Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by Ben Mizes
Technology is changing everything in the world around us. It stands to reason, then, that technology will also change the way we do real estate.
It already has changed things tremendously in just the last couple of decades. Now, instead of scouring newspaper ads, people are getting on the internet to easily look through properties available in their neighborhood of interest.
But the internet isn’t the only thing that’s shaping the future of real estate. Let’s take a look at four innovations changing the industry:
1. Virtual reality
There’s no question that buying a home is tedious. On average, buyers will tour 10 homes over the course of a couple of months. That takes time, which is something not many people have in excess. On top of that, in a hot market, buyers have to be available to tour quickly, or they may never get the chance.
Virtual reality gives buyers the chance to tour homes without having to physically visit the property. While nothing replaces going in person, this is a great tool for weeding out homes that definitely aren’t a good fit.
Buyers can also use virtual reality to view their own furniture or decor in the property. The whole idea behind professional home staging is to help buyers visualize themselves living in the home. Virtually adding their own furnishings takes things to the next level.
Plus, physical staging can get expensive. You may have to rent furniture and the monthly fees for that on top of the initial setup fees can run into thousands of dollars. Contrast that with around $200–$400 for virtual staging. Plus, if the designer couch you added isn’t working for the buyer, you can swap it out with just a few clicks.
2. Smart home technology
Millennials are squarely in the age of home buying. In fact, millennials make up the largest generational share of buyers at 37 percent. Thus, it makes sense to equip homes with features that appeal to this generation.
Millennials are tech-savvy and appreciate smart home technology that can save them money and make their lives easier. A thermostat that adjusts the temperature based on the presence of a person? Security features that allow them to watch over their home from their smartphone? Millennials love it all.
Adding smart upgrades can not only attract buyers and help homes sell faster but also garner a higher price.
3. AI to match buyers and agents
There is no question that the role of real estate agents is still important. Most people will only buy four or five homes in their lifetime. That’s hardly enough to know how to handle such a complicated process well.
However, while the agents themselves are important, their hefty commission is less than beloved. Can technology help with that?
A huge amount of an agent’s time and resources is spent on acquiring more clients. If they could focus on simply facilitating transactions, their running costs would be much cheaper. And yes, technology can help with that.
Automated software can help streamline an agent’s marketing process as well as the arduous task of keeping track of potential leads and nurturing them. Less time spent nurturing leads (especially ones that won’t convert) is a plus for both the agent and their clients.
Dedicated marketing companies can streamline this even further by virtually eliminating this part of the agent’s job. They do the heavy lifting with marketing and matching clients to agents and the agent is free to focus on what they do best — handling real estate transactions.
4. Augmented reality
In the past, homebuyers have driven around neighborhoods that interest them looking for "For Sale" signs. They make a list of addresses and phone numbers for homes that look interesting. To get any more detailed information, they have to call the listing agent, look up the home online, etc.
Imagine driving around and getting information on a home simply by pointing your phone’s camera at it.
You can do that with augmented reality. Within seconds you can have the information right there in the palm of your hand, including up-to-date notes that agents have added.
The future is now
The purchase of a home is one of the largest purchases most people will ever make in their lifetime. A home's location and features have a huge impact on their quality of life. That’s why buyers should choose carefully.
These innovations and more are changing the industry and making it easier than ever for buyers to find the perfect property.
AI and augmented reality are helping people save time and money during their search. Virtual reality makes it possible to tour properties without being physically on location. Imagine how much easier it would be to move across the country with these tools than even just a few years ago.
It’s an exciting time in real estate, and we look forward to seeing what else the future holds for buyers and sellers.
Ben Mizes is the Cofounder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top Real Estate Agents who can help you save thousands on commission. Ben is also an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis, and a licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of Missouri.