Real Estate in Today’s Digital Age
Over the years, the evolution of technology redefined the way people live. We are now in a very visual, digital world where we rarely communicate face to face. With online marketing, websites, apps, and social media platforms, consumers are now also spending more time online, especially on their mobile devices. This changing demographic calls for the digitalization of business operations, including that of the real estate industry.
Now, brokers and agents must follow suit and be where the customers are. Long gone are the days we see advertisements or small pictures with a few words in the newspaper. It has been replaced by tablets and phones that provide automatic updates on things that interest a buyer. By embracing this digital age, real estate companies will have a wider reach and an edge over their competitors. But while there are clear opportunities with going online, the real estate industry also faces a few challenges with this technological era.
Three driving factors of digitalization in real estate
Digitalization is not a new phenomenon. Humans have been slowly marching on the path to modernization ever since programming languages were introduced in the mid-20th century. In the next few years, we will see new technologies that will dramatically change the real estate industry’s environment. It will disrupt the sector and improve its current processes and uses. But what are the driving factors behind this digital transformation in the real estate industry?
Connectivity is vital for consumers and real estate professionals. They need to be able to connect seamlessly no matter the place and time. That means digital connectivity is now as vital as physical connectivity. With social media platforms, websites, and other new channels, the real estate industry can increase its market reach and offer more customized services to buyers.
2. Customer convenience
A customer’s convenience has been a top priority in many businesses, not just in the real estate industry. With time emerging as one of the most precious commodities for today’s consumers, the need for fast and convenient services is transforming many sectors. In the real estate industry, digital tech has changed the operational aspects of site visits. Agents can use custom software and websites to schedule visits and manage pre-visit requirements like financial references, valid ID proofs, and deposits.
3. Customer experience
There’s also a growing demand for customer experience and personalized service. We’ve seen shoppers being sent targeted ads and offers through their mobile phones as they navigate shopping websites and even retail outlets. The real estate industry can also achieve this using data and analytics. Real estate is no longer just about bricks and mortar. Firms, agents, and brokers now have to provide more holistic services to meet the expectations of home buyers and sellers.
How buyers use technology to find their dream houses
Without a doubt, one of the biggest ways technology transformed the real estate business is how buyers shop. Customers no longer skim newspaper listings or look at postcards sent by agents. Only a few home hunters even drive by homes and neighborhoods to look for a “For Sale” sign. Instead, they go on their computers or mobile phones and search on Google or use online marketing tools, such as Facebook.
Because of our digital world, we now have innovative real estate platforms and websites like Hoppler that seamlessly connect home hunters with a one-stop-digital shop for real estate transactions. Through these apps and websites, buyers can search potential homes by location and neighborhoods. With a simple click of a button, they can check if there’s a vacancy in the condominium building or the gated community they’ve been eyeing.
Online searching also maximizes a home hunter’s ability to compare and contrast their choices. It is now easier for customers to find out the number of bedrooms and bathrooms a property has or the features and amenities it includes. They can visit Hoppler and look at the description and photos of the home listing. Once they find one or more potential homes, they will contact an agent and visit each place before making a purchase.
Adjusting to the digital age
For a good while, the real estate sector was known as something frozen and slightly left behind in terms of technology. In the old days, brokers and agents market a property by sticking up a sign in the yard and waiting for buyers to discover it. Sales representatives work all day on the phone, talking to old prospects and even cold calling. Some agents also used to knock on doors and stick pamphlets in mailboxes.
Staying up to date with the latest technological advancements is beneficial for many businesses. However, several firms have also cited this move as one of the biggest challenges that they face. Sure, adopting new technology can make things easier, efficient, and convenient for many people. But technology transfer and adoption would also mean the real estate firm has to spend a significant amount of money, time, and effort.
They would have to pay for a domain name and a hosting provider, license for various software, and more. Not to mention, real estate companies have to train their team and employees to use these technologies. For someone new to online prospecting, adjusting to the drastic changes brought by this digital age can be difficult.
Even today, some real estate professionals still think that clicking the syndicate button on website portals is already a job well done. Navigating to a new world While this may help market and sell a home, it’s not enough to grow a firm’s listing business.
Buyers are not the only people agents and brokers have to consider. With nearly unlimited access to the housing data on the internet, today’s home sellers are also more informed about the home selling process and their options. That means they will expect more from a real estate firm.
Let’s take a look at it this way. If you had to choose between an agent who will only do the basics to sell your home or an agent who will market your property on their social media, website, and more, which agent will you pick to list your home?
Selling a home is never easy for real estate professionals. Regardless of how much work real estate firms, brokers, and agents are already putting in, a seller might misunderstand their work if they don’t show them what you’re doing. They might think an agent did less than what they’ve actually done and earned more than what they deserved. Using online marketing and other new trends brought by innovations in technology, you can avoid your efforts going unvalued and unnoticed by home sellers.
Keeping up with changing trends
The real estate industry also has to face the challenges of keeping up with the latest trends and advancements in technology. We’ve seen this industry’s historic players dominating the market for decades. But the arrival of new technologies opened new doors for fresh players in the market. Many tech start-ups have now created tools and solutions to reduce and address the problems in the real estate sector.
We now have platforms, software, and tools for virtual apartment visits, digitalization of sales, online customer reviews, personalization of accommodation, and more. These new technologies will help real estate professionals boost productivity, streamline processes, and allow them to refocus on potential clients and their expectations. So while these solutions are primarily marketed to real estate professionals, they are designed for the end-users of housing. Below are some of the top technology tools for the real estate industry.
When used effectively, social media is one of the best tools for generating high-quality leads. It can help real estate firms, brokers, and agents connect with local clients, build trust, and extend their reach to a wider audience. Real estate companies like Hoppler can greatly benefit from these tools since it increases brand visibility.
For example, Hoppler has active social media accounts in Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, giving them an online presence on each platform. But aside from having company accounts, Hoppler’s sales team also created their accounts, like this YouTube page, that showcases the properties they’re managing.
CRM tools help real estate professionals manage their sales pipelines at every step. This software can include various features. But in general, you can expect CRM tools to help you track copious amounts of data, upload documents and contracts, manage contacts, manage real estate leads, track lead generation campaigns, and more.
In the world of real estate, this tool can be the key to managing customer relationships and business growth. Not only does it help you manage, attract, and retain clients, but it also streamlines transactions and closes deals on time.
Predictive analytics is a new concept that allows businesses to create a roadmap for their growth and predict the future. But unlike some mumbo-jumbo magic based on wishful thinking or whimsical assumptions, this tool uses a data-driven approach. By analyzing the data from past and present events, we can have reliable, evidence-based predictions and forecasts about the future.
In real estate, brokers and agents can use machine learning models and AIs to optimize lead generation, property analysis, property valuation, real estate marketing, buyers-to-properties matching, closing deals, and more. Traditional real estate analytics only shows how and why we stand where we stand today through the use of big data analytics.
However, predictive analytics tools take this to another level by predicting future outcomes. By analyzing information like local home upgrades and improvements, predictive analysis tools can identify the types of properties local buyers willingly pay a hefty price for or the condition they expect at a particular price.
What the digital age brings for real estate firms
Although the digitalization of the real estate industry poses challenges for firms and agents, this transformation also resulted in a multitude of benefits. Many realtors and property owners are even becoming aware of the benefits and efficiencies digitalization offer as they have been forced to work with digital tools during the lockdown.
Interactive online 3-D rendering and video tours
Home hunters and investors no longer have to drive several miles to visit and tour a property. With a simple click of a button, they can view properties across the globe at any time. The online 3-D digital rendering can take them throughout the entire home, so they can feel as if they’re touring the property in person without making an actual trip.
On some real estate websites like Hoppler, home hunters can also ask their real estate agents to take them on a video tour of the property. Using Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, or other video communication platforms, realtors keep an open line of communication while helping their clients check out the property from across the globe.
Before, agents had to drive back to their office and fetch the papers for property listings if a customer asked about other properties during the tour. But thanks to the adaptation of digital technology in real estate, we can now have valuable information right to our fingertips. With documents stored in cloud-based systems, agents are going paperless and taking advantage of data protection and privacy.
By going paperless, agents and clients can use the speed of the internet to close deals quickly and more efficiently. Increasing accessibility to real-time data also means real estate firms are now more transparent. Potential buyers can access tax records, building restrictions, or even permits pulled on a property through digital technologies.
Real estate apps
Instead of aimlessly driving around a neighborhood to look for an open house, home hunters can now search for possible properties using real estate apps. Digital technology allows buyers to tailor their search and quickly find the dream house that they want.
Customers can receive notifications about new properties and listings that fit their search criteria or a vacancy to the condominium community they always wanted. Thanks to these apps, home hunters can also view the properties at the comfort of their homes.
Real estate portals
For many years, the real estate industry depended on personal recommendations and referrals. While this strategy is effective for local home purchases, it’s ineffective if a customer wants to buy a property outside their city or country. The beauty of the digital age is that it seamlessly connects real estate professionals and potential buyers or sellers. Since digital meetings eliminate travel time for both parties, agents and clients will be able to work faster and more efficiently.
The moral of the story is clear, the shift to digitalization may be long and complicated, but it has a positive impact on the real estate industry. As consumers become more reliant on digital technologies, the real estate industry has to adjust its strategies and adopt new technologies. Either you adjust to the changing times or risk being left behind and watch your business likely perish.