Three apps that can fill the gaps for busy brokers

If you’re a busy broker and don’t have access to an in-house network of brokers that can assist when you get buried in appointments, then look to these apps, where you can outsource the work to other licensed brokers to keep you afloat. It’s like Uber for real estate help: you post your need, whether it be a one-off showing, a buyer tour or sitting an open house, and voila! You will have licensed brokers who will respond and fulfill your need, just like that Uber driver who is nearby to pick you up and drive you to where you need to go.

On the flip side, these apps are great for new brokers who want to learn the business and earn money while doing it. It’s gig work for brokers. And it’s not just for newbies; veteran brokers can also make some extra cash in their spare time.

Manage your time more effectively

These apps are one-stop shopping for finding assistance without reaching out individually to multiple brokers with countless calls, texts and emails to get coverage when you are overbooked. Real-time follow-up of task completion, immediate feedback to and from the broker you have hired, and compensation are all done within the app.

The apps vary on what they offer, what they cost and how they work. The three that caught my attention were SHOWforME, BrokerAssist and Showami. Sign-up for all is free and ensures that the participating brokers are licensed and able to perform real estate-licensed activities.

It’s best to identify your needs. If you only need showing coverage, then Showami will work, as that is all they do. If you also need open house coverage, then SHOWforME and BrokerAssist are your options. If your needs exceed that, then BrokerAssist is the way to go.

Determine which price structure works best for you

The nice thing about these apps is that you can avoid awkward conversations about payment. The hiring price is posted loud and clear and in most cases is set by the hiring agent and can be negotiated.

With SHOWforME, a flat-fee price varies depending on your location. This starts at $30, but in my Chicago market, it costs $50 for the first showing and $15 for each additional property, and it is paid upfront. SHOWforME takes a 20% cut, pays the agent and charges you in full once the task is completed.

Showami’s base price starts at $39 and varies by region. For my Chicago market, it is $44. But you can increase that amount as you wish, with a cap at $199. They also allow for tips after the job has been completed. However, they take the biggest percentage — on a $39 showing, the assisting agent only gets $24, roughly 40% going to the app! With Showami, the assisting agents may counter your posted offer and ask for more.

BrokerAssist allows you the freedom to set your own price. You pay the assisting agent directly once the task is complete, and the app does not take a cut! I like that. If no one is accepting your offer, you can increase it until you find a taker.

The process can vary from app to app

Each app has its own way of doing things. For instance, Showami allows you to choose your preferred agent when you submit a request. That agent has a 10-minute lead time to accept before it goes out to others. If an agent is not found within 30 minutes, Showami will notify you and you can decide if you want to up your price. They will continue that process until 30 minutes prior to the showing request unless you stop it. If it goes unaccepted, you are not charged. The nice thing about Showami is that you have the option to schedule the actual showings on your own OR the showing agent can schedule the showing appointments for you (another time-saver) and then will inform you once confirmed. From there, you let your clients know what the schedule is and whom they will be meeting. One hour after the showings are complete, hiring agents have the opportunity to leave a tip.

Broker Assist has very detailed profile pages with star ratings. Once you post a job, it gets plotted on a map with the offering price. Assisting agents can open the post, review the details and determine if they would like to accept. If they do, the requesting agent will receive a notice that they have an interested broker to take on the task. If multiple brokers are vying for the same post, you can review their profiles and determine which is the best fit. Hiring agents can stay on top of posts that are still “open,” “pending,” “confirmed,” or “closed.” Assisting agents can track which ones they have applied for that are pending or confirmed. Once the agents have been selected, you can call or message the assisting agent with more private info (lockbox codes, names, etc.) and use their calendar integration to add it to your calendar. After the task is done, notes can be left on how it went.

The SHOWforME app requires you to identify your brokerage when you register. If your firm is not listed, you have to go under “other,” and any agent from any firm can pick it up. Otherwise, it will be limited to just agents within your firm. You have the option to schedule the showings on your own or have the assisting agent do it for you. Once these are scheduled, you inform your clients who they will be meeting and what kind of car they have. You can watch in real time on a map where the assisting agent is on their route to the showings, just like Uber.

These apps are real winners to keep your life and schedule in balance, plus retain your client and your commission while another broker shows homes for you. Assisting brokers love making the extra moolah, but most of all, it’s a win-win for your clients! They get to see the properties they want to see when they want to. No one can be everywhere at all times, but now your clients can be accommodated at their convenience, and the ability to get them in, especially in low-inventory markets, is going to keep them happy.

Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at anne.luxhomechicago.com.

Welcome to the real estate paradox

By Sandesh Bilgi, Vice President of Global Learning, Sotheby’s International Realty

“Did I choose the right brokerage? I don’t know, maybe I did; I am not sure; maybe I should switch, but I am happy here and comfortable. But I am not getting what I want — maybe somewhere else will give me more. I could ask for more commission. What am I paying for? Is this the right brand? Are they nickel-and-diming me?”

Stop right there.

You think that the grass is greener on the other side — well, keep thinking that, because in either case you will still have to mow it. That means the grass still grows on both sides; which one will you water and take care of?

The truth is you are happy where you are at, and you have all the tools and resources that you need. You just need to start using them. You have an incredible company, an awesome brand, a stellar leadership team (trust me, I know them), but you have to stop blaming them and be accountable for your actions. I know that you are fully capable of being the next top producer, and you have amazing support. You just know that this is the right fit for you, but you still have self-doubt that prevents you from cashing those checks.

It all comes down to your own mental mindset, your ability to believe in yourself and the true understanding of your why.

Again… Stop. Take a deep breath and let yourself know that you are at the right brokerage, this is the perfect fit, you have all the tools and resources that you need to be successful and you are aligned with the perfect support system to get you through the abyss to become successful and make money.

Welcome to the real estate paradox: we always want more, we seek differentiation, we yearn for opportunity, we need more money, but we don’t change. We want now-money but have futuristic behavior and choices. We struggle with maintaining business while trying to generate business — well, guess what? We all struggle with the same.

The answer is simple:

  1. Know your capabilities: Are you building a sustainable business?
  2. Understand your value proposition: Are you leveraging all of your assets and those of your company?
  3. Perfect your market: Do you know all the stats and trends of your target area?
  4. Running a business: Do you know your numbers?
  5. Be a specialist: Would someone pay you to ask you a question because you are an expert?
  6. Have a plan: Do you know what you are doing?

Now that you understand this… go look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are aligned with the best brokerage, you have the magic wand, you know where to go and you are ready to make it happen.

Welcome to real estate, whether you are one day, one month, one year or a lifetime in the business — we all struggle with this. But you are not alone, and no one can figure this out for yourself but you. You are in the right place.

Stay the course, build a bridge, dig deep not wide, capitalize on opportunities, have fun and believe in yourself. You have made the right decision, and the minute you question it… make a phone call and ask the right question… someone will always answer. Once again, you are in the right place at the right time, and that time is now.

For more on choosing the right brokerage, check out AgentEDU’s course on the best real estate company to work for.

Sandesh Bilgi is the vice president of global learning for Sotheby’s International Realty. He is responsible for the learning and coaching platform for all the agents worldwide for the brand focusing on agent productivity, value proposition, business planning and lead generation. Sandesh also works with broker owners and leadership to develop a retention and recruitment strategy and plan of action. His mastery of skill with over 20 years in the real estate space is based on mental preparation, positive planning and energy realignment. Sandesh can be seen everywhere — just look. (Facebook, LinkedIn).