Technology has had a massive impact on everything from music to banking and it is starting to make an impact on real estate. A recent study indicated that just under 50 percent of would-be buyers prefer to search for houses online. But this is just the tip of the iceberg as new applications are helping to reinvent realty at the right price and here are six ways technology is changing the way you buy (or sell) a home.
- Going Mobile
As with everything else in the tech world these days, if it is not accessible on a mobile phone, it’s out of date. This is starting to come into focus as Gen X, Millennials (Gen Y) and Digital Natives (Gen Z) are increasingly glued to their phones.
But the revolution isn’t just on the customer side of the equation as agents are increasingly turning to mobile technologies to increase their productivity. This makes sense as real estate agents spend much of their time in the field. Tools not only include online access to databases such as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) but also mobile interfaces for customer management, pipeline management, and even the listing and closing processes.
- In the Clouds
Another advancement that is changing the way houses are bought and sold is the integration of the cloud into real estate. What makes this so special? These apps are helping to make it easier to send updates on the closing status and loan approval as well as creating centralized storage for all the documents tied to the purchase of a home.
In this way, cloud-based apps are helping to reduce time and the stress surrounding real estate transactions. Another plus with these apps is it is reducing costs for agents, which is a highly competitive market means they are in a better position to hold their profits even while they are being asked to discount commissions.
Social media is everywhere, including real estate, and more and more agents are using Facebook and Instagram to market the properties they have listed. The reason for this is simple, their customers spend an average of 144 minutes per day on various social media sites. Given the interactive nature of the medium, it’s safe to say that no other format has captured the attention of its audience like social media.
If you are a real estate agent and you aren’t leveraging social media to build your practice, then you are behind the curve and studies indicate that nearly 70 percent of agents are utilizing social media today.
Is social media all about wonderful pictures and a great story? No, it’s also a way to raise your profile in the community, remain connected with your clients, and to offer value to homeowners – even if they are not in the market for a home. Social media is networking for the 21st century and leading agents are using it to their advantage.
- Virtually Speaking
If you are in the market for a new home, you know that finding the right property takes a lot of time. But virtual and augmented reality are changing this. Sure, you will still want to visit homes, but the introduction of virtual reality makes it possible to visit a home across town or on the other side of the country from the comfort of your living room.
Gone are the lost weekends of visiting homes with your agent. Instead you can pour yourself a cup of coffee and visit five or 10 homes without needing to go outside.
You’ve probably heard of the buzz word but might not know what it is or what it does. In the case of real estate, blockchain-driven smart contracts are being used to reduce processing time (think of smart contracts for title transfers) and transaction costs. The result is a reduction in service fees, which once again can be used to increase profits or pass on the savings to customers.
- Artificial Intelligence
Enter another technology that has a lot of buzz but might not be fully understood. Artificial Intelligence is not only helping to automate the process of buying and selling homes, but it is making easier for banks to review loan applications and for title agents to perform searches. Other applications include helping municipalities to set property tax rates and even automated legal assistants which can be used to draft all the paperwork tied to a real estate transaction.
As you can see, real estate is not immune to the impact of technology and these six are changing the way you will buy homes from now on.