It’s a constant throughout history that technologies change. The horse and buggy gave way to the automobile. The telephone gave way to the mobile device. And traditional data analytics gave way to big data and machine learning.
It’s also a constant that these technological advancements shape industries. (Look at how electric cars impacted the auto industry in the last decade, to use an obvious example). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that technology is helping steer the real estate industry too. Despite some initial skepticism (and outright reluctance on the part of traditionalists), real estate technology is shaking things up.
Here’s why now is the right time for the real estate industry – consumers and professionals both – to embrace this new wave of technology.
The Old Ways Are Unsustainable and Unsuitable
Let’s look at the way the world has changed in the past decade:
- People are more tech-savvy than ever, with mobile and/or internet penetration at nearly 100% across demographics.
- Consumer expectations have changed with the advent of online shopping and informational access. People want options, transparency, convenience and speed.
- Consumer demographics in real estate are shifting, and millennials are now the largest real estate purchasers. See the above two points for why this is relevant.
- COVID changed everything. The real push toward remote, sight-unseen buying has carried over to the latter stages of the pandemic.
The old ways of doing business are simply unsuitable; they can’t keep pace with these changes. Old MLS databases are too inaccessible. Yellow Pages ads are too unreliable. Complex systems of paperwork are too inconvenient. And exclusively in-person home tours neglect a sizeable segment of remote buyers.
Disruptive Technologies Aren’t a Theoretical Future – They’re the Present
Real estate technology isn’t a pipe dream; it’s a reality, a present source of disruption and a future inevitability. Why is now the right time for the real estate industry to embrace technology? Because it’s happening, and tomorrow might be too late.
A survey of real estate agents conducted a few years ago found that 44% of agents acquired new clients via social media, compared with 18% for print advertising and just 16% for cold calling. That’s not to say social media is still the best way for agents to find clients (things have changed even in the intervening years). Rather, it illustrates how vital early adoption is to the real estate profession.
Technology Empowers Consumers and Elevates Practitioners
Real estate technology has the power to be mutually beneficial for consumers and professionals. Take for example Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace currently disrupting and reforming the client/agent relationship.
On Nobul, buyers (and sellers) choose the agent that’s right for them based on pricing, transaction histories, verified reviews and more. Agents can then compete for a consumer’s business. Consumers that embrace the new tech platform can save money and increase their options. Meanwhile, agents that join the marketplace can access new leads.
As Nobul’s founder Regan McGee puts it in an interview with Superb Crew, “Prospective home buyers… can ensure they have found a solid real estate agent whose work is in-line with their values.” He adds: “I don’t think agents will ever be replaced by technology… Buyers will continue to want big, personal decisions to be facilitated by professional, knowledgeable and most importantly effective agents.”
Real estate technology is here. It’s addressing shifts in consumer demographics and expectations. And it benefits all parties in a real estate transaction. For those reasons, now the time for the real estate industry to put aside its initial skepticism and embrace the possibilities of technology.