A Kelowna-based company plans to roll out its software system for real estate brokerages across Canada after establishing its roots in Western Canadian markets.
Datz Solutions launched in 2016 to introduce a new software choice to the real estate industry. The company says its Datz RMS (Real Estate Management Solution) was developed by the organization’s four founders, who have decades of experience in the real estate industry.
“I started out as a broker/owner 10 years ago and when I tried to find a software system to run my brokerage, I couldn’t find anything that did everything I needed – so I built my own,” says David Lofthaug, manager of sales and product development for Datz. “When my software was seen by my board CEO I was encouraged to take it to market because the people at the board felt it was the best tech out there. I have spent the last two years working with test brokerages making sure the system works all across Canada and finalizing the on-boarding and support systems.”
Lofthaug says, “We like to define ourselves as the first all-encompassing software system for brokerages. We cover off transaction management, compliance, accounting, testing, business planning. We have functionality for all the four major key players in the real estate process.”
Those key players include the brokerage, the Realtors, the lawyers and the clients.
“We combine all four key players because that’s what we thought was missing,” he says. “I didn’t want to have to buy three software systems to get almost what I needed. That’s why we went down the road of building our own.
“Every broker who sees the product is impressed and we are pulling lots of brokerages off (bigger competitors). We are kind of a David versus Goliath company filling the void that so many tech companies have missed out on.”
Lofthaug said most real estate brokerages are running multiple systems, while the Datz system is designed to have everything within one.
“We process EFTs and credit cards within our system. That’s something no other software does,” he says. “We have testing to help the brokerages stay compliant in their areas. We have tools for quick preparation for audits. We’ve a full dual-level transaction room to make sure your paperwork is always in order.
“We’ve got our signing tool and then we also have functions for the agents as we have a full business planning section. We have team functionality. We’re pretty much a virtual assistant for the Realtors as well,” says Lofthaug.
He says that “the big difference between us and our competitors is where a brokerage might take eight to 12 minutes to convey a file out to the lawyers, we do it in about 30 seconds. We have portals for the lawyers to connect with the brokerage…We even connect the client into the brokerage too so they can see all of their paperwork, all the information about their deal, in real time.”
Currently about 25 real estate brokerages are using the Datz system, with about 80 per cent of its clients in British Columbia and Alberta. The company believes it can reach hundreds of brokerages across Canada.
Lofthaug says the company is already expanding into Ontario, with “our first few brokerages signed up.
“We have grown strictly based on word of mouth. We have never advertised. Most of our customers have come from referrals from other brokers. We have a 95-per-cent retention rate on our customers and it’s kind of a cult following in that they love what we have so much they want to see us grow and win. That’s a really nice feeling to get from your customers.”
He says the company’s next step is to build its version of web forms to add to its software.
Lofthaug said the role of technology in the real estate industry is growing. New software is needed to help brokerages stay compliant with provincial regulations and to be more efficient.
“Commission plans are always changing. Realtors want higher commissions. And the way brokerages stay profitable is by becoming more efficient themselves, by streamlining it. And that’s what we allow brokerages to do. My favourite saying is ‘a broker doesn’t make money by doing paperwork, they make money by hiring Realtors and doing transactions’. We reduce their workload by probably 30 per cent to 40 per cent coming off our competitors,” says Lofthaug.