There’s a lot of noise in the real estate technology space today, and tech fatigue is running rampant as brokerages continue to chase the next shiny object and throw significant sums of money at tools that don’t play nicely with one another.
A bona fide problem in real estate, this tech fatigue is causing many professionals to become frustrated with the products and services available to help them succeed.
Using anywhere from 10 to 15 different technology products and/or services to accomplish the basics of their day-to-day routine, there’s no denying that brokers and agents are spending too much time, energy and money managing technology vendors, when their time could be better spent helping clients achieve the American Dream of homeownership.
On a mission to streamline the experience from beginning to end, Elm Street is doubling down on its commitment to cut through the clutter.
Holding true to its vision to provide real estate professionals one centralized dataset, one login and one intuitive dashboard to manage the best-in-class products and services that help organize and prioritize the day-to-day—all while facilitating human connection—Elm Street is reimagining real estate technology as we know it.
All Roads Lead to Elm Street
Elm Street was founded to provide the real estate sector and beyond with a creative, thoughtful technology toolset designed to help professionals initiate conversations and foster business relationships.
Committed to providing the science, technology and thought-leadership to help clients proactively respond to the immediate and long-term needs of their audience, President and CEO Prem Luthra’s experiences ultimately paved the way to the creation of Elm Street.
“We want to become an easy button for real estate professionals as it relates to technology and marketing services,” says Luthra. “It’s about making sure that the applications we offer a la carte—or as a bundled solution—are the best that they can be.”
And, more importantly, they must work for the customer.
“Real estate brokerages are collectively spending upwards of $30 billion a year on tools to make their business more successful, productive and efficient,” says Luthra. “But more often than not, the products aren’t integrated together, and real estate professionals find themselves trying to navigate multiple data entry points, each with its own login credentials.”
Servicing an ever-expanding client base of real estate, mortgage and lending professionals, MLSs, associations and technology partners, Elm Street has grown into a North American company employing hundreds of hard-working individuals who serve tens of thousands of entrepreneurs in building their businesses while assisting their clients with achieving their real estate goals through every step of the process.
“We aren’t in the technology business. We’re in the business of helping fulfill the American Dream of homeownership,” says Luthra.
“We want our customers—agents and brokers—to focus on what they do best: serving the consumer and not worrying about figuring out the tech. By giving them something that works, we’re setting them up to be more productive, efficient and successful.”
Prioritizing a People-First Vision
It all begins with Elm Street’s belief that real estate is a people-first business, where relationships truly matter.
In fact, Luthra and his entire leadership team genuinely care for the brokers, agents and partners they serve. Supporting the real estate process, Elm Street offers technology to organize, prioritize and facilitate human connection.
According to Bondilyn Jolly, Elm Street’s CMO, the company’s people-first vision is one of the ways in which Elm Street differentiates itself from other tech firms in the space.
“It shocks me that tech companies in the real estate space have such a bad rap,” says Jolly, who goes on to explain that at Elm Street, it’s all about putting people first, listening to the needs/challenges of their audience and providing thoughtful and meaningful tech to overcome those challenges and fulfill those needs.
“We’re flipping the perspective of how we approach the needs of our audience by listening to them and putting them first,” adds Jolly. This includes Elm Street’s staff, its clients and partners, and those that they serve.
While many companies were busy cutting personnel to stay afloat during the pandemic, Luthra and his team determined how they could go in and reforecast their goals and retain their staff members, supporting their people-first approach.
“We lost very little of our workforce over the past two years, which is a testament to Prem’s leadership and the vision of our people-first company,” says Jolly, underscoring the importance of placing those who make the company run above everything else.
“We need a staff that is not only aligned with this vision, but supports it as well,” says Jolly. “This translates to an audience that understands that we are there to fulfill their needs, that we have their backs and that we understand what they are trying to accomplish.”
Culture ensures that this people-first vision extends across the board.
“We are big on culture, and having acquired 12 companies over the past six years, we’ve inherited a different corporate culture with each one,” explains Jolly.
“When a company comes into the Elm Street story, they’re more willing to let go of their past stories if they feel that they are truly aligned and supported within the larger story,” she adds.
Serving a variety of audiences, enforcing the value of what Elm Street is providing and making sure their partners are getting what they need is mission critical.
“We have to understand what is going on down in the trenches, as those customer-support people are our first line of defense,” says Jolly.
To that end, having support teams that specialize in understanding the needs/challenges of those particular audiences—and making sure they’re being met—is crucial when it comes to ensuring that everyone is in alignment.
Partner Versus Vendor: The Quest to Deliver Meaningful Experiences
Elm Street prides itself on its quest to deliver meaningful experiences to those the company serves, which goes a long way in solidifying the company’s vision as an industry partner, rather than a vendor.
For Ian Hoover, broker/owner of Deacon & Hoover Real Estate Advisors in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, it’s this distinction that ultimately placed Elm Street above the other contenders being considered for the firm’s marketing needs.
“Having interviewed 50 software companies and spending close to 45 hours on this project, once I narrowed it down to my top five, I let the final decision rest in my agents’ hands, because what it truly boiled down to was whether or not they liked the software,” says Hoover.
Tipping the scales in Elm Street’s favor was the overall vibe and service provided right from the get-go.
“Culture is our No. 1 priority at Deacon & Hoover Real Estate Advisors, and Stephanie Alfonso, one of Elm Street’s regional directors, has always been available to hop on the phone or meet with us via Zoom to answer any questions we may have,” explains Hoover. “She’s constantly communicating with us as to where we are, where we need to be and what we need to do to get there,” adds Hoover, who can’t say enough about the firm’s experience with Elevate, Elm Street’s social media marketing CRM.
Offering an advanced CRM, IDX websites, lead generation, marketing automation, a text concierge and automated listing posts directly to social media, Elevate is changing the firm’s social media game.
“Elm Street’s focus on social media was one of its biggest draws,” Hoover says.
Looking to position the firm as the No. 1 social media brokerage in its market, according to Hoover, the only way to achieve this lofty goal is if everyone contributes.
“Social media is the right thing to do,” he notes. “It’s your sphere, your connection and how you build your business.”
And thanks to Elevate, each and every one of Hoover’s agents has a robust social media presence, without all the work.
With myriad products and services to choose from, the Elm Street family covers all the bases, setting up real estate brokerages large and small for continued success, no matter the market.
Carolina One Real Estate, one of the largest brokerages in South Carolina, recently turned to Elm Street in order to beef up their presence and bring their recruiting game to a whole new level.
“While we have an internal marketing department focused on assisting with the task of promoting the firm’s 1,000 agents, it became clear that our recruiting division was lacking when it came to electronic touches, email drip campaigns to keep us top of mind and the ability to offer something of value,” says Katie Maus with agent services at Carolina One Real Estate.
Looking for a marketing team to create collateral to support the firm’s recruiting efforts, Maus turned to Elm Street’s 3sixtyfive.agency. Even though the partnership is relatively new, according to Maus, there is no shortage of benefits associated with working with the full-service creative and consulting agency.
“What impressed me most about Elm Street is the fact that they don’t operate under a one-size-fits-all philosophy,” says Maus.
“They took the time to learn about us and understand our company and its value proposition before turning it into messages and downloads for current and prospective agents that not only look professional, but also like they come directly from us,” she adds.
Drilling down even further, Maus explains that working with Elm Street is all about helping build brand awareness and reframing the industry’s perception of who Carolina One Real Estate is.
“Having a team that understands digital marketing and can guide us toward creating a successful recruiting program has allowed our internal recruiting division to focus on building relationships and moving the needle in other ways,” notes Maus.
From email drip campaigns, content that can be digitally downloaded to digital ads and everything in between, the power of communication and collaboration that Elm Street offers has proven to be a true gamechanger for Carolina One Real Estate.
“Not only is the team at Elm Street receptive to our needs, but we also have direct lines of communication open with them,” says Maus.
Advancing the Path to Business Efficiency
With nearly three decades of industry experience under his belt, Luthra is no stranger to the start-up scene. In fact, Elm Street is his fourth start-up in this vertical that caters to providing technology and digital marketing services to REALTORS®.
Having made significant progress over the past six years, Luthra and his team are more committed than ever to reimagining real estate technology as we head toward the future.
“Real estate professionals are busy people whose core strength is working with the consumer as they move through the buying and/or selling process. They shouldn’t have to worry about the tech stuff,” says Luthra, who is laser-focused on his commitment to providing real estate professionals an end-to-end platform while taking care of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
“We want Elm Street to be the first place real estate professionals login in the morning, and the last place they login at night,” says Luthra.
Looking ahead, it’s all about keeping an eye on what’s happening and understanding the tools, resources and tech its clients need in order to move them further down the path of business efficiency.
“We’ve done some very aggressive M&A activity over the past six years when we were focused on bringing in best-in-class companies that specialized in very niche or unique areas of our business story,” says Jolly.
“Today, we are focused on the simplification of what the experience looks like. This involves taking the best of everything we’ve acquired and layering it into one singular dataset—or one intuitive dashboard—that allows flexibility and customization,” she adds.
“It’s been a lot of fun building the business and solving for the frictions that exist in the marketplace,” concludes Luthra.
Explore the Elm Street difference by connecting with an Elm Street success coach at elmstreet.com.