Just the Tech - The Future of Real Estate

Just the Tech - Future of Real Estate

It is not exactly a new observation to point out that virtually all of the most successful REALTORS® are good with people. However, while people skills will always be important, it is not the human element that is having the greatest impact on the industry today—it is technology. The expansion and adoption of new, innovative technologies is becoming an increasingly integral piece of the real estate process, and it is impacting the way that agents and brokers work with clients in profound and formative ways.

From the influence of millennials to the rise of newly coordinated and efficient systems and software, agents and brokers are finding that the influence of technology and new tech tools is one of the most important new features on the professional landscape.

Millennials & Mobility

When it comes to technology, REALTORS® today are looking for better connectivity between applications. They want it to be smooth and seamless, with small, but important, conveniences such as single-sign-on instead of having to navigate multiple interfaces with multiple passwords. Brokers are prioritizing convenience and connectivity due to the continuing drive toward better and more powerful mobile technology. Mobile tech is where the growth is in the marketplace today, and where significant growth will likely be for years to come.

The efficiencies and convenience of mobile tech tools is only part of the story. The critically important millennial generation is fueling a growing push as clients who increasingly expect instant gratification and immediate results. Today’s young homebuyers have grown up on technology. They are demanding that their real estate partners utilize these tools to enhance and expedite the real estate experience. Many millennials already have conducted preliminary research online and have identified properties in which they are interested. They subsequently want to get into those houses quickly; without mobile technology/platforms, that represents more of a challenge.

Those in the real estate industry who have yet to embrace mobile technologies are missing out on a critically important opportunity. REALTORS® who do not evolve and adopt will begin to fall behind. This has always been a competitive industry with an entrepreneurial edge, and those who do not have tech tools at their disposal will find themselves going up against a young generation of agents who do—and will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. As client expectations shift, technology is rapidly moving from a convenience to a necessity.

Platforms & Portals

Today’s marketplace is fairly fragmented with respect to real estate transaction platforms, with different forms and portals competing for market share. One likely trend we will see going forward is a push to improve standardization across platforms, creating a virtual environment in which all real estate professionals can participate. Even in states where there are multiple technologies and platforms, there will likely be opportunities for collaboration and cohesion. Each platform has different bells and whistles and different forms of integration, but ultimately it all comes down to simplicity and ease of use, priorities that can only be fully realized once a certain level of standardization and synchronicity has been achieved.

The result of improved integration and standardization will be improved connectivity and more streamlined processes. There will likely be more data-sharing going on, as web services allow different brokers, vendors and clients to utilize the same platforms and leverage technology. This not only will cut down on the time it takes to get to the closing table, it will ultimately create a massive wealth of resources, tools and information that REALTORS® need to complete the home buying or selling transaction. It may seem counter-intuitive, but improved connectivity and standardization will actually give real estate professionals more choices. When two brokers are using two different platforms, it can slow the whole process down, but more choices and more standardization across platforms will ultimately drive the kind of healthy competition and collaboration that will move the industry forward.

Looking to the future, there is reason for optimism that technology will continue to positively impact the industry. In the near term we will see more tech innovations focused on unlocking the power of data, with more tools and applications for predictive analytics. This category of new technologies will allow real estate professionals to take advantage of new insights and opportunities, with the ability to recognize patterns, trends, and subtle market developments that may not be obvious without sophisticated analytics. For REALTORS®, information is arguably the most valuable currency, and tools that can help them win deals and position themselves favorably for customers are likely to gain traction.

One of the biggest areas of growth is in electronic signatures. The ability to sign and transmit critical documents from different locations in a convenient, secure and legally binding way is incredibly beneficial—ultimately helping to get more deals done. Title integration is another area to watch, with technologies that allow brokers to order title insurance through channels integrated directly into the digital documentation. While some systems already offer this functionality, improved compatibility between different applications to allow title work to be ordered immediately and automatically will almost certainly continue to grow.

The bottom line is that these new technologies create new efficiencies that help REALTORS® do more with less. When they can spend less time filling out and processing paperwork, they can spend more time farming leads, taking clients to showings, and doing things that directly lead to new opportunities and more sales. As we move toward a truly paperless transaction, getting rid of extraneous clutter, offices and individuals can realize significant savings of both time and money.

For all of these advances in technology, the broker is still enormously important. Because of their knowledge, their insights, experience, sound counsel, and specialized skillset in moving transactions forward, REALTORS® will remain the centerpiece of every real estate transaction. Technology is a powerful tool, but the REALTOR® is the craftsman. As the tools become more sophisticated, however, technology will continue to support and enhance the work that those craftsmen do every day.

 


 

Lisa Mihelcich

Lisa Mihelcich

Lisa Mihelcich serves as COO of zipLogix™, a Mich.-based technology company created by, owned by and working for real estate professionals to improve productivity and efficiency industry wide. Its software automates and simplifies the repetitive and complex steps of real estate transactions, and is used by more than 650,000 real estate professionals across the country. For more information, visit www.zipLogix.com.

 

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