As you know technology has changed our lives as well as the way we conduct business. With technology simplifying so much of our lives it’s imperative the real estate market embrace this technology as well. In today’s article The Technology of Residential Real Estate we’ll take an in-depth look at how technology is changing the face of real estate and why it’s so beneficial to consumers.
One of the many benefits real estate technology offers is the information available to consumers and agents on the fly. In today’s “I need it now” mentality both agents and consumers want what they need quickly. Gone are the days where consumers needed to call (or page) an agent and then the agent would look through their listings book. The information today is available in real time to everyone.
Will technology replace real estate agents? I don’t think technology will ever replace real estate agents but agents not using technology will be replaced by agents that do. Technology definitely evens the playing field and allows consumers to choose an agent that will work best for them not just work with the agent that has the listing. After all, the consumer likely already has all the information on the properties they’re interested in. They just need someone to represent them and that’s where a good agent that provides constant communication, good follow-up and experience comes in. Consumers now have the option to choose experienced agents like we have at Tholco that have a proven track-record of success.
Ok, now onto the nerdy stuff… let’s dive into the data portion of real estate technology. There’s a ton of information and data available with each and every property, items like year built, square footage, roof type, bedroom and bathroom count and more all have to be collected and then shared. This information is collected at the local level of each and every Multiple Listing Service via listings input by real estate agents and then disseminated or streamed to larger providers like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. These larger websites then further syndicate the collected data to thousands of other smaller sites which essentially allows consumers to find and search properties with all the information on the property just like agents do.
The Technology of Residential Real Estate
There is a downside of the data being available real-time and the internet as a whole can be blamed for this. Technology has trained us the consumers that we need everything right now. This immediacy that we’ve been accustomed to has also migrated over to human interaction which doesn’t always work out. Unlike a computer server sitting in a data-center somewhere agents have lives and even though consumers may have most of the information on the property already, there are circumstances that do occasional prompt an agent inquiry like a buyer wanting to see a property, etc. The response time that the agent provides to the consumer will likely be a factor in whether or not that consumer will use the agent in their real estate transaction.
Agents using technology in their business may very well have systems in place to assist them with consumer inquiries. Additionally, busier agents will have an assistant or two to help them with communications with their clients as well as daily work-flow. Now, just because agents have means to speed up communication doesn’t mean they can all keep the communication straight. Systems like Top Producer, Elev8, SkySlope and more provide options for agents to keep their work-flow systematic, automatic, efficient and thorough. Agents using these customer relationship management systems (CRM) will likely have better success with their clients while keeping their clients informed through the transaction process.
Now that we’ve touched on data collection and dissemination along with agent intervention the next item would be mobile usability. Mobile users make up the majority of users online and searching online for real estate is no difference. With having everything now in real-time it only makes sense why mobile users would make up the most online search users. Apps like Zillow and Realtor.com both have GPS integrated so that a user can actually drive around and homes in the area will automatically appear on the screen based on the users location and filtered search.
As you can see real estate companies not embracing technology are most likely already being left behind. What do companies do to stay on top? Some real estate brokerages hire someone with a tech-savvy background to assist with implementation and online marketing campaigns. Other smaller companies may choose to navigate around a technology approach. This later option may work temporarily but long-term will likely catch up to them and pass them without them even knowing. With so many millennials entering the real estate market and expecting services based on technology, companies will want to work toward providing solutions that are in-line with this mindset.
Real estate has always been an on-the-go job and technology has made this process so much simpler for Realtors and their employing Brokers. Cloud computing, hosted PBX and email along with e-signing allows agents and their clients to communicate and get work done on the go fast. Geographic locations are no longer a barrier as some agents have also ventured into other remote markets because of the feasibility of this new approach. All this and the fact that the cost is less than traditional methods used before to conduct business makes working in the cloud the best ever!
You can see now how things have developed and evolved in The Technology of Residential Real Estate. Technology will continue to evolve and change and The Technology of Residential Real Estate will of course be no different. Technology like augmented reality and Internet of Things (IoT) will add even more opportunities for agents and consumers. More to come!!!