Inman contributor Brandon Doyle made it his goal to interview 100 real estate professionals. Here’s a Snapshot of those conversations.
Andrew Flachner, a technologist, real estate expert and entrepreneur, was drawn to the complexity of real estate transactions at a young age. At just 18 years old, he obtained his real estate license and embarked on a journey that would see him co-found RealScout, a proptech company that has since been transforming the way agents and clients interact.
“As you might imagine, starting so young in an industry where experience is highly valued, I did encounter some skepticism,” Flachner shared. He overcame these initial challenges through humility and eagerness to learn, choosing to pair up with a top broker in his market.
Despite facing some skepticism due to his age, Flachner found most industry professionals receptive to his fresh ideas and youthful energy.
His early years as an agent were marked by a noticeable disconnect in the way agents and clients searched for homes. He quickly realized that existing technological tools, such as IDX websites, were falling short of their promises, leaving clients on one page and him on another. This sparked the creation of RealScout. “I saw this disconnect and thought, there’s got to be a better way to do this,” he recalls.
Developing RealScout’s consumer-centric approach
Entering the saturated real estate technology market wasn’t an easy feat. Flachner and his team had to think outside the box, focusing on a consumer-centric approach. “We created a more neutral search experience because our research showed that agents didn’t trust websites that looked like they were built by brokerages or agents, in large part because consumers felt like they were only seeing a partial view of the total available listings on the market,” Flachner explained.
The result was a portal-like experience designed to keep both parties on the same page, distinguishing RealScout from competitors.
When asked about upcoming features for RealScout, Flachner expressed excitement, promising enhancements that will engage, nurture and convert people no matter where they are in their real estate journey. Previously RealScout was focused on incubating buyers, but now they’re looking at ways to engage sellers as well.
Flachner sees an open ecosystem as a cornerstone of RealScout’s future. His vision is to create a tech ecosystem that addresses the cyclical nature of the real estate market, allowing for seamless transitions between buyers and sellers.
Flachner has been recognized with prestigious honors, including Forbes 30 under 30. Despite the accolades, he remains grounded, focusing on creating value for real estate professionals and their clients. “The real reward is seeing the positive impact we’re making in the real estate industry,” he said.
His journey in the industry has been marked with memorable experiences. When they couldn’t afford a booth at Inman, he and his team dressed up to “be the booth,” highlighting features one could search by on RealScout. “I was a ‘large backyard,’” Flachner recalled, laughing.
Working at the intersection of technology and real estate
Flachner remains passionate about the intersection of technology and real estate. As he noted in his ICSF keynote, he believes technology should be used to enhance the human touch in real estate, not replace it. He urges agents to embrace technological change and look for tools that can make their work easier, more efficient and more effective.
When asked about advice he’d impart to real estate agents, Flachner said, “Beyond simply increasing the number of leads, agents should shift their focus towards nurturing the leads they already have. There’s a common misconception in the real estate industry that success is a numbers game, where more leads directly translate to more sales. While it’s true that leads are necessary, it’s not just about the quantity; quality and engagement significantly matter.”
According to Flachner, many agents spend time and money generating additional leads while overlooking the low conversion rates for those same leads. To make leads count, agents need the time and tools to effectively nurture and engage with them.
“By focusing more on the leads they already have, and leveraging the right approach and tools, agents can significantly improve their conversion rates, turning leads into actual clients,” Flachner said. “For instance, an agent who increases their lead conversion rate from 1 percent to 2 percent effectively doubles their gross commission income, without spending any additional funds on lead generation.”
The key to success lies in engagement. Agents need to maintain consistent, relevant and personalized communication with their leads, providing them with valuable insights and building trust over time. Technologies like RealScout can be a game-changer in this area, offering agents the tools they need to more effectively engage and convert their leads.
The technological landscape in real estate can seem overwhelming, but it’s crucial to recognize that technology is a tool, not a replacement for the human connection that’s at the heart of every real estate transaction. Approach technology as an ally, not an adversary, and leverage tech tools to streamline your workflow, enhance communication with clients and make data-driven decisions.
Ultimately, according to Flachner, the goal is to strike a balance between technology and the human touch. Real estate is a people business, after all, and technology should serve to enhance that human connection, not replace it.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.