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Technology’s Ever-Increasing Role in Real Estate

In years past, prospective homebuyers would scour newspapers for listings, drive through their dream neighborhoods looking for sale signs, and spend entire weekends touring homes listed for sale. Their real estate agents would assist their clients by providing listings that would eventually turn into showings via open houses and scheduled appointments.  Today, with the rise of technology everything has changed.  Technology and the rise of big data are putting more power into the hands of prospective buyers, allowing them to obtain more information, and in turn allowing them to gain more control of their home-buying experience.

Technology has given the layman access to information and listings that were exclusively controlled by real estate agencies and their respective MLS.  Because of this, one would expect the use of realtors to be in decline with the advent and progression of technology, but the opposite has occurred. In fact, studies have shown that the percent of buyers using realtors has increased since the introduction of these new technologies.

Unlike many other professional and commercial fields, the application of technology has boosted job necessity in real estate; however, the realtor’s job description has quickly changed in order to keep up with the development of apps, data marketing tools, and more. Keep reading for more information on the role technology has played and is playing in real estate.

1. Mobile Apps

New real estate smartphone applications have given homebuyers more accessibility to real estate listings than ever before. All properties for sale are available at buyers’ fingertips, cutting out the need for a realtor to send listing to their clients on a daily or even hourly basis. Instead, mobile app users receive notifications when properties that match their search criteria appear on the market, giving them instant access to new listings. In hot markets where sellers are in the driver’s seat, this has encouraged quicker sales and greater competition between homebuyers vying for their desired properties.

2. Virtual tours

In the early days of internet technology, properties listed for sale included property stats, a handful of images, and information on how and when one could see the listing in person. Today, that has all changed. With new 3-D technology and virtual reality, homebuyers can have the experience of touring a home without ever stepping foot in the property. This is an excellent feature for those looking to buy in other cities or countries, and benefits the seller as it may require fewer showings to get their property sold.

3. Online listings

While this technology is less recent, online listings have made the process of buying property far easier on buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. Because listings share important data like tax and purchase history, school ratings, neighborhood information, and detailed information about the property, the buyers are equipped with enough background information to ensure their interest before they see the property in person, meaning less time spent for all parties involved.

4. E-signing services

With the introduction of technology comes the elimination of paper contracts. As electronic signatures becomes the norm, DocuSign being a great example, completing property sale transactions is easier than ever.  Printing out huge packages of closing documents, which were sent back and forth between the buyers, sellers and closing agency is now expedited by providing their signatures digitally saving them time and money for all parties, and making the process more streamlined to boot.

5. Access to data-driven insight

Despite having an organized and consolidated data system, humans are sometimes unable to notice complex patterns in the real estate market. Before big data and artificial intelligence, sometimes markets would shift out of nowhere: The sales of in-demand neighborhoods would slow or an undesirable neighborhood would skyrocket in sales. With technological advances, these changes are becoming more detectable, keeping realtors at the pulse of the ever-changing real estate market.  In addition, this trend is also putting more information and power into the hands of real estate investors, who are benefiting from the data by allowing them to match properties to their criteria more seamlessly.

6. Lead management

As with every industry, real estate depends on proper lead management. Through marketing campaigns and other programs, realty companies analyze their clientele and generate ideas on how to best attract new customers, and how to manage the process. Artificial intelligence has made lead management even more effective and provides greater insight on how to best define realty companies’ target market and reach through marketing and advertising. This has aided realtors in pre-sales, post-sales, advertising, and more.  Here are a few lead management software options that benefit real estate agent with better servicing and managing their client’s needs, as well as automating their internal business operations.

7. Property price calculations

Artificial intelligence is taking the question mark out of list prices. Before big data and artificial intelligence, listing your property was a very difficult proposition.   Prices were chosen based on general information at hand: How many bedrooms the property has, how large the lot is, how desirable the neighborhood is, the home’s square footage, etc. Today, the price of listings is calculated precisely with the use of artificial intelligence. Using a pool of data provided by recent listings and sales, technology is able to determine a clear-cut listing price based on transportation, infrastructure, environment changes, improvements, neighborhoods, etc.