Much of today’s society has accepted technology with open arms, but there are still those individuals who have an inherent distrust of it. The arguments against technology are many and range from “It’s taking our jobs” to “It’s making zombies of future generations.” Despite the naysayers’ arguments, however, technology has yet to eliminate the need for a human workforce or fry the brains of future generations of children. In fact, most people — and industries — can agree that technology has been and will continue to be a welcome tool.
Technology & Real Estate: What You Can Expect
Approximately 70% of aspiring home buyers today begin their search for properties online, and as much as 85% of realtors use text to communicate with clients, prospective clients, lenders, and other parties. When it comes to learning more about school districts, crime rates, demographics, and other relevant data, individuals need not go to the census office or consult with a real estate agent — rather, a quick Google search yields all the information one could possibly need. To say that technology has streamlined the home buying process is an understatement. Below is a glance at the top real estate technologies changing the real estate landscape.
For agents and brokers, virtual reality has the potential to speed up the sales cycle by allowing prospective buyers to view the property before scheduling an in-person tour. This ability drastically reduces the number of tours agents must give, many of which end up with the prospect claiming, “the property wasn’t as expected.”
On the buyers’ end, VR eliminates the need to spend a significant amount of time and money traveling from home to home to scope out properties. Instead, they can check out 360-degree views or high-quality photos of the interiors and exteriors of properties from the comfort of their own homes. More technologically advanced realtors hold actual video tours with the help of drones and 3D technology. These videos allow buyers to step into the home and get a feel for the actual size of rooms, get up close and personal with the home’s features, and even explore the yard and neighborhood.
Once upon a time, agents had to spend considerable resources staging homes, but thanks to advancements in VR technology, that is no longer the case. Now, realtors can personalize a room with virtual furniture.
When Apple coined the phrase, “There’s an app for that,” it wasn’t kidding. Whether you want to work out, order a pizza, sell used items or clip coupons, you can do so via your mobile phone. Through apps offered by Zillow, Trulia, Home Snap, and Redfin, to name a few, you can now buy or sell a home through an app as well. In addition to being able to list and shop for homes, these apps will connect you with agents, inform you of property values and mortgages and notify you when a new listing hits the market.
Blockchain is perhaps one of the most innovative real estate technologies as it allows individuals and companies to fulfill major transactions online and without ever having to go through banks, governments or credit card companies. As you can imagine, real estate is a “major transaction.”
If blockchain is everything it promises to be, it offers transparency, efficiency, and above all, security. Two innovations in the making that could forever transform the real estate world are smart contracts and tokenization:
- Smart Contracts: With smartphones, smart homes, and smart cars, it’s a wonder there hasn’t been a smart contract sooner. Blockchain plans to remedy the lack of smart contracts by offering the ability for parties to review and sign agreements virtually, and without ever meeting face to face. To use these contracts, buyers would submit their information on an encrypted block and send it directly to the seller, thereby removing the need for middlemen. Though this may seem like a recipe for fraud, it’s actually the opposite. Blockchains significantly reduces the chance for fraud or theft, and, as a bonus, they can significantly speed up the transaction process.
- Tokenization: Tokenization splits up a real estate asset into tokens that are stored on a blockchain. Investors can then purchase as many tokens as they’d like, thereby giving them a stake in previously out-of-reach real estate.
The Bottom Line
Real estate Technology innovations is changing the real estate landscape for the better. Virtual reality, mobile apps, and blockchain are just three major changes that are streamlining the sales cycle, shortening the process, and improving the overall buyer/tenant experience.