There’s no denying the impact of technology on our everyday lives: The death of Blockbuster and the rise of Netflix, self-checkout at the grocery store, and smartphones attached at the palm – just to name a few. But what effect does the technological revolution have on the real estate industry? Is it helping or hurting us?
The Pros and The Cons
Thanks to the Internet, finding a home can be just as simple as a few clicks of the mouse. With online MLS listings as well as sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com and Homes.com, consumers now have unprecedented access to more data than ever before – and they are embracing this. In fact, according to a NAR study, 92% of buyers and sellers use the Internet in their search for property. Of course, realtors also have the tools to better support their clients and help them navigate through the process.
Since clients can now do the research themselves, they expect more out of their agents – including greater responsiveness. With the advent of texting, Facebook messaging and emailing, many clients assume that their agents will be available to them at a moment’s notice. In fact, a CAR study revealed that 49% of buyers respect an instant response from their agents.
One newer innovation which can benefit clients and agents alike is the virtual reality tour. With these tours, prospective buyers can get 3D views of certain properties without ever having to leave the comfort of our couches. This new type of tour not only enhances buyers’ experiences, but it also allows agents to use their time more efficiently as they are likely to attract more serious buyers to open houses.
A virtual reality tour of a 90210 home:
Another universal favorite among clients and agents alike is the paperless transaction. With applications such as DocuSign, agents can upload many of their documents in one place — and clients can review and sign them anytime, anywhere.
Last but not least, another tool which agents can use to their advantage is that of inbound marketing. Whether it be through Facebook Advertising, CloudStreams or any of the other inbound marketing tools, realtors now have the ability to generate, track, and analyze massive amounts of leads. This system provides the power to develop a targeted, narrow marketing strategy that was never previously possible.
Though technology does come with its downsides, it can, when used correctly, enrich the experience for clients and agents alike. Agents have much better marketing and analytics tools, while buyers have the ability to educate themselves. On both ends, this cuts down the time it takes to close a deal. Faster movement makes everyone happy, and the market is reflective of that. Data collected by the Labor Bureau of Statistics shows steady growth in the private sector from mid-2015 to mid-2016.
So Where Does This Leave Us?
The real estate industry is clearly changing from these technological advances – and there’s no turning back. But there are certain things that only the human element can provide. Sure, you can buy and sell a house without ever meeting someone face-to-face these days, but in an industry so closely tied to sentiment, human analysis, interaction and a local agent’s knowledge is irreplaceable.
Finding a place to call “home” is for most of us a major life decision; it’s the single biggest purchase a person or family will likely make, so it makes sense that we would want a human to help guide us along the way.
By recognizing the importance of the human element while staying on top of the latest technological advantages, agents can further enhance their practices, better serve their clients and drive their business forward.
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Interested in learning more about the latest digital trends, as well as connecting with clients in today’s fast-paced world? Then you won’t want to miss The MLS Summit 2017 on April 6, 2017 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.