No industry is immune to change, and the best businesses are those that are agile and flexible enough to adapt to change.
Without this ability, businesses risk becoming obsolete. The real estate industry is no exception to this role. In fact, a few decades ago, the real estate industry was a different beast. Today, technology has touched nearly every aspect of the property market.
Buyers can see a birds-eye-view of a listed property or neighborhood 1,000 miles away through drone photography. You can get all the listings in your area with just a few swipes on your phone, and even buy a house with bitcoins.
But how are realtors adapting to technology? We will look at how technology is changing the real estate industry and how realtors are adapting to these changes.
1. New Tools & Channels for Interacting with Clients
Did you know that 90% of buyers search for homes online?
With the vast majority of home searches starting online, agents had to respond by capitalizing on their online presence, while devising new ways to interact with the digital homebuyer. Technology has given rise to a slew of communication tools that have made it easier for agents to reach out to their clients online. These include:
- Live website chats like Intercom and Drift
- SMS texting tools like Twilio
- Social media messaging through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
Before the internet, real estate agents had to rely on print media—newspaper ads, magazines, etc to post listings and create awareness.
2. CRM for Leads Management & Workflow Automation
According to the 2018 LinkedIn State of Sales report, 64% of sales professionals use CRM applications. Real estate agents are using CRM to streamline workflow, generate leads, and improve customer service.
Before the advent of CRM solutions, clients’ records used to be buried in file folders. Agents would carry a fat contacts book where all records were maintained.
Today, it’s a different ball game.
Real estate CRMs have completely changed the game—serving as a digital contact book, workflow automation systems, sales forecasting tools, and leads management software. Speaking of leads management, leading real estate CRMs will automatically pull in leads from over 200 sources, thus simplifying the marketing roles of agents while allowing them to work smarter.
3. The Move to the Virtual Space
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the real estate industry in unprecedented ways.
With the current stay-at-home and social distancing policies in many states, it has become harder for in-person interactions between the buyer and the seller. This has forced realtors to adapt by switching to virtual property showings.
Virtual reality for real estate allows prospective buyers to walk through the property before buying—without spending time and money traveling to physically inspect the property. With virtual tours, buyers can step into a space to experience the scale of rooms and do much more.
Many tools, like Zoom, exist that allow agents to create virtual tours of the property. The seller invites the listing agent, the buyer, and the buyer’s agent into their home virtually. Once the buyer downloads the app, they’re able to view the property from anywhere.
The Bottom Line
Real estate technology is rapidly evolving and realtors are evolving with it. With tech trends such as virtual walkthroughs, machine learning, and online marketing taking center stage in the digital revolution, any agent not keeping up with the times will be in for a rude awakening.