The Real Deal Miami

New real estate technology gives brokers a Web upgrade

By Alexander Britell | May 19, 2011 04:28PM

Sarah Boggs was on her computer late last night, updating her social media outlets concerning a new home she was listing. By this morning, she was already receiving calls.

Boggs, an agent with Keller Williams in Miami, is one of a number of agents who have signed up for a new real estate app, Esolist. The technology, founded by two Miami entrepreneurs, gives brokers nationwide the ability to create a standalone website for each of their listings, along with consolidating their social media feeds in one place.

“[Esolist] sort of incorporates single-property Web pages, but it also has the functionality to automatically blast [listings] to social media, which I think is the most viable aspect,” said Boggs, who told The Real Deal that around 60 percent of her business comes from social media like Twitter and Facebook. “I used other platforms before Esolist, and they were similar, but not as powerful. As far as actual follow-ups, they come a lot quicker than the platforms I used before.”

The idea for the technology came about in May, said co-founder Adrian Esquivel.

“In real estate, technology is fragmented across different providers,” said Esquivel, who formed Esolist as a joint venture with Lorenzo Perez, Jr. “Nothing really addressed social media. So we thought it would be cool to create an app that gives realtors websites for their listings, which is really important for them, but also allows them to tie in all their social media accounts and post updates to them from one, single place.”

The site, which is a subscription service, which costs $19 per month, gives each individual listing its own, personalized URL. It also gives brokers the chance to track the number of views of each listing.

“Esolist is agent-focused, so we’re really giving the tools to the agent,” Esquivel said. “It’s not a broker solution in the sense that it replaces whatever identity the broker has on the Internet, but it’s meant to give agents more tools.”

He said many agents don’t have their own individual websites, and if they do, they tend to be more than a few years old, and not frequently maintained.

“Only some of the top-producing real estate agents have their own sites that they maintain,” he said. “It’s costly to maintain it and to pay a Web development company to keep it updated.”

Lloyd Feinberg, a broker in Hollywood, said that, while he hadn’t used Esolist, the Internet was playing a far more significant role in sales.

“It can’t hurt any time you have the ability to showcase a property,” he said. “It’s just additional marketing. Today most buyers are out there on the Internet, and the Internet is playing such a pivotal role. It’s empowering the clients, the buyers; so anything that can empower them and provide exposure can’t be a bad thing.”

A number of real estate firms in South Florida, along with condominium projects, have been looking to technology as a way to move sales. ONE Sotheby’s International Realty released an iPad app last fall, and Icon Brickell, the three-tower complex in downtown Miami, released its own iPad app for the condo.

At this stage, the technology is geared toward residential brokers, but Esquivel said an expansion to commercial brokers was in the works.