Technology is impacting every aspect of our lives whether we like it or not. Things are now possible that we never expected to become a part of our every day lives. Many people “fear” new technological advances instead of embracing the convenience and ease they provide to our lives. Whether its smart home technology, or mobile apps such as Uber eats and Instacart that enable us to have food and groceries delivered directly to our door, technology is everywhere.
Just like technology is affecting every business, it is transforming the real estate industry. However, how it is transforming the real estate business is not always so obvious to consumers or sometimes real estate agents. Whether it is from communication preferences to transaction management, technology has made one of the largest financial transactions easier and convenient for many individuals.
This one may be obvious, but the way technology has enabled communication is incredible. Social media apps, such as facebook, twitter, and instagram have enabled real estate agents to connect with buyers and sellers from around the world. Social media messaging to connect with an agent is becoming more common than a traditional phone call. Many years ago, clients looking to buy or sell their home would either call the broker’s office, or walk in during business hours. Today, clients are able to send a quick message to an agent via social media. They don’t have to take time from their busy lives to pick up the phone or walk into the office to simply inquire for more information. Social media platforms have also made relocation easier. Many individuals looking to relocate, or purchase an investment property are able to connect with a local real estate agent in their new desired area via social media.
Over 70% of home buyers start their home search online. According to the National Association of Realtors®, in 1981, 22% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find their home compared to 2016 where 95% of all buyers did some of their home search online. More interestingly, in 2001 the average home buyer spent 7 weeks searching for a home, and the average time spent working with a real estate agent was 7 weeks. In 2016, the average time spent searching for a home jumped up to 10 weeks, where the average time spent working with a real estate agent remained the same at 7 weeks. This data suggests that today’s home buyers spend an ADDITIONAL 3 weeks doing online home searches before even contacting a real estate agent. This is a scenario where technology is not always better. Online home search capabilities provide consumers with endless amounts of properties to sift through. This can be quite overwhelming to the consumer. On the other hand, home search capabilities have made today’s home search easier when working with a real estate agent. Most tech savvy agents will give their buyers access to a “portal” which is a platform that will provide specific MLS (multiple listing service) properties to the buyer based off the home features they would like. These properties will be sent to the buyer, and by clicking a link the buyer is able to view the properties, save them, discard them, write notes about the property to their agent, and even view financing options for the property. This technology takes away the time the consumer would spend sifting through properties on their own.
This technological advancement is personally my favorite. Some listings now have 3-D virtual property tours that enable the buyer to “walk through” the property from the comfort of their own home. This isn’t just an online property tour that is a slideshow of photographs of the property. It essentially allows the viewer to preview the property online as if they were walking through it in person. If you have ever used Google Earth, it is a similar concept. 3-D property tours allow buyers to view the property without evening stepping foot in it. This is huge advantage for individuals that are looking to relocate and do not want to spend the time and money to travel to view many different properties. Some platforms will even allow for virtual furniture and staging in the property.
Transaction management and technology is something that doesn’t just relate to the real estate industry. Technology has effected transaction management via e-signatures in many business industries. Specifically for real estate, almost everything is done electronically. All documents regarding to the transaction are uploaded to “the cloud” which is able to be viewed and shared to other parties in the transaction. This allows for transactions to process more quickly and is also very eco-friendly by saving on printing and faxing transaction documents.
The ways in which technology is affecting the real estate industry, and let alone our world, is endless. There are many more technological advances that I didn’t get a chance to mention such as smart home technology, artificial intelligence in real estate, and predicting market trends. With our world changing so quickly due to technological advancements it is important to have a tech savvy real estate agent that is able to keep up with new trends. With technology, an enormous amount of knowledge is available at our finger tips. An agent that knows how to use and implement the technology at their disposal will be able to provide excellent service to their buyers and sellers by making sure their property is marketed across ALL platforms including social media and targeted online advertising (this is extremely important as mentioned earlier that over 95% of buyers search for their home online at some point in the home buying process). Just to name a few, tech savvy agents are also able to study consumer behaviors and market trends, locate the probable buyer for a property based on analytics, and analyze online advertising statistics. Technology provides us endless knowledge, and ultimately knowledge is power.
About the author
Erika is a real estate agent working with the number 1 brokerage in the South Florida Region. As a millennial, Erika takes pride in her expertise in social media, exclusive marketing, and how to effectively use technology to expand her real estate market knowledge and help her clients achieve their real estate dreams.
Erika is a trustworthy professional that is passionate about helping others with their real estate needs or questions. Feel free to contact Erika with ANY real estate question. Erika can also be reached via social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram