Technology has virtually taken over every aspect of human activities both in the developed and developing nations. The extent to which people rely on technology has made it easy for many to carry out jobs that hitherto would have taken 10 days within few hours. Of course, technology has been effective in all sectors of human endeavour and in real estate, the innovation brought in through technology cannot be overemphasised.
Real estate has evolved also through technology to make designs and operations, recordings and implementation very easy. Emerging technologies have substantially disrupted many industries. From on-demand app development to the Internet of Things (IoT), recent advancements are making everything from ordering food to adjusting the thermostat more efficient. The real estate sector, however, has been slow in keeping up with the times. That needs to change. New tech has the potential to revolutionise this market. Real estate professionals who adopt these innovations sooner than later stand to benefit.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR technology immerses users in virtual experiences. With a VR headset, a person can “travel” to essentially any location (either real or imaginary) and interact with it as if they were actually there. This makes selling properties far easier in the digital age. Approximately 44 per cent of 2016 home buyers started looking for homes on the internet. This trend is likely to continue as younger people who’ve grown up with digital technology buy their first homes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to truly show off a house over the internet. Pictures alone may not do the property justice. Real estate professionals have struggled to overcome this challenge in recent years.
VR is changing that. New VR products allow potential buyers to tour properties before actually visiting them. The experience is just as convenient as researching properties on the internet because it doesn’t require a potential buyer to leave the comfort of their home when first learning about a house. This makes it easier for real estate agents to give someone conducting research online a genuine idea of what a property looks like. The novelty of the feature also ensures such properties make a lasting impression on buyers. Taking a virtual tour of a home is simply far more memorable than merely viewing pictures of it on a website.
Blockchain can do a lot more than making cryptocurrencies possible. Since a blockchain is essentially a secure public ledger, it’s very useful as a means of simplifying property transfers.
Transferring property is often complicated. For instance, a home buyer must often satisfy many conditions of a contract before a home is theirs. Blockchain-based smart contracts, accessible to all legal entities involved in the transaction, can update as soon as a condition is fulfilled. This adds efficiency to an otherwise complex process. It also adds transparency and security. Information involved in real estate transactions is often very sensitive. Luckily, a blockchain ledger, distributed across many computers, is difficult to hack. The very nature of blockchain also guards against fraud.
The cloud is another innovation which boosts the overall efficiency of otherwise cumbersome real estate transactions. Again, these processes involve multiple legal parties. Exchanging documents between all the relevant parties can be a tedious process. However, when they’re all stored in the cloud, all parties involved can access them quickly and easily. The moment a potential buyer uploads a signed document to the cloud, another individual or team can access it and take the appropriate next steps. This also helps agents better serve their clients. In real estate, clients often call agents asking for certain key pieces of information. Having that information available on the cloud allows agents to respond quickly instead of forcing a client to wait as they track it down.
This results in better customer relationships overall. By simply upgrading to the cloud, an agent can bolster their reputation substantially. These examples demonstrate just a few reasons why real estate professionals need to embrace innovation. The industry can no longer avoid change. Luckily, the changes technology brings will improve major processes for everyone involved.
Technology continues to be a catalyst for change in all areas of business and industry, and the real estate market is no exception. Today’s worker is more mobile and more connected than ever before, which means that businesses can operate anywhere. Especially in mature urban centres, the pushback against escalating real estate leasing and ownership costs is increasing. While telecommuting may not be a viable option for all companies, or even all employees within a company, many organisations have utilised remote work models with great success. This is reducing the amount of office space needed to accommodate employees, and it is changing the dynamics of what constitutes an ideal “read expensive” location. The distributed work model itself is not new.
Health insurer, Aetna, has used remote work as an employee retention tool for more than 20 years, and more than 31 per cent of the company’s employees telework. Through telecommuting, the company has reduced its office space by more than 2 million square feet, resulting in an approximate annual savings of $78 million. The company also closed and demolished its 1.3 million square foot building in Middletown, Connecticut, which was praised as the “office park of the future” when it was built in the 1980s.