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When property management experts and agents come to planning their IT and software strategies for the future, they will have three main objectives in mind: greater efficiency, genuine cost savings and a good return on investment within a reasonable amount of time.
First things first, establish a budget and do your absolute best to stick to it. There may be additional or overlooked costs at a later date, but if you have a strict budget your chances of getting a quick return on your investment are that much higher.
To avoid being hit by unexpected budget-shattering costs, it's wise to factor the following things into your budget. The cost of training your employees on how to use the new estate agency software – after all, there's no point in having this great new software if your staff don't know how to use it. The more difficult a piece of software is to understand, the costlier it will be to get your staff trained up.
Also, taking away employees from their day-to-day work to carry out training on new software could have a detrimental effect on productivity – this should also be factored in when it comes to choosing your new system.
The costs of data migration/conversion should also be taken into consideration, as should any possible disruption to your business as the new system is installed. Unexpected customisation is another one. No matter how flexible and adaptable your new system is, it might still need to be tailored and customised to your agency's specific needs. Again, these possible costs should be planned for in your budget.
Flexibility and adaptability of a system is all-important – can the software adapt to change, whether that's changes to new tech or within the industry itself in the form of new legislation or market volatility?
Agents should also be very clear about what part of the business the software is for – for example, lettings, sales, property management, etc – and use this as a base when choosing their software provider.
Actual, physical demos of what the software provider is offering will help to build trust and help to reassure the estate agent that they are getting good value for their money.
Websites and videos can still be relied on to give a fuller picture, but with a demonstration a software provider has nowhere to hide if their product isn't up to the task.
What's more, thorough research should be carried out beforehand, giving the agent a clearer picture of the company they are dealing with and what their reputation is like. Getting recommendations from other agents about the reliability and quality of a software provider will further help to give peace of mind.
Choosing a system that fits you and your agency's needs is arguably the most important thing. Before you start, it might be useful to get input from staff and other key interested parties to decide on the software that will best work for your firm.
In many ways, choosing a software provider is like choosing a new employee – you need to know what you are looking for in the first place, you need to test their credentials and you need to ensure that they can do what they say they can do.
You will need to decide the levels of importance you give to things like price, functionality, reliability, usability and flexibility, as well as things like your “new integration” requirements.
Work out what your needs are in the above areas and subsequently set about finding a software provider who can tailor a product to these needs.
At Gnomen that is what we endeavour to do, bringing you all the latest software innovations to enable you to run every aspect of your business seamlessly, whether you're an estate agent, a letting agent or a property manager (or all three).
All the services we offer work together in complete harmony, allowing you to manage your workload and team effortlessly online and get to grips with our cutting edge, all-in-one software in just minutes.
To contact us or book a demo check out this page.
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