VendorBot™ is the first digital assistant to help real estate agents prepare homes for sale.
You might think of VendorBot as Amazon Alexa for real estate agents. VendorBot provides agents with vendor recommendations on demand while automatically building a private preferred vendor list at the same time.
Finding and managing vendors is often part of an agent’s job. VendorBot saves agents time and effort preparing homes, and helps them get homes ready for market faster.
In this article, we compare VendorBot with alternatives like personal assistants, concierge programs, preferred vendor lists, and agent collaboration tools. VendorBot shines with its ability to support the broadest range of agents and home projects.
VendorBot™ is an essential service
VendorBot is an essential service for home preparation, and works over email – another essential service. 94% of agents use email daily to communicate with clients, and VendorBot fits naturally and transparently into that email flow.
With over 70% agent adoption and 40% agent engagement on average within a brokerage, VendorBot is a service that agents really use.
Why is VendorBot adoption and engagement so widespread within a brokerage? Simply because it is personal, smart, easy to use, and natural to access via email.
- Dynamic – rapid real-time response
- Personal recommendations exclusively from fellow agents.
- Automatic creation of a preferred vendor list just for your brokerage.
- Vendor data is complete and up-to-date.
- No data entry.
- No training.
- No formatting or commands, just natural language.
- No software or app to install.
- No maintenance or IT support needed from the brokerage.
- No login required.
- Available from any device with email.
- Agent data is private and secure.
- App available (not required) for directly searching, sorting and filtering vendor data.
- Does not provide financing for renovation.
- No scheduling or project management.
In this post, we go over the pros and cons of supporting agents with other home preparation methods, including:
- Personal Assistants
- Concierge Programs with Financing
- Preferred Vendor Lists
- Agent Collaboration
Each of the above solutions can work well in a variety of situations. However, only VendorBot supports the broadest range of home preparation scenarios.
Personal assistants (humans)
Having an assistant to handle the vendors for home preparation can free up an agent to focus on further growing their business and tending to their clients. Larger sales teams and top agents may have assistants who can help with vendors and home preparation, but solo agents and small teams are often left on their own.
- Free up agents to focus on business development and client needs.
- Personal assistant can be a service differentiator for agents.
- Overhead cost of an assistant.
- May not be an option for smaller teams and solo agents.
Concierge programs with financing
Some of the need for home preparation is being filled by concierge programs that get paid when the home sale closes, but only a fraction of homes are good candidates and qualify.
As wonderful as pay-at-closing concierge programs are, they are still a financial loan (short term, 0% interest), and the home seller needs to qualify based on equity in their home, the duration of their home preparation projects, the cost of the renovation work, and the estimated value the work adds to the sale.
- Zero upfront cost to the seller.
- Often no interest and no fees.
- Managed by a third-party.
- Turnkey and lower stress for both the agent and the seller.
- Solely for sellers – home buyers do not have access to these programs.
- Need to qualify financially.
- In some cases: minimum project size.
- In some cases: required sales price reductions if home doesn’t sell after a certain number of days.
Preferred vendor lists
One way a brokerage can support agents in home preparation is to provide a list or database of preferred vendors.
When an agent’s usual vendors are not available in the time they need them, or they need help on a more unusual situation, an agent can turn to the brokerage’s preferred vendor list.
But how do you create a preferred vendor list? Especially one that is evolving, up-to-date and comprehensive?
Often agents are asked to contribute to the preferred vendor list by providing vendor names, and then someone in the brokerage is tasked with data entry and managing the list. This can work to initially seed the list, but this is a laborious approach and can be difficult to sustain.
Access to the list may be in the form of a digital document (e.g. PDF, spreadsheet, text file) that can be emailed, downloaded or printed, or access may be via a shared database (e.g. CRM, dedicated app).
- The brokerage has a vetted and trusted vendor list that agents can leverage.
- Available to all agents.
- List tends to be static and not dynamically updated
- Manual data entry effort to create the list.
- Possible errors in contact information (incorrect names and phone, typos).
- Possible missing vendor information (website, email, contact person and title, and service offerings).
- Possible missing business category.
- Lack of attribution – who provided the vendor and how long ago.
- Lack of context – what type of work was performed for the agents who use the vendor.
- Difficult to access – it takes time to find the digital document, or login and access the database.
- Might lack search tools to find vendors.
- Increasing effort to keep the preferred vendor list up-to-date as it grows in size and age can be difficult to sustain.
If agent collaboration is part of the brokerage culture, agents may ask each other for vendor recommendations. This exchange and sharing of vendor information between agents often happens informally via email or in-person at brokerage meetings.
Sharing might also occur using more modern communication tools like Slack or Facebook Workplace.
- Dynamic – needs are addressed in real-time.
- Further fosters team spirit.
- Quick, personal and trusted vendor recommendations from agents you know.
- Agents are in control and only share the vendors they want to share.
- Very low effort – easy to ask, easy to recommend.
- Attribution is clear (who made the recommendation).
- Context is clear (why the agent is making the recommendation).
- You know who to go to if you need more information and details about the vendor.
- Not everyone has access to the vendor information that is shared privately and one-on-one.
- Vendor information is often locked up in agent email inboxes.
- Vendor information may be difficult to access if agents are not regular users of the collaboration platform.
- Vendor information can be in an ad hoc format and may be difficult to search, filter and sort.
- Vendor contact information may be incomplete, not up-to-date, or even incorrect.
VendorBot – designed by brokers and agents
VendorBot merges the pros of “Preferred Vendor Lists” and “Agent Collaboration”, and adds high-tech intelligence and automation to eliminate the cons of these approaches. The VendorBot experience is so transparent to the agent, that agents use it naturally and without thinking twice.
VendorBot dynamically builds your preferred vendor list, does all the data gathering and validation, and automatically delivers detailed and accurate vendor information whenever your agents want it.
Power user? We have an app for you, too. If you want to do a deep dive into the preferred vendor list, you can search, sort and filter however you wish.
VendorBot was the result of close brokerage collaboration and careful observation of agent needs and behavior. We hewed closely to a short list of guiding principles:
Guiding DESIGN Principles
- Eliminate any and all points of friction in the agent experience.
- Mold VendorBot to the agents and how agents naturally work.
- Do not mold the agents to VendorBot with training and special software.
- Never stop listening to and learning from the agents and the brokers.
- Make VendorBot smart. Really smart.
VendorBot – under the hood
How does VendorBot work? VendorBot turns dynamic agent collaboration via email into an automatically accessed vendor list like this:
- Agent sends an email to a dedicated email address (e.g. “firstname.lastname@example.org”).
- The email is written in plain English (i.e. “natural language”), exactly as they would ask their fellow agents, with as much or as little detail about their project as they want.
- VendorBot gets the email and does two things:
- Analyzes the email language and tries to match the agent request to an existing preferred vendor, and sends vendor matches to the agent for immediate results.
- Sends the email request to agents in their brokerage who are nearby for getting new vendor recommendations as well.
- Agents reply with their recommendations via email.
- VendorBot analyzes the agent replies and does three things:
- Extracts vendor information and detailed comments and adds the vendors to the preferred vendor list.
- Associates the vendor recommendations with the request for additional context.
- Sends an email to the recommender with the option to edit their recommendation (they can edit the recommendation text, or they can edit the rating).
- VendorBot sends out a regular summary of recent vendor requests and recommendations to all agents every couple weeks so they stay “in the loop” (agents can opt-out).
VendorBot fills the home preparation gap between homes that are major fixer-uppers (contractor candidates) and those that qualify for concierge services with financing.
- Rapid agent adoption and engagement.
- Fills the home preparation gap between major fixer-uppers and concierge services – 50% or more of home sellers fall in this gap.
- Supports home buyers who want to prepare for move-in.
- Supports small agent teams and solo agents.
- Supports large teams and top agents for unusual vendor needs.
In essence, VendorBot can uniquely support preparation for all homes and all agents.
Don’t leave money on the table because your agents can’t get the vendors they need, when they need them. VendorBot is the digital assistant for your brokerage to help agents and their teams get home renovations done, done right, and done on time.
Pre-sales and Trial
Don’t hesitate to reach out to email@example.com with questions or to set up a trial at your brokerage.