Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We don’t see many Ford Pintos on the road.
Despite a recall-filled production run of nine years, the dumbed-down, knock-kneed sibling of Ford’s wildly popular Mustang simply failed to keep stride with consumer demand and 55-mile-per-hour speed limits. And when it comes to moving critical business data from one system to the next, paper is quickly following the tracks of the now infamous, flammable, slope-backed subcompact.
Thankfully, the developers of an app called AM Open House have taken notice of the delays and hassles caused by paper-based visitor sign-in sheets used at open house events. By using an iPad or Android tablet as an information kiosk for prospective buyers, agents can make open house events into something much more rewarding than another weekend at work.
The concept is simple: visitors to your open house type their name on a tablet screen instead of signing a paper form on a clipboard. It’s a common electronic form we’ve all completed a bunch of times on most websites, so its intent won’t frighten even the most tech-phobic tire-kickers.
AM Open House also asks for the prospective buyer’s credentials. For example, are they already working with an agent? If so, they add the agent’s name and number. It also inquires as to the buyer’s mortgage wherewithal and asks how they heard about the event.
However, before you put up the inflatable yard art, you have to create the event on the app. That’s simple, too. It takes filling in a few property detail fields, uploading images, and entering the dates and times.
As nice as AM Open House is, all of its power lies in what takes place outside of the house. I like that it’s very easy to share the open house with your social networks. Five of the major cat-video sharing outlets are connected, and via a tap or two, your client’s listing is out there. The posts look good, complete with dates, times, and images.
After the cookies have been served and all the hands are shaken, agents can sit at their client’s charming breakfast nook with all of that natural light and scroll through an in-depth summary of all sign-ins. You can then send a custom email to all attendees at once that will include a link to a brief webpage on the property (assembled from the event details you entered) and your contact information.
Brokerages can also have their app customized to reflect branding, which also includes representation in respective app marketplaces. Nice benefit.
From there, AM Open House connects with one of 15 different CRM (customer relationship manager) partners to get that data into a system that will leverage it. This is where the app excels, and where I see its best avenue for growth: connectivity.
Translating names and information written by hand is tedious and risk-prone. Handwriting can be hard to read or be rekeyed into on-premise CRMs incorrectly.
Ultimately, doing so further infects the data with human intervention. The quicker you can use the data provided by the market, the more good you can do with it. This is why electronic forms and document automation are so superior to paper. No printing. No scanning. No emailing. Data is born electronic; why must we hold it in our hands to prove it’s real?
It’s been four-and-a-half four-year presidential terms since electronic signatures became legally binding. Yet, today, one of you reading this has used a pen to sign a listing agreement or an offer that was printed on paper.
If I’m using AM Open House as a platform for how simple and smart I believe it is to replace paper with web-based transaction processes, then so be it. Real estate agents are early adopters, gadget hounds and exceptionally mobile. Yours is an industry to push for acceptance of such efficiencies. This app reflects that.
AM Open House announced this week that they are now doing business in Canada. That’s a good sign. The simplicity and connectivity that accompany this app will do a lot to perpetuate the concept that information flow is best left unabated by the hindrances of paper, printers and scanners.
And most of all, people.
When’s your next open house?
Do you use AM Open House? What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!
Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.