Mobile phones and devices and electronic communication, in general, are how most of us consume and retrieve information and interact with the world daily. McColly Real Estate gets this and decided last year it was time to be a leader in this space. They have since delivered.
Since launching their new technology platform in the fall of 2019, McColly Real Estate has heard from both clients and brokers about how the improvements have made for a better researching, buying, and selling experience. It’s what earned the family-owned and operated company two prestigious badges for Best Mobile and Best Property Detail from the independent RISMedia – a leader in covering real estate and home services trades.
Joel Krooswyk discovered McColly Real Estate when buying a house about six years ago. Broker Myra Harris from the McColly Lowell office was actually representing the seller, but Krooswyk said they had such a fantastic experience that he decided to work with Harris again, this time, having her as an agent.
“We found ourselves getting involved in properties as investments, and since then, we’ve worked with Myra to purchase six additional homes,” Krooswyk said. “I have a very specific taste for what I’m looking for in a home, and I know I can jump right on the website and get the details I need for my first piece of research.” (Hence, the Best Property Detail badge).
While the technology is exceptional, Krooswyk said the personal service he gets from McColly Real Estate boosts its effectiveness.
“The advantage is that I also have an agent looking out for me. I might find something on the site, but then I’ll also get a call from McColly to check out a new listing,” Krooswyk said. “I can tailor my searches and get links sent to me for homes that meet that criteria, and the fact that I’m communicating regularly with an agent who is responsive – that sets it apart for me.”
Krooswyk just closed on his latest home with McColly this past December.
Harris said she isn’t surprised McColly is taking the lead on technology and mobile and web experiences in the Region.
“The day I joined McColly in 2005, I had my own personal website, and I haven’t looked back since,” she said. “The support we have from Monica Decker, Director of Marketing & Technology, Heather McColly, and the company as a whole to deliver the best experience for our clients is fantastic,” she said, adding that Krooswyk is a sharp investor and a pleasure to work with, both from a technology and face-to-face perspective.
Broker Mary Beth Meyers from the McColly Valparaiso Office said she has recently experienced first-hand how the optimized technology platform helps connect her directly with clients who are looking for information.
“We have to remember that when people are going online for home searches, they want what they want, immediately. We have to deliver that, but we also have to be accessible and available to answer their questions,” Meyers said.
Just last week, Meyers acted on a tip from Heather McColly, Director of Career Development for the agency, and shared a listing link to some social media pages. The feature allows the agent to share a specific property link, directing the potential buyer right to that property’s page with all the information they need to contact the agent as well.
Meyers received calls and emails that very day from people who had interacted with the post on Facebook Marketplace.
Meyers said the feature that allows agents and potential sellers and buyers to research the estimated value of their homes has been most effective for her.
“I access our market analysis program (called Present) at least twice a day, but usually more like three to four times a day to help buyers and sellers. The functionality of it saves me so much time compared to the way we used to gather this information. That’s more time I can spend with my client,” Myers said.
Harris echoed. “I can give my clients three estimates on a home evaluation on the local market, and that gives them the information they need to make a good offer or set a good price for their home. Not too high – not too low, but right where it should be.”
The What's My Home Worth? feature is helpful for consumers because they can easily visit mccolly.com and enter their street address to find the estimated worth of their homes thanks to technology that scrubs this information from Zillow, Eppraisal, and a third automated valuation module. But since modules like Zillow don’t necessarily know the neighborhoods or any upgrades you’ve made to a home, it’s important to connect with a local agent for a better picture. The leads go directly to a McColly agent so they can follow up and get connected. With the time that Myers saves on gathering all that info herself, she can do just that.
Sue Satoski, a McColly broker, is newer to the McColly family, having joined in October 2019. She came from the medical field, and is no stranger to the complexity of technology in a corporate environment.
“Just since I have come on board, they have rolled out all of this new technology platform that makes life so much easier for buyers, sellers, and agents,” Satoski said, particularly noting the SkySlope electronic document signing technology that adds a secure but convenient element to the buying and selling experience. Satoski said that regardless of how comfortable a client is with technology, the e-signing system is simple and easy to use. “I was just talking to a client today who is in her 70s and hasn’t mastered the wave of technology that has overcome us, but by the end of it, she was very comfortable and was telling me how excited she is about the process,” she said.
“Probably one of the biggest benefits that I have found is the ease of taking listings, or taking my personalized website, and actually sharing that on so many different media platforms. When I can take my information and get it out there easily, I am able to reach potential clients a lot easier. It’s not just a website that someone happens upon accidentally – they’re seeing information and we’re able to provide it quickly and conveniently.”
Myers and Harris both make sure to share their agent-branded McColly Real Estate Search App download link with all potential and current clients, as it provides that mobile-optimized convenience that consumers demand.
“It has some really neat features on it,” Harris said. “You can take a picture of a house, and then the app will show you similar houses in your area. There’s also a mortgage calculator – it’s just really savvy.”
The Best Mobile and Best Property Detail badges given by RISMedia and Real Trends Web Rankings represent a comprehensive review of company sites nationwide. The Best Mobile badge recognizes that responsive web design makes websites that fit multiple screen sizes. For the design and development, it means one version of the website that adjusts to both desktop computers and mobile devices. Fluid layouts, flexible images and individually catered landing pages are the three technical ingredients for responsive web design.
The Best Property Detail badge recognizes that pages give customers detailed data and information at the property and market level. Home details that include historical sales price, year of sale, tax information, bedrooms and baths, and other data points should be included. Also, a highly ranked website will allow users to easily query for comparable sales.
Within the first two weeks of implementing the technology platform, McColly saw a 23 percent increase in web activity.
Satoski said that the technology McColly has implemented – while definitely high-tech – is a direct reflection of the company’s focus on personalized communication, to clients, and to each other.
“I came into this company as a new career, and I have not met one person at McColly who hasn’t been very welcoming, helpful, and happy to be a part of team McColly. That kind of solidified it for me that I made the right decision,” Satoski said. “Even the technology we use is in place because Ron McColly started this company with a main focus to keep it personal, keep it like a family. After I had met him only one time, he gave me a hug, welcomed me, and knew my name – and he wants nothing but prosperity for me and my clients. That’s a company I want to be involved with.”
To engage with McColly Real Estate’s useful home buying and selling tools – like property searches, home value calculators, or to sign up for notifications of upcoming properties before they hit the market, visit https://www.mccolly.com/. To download the McColly App, visit https://app.mccolly.com/ .