Wherever you look you can see technology having an impact. Practically every industry is adopting new tech and doing so at an incredible rate. That includes the real estate sector. In fact, there is so much new technology being adopted by agents that there is even a special word to describe the phenomenon – proptech.
As you will see, agents have been highly creative when it comes to how they have adapted technology to suit the needs of them and their customers. They have gone far beyond adding video to their online listings and using live chat on their websites. When Oxford University, in the UK, investigated how the sector was planning to use technology, they discovered that 53% of agencies were planning to use more of it.
When the CoVid pandemic meant that in-person viewings were no longer possible, agents started showing people around virtually. They simply took existing technology and adapted it.
Where restrictions allowed a realtor to visit a property, they did so armed with a video camera and took 360-degree footage. In places where that was not an option, they simply asked the homeowner to do it for them. Using streaming they were able to guide them through the process. Equipping the property owner to capture decent images that could be edited to create a good quality tour video.
A few agents even went as far as to offer live video tours, which involved the agent or homeowner using a live stream to show prospective buyers around in real-time. This enabled potential purchasers to ask questions and get a better view of the parts of the property that interested them the most. You can read more about how all 3 of these approaches were executed, by clicking here.
Finding innovative ways to use digital signage
For many years now, real estate agents have been incorporating screens into their window displays. They have been using them to share slideshows of their top properties and information about the services they provide. But recently the use of digital signage for real estate firms has gone beyond that. Many are now including short videos that tell prospective viewers more about the area. For example, highlighting the good schools, sports facilities, public transport hubs and facilities like parks or gyms. This is a great way of catching the attention of people who are new to an area and are waiting to sit down with an agent. Or those who are window shopping when the agency is closed.
Upgrading their websites
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 43% of property buyers look online first. So, it is hardly surprising that many agencies are upgrading their websites. They are increasingly using APIs to pull important data such as school performance tables, crime statistics, and recent home sales prices into one place for would-be buyers. People appreciate this open and transparent approach. It makes them feel that they can trust the agent. Not to mention the fact that it is far more convenient for them to be able to access all of this data in one place.
Using technology to smooth out the purchasing process
Most people are short on time, so the last thing they need is to waste it sitting in the car or an agent or solicitors’ office. That is one of the reasons virtual home showings are still so popular despite lockdown restrictions having been lifted in many areas.
With this in mind, many agents, mortgage brokers, and solicitors have started to exploit digital signature technology. This enables clients to sign all of the necessary paperwork without having to travel to do so.
The adoption of real estate technology is global
The use of new technology by real estate agents is not, as many people would expect, confined to the larger more affluent countries. It is also being widely used in African countries like Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa, as well as in India. All of which have fast-growing property markets.
Often, in those countries, the use of the latest technology was led by multinational real estate agencies like RE/MAX. An agency that has offices in 100 countries. When they find that an approach like virtual viewing works in one of their larger, faster-moving markets, they quickly trial it in other countries. Doing so tends to push their smaller competitors to adopt the latest tech at a far faster rate than they would have otherwise done so. So, it is safe to say that we can expect to see the real estate sector continuing to introduce more technology and do so at a far faster pace.