How is technology changing the way real estate agents do business?

New wave technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud based software and ‘everything online’ transactions are changing the way we live our lives.

For the real estate industry, this means lots of opportunities to do things better. However, it can also present a threat to businesses unwilling to adapt with the times.

As we enter 2018, these are four technology based trends which may affect the property business for better or worse:

Voice activated assistants

2017 saw the arrival of Google Home in Australia, which acts as a virtual personal assistant.

This device can provide weather forecasts, share current traffic conditions and answer basic questions, however it will soon become much more integrated.

In the very near future, prospective buyers will be able to ask questions along the lines of “Ok Google (or Alexa or Siri), tell me if any new homes have been listed for sale in Bondi this week”. They will be able to get the answer and potentially also make appointments for viewings using their assistant.

Forward thinking agencies will already be thinking about how they can optimise their online presence to be easily discoverable by voice search. They will also be considering how they can integrate their own services with chatbots and voice activated technology.

Industry Disruptors

The share economy and global businesses like AirBnb give every homeowner the potential to be a landlord. For leasing agents, this has presented new challenges as people decide to manage their own short-term lettings rather than seeking a long term tenant.

In Australia, new player Purple Bricks offers vendors support selling their home for a flat rate of around $5,000, putting the concept of the traditional commission-based sales agent at risk.

However, not all industry disrupters are bad news. One interesting example is the UK’s Viewber, which allows registered members to show properties on an agent’s behalf for a small fee. Like Uber, Viewber operates on a peer to peer feedback basis to ensure reliability and trustworthiness.

Industry disruptors are not going to go away,  In fact, they are only going to come at a faster rate. Agencies will have to figure out how to leverage these services for their own benefit, or how to offer a level of service which will invalidate the competition.

Bitcoin

Ready for alternative currency? Already an Australian home has been put up for sale with the vendor offering to accept Bitcoin, a so-called ‘crypto-currency’ which exists outside of the banks.

The value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed in recent years, as has its popularity. Listed as one of the top ten technologies to watch in 2018, some are predicting it has the potential to revolutionise the property market. With this in mind, it is worth familiarising yourself with the currency and keeping an eye on the role it has to play in the buying and selling of houses.

Video

Using video is nothing new, but its application within the real estate industry is evolving.

New trends mean you don’t have to have a huge budget to use video to promote your listings and boost your agent profile. A Facebook live stream, a DIY preview with a Gopro or a quick update on market movements posted to your website can also play a role in strengthening your marketing and your reach.

Beyond the basics, drone footage, 360 degree video and virtual reality will all be gaining momentum in 2018 and beyond.

The one constant in the world of technology is change. By keeping your finger on the pulse and integrating the innovations which can improve your business, you’ll be able to leverage it for success.

BDH Solutions have been buying and selling rent rolls for over 30 years. Keep up with our latest listings here.