The Role of Technology in Real Estate Franchise Investment
AUG 14, 2023 by KEN CORSINI
Real estate investing is a viable means of building a sounder financial future for yourself. It also provides the opportunity to develop new properties, revive older ones, and in general make the community a better place to live. Opting to participate in a real estate franchise investment opportunity means tapping into deals that offer something for everyone involved.
There's a lot to be said for starting a real estate investment company, especially if you go with the right franchisor. Moreover, making the best possible use of current and emerging technology goes a long way toward increasing the franchise's success. By understanding how to harness technology, the franchisee increases the potential to make the business successful on more than one level.
An Overview of a Real Estate Franchise Investment
What's meant by a real estate franchise investment? Simply, it's a business model that provides the framework for making real estate deals. The franchise distinguishes itself within the marketplace by being able to make use of the franchisor's name, trademarks, copyrights, and all forms of support that are included in the franchise arrangement.
The nature of the real estate effort can take on different forms. Franchisees may choose to focus on remodeling older properties and selling them at a profit - a process commonly known as flipping. Another focus is acquiring and restoring properties that are held for the long term, generating steady revenue. Still others focus on real estate development and new construction.
Franchisees may choose to focus on specific types of properties. For example, most of the deals may have to do with residential properties. Others may opt to concentrate on developing new or restoring older commercial properties.
Opportunities vary from one market to the next. The savvy investor will be aware of what sort of real estate deals are currently showing promise, and identify ways to make the most of those opportunities. In some cases, urban renewal may be hot right now, motivating the franchisee to seek out opportunities to convert warehouses into lofts, restore older office buildings, or redevelop a former school into some sort of city-owned community center.
The National Association of REALTORS® has compiled data related to markets within metropolitan areas to watch during 2023 and the years following. This detailed report is a must-read for anyone considering the idea of securing a real estate franchise. When paired with the franchise training program offered by the franchisor, the new business owner will find that spotting opportunities with the market will be a lot easier.
Technology Trends Transforming Real Estate Franchise Investment
The ability to make the most of property investment franchise opportunities requires understanding how technology is changing the landscape within this industry. Strategies that worked for decades are no longer as effective, at least in their original forms. In some ways, the newest tools streamline some tasks, and make it all the easier to connect with potential clients. That in turn means a greater chance of being able to sell a restored property, find buyers for property in development, or even create a sound basis for holding properties that consistently generate income.
How has technology altered the playing field within the real estate game? Consider the following:
Property Listings Online: No longer confined to newspaper ads and tear sheets, websites and social media make it all the easier to find viable properties, and aid in advertising them for sale later on. A single listing can be shared on multiple sites, increasing the odds of attracting attention. Judicious use of search engine optimization in the content makes it more likely that the greatest number of interested parties will see the listing.
Depending on the website, it may be possible to provide access to aerial views of the property and even the surrounding area. This can provide potential buyers with some idea of what sort of amenities, such as access to a major thoroughfare or plenty of shopping, may be close by.
Apps for Mobiles: No need for people to be tethered to a laptop or desktop to see what's available. Mobile apps mean being able to see what can be bought or what's in development with relative ease. This is a boon for both buyer and seller, since many apps make it easy to narrow the search results based on factors like property type, location, purchase price, and even the number of bedrooms.
Virtual Tours: Not so long ago, real estate websites might have still images of building interiors and exteriors. Today, it's possible to conduct full 3-D virtual tours, allowing potential buyers to get a close look without the need for an open house or a private showing. This can save a lot of time and effort for both the franchisee and the client, since it's easy enough to decide if a physical inspection should follow the tour, or if moving on to a different property would be a better idea.
Investment Via Crowdsourcing: Using the Internet to attract investors, even a series of smaller investors, is one way to secure the working capital for purchases, updates, and renovations. This can sometimes be an easier route than attempting to attract a small group of angel investors to cover the costs of the project. Best of all, franchisees may find that this method of securing funds is more cost-effective than going through a traditional lender.
It's not just about raising money for investment projects. People who have limited funds to invest but want to do something with those non-essential funds have the ability to pool their resources with other small investors. When the project is successful, the return can be worth the time and effort.
Artificial Intelligence: AI tools can help with the real estate investment process in multiple ways. On the front end, it's possible to use the tools when evaluating the potential of a property. The right questions can lead to having a good idea of what sort of expenses would be involved with a restoration. AI can even project the potential net profit on the restoration project, given prevailing economic factors within the community. AI can also aid in preparing the copy to populate ads, creating website designs, and in general provide updated analytics related to a project. All it takes is adding fresh data to generate revisions of projections on revenue, something that the franchise owner will want to do on a regular basis.
Electronic or Digital Signing Services: Real estate deals come with a lot of paperwork, and that means quite a few signatures before anything can happen. The more people involved in the process, the greater number of signatures involved. A digital signing service makes it all the easier to collect legally-binding signatures in a short amount of time. Best of all, those same services can make sure all participants have electronic copies of the documents, with all of the signatures showing.
Without a doubt, making use of current technology, and whatever is developed next, will make things easier for the franchisee, and aid in moving the business forward.
Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity through Technology
Perhaps one of the immediate ways that using technology aids in the function of a real estate investment franchise is speeding up the process of getting day-to-day tasks completed. A lot of resources can be consumed on administrative tasks alone. When technology is able to streamline those tasks, accomplishing more with fewer resources is the result.
What can technology offer on this front? It can be used to create social media posts, update listings, and add new listings when the occasion arises. The right resources can analyze data on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in minutes. Use technology to measure the success of marketing campaigns, and even to isolate and tap into potential leads.
Virtual Reality is a prime example of increasing efficiency. Using VR to create online tours of properties saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent traveling to and from the site, waiting for prospects to show up, and possibly finding they don't like the property after all. Instead, buyers can take an online tour, decide if they want to see the property up close and personal, then request a showing.
A related approach, known as augmented reality, is great for creating presentations on properties that are undergoing restoration, or are being developed from the ground up. Using CAD tools, it's easy to create animation that shows what's being done, how things are going, and what the finished project will look like. It's an excellent visual tool for attracting investors.
Technology even helps with customer service and support. Common questions and concerns can be resolved using programs designed to help clients. Thanks to AI, those responses can be made more personable and seem less like a canned response.
Leveraging Digital Marketing and Social Media
Today's technology makes it easier to develop and implement digital marketing strategies. This ranges from ad deployment to email and text marketing to populating social media accounts with ongoing posts.
Social media is a powerful way to attract attention and build an audience, provided the effort is consistent and proves to be informational and entertaining. The right tools make it easy to schedule new posts to deploy on a regular basis, and even provide basic responses to certain types of posts. There are even programs that can aid in isolating and removing spam responses to the posts.
The goal of all these efforts is to build additional brand awareness, create an atmosphere of engagement, and provide information that investors need in order to make decisions. It's possible to spend an hour or two entering data, then leave the process of managing media posts, marketing campaigns, and other elements to software. When and as you like, it's easy to run reports that provide a picture of how well the efforts are going.
Technology-Driven Competitive Advantage
So how does technology provide your real estate investment franchise with an edge in the marketplace? Essentially, you have information that you need sooner rather than later. That includes:
Discovering distressed properties to buy: you may find out about them before most of the other agencies in town.
Analytics help you decide if the location of a property is conducive to a quick turnaround after the property is restored.
Identifying leads and converting them to prospects. Being the first to make contact and establish rapport increases the odds of a successful transaction.
Building Recognition: technology helps you become known in the market, hopefully in a positive light.
Faster closings and paperwork filings: Nothing is left undone, and it's all in compliance with current requirements. That's good for you and the client too.
Remember that location is key to determining the viability of investing in a property. If there's evidence that the area is about to boom or possibly recover after a long slump, analytics can point that out. This gives the investment activity more direction, and increases the odds of making wise choices.
Given the fact that technology is always developing something new, it's to your advantage to stay on top of what's happening. The next big release may be just what you need to further distinguish your franchise in the local real estate market. Since the goal of your Red Barn Homebuyers franchise is to generate profits while helping people get what they want in the way of property, every tool that you can secure is a good thing.
There may be some challenges related to embracing technology as part of your real estate investment operation. One has to do with being willing to learn how to use the tools effectively. This can be especially difficult for anyone who is used to older methods and found them to work well in the past.
Another is some anxiety about learning how to make use of technology. If you're one who thinks that the tools are beyond your ability, push the idea aside. There are instructors who can explain things in a way that you grasp readily. In addition, there are tools designed for use by those who have yet to feel at home with technology in general.
As it relates to risk, one of the most prevalent has to do with security. Using online resources to accomplish tasks does involve only opting for property encrypted and protected tools. Be sure that whatever you use comes with data privacy protections, provides alerts when data breaches are attempted, and provides a means of backing up data to a secure cloud location on a regular basis.
Future Outlook and Conclusion
Use of the Internet is not going to decline anytime soon. You can expect more and more people to turn to online technology as a way to find properties and investigate them. You need to be easily found by those buyers, and be in a position to show that you have what they need.
Expect new technology to continue impacting the way that you structure and manage the business, including how everyday tasks are carried out. The outcome will be an operation that's easier to manage, accomplishes more each hour of operation, and is in a position to reach more clients and investors with ease.
Now is the time to check out franchise opportunities and the kind of technological resources that come with those offerings. Once you find the franchise that's a good fit for your goals in real estate, it will be easy to augment what's already included with any additional technology that's needed to increase the odds for success.