6 Resources and Apps Every Housing Agent Should Have Readily Available
Technology is often seen as the demise of the real estate industry, with many housing agents concerned that they’ll eventually lose their job as tech takes over. But, it’s those housing agents who can embrace technology and use it to their advantage (instead of shunning it away) that end up bringing in more clients and becoming even more successful.
So, instead of turning away technology, finding ways to incorporate it into how you do business—especially with expats who are coming to you for help in finding their new home abroad—can help you establish more connections and welcome more clients.
Even if you’re not especially tech-savvy, don’t worry. Simply getting acquainted with a few of these reliable resources and apps—which you could also share with your clients—will go a long way.
As a housing agent who works with clients from abroad, you’ll likely have to answer a lot of questions that you wouldn’t have to answer for local clients. One thing that expats want to know when they’re relocating is what the cost of living will be where they are going, and how that cost compares to what they are familiar with. This helps people get a better idea of what their housing budget will be, so that you know exactly where to find the best home for them.
Numbeo is a great website where people can compare the cost of living in one town, city, or country to another, but also, get an idea of how much things like food, rent, clothing, and entertainment will cost in their new home. With this information, your prospective clients can narrow down their search and also be confident that you’ll be showing them places that are on par with what locals pay.
Similar to Numbeo, Expatistan is a website that provides information regarding the cost of living in a given area. However, Expatistan focuses more on comparing two places together, doing so in percentages. For instance, if you compare Los Angeles to Madrid in Expatistan, you’ll see that Los Angeles is 42% more expensive than Madrid (as of July, 2020), and in what aspects. Again, this is a good way for you as the housing agent to determine what your client’s expectations will be cost-wise, and for them to determine what their new reality will be financially.
3. XE Currency
Speaking of money, expats who are relocating from one country to another will, in many cases, not only have to deal with differences in cost of living, housing, food, culture, language, etc., but currency. Understanding how the currency someone is familiar with measures up to the new currency they’ll be dealing with, is an important consideration when moving abroad. It also makes a big difference depending on whether or not your client will be getting paid in local currency, foreign currency, using their savings or assets, etc. And, this can actually be another important question to ask your client (if they are comfortable). Either way, XE Currency Converter is a tool that gives the user live market updates of currency conversions, and it’s very useful to use but also share with your client if they don’t already know about it.
4. Google Maps
While most housing agents probably know the community they work in like the back of their hand, things start to take new shape when dealing with expats who are relocating to your market. This is where Google Maps comes in handy. With you and your prospective clients utilizing this app, it’s easy for them to visualize where they could be possibly living, and/or search for what type of neighborhood they’re looking for based on where it is on the map.
If your client says, for example, they really want to live near a dog park, or they want to be able to get to public transportation easily, Google Maps can help you collaborate and find the best place. And, if your client is hiring you to find them a home that’s ready upon their arrival, Google Maps can help them get acquainted with their new neighborhood beforehand.
Tip: If you’re working with expats who will be relocating to the United States, websites like AreaVibes, Niche, and Walkscore can help answer many questions about a given area that may be difficult to answer in such a large country.
5. Google Translate
Google has plenty of excellent tools for housing agents and their clients to utilize. Maps is one, but let’s not forget about Google Translate, either! Housing Agents who work with clients from abroad likely already speak another language fluently; this is, after all, one of the main skills that sets them apart from other agents, and why someone may choose to work with you over another housing agent.
Yet, even if you are fluent in a second language, we all forget words sometimes, or we have expressions that are difficult to understand. Having Google Translate readily available is an important tool for all housing agents that work in this market.
Speaking of language (no pun intended!), it’s likely that a lot of the correspondence you’ll be having with clients will initially be over email, until you can meet them in person. (Of course, sometimes, depending on the situation, you may never have to meet them at all!). Regardless, being as professional over email as you can is important in terms of how the client will view you. If English is not your first language—and, it’s the common language between you and the client—then installing Grammarly, an app that uses AI to automatically check grammar in your emails, can really help out.
(Of course, if you have a client that expects you to be perfect in English, don’t feel bad asking them to take their business elsewhere.)
These are just a few of the apps, resources, websites, and tools that global housing agents should have readily available. Whether you’ll be using them to aid in your work or to share with clients (or both!), it’s easy to understand how imperative technology can be in this industry. So, don’t turn away from it. Use it!
Global network of real estate agents HousingAgent.com
Many agents and agencies work with corporate clients, HR departments and relocation companies to help find the ideal property if relocating for a job. They are, therefore, very accustomed to helping expats navigate the property market, and they are aware of the ways in which the system differs from expats’ various home countries.
HousingAgent.com is promoting real estate agents on a global scale to relocating expats and locals.