Real estate company uses its own technology to grow

From his time at Apple Inc. in 1991 to working for Motorola and Microsoft Corp. in the information technology department, Jonathan Boatwright, co-owner of Realty Austin, which just opened a new Lakeway office, has always been at the forefront of technology.

"I got exposure to a lot of different aspects of technology," Boatwright said.

In 2000, Boatwright's wife, Yvette, started working in the real estate market, and he would spend his free time helping her, he said.

"I would spend some time helping her with her marketing, her database and websites," Boatwright said.

The Boatwrights figured out the real estate website model in 2004, creating a site that generated inquiries of people looking at specific properties, he said.

"It started generating leads, which is huge in our business," Boatwright said. "It really unraveled the mystery of how to create real estate leads before most people in real estate had figured it out; it was very new."

With the success of the real estate website, Boatwright left Microsoft in 2004 to help Yvette, who got her broker's license, build a real estate company.

The success of the site caught the notice of Realtors looking for a way to generate leads.

"We started, slowly but surely, attracting people who wanted access to leads," Boatwright said. "What we were able to do with that was evolve, really a whole company platform where the company offers, other than just leads, a database system for our Realtors to keep track of all their clients."

The use of Salesforce, an application for agents to keep track of clients, has allowed Realty Austin to flourish in the market.

"In real estate, the most important thing for any agent to have longevity in the business is to keep track of everyone they know," Boatwright said.

The use of Salesforce in Realty Austin helps agents manage those contacts and automate all of the marketing that goes along with real estate, he said.

"[Contact] makes such an impact on our agents business that whether they come to us for leads or not, they are getting this other side of getting more referrals or more business from people they already know. Between the two aspects of that, it really helps them take off," Boatwright said. "The first year [an agent] is here, they plug in and will see about a 50 percent increase in sales."

The dramatic increases in sales are made possible by embracing the platform, he said. A number of other agents have noticed these increases and have embraced this platform as Realty Austin has grown from just Jonathan and Yvette in 2004 to 135 agents and 16 support staff today.

Collaboration among agents

Technology not only generates leads and manages contacts for agents at Realty Austin, but it also allows them to converse in real time, collaborating in a virtual office setting.

"When [people] use our site, it helps us collaborate more effectively," Boatwright said. "Our agents are able to see which homes they have saved as favorites and see what homes they are interested in so they can help guide their buyers towards the right areas and really help educate them. It helps make the home buying process much smoother."

Between showing houses and meeting new clients, agents are constantly on the go, but technology has allowed them to stay in touch with mobile apps and technology.

"Salesforce is a good mobile app," Boatwright said. "It allows our agents to see what our clients are doing while they are out and about and stay connected, stay available."

There is also an feature called Salesforce chatter, which enables agents to communicate no matter their location.

"It is kind of like our own internal Twitter, except it's called chatter," Boatwright said. "[Agents] can share ideas, ask questions, share new listings and really collaborate as a team no matter where they are."

Between the primary offices, there are only 23 desks that can be shared among 135 agents, so mobility is an important factor, he said.

Going paperless

Technology has also allowed Realty Austin to make the home buying process paperless, at least until closing, through the use of iPads.

"We are big believers in technology," Boatwright said. "The idea of being able to hand your client an iPad and tell them these are the listings we are going to see today, and this is the order, and for the client to be able to make notes on the iPad, it's completely different than the way we used to do things with sheets of paper."

Agents can draft contracts, have clients sign the contract, submit the contract to the other party and even make initial changes to the contract all on the iPad.


There is still a lot more this Austin-based business wants to accomplish in the future.

"We would like to be the No. 1 real estate company in Austin," Boatwright said. "We have a ways to go."


Photo of Austin Community College pharmacy students preparing vaccines
Austin Public Health ramps up COVID-19 booster shot offerings, prepares for pediatric vaccines

High-risk individuals who received Pfizer are Moderna doses six months ago or more are now eligible for boosters—as are most recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Friso and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey briefed City Council on Austin's spending of more than $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding on homelessness Oct. 21. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials share outlook of 3-year plan to house 3,000 homeless people in Austin

Although the path to build more than 1,000 new spaces for those without shelter will take time, officials believe the goals are achievable.

Photo off APD sign
Austin police cadet academy review notes positive strides but says instructors lack buy-in to 'reimagined' concept

Reforms at the Austin Police Department academy are mixed so far, while the department and outside evaluators agree on several potential improvements going forward.

Sade Fashokun was sworn in as a Leander ISD trustee Oct. 21. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Sade Fashokun sworn in to Leander ISD board

Fashokun has served in PTA leadership, on the School Health Advisory Committee and on the Bond Oversight Committee, according to the district. 

Cumby Group is planning development for three adjacent multifamily projects on Manor Road in East Austin, including The Emma apartments. (Courtesy Cumby Group)
3 years in, Austin is falling behind on goals in affordable housing plan

From 2018-20, the city only reached 12% of its 10-year goal to build thousands of new homes and rental units.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

Home construction in the Sweetwater community continues. New homes entering the market have yet to create a balanced market, according to ABoR. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
As pace of homes sold in west Travis County slows, prices remain higher than the overall metro area

The number of September homes sold in the Lake Travis-Westlake area dropped 30.7% from a year earlier.

Lake Travis ISD trustees Oct. 20 approved communication standards with other area law enforcement. (Grace Dickens/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis ISD Police Department formalizes communication, coordination with other local police entities

The Lake Travis ISD Police Department is working to educate and integrate into the community.

A calculator created by the Rocky Mountain Institute looks at the environmental impact of TxDOT's proposed designs for I-35 in Central Austin, one of the most congested roadways in the country. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofit's tool says TxDOT I-35 expansion proposals would have profound environmental consequences

The tool says that the proposal would create between 255 and 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year.

Photo of the Travis County administration building and sign
Travis County hears update on process to reassess master plan for aging correctional facilities

The process comes after county commissioners opted to pause all activities of the master plan over the summer.

Rodeo stock image
Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo ready to open gates Oct. 21 after coronavirus delay

After the inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo was postponed in 2020, county and fair officials said they are excited to kick off the agricultural celebration.