Throughout the 21st century, there has been an inextricable link between real estate and technology. But when you study the past few years, it becomes clear just how much technology has changed the marketplace. From buying and selling to building and financing, every little aspect of the industry has changed – and most of it for the better.
4 Major Effects of Technology
For those who don’t spend their careers immersed in real estate, it’s easy to miss out on the different trends that come and go. But speak to anyone who has an intimate understanding of what the present marketplace is like and they’ll share the impact of the following tech trends:
1. Online Listings
Websites like Zillow and Trulia have totally changed the game. In the past, homebuyers had to drive around town looking for signs, or rely on their agent to provide them with printouts of MLS listings. Today, anyone can access listings from any device. This makes the search process much more comfortable and efficient for everyone involved.
2. Video Tours
While the vast majority of people are going to do an in-home visit before putting in an offer on a property, video is changing the way this works. Many agents are actually posting video tours of their listings online, which generates more leads, cuts down on foot traffic, and increases interest.
“The data is enough to prove that video marketing is the newest frontier in real estate,” explains Green Residential, one of Houston’s leading property management firms. “Research shows that 50 percent of interactivity online is video based and consumers are 41 percent more likely to click a video thumbnail than a picture or link to another website. Videos also receive 403 percent more inquiries.”
As more and more real estate professionals begin to acknowledge the value of video, expect to see even more growth in this area.
3. Electronic Signatures
The process of completing a real estate transaction is easier than ever before, thanks to electronic signature technology that allows people to sign and validate documents remotely. In some cases, there isn’t even a physical closing table involved. This has led to much greater efficiency and the ability to streamline complicated processes.
4. Online Lending
One of the more significant shifts, as of late, has been the rise of online lending. Buyers can now get approved for a mortgage without ever stepping foot in a bank.
“The biggest advantage of buying a mortgage online is the wealth of choices,” expert Ziff Davis explains. “Rather than visiting a bank and flipping through prepared portfolios of the mortgage options the bank offers, online buyers have the freedom to research, cross-reference, and compare the options offered by different online mortgage lenders.”
Online lending is also a lot quicker and less painful. While you still have to provide a bunch of information in order to be approved, it’s a lot easier on the part of the buyer. Information is all submitted to the same place and, thanks to advanced algorithms and the wealth of data available to online lenders, the approval can happen in minutes or hours (as opposed to days or weeks).
What Does the Future Hold?
Nobody knows what the future of real estate holds. (If you do have some psychic premonitions, go ahead and gobble up as much property as you can and wait for a cash windfall to come your way.) But one thing is clear: Technology will continue to influence the marketplace. By zeroing in on the latest trends and projections, you can enjoy the benefits of being on the cutting edge.