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6 Technology Trends that Will Transform the World of Real Estate in 2017

May 1, 2017 No Comments

Featured article by Calvin Paige, Independent Technology Author

The internet has already altered the real estate market by moving listings online and allowing people to read reviews of real estate agents they’ve never met. Up to this point, the internet has only altered the traditional way of running a business, such as online ads replacing those in print magazines. New technologies are going to truly upend the real estate market. Here are six technology trends that will transform the world of real estate in 2017.

Big Data

Big Data is radically altering many industries by making the data available and usable to whoever can figure out how to use it. Big Data is already allowing law firms to quickly calculate relative home values for sale or challenging tax assessments. Another use of Big Data is targeted marketing to highly likely prospects based on their search history. Social media sites and others collect data that let you identify people planning on moving to your area so you can market to them, a market segment that was previously only reached by realty firms that spent significant money advertising in executive magazines to find mobile corporate elites. Now you can use Big Data to find middle and lower class home buyers coming from other parts of the country, while obtaining information on their preferences and demographics.

On the flip side, Big Data can give you leads on who is looking to sell their home before it is officially on the market. We aren’t talking about data mining property tax rolls to find people who own two houses simultaneously, though that was one of the first uses of this technology. In this case, we are talking about identifying the search habits of people who need to sell a home due to job transfers, the dissolution of marriage or death of a family member. The first realtor’s ad that they see that taps into their need will be their first thought when they decide to sell.

Virtual Reality

Photographers take pictures of homes to increase their emotional appeal with potential buyers. You now see virtual tours of homes available on many real estate listings to give potential buyers a mini-tour without even leaving their homes. This saves time for the realtor if it turns off people who weren’t likely to buy, while it increases the odds those who like the virtual tour will buy when they come to see the property in person. Expect to see virtual reality tours of homes and 3D images associated with the online real estate listings soon. The greatest appeal of VR and 3D imaging is that it lets you market the home to distant buyers who may not be able to visit the property in person before closing. It can be integrated with home design software and engineering software to let someone view a virtual model of the home and make alterations based on their own preferences or see the home after structural changes are made.

Real Estate? There’s an App for That

Property management and realtor apps for commercial and residential companies have hit the market, and they are revolutionizing the industry. Pix4D released an app that lets the average user create interactive 3D models based on drone mapping. The practical application for realtors is having a drone fly around the property, uploading the information and creating a virtual reality tour of the outside of the home rather quickly and without having to hire a tech guru. Property management apps allow apartment managers to put information on units for lease online and vet applicants without having to meet them.

Real estate for sale signs are starting to come with beacons in them. These beacons will send data on the property to those who have the associated app on their phone, allowing them to learn about it before they’ve set an appointment to tour it. Unlike the classic paper flyer, the information isn’t lost unless the person intentionally deletes it. The beacons can send links to the home’s virtual reality tour or online website so that those driving around a neighborhood can get an immediate look at the interior of the home.

All of these developments build on the first wave of apps by Zillow, Trulia and others to let you browse homes for sale based on your criteria and find them on a map. Many of these apps provide information for both potential renters and buyers. They link to databases that give you heat maps for crime ridden neighborhoods and information on local schools.

Digital Contracts

Digital contracts are already altering how real estate agents do business. When someone wants to submit a formal offer on a house, there isn’t a rush to get to a neutral meeting place to sign a piece of paper. Instead, the home buyer signs the contract digitally and sends it to the real estate agent to send off to the home seller. Options, inspections and other forms are increasingly handled entirely digitally. The only exception to this trend is the growing pile of paperwork required to close on a mortgage, a stack doubled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others.

DIY Real Estate Research

Homesnap is an app that lets you learn about the properties you are interested in. Take a picture of the property, and it will give you information on the home like who owns it according to tax rolls and its official market value. Apps like Dwellr give you statistics on neighborhoods so you can determine on your own if you’d want to live there. Apps by big names like Trulia and smaller ones like Xome let people connect with real estate agents too.

Mortgage Apps

There are a host of apps that let you calculate how much you can afford and run the numbers on interest rate versus down payment. A newcomer to this niche is the Rocket Mortgage App, which speeds up the process of officially applying for a mortgage. You are able to create an account with the lender, upload your important documents and start filling out the mortgage. You could get pre-approved quickly and automatically, though the app doesn’t completely automate the mortgage process.

Technology will massively start to transform the real estate landscape from this point forwards.

DATA and ANALYTICS , SOCIAL BUSINESS

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