The final straw. What drives a Real Estate Brokerage to switch software and a guide to taking the leap.
I’m the head of sales at Loft47 and have been working with Brokerages on commission processing solutions for over 17 years. Through the years I have worked with thousands of Brokers / Owners / Managers in North America . Over time software system concerns have remained largely unchanged. The answers to those common concerns do change, as improving technology and platforms charge ahead to offer better, full featured and integrated solutions.
Better solutions provide better data for decision making, long term planning and offer valuable insights and efficiencies which directly impact the bottom line.
These are just some of the reasons Brokerages choose to drop their old systems to adopt better software and workflows.
My software is out of date and expensive
It’s no secret that the Real Estate industry has its fair share of aging platforms. Regional regulations require Real Estate applications to be flexible enough to cover multiple scenarios. While that makes it a little harder to launch new tools, modern solutions are popping up everywhere, tackling challenges from multiple angles. Your workflow and business requirements might be unique based on your region so talk to your colleagues, canvas your social media groups to see what others are successfully using. There are a number of solutions with different features to fit all types of brokerage business models.
Look for solutions with simple price structures which offer inclusive pricing. Ask about restrictions to the number of branch offices, staff logins, & data capacities. The last thing you want when working with a vendor partner is a confusing / constantly fluctuating pricing model. Find out how the price changes with the growth of your business. Pick something that will scale with you in the future and consider the value exchange for the price. Keep in mind that automation through software is typically less expensive than manual labor to achieve the goal.
My software is not accessible other than from my office / specific workstations
Make sure your next solution is mobile friendly. It should be accessible from any device that has an internet connection or access to cellular data. Time is too valuable to be tied down to a specific location or device when running your business. Now more than ever it is imperative to have solutions that allow people to work remotely, at any time necessary. Also, ask about any operating system restrictions. You should be able to run your office from a Mac or a Windows environment without adding on additional operating system software.
My software is difficult to use
In this day and age software really should not be hard to use, especially software apps that are built for a specific purpose or industry. Look for something that is intuitive & has good workflow. Evaluate the number of steps, clicks and data entry points it takes to process a real estate transaction. Good applications are intuitive and keep the user experience top of mind. Ease of use and a low learning curve is important, it also makes for low stress transitions and faster retraining for staff turnover.
My software vendor does not provide timely support
Look for a software partner that is proud of their support services and record. A guarantee is always great! Support is important and through technology (like in-app chat) there should be no reason that a software provider is not supporting it’s client base in a very timely manner. Responses should be measured in minutes, not hours or days. Working with companies that offer great support means you & your staff have 1 less headache to worry about.
I am worried about making a change
Change can be hard but it doesn’t have to be! There is so much to gain by updating your systems and workflow. The right software partner, team and plan can get you through that change with grace. Work with a brokerage solution that helps you with set-up data migration. Any brokerage with over 20 agents should not be hand entering basic data (like agent profiles) into a new system. The company you offer your business to should be able to load your set-up data & should provide training & ongoing support. Your software partner should also provide you with a consistent account manager so that you have a go-to person when needed. Ask your software partner for other brokerages in your area, of your brand & approximately the same size to talk to. Check out online reviews. As a part of due diligence you should check references to hear of others' experience with the software partner & whether or not they stand behind their claims. When you make a back office solution change you want to be confident that the new solution will move your business forward.
My software does not share data or connect with other software programs
When thinking about making a big change consider your core or anchor software. For many brokerages, their anchor software is the transaction management solution their agents use to create deals and gather electronic signatures. (For example, Dotloop / DocuSign Rooms / SkySlope.) It is more difficult to disrupt your agent processes than to re-invent the back office workflow. Any new solutions should integrate with your anchor system. Always evaluate the integrations offered carefully & find out if they are at any extra cost. All integrations that are offered should be able to be live demonstrated by the software vendor. Find out who is responsible for supporting the integrations you will use.
I am unsure if my commission data & accounting numbers are correct
Think about your current data & accounting. Ask yourself, on a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being good), how would you rate your data? Can you run production type reports that show your Agent / Team performance? Are you confident you are accurately collecting the brokerage profit portion of the commissions? Do you have a live (as in up-to-right-now) Profit & Loss / Income Statement that you trust? If you don’t trust your data, or know your financial position that is a big problem. When you are selecting a back office solution make sure you can easily dive into your reports to verify the numbers are correct. Talk to your software partner about how they see brokerages improve their overall accounting compliance, accuracy and data visibility. Your numbers are the window to the soul of the brokerage. They must help you make good business decisions. It’s the key to running a good business.
If you’re struggling with any of these common scenarios and want to make a switch, figure out what is bugging you & your staff. Think about the way your business looks and operates in a perfect world and try to get as close to those objectives as possible.
Loft47 was built to solve these standard problems for brokerages. Our cloud built software is accessible to all members of the brokerage & integrates with other real estate apps to eliminate any duplication of data entry. As a mobile platform, we have built-in features that offer workflow flexibility and allow Loft users to work from anywhere, for any reason (even good ones). We would love to have your company join us & believe you would be happy here in the cloud.
I love chatting with my clients; past, present and future. Reach out to me directly - firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to pick my brain!