Realtors’ #1 Problem. Poor communication

Article updated Thursday, 21st July, 2016

Real estate agents have a problem, and it’s getting worse. We moan about it in the office and to each other over drinks at the bar. As we fall further and further behind the rest of the world, our problem only compounds itself. What’s our problem? How poorly we communicate with each other.

When we get a new listing, we spend hours and hours promoting it by phoning other agents, individually texting top producers, sending e-Blasts and hand delivering marketing flyers to other brokers. When we have a specific “Buyer Need”, we ring up top listing agents in certain neighborhoods praying they have a “Coming Soon” that has yet to hit the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) or the ever elusive “Pocket Listing“. In both cases, we continue to have the same conversation over and over, spending hours and hours inefficiently trying to get the word out.

Traditional social networks are not the answer

To try to solve the communication problem, real estate agents have resorted to hijacking Facebook and LinkedIn. Private social groups created by title companies, lenders and real estate agents have sprung up overnight. Private groups are a place where we can share information and talk privately with some in the real estate agent community, but we all know that only a fraction of the real estate agent community are active inside these groups. Not only does this put us at a disadvantage, is it fair to exclude people? Are these hacked social networks really the right answer to our problem?

  • They are not a real estate industry specific experience built from the ground up to to help a real estate community market and communicate with one another effectively
  • You can’t press a button and share listings discovered in social networks to clients and prospects by email and text.
  • You can’t post to one network and share it across multiple networks in one go. This makes social media marketing very time consuming.
  • There is little if any search capability, difficult when you are looking for a specific property.
  • You can’t choose to only receive listings/needs that fit a certain criteria. It is generally a firehose with no ability to tune down irrelevant posts.
  • You can’t easily contact agents by phone, text or email from their posts in social media.
  • You get very poor if non-existent support from the social networks as they are consumer not B2B focused.

Are real estate agents equipping themselves with the most powerful tools and technology to best help our clients with one of the most important transactions of their life?

It’s marketing like its 1999 in the brokerage

Then there is the Broker in-house problem. We all promote our clients’ up-and-coming needs in our weekly office meetings. We go around the room talking about new “Coming Soon” listings and “Buyer Needs” in the hope that we find the right match. Doesn’t this feel a little bit 20th Century?

88% of buyers and sellers use a real estate agent to complete their transactions. Real estate agents are the linchpins of the residential real estate community. Do we not deserve a better way to communicate with our teammates? Should there not be a single marketing and communications channel that is off the hated email network that is solely for brokerage teams to privately market their listings and needs 24/7 to each other? Have the client sign the listing agreement. Snap some photos and boom! Their home is being marketed to the brokerage community instantly.

I co-founded HipPocket to solve a problem that most real estate agents don’t even realize exists. Our goal is to help real estate agents communicate better, help them find qualified buyers faster and to provide a place where they can quickly and efficiently kick start their marketing efforts. To do this, there has to be one place a real estate agent can go to have one conversation with the entire real estate agent community, in real time.

Build your pre-MLS marketing network for zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing

Many, including me, advocate that real estate agents should quickly enter properties into the MLS to give their listings the most exposure, but this does not solve the communication problem. The MLS is not a place to build a conversation with the real estate agent community. It is a database, an all important data source for real estate agents, but in today’s world it simply has not caught up with how the world communicates. And it may never.

At HipPocket, we’re not here to compete with the MLS; in fact, we encourage all real estate agents to continue using the MLS as we always have. HipPocket is here to help solve the communication problem that all 1200+ Realtor Associations are struggling to solve. We augment the MLS by being the missing link, the communications layer essential in today’s market.

Plus we offer HipPocket for FREE to every agent in America (and now Canada) to market and communicate in real time with each other. We’re still figuring out a way to attract every agent but in the meantime, why not signup to HipPocket and invite a bunch of your agent network to meet you in it? It’s a free networking app that surely is better than tons of repetitive emails, texts and calls between agents.

As real estate agents, we have to figure out how we can stay relevant in the eyes of today’s consumers. HipPocket arms us with a peer-to-peer communication tool to share ad hoc information, real estate agent-to-real estate agent. Unlike the likes of ‘Zulia’, HipPocket is here to help real estate agents, not destroy our profession by selling our own data back to us. And if that isn’t reason enough to try HipPocket, then I don’t know what is. 

 

Learn more about the HipPocket app, signup and download from here.

 

Download from the app store

Clay Stapp

Clay Stapp

Clay Stapp. Co-Founder & Realtor Advocate at HipPocket, The Private Real Estate Agent Network™. Clay is a residential Real Estate Broker and owner of CLAY STAPP+CO, a boutique residential real estate brokerage known for their creative and sometimes aggressive marketing. CLAY STAPP+CO currently has 2 locations and 40+ Realtors. Clay is also a former software consultant experienced in web enabling backend ERP systems.

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19 thoughts on “Realtors’ #1 Problem. Poor communication”

  1. I pre-market my listings by telling other agents and everyone else I know as soon I have a Listing agreement in place. This includes listings that have an agreed upon future MLS listing date and consent from my Client to begin marketing efforts. I’m excited about leveraging this app to increase the exposure of these types of listing agreements, which may also address the argument that ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘Hip-Pocket Listings’ limit market exposure. Would you provide some details on future feature enhancements? Specifically, the feature that will change the hip pocket listing entered in the app to an inactive status once the listing becomes ‘Active’ in MLS.

    1. Yes Barbara — A wise Realtor always has listing agreement in place before doing any marketing on a property. Like safe sex, we at HipPocket highly encourage wise Real Estate practices. 😉

      We are currently working to add the following new functionality over the next couple of weeks: “Buyer Needs”, ability to edit a posting, and editing profile information.

      In the future, you will see Rentals, Area Following, Search, Realtor Following, Matchmaking, Gamification, and much, much more. Stay tuned!

      As far as listings on HipPocket vs MLS, we have always said that HipPocket would never compete with MLS. Once a listing goes on MLS then the status will change on HipPocket so Realtors will quickly and easily be able to determine if it is a true “Pocket Listing”. We are also exploring how long we will keep a listing “ACTIVE” on HipPocket. We want to keep the HipFeed fresh and updated.

      Ultimately, everything we are doing is to make life easier for Realtors. The app will be successful if it solves a problem. So, than you for your feedback and questions.

      Clay

  2. I like this idea because the Zillow and Red Fins of the world have hijacked us realtors. I hope this brings dinner power back to us. Also I agree with Barbara’s comment that I’ve it hours MLS it would need to show “Now Active on MLS” when it switches over from HipPocket.

    1. Carmen – Absolutely. Realtors have the data, knowledge & the clientele hence we also have the power to control our destiny. Unfortunately, we have fallen behind the technology race compared with the consumer facing companies you mentioned above. HipPocket will give us Realtors the chance to stay relevant in the minds of our clients and continue to be the #1 source for real estate related information.

  3. Yes Barbara — A wise Realtor always has listing agreement in place before doing any marketing on a property. Like safe sex, we at HipPocket highly encourage wise Real Estate practices. 😉

    We are currently working to add the following new functionality over the next couple of weeks: “Buyer Needs”, ability to edit a posting, and editing profile information.

    In the future, you will see Rentals, Area Following, Search, Realtor Following, Matchmaking, Gamification, and much, much more. Stay tuned!

    As far as listings on HipPocket vs MLS, we have always said that HipPocket would never compete with MLS. Once a listing goes on MLS then the status will change on HipPocket so Realtors will quickly and easily be able to determine if it is a true “Pocket Listing”. We are also exploring how long we will keep a listing “ACTIVE” on HipPocket. We want to keep the HipFeed fresh and updated.

    Ultimately, everything we are doing is to make life easier for Realtors. The app will be successful if it solves a problem. So, than you for your feedback and questions.

    Clay

  4. This sounds like just one more version of what you’re talking/complaining about. Entering a new listing into the MLS is the solution to all of the above mentioned issues. That gives the most data and information to the broadest market possible.

    1. Bill – You are absolutely right! Getting property listings and sales info into MLS is the ultimate goal. But you can’t walk out of a listing appointment and post your new listing immediately to MLS – it can take days or weeks. With HipPocket you can! In less than 3 minutes I can promote a brand new listing to Realtors in my community. More importantly I can quickly start a conversation with others about my new listing, a pocket listing or buyer need! It is super simple and incredibly powerful. HipPocket has been built to compliment MLS, not compete. We exist for one purpose only to help REALTORS sell more properties, faster! That is it!

  5. Great Job Clay. Golden Idea. I’ll certainly be more in touch through this app. I’ve always enjoyed working with you. Keep it going.

    1. Hi John – For the moment we are just an Apple iPhone App. We do work on the iPad though but it’s not a specific iPad app yet. We will start developing HipPocket.com as the desktop version later this year, with the Android app due in the new year most likely. Most Realtors we spoke to were quite pro-Apple so we chose to go that route initially. We will catch up though as fast as we can!

    1. We agree with you Carolyn! It’s early days but with Buyer Need, more photos, better notifications and Search, all in development, we’re hoping to become an invaluable app for all Realtors nationwide. Say good by to the drudge of emailing, texting, calling your Realtor connections. Post once to HipPocket and start a conversation for all to take part in. Thanks for your support!

  6. I didn’t find Hippocket available for Android or Windows phones. Is there plans for these OS’s in the near future?

    1. Hi Gary – For the moment we are just an Apple iPhone App. We do work on the iPad though but it’s not a specific iPad app yet. We will start developing HipPocket.com as the desktop version later this year, with the Android app due in the new year most likely. Most Realtors we spoke to were quite pro-Apple so we chose to go that route initially. We will catch up though as fast as we can! As for Windows, I’d have to say this is very unlikely I am afraid. There is not the demand for it I am afraid.

      1. As an appraiser I am very aware of poor or lainkcg data on MLS information sheets. I am in central Wisconsin and some data, such as age of a property, is only availabe from assessors who mostly work out of their homes and do not have web sites. When we get orders with short turn times we sometimes can’t find the assessor. It is such a simple process for brokers, who typically have weeks of time to get this info prior to sale but do not bother. We also have a problem with brokers referring to manufactured homes as one story and no mention that it is a manufactured home because they do not want buyers to shy away from them.

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