you need to understand that images/videos are not enough.

If your customers are not physically present, they would need to experience how it feels to be at that place. That’s possible with virtual walkthroughs. The feeling won’t be too real, but it would make their home buying journey easy. It will also free you of in-person visits and tours.

While providing virtual tours, make sure that:

  • Home footage is real and not digital illustration
  • Video is interactive and responsive on all the devices
  • Tour is 3D and user-friendly

Did I tell you that video content helps marketers generate revenue 49% faster than non-video content?

  1. Encrypted Security

Having a digital backbone brings with it transparency, accountability, and, most importantly, security. At the same time, a blockchain-driven web portal development brings with it more of these benefits. It provides an extra layer of transparency by allowing to trace the data right from the origin. It means that you would know every single activity and who has updated the record. Even customers would have a clear record of chats and discussions with the agent and brokers. There won’t be any miscommunication or fraudulent acts. Secondly, no one could tamper with the data inside the blockchain.

Implementing blockchain would provide you smart contracts and tokenization features. With smart contracts, you can cut off the middlemen and speed up the transactions. Most importantly, it would protect owners from property fraud. They can link the digital ownership of property, contracts, and documents to the blockchain. And as you know, it’s impossible to tamper or alter the documents inside the blockchain.

As for tokenization, it’s a digital representation of asset, value, function. For payment, cryptocurrencies can be used. Utility and security tokens are others on the list. The best part about tokenization is that you can invest in more properties with fractional tokenization.

  1. Social Media Engagement

When I need a place, the first thing I would do is log in to Facebook, join the property-related groups, and post my requirements over there. Because that’s easy, convenient, and presuming that I find one, I would know about the one renting/selling it.

Hence, it’s necessary to post real-estate-related content on Facebook consistently. Also, you or your agents/brokers have to be a part of these property ad groups and engage with potential customers. They can post their options, comment, and update the one-in-need about the availability. They can then discuss the requirements and help customers in the process.

Let me tell you that Facebook is all about finding places. It’s the best place to find potential leads. Even I found my home over there, of course, with the help of a broker.

  1. Omnichannel Experience

We have heard a lot about omnichannel mantras in retail. However, for real estate, it means delivering a distinct brand experience while fostering interpersonal relationships.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, customer loyalty is directly proportional to the number of channels customers can use to engage with the brand. That means real-estate businesses should invest in technology and reach their clients through various digital channels. They must provide customers with a seamless experience to carry on the conversation while switching from one device to another.

You need to understand that the customer browsing and buying decision is powered by technology and devices. Not everyone would use a laptop or a mobile phone. It has to be a balanced approach – everything for everyone.  

Summing Up

Buying or selling is one of the emotionally charged decisions of a customer’s life. And your role is of an expert adviser that guides and supports them in the process. So, make sure that you equip them with the most satisfactory experience. One way to do so is to partner with a web portal development company. Another is to revisit the article and implement all the approaches mentioned above.



Virtual tours, big data and CRM, cloud solutions, digital marketing, web portal solutions, omnichannel experience are a few factors driving the digital transformation of a real-estate business. Learn more.

Author Bio

Shah Maulik

Mr. Maulik Shah is the founder of CRMJetty, a hub of innovative customer relationship solutions, provides ready to CMS integrate portal solutions for various CRM, including partner portal solutions, business partner portal. Maulik is a tech enthusiast and writes about the various aspects of e-commerce technology.

About Author


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