Information sprawl is a major issue for real estate companies. Typically with multiple office locations and a remote workforce of agents, the ability to easily exchange information, communicate and collaborate with colleagues is vital to maintain efficiency in a highly competitive market.
But how do you go about curbing the sprawl of information? How can you streamline business transactions and empower remote workers? The answer is simple. A real estate portal offers the ability to achieve all of these outcomes in a single platform.
From keeping track of properties, viewings and keys, as well as updating listings, prospective buyer databases and keeping open clear lines of communication, a real estate portal can support your company’s operations.
Want to find out more? Carry on reading to discover how a real estate portal could transform your business.
Real Estate Portal Definition
A real estate portal is a private website containing all the tools your agents and support staff need in their daily work. It’s totally safe and secure as access is controlled and limited by a set of permissions. Each staff member gets to see just what they need to depending on their job role or office location.
What’s more, if you use a cloud intranet provider to deliver your portal, it is their responsibility for ensuring all external security aspects. This is achieved through the latest SSL encryption technology and a secure hosting environment.
With cloud-based intranets, there are existing features and templates that can be customized to suit your organization’s requirements. There are, however, a number of features that usually figure in a real estate portal. These include the following:
- document management
- individual and corporate calendars
- news and announcements
- online training and onboarding
- workflow and web-based forms.
Real Estate Property Management Software
Your business no doubt already uses some form of real estate property management software. There are certainly plenty of tools out in the market to choose from. However, very few can match the comprehensive nature of the cloud intranet portal. The portal can satisfy all your industry-specific needs and also provides a host of additional benefits including employee engagement, better collaboration between marketers and agents, as well as more streamlined and effective internal communications.
Let’s look in detail at the advantages a real estate portal has over other property management software options.
Advantages Of A Real Estate Portal
A cloud-based portal offers several benefits over and above other platforms. These include the following:
- Single sign-on. Instead of needing to use multiple apps each with their own passwords and logins, a real estate portal provides a front-end to corporate systems. Real estate agents and support staff can instead enjoy a common interface to corporate databases and business information systems, which saves time and hassle.
- Easy to set up. Some real estate property management software solutions are so complicated that you need a college degree in computing to install and operate them! A cloud-based intranet style real estate portal, by contrast, is straightforward and intuitive to set up. In fact, it’s been designed with the non-technical person in mind. Pretty much anyone can implement a portal with the minimum amount of time and fuss. Using fully customizable, pre-built and tested intranet templates is a fantastic time saver. In addition, piloting and testing have already been extensively carried out. This means you can have a fully functioning real estate portal up and running in just a few hours.
- Easy to manage. There’s no value in having a software solution that’s so convoluted to manage it ends up in the too hard basket with no one actually using it. A portal comes with a set of intuitive management tools. Whether it’s adding or deleting users, editing content, publishing information or pages, when it comes to ongoing management, a portal is a breeze compared to other software platforms.
- Online security, updates and backups are automatically taken care of. And if technology isn’t really your thing, then you will be pleased to know that the cloud intranet provider is responsible for all product updates and backups. What’s more, the provider is also responsible for ensuring the security and confidentiality of your important company data and information. With increasingly sophisticated online scams, hacking and malware, this is one major headache that you will be happy to avoid altogether.
- Mobile responsiveness. As we’ve seen, the real estate industry is made up of large numbers of telecommuters and field staff who spend most of their time out of the office. A software platform that is mobile responsive is, therefore, essential. A cloud portal has been optimized with the smaller screens of tablets and mobile devices in mind. However, none of the essential functionality is lost or compromised. Staff can access all the tools and information they need to provide responsive customer service even when they are out in the field. What’s more, the cloud nature of the intranet means that users can access the portal anytime and anywhere via an internet connection.
So, now that we know exactly what a real estate portal is, how it works and the advantages of using one, let’s turn our attention to the difference that it can make to your business.
Often real estate businesses have several offices located many miles apart. Generally, real estate agents spend most of their time on the road either meeting with potential clients or prospective buyers or networking at a variety of events. Often these agents are contractors rather than employees. The support and admin side of the business is located in the office, but the reality is that most agents are rarely in the office. Email is usually the preferred method of communication and many agents find themselves overloaded with a flurry of emails often resulting in the potential for miscommunication.
With this kind of backdrop, it’s not hard to see how communication can be a challenge. It needn’t be though, not with an office intranet. And here’s how it can help in the communications battle.
The portal’s home page can serve as a bulletin board so upon logging in each team member and agent is updated on all the important news and events whether or not they’re actually in the office. What’s more, you can organize the intranet with sections for different internal functions such as sales agents, rental managers, marketers or administrative staff. And you can also have sections for each office. In this way pertinent news and updates can be shared across offices as well as job functions.
Individual and corporate calendars are another great way to improve internal communications. Being able to access a personal calendar from your mobile device is a must for agents out on the road and the ability to synchronize this with the corporate calendar is a real bonus. In this way, important corporate events such as networking opportunities, team meetings or industry conferences will be displayed alongside the agent’s property viewings and appointments. In addition, the task of arranging meetings and appointments will now be much simpler for administrative staff back at HQ.
Document Collaboration and Management
Using a familiar file explorer interface, agents will be able to access all shared documents such as branded materials and templates. In this way, the company operations manual, personnel forms, marketing brochures and more will be at the agent’s fingertips even if they’re in the field. They will also be able to upload documents and photos of listings and properties.
Furthermore, staff can use the intranet’s collaboration features to include others in updating or actioning their work or preparing sales brochures and marketing materials for listings.
What’s more, it’s possible to embed your favorite Google Apps, such as Google Sheets or Google Docs, for extra convenience and ease of use. There’s no need to have multiple systems on the go – you’ll be able to access everything remotely from your mobile device.
Each step of the real estate transaction process involves completing a form of some description. From listing a property, ordering photos, signage and marketing collateral, or identifying potential buyers from the database of contacts to finally closing the transaction, there’s an amazing amount of paperwork to be completed! And for agents who are largely conducting business from their car or a café, streamlined processes will add to their productivity and efficiency.
The intranet portal is capable of automating the entire real estate business process. Using the portal’s intuitive customizable forms, all your existing paper-based processes can be automated and automatically routed to the appropriate person for action. Your agents will be able to complete vital business transactions more quickly and easily, freeing them up to get on with the more important job of selling real estate.
Real estate companies often have a relatively high turnover of staff. This may be due to the high-pressure nature of the job and the fact that it is usually commission based. In this context onboarding new agents is critical. You will want your agents to be up and running as soon as possible, equipped with all the tools and information they need so that they are not operating under any unnecessary pressure.
A real estate portal can include a special section for new agents featuring in one central location all the new agent’s onboarding information and requirements. Whether it’s completing a payroll form, being trained online in office procedures through a how-to video, or finding out about the local sales environment, the intranet can address all these needs.
Real Estate Portal In Action
So, what does a real estate portal look like in action? For real estate consultant, Lee Adkins, it was the one-stop, fully integrated nature of the MyHub portal that stood out when making a choice about which software solution to go for.
Lee had been using a variety of platforms to communicate with his large database of clients including YouTube, Dropbox and Google Drive. The sheer number made for a confusing and complex experience for customers and so was less than ideal. In addition, managing all those different platforms was becoming a time-consuming, administrative nightmare for Lee and his support staff.
The MyHub portal, by contrast, has created a smoother, more streamlined communication channel for Lee’s business whose clients are situated all over the country and in different time zones. A single, easy-to-access, mobile responsive portal has made it much easier for Lee’s company to communicate and share information. And for end users, a single software platform to source all the information they need makes life much easier. Plus they can access the data at a time that suits them rather than being constrained by a traditional nine to five set up.
‘The MyHub intranet is pretty darn easy,’ advises Lee. ‘The platform itself is intuitive and straightforward to use plus the ongoing support from MyHub has been amazing – really hands on.’
Lee concludes, ‘The overall experience is so important these days. And the MyHub experience was top notch. It was a pleasure to deal with real people rather than automated emails.’
Real Estate Portal Costs
Finally, a word about costs. A cost-effective solution that offers a real return on investment is, of course, an important consideration for your business. Well, all the great benefits we’ve talked about in this post are available for a fixed monthly fee. What’s more, the fee includes unlimited users and unlimited storage. So you get the benefit of cost certainty, making an intranet portal a very cost-effective solution.
It’s also worth a final word on employee engagement. Many real estate companies that have already implemented portals report increased levels of staff engagement. Being able to access information for themselves is really empowering for agents and administrative staff alike. It increases their morale and job satisfaction which means they’ll be more productive and less likely to leave. So make sure that you factor this into your cost-benefit analysis.
Want To Get Rid Of Information Sprawl?
If you’re interested in finding out more about what a difference a real estate portal could make to eliminating information sprawl in your business, then contact the team at MyHub today for a free demonstration. Better still, why not sign up for a 14-day no-obligation trial and explore for yourself the undeniable benefits on offer.