The modern world bogged down in the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions took advantage of the technology. Technological advances have covered various needs across the globe, industries, and various areas of our life. Even the slowest to adopt innovations industries — such as real estate — are catching up with technological trends. However, the real estate industry only benefits from those improvements as they result in greater efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Recently, Deloitte has asked real estate businesses if the COVID-19 has exposed shortcomings in digital capabilities and affected plans for transformation, and here’s what they responded:
- 56% — strongly agree
- 26% — somewhat agree
- 15% — neither agree nor disagree
- 3% — somewhat agree
- 2% — strongly disagree
So, in this article, we’ll cover the technology-wise real estate trends of 2021.
Virtual and Augmented Reality in Real Estate
The pandemic made it extremely difficult to give property tours in person. Thus, VR and AR came to the rescue and have already helped boost real estate sales.
VR and AR can be of great assistance for all parties involved in the real estate business. These technologies allow realtors to show properties without visiting them and for customers to check and compare properties which saves a lot of time.
VR helps to create detailed virtual tours with a 360-degree view of the exteriors and interiors of given properties. Still, property owners can maximize the efficiency of such a powerful tool as VR by implementing customization features. They will allow customers to change the look and feel of the properties to the customers’ liking by superimposing generated images on a virtual environment.
Carlisle Homes is an outstanding example of how real estate businesses can leverage VR for their home tours. Here are some key benefits of using VR in real estate:
- Easier to attract buyers from other cities or even countries.
- Brand recognition.
Other good and inspirational examples of real estate agencies that implemented VR in their businesses are Compass, Sotheby’s Realty, and Zillow. A prominent example of how AR helps real estate agencies is the Realtor app that allows customers to get all the vital information about the property by just pointing a smartphone’s camera at a building.
EYESPY360 is a VR tool that can help real estate agencies to create 3D models, floor plans, or 360𝇈 virtual tours. You upload 360-degree pictures and the tool generates a virtual tour that you can download.
Internet of Things and Smart Homes in Real Estate
IoT changes the way people interact with their surroundings, and for real estate businesses, it can offer certain financial and environmental benefits. In fact, the possibilities it opens are so great, they still feel like science fiction.
We can describe IoT as an ecosystem that comprises sensors, smart devices, and computers that are connected via the cloud. The task of such an ecosystem is to ensure faster communication and enable maximal automation of different processes. Property wired to interact with smart devices enables property owners to control temperature, lighting, HVAC, building safety, outdoor cameras, sprinkler systems, and additional utility operations remotely.
IoT-driven solutions for the real estate industry help solve a lot of issues it is facing now.
Key benefits of IoT in real estate:
- Efficient energy usage.
- Predictive maintenance.
- Valuable insights into the performance of the specific property.
HouseCanary solution was made to reinvent property valuation. It provides lenders and investors with an in-depth analysis of homes they are interested in. Thus, potential buyers have all the information they need for evaluation, so they are better equipped to make informed decisions about their property.
Another IoT example for real estate is BeaconSAGE, which enables customers to view a property before the agent arrives. When a customer comes within the radius of a beacon, their phone picks up the beacon’s signal and the beacon provides the client with the link to view the property.
Mobile Apps in Real Estate
Efficiency is quite vital for the real estate industry, so what better tool is out there if not a tailored mobile app? Such an app allows real estate specialists to streamline processes, get real-time information, thus ensuring maximum efficiency along the way.
Now, there are lots of smartphone apps for real estate. Some of them cover realtors’ needs, some of them solve customer issues, and some of them help property owners to manage their property. For example, typically real estate apps for customers allow them to:
- Access properties’ information any time.
- Conveniently communicate with real estate agents.
- Save time and resources on traveling.
Mobile apps for agents provide them with a way to automate an enormous amount of work and gain some interesting details with ease.
The key benefits of using smartphone apps for real estate businesses are:
- Extended market reach
- Better customer support
- Quick property sales
- Opportunity to provide a better service by gathering and analyzing customer feedback
- Less paperwork
- A better way for communication between agents and customers, thus additional direct marketing channels
MagicPlan is a simple yet effective app that allows you to create digital floor plans for your property. It has an easy-to-use interface, allowing you to measure and sketch interior plans in 2D & 3D. MagicPlan has also a built-in estimation tool that calculates the price for your property, based on its plan and measurements.
Trulia app is different. It is created so customers can explore a property. Customers can view the property itself, local crime statistics, shopping, eating establishments, schools, commute times, and neighborhood demographic stats. Trulia builds their home value estimates from more factors than other similar apps, such as home characteristics and unique features, on-market data (e.g. local comparative sales of similar homes, days on the market, and listing price), and off-market data (e.g. price history trends, tax assessment, and other publicly available records).
AI and Chatbots in Real Estate
Chatbots have already revolutionized many industries and have made an impact on ROI and customer engagement. Based on the report by Chatbots Life, real estate, travel, education, healthcare, and finance industries benefits the most by adopting chatbots. For real estate specifically, chatbots have turned the process of filling out long static forms into interactive quest-like experiences.
Real estate chatbots have proven to be of great assistance to both agents and customers for saving time, money, and additional resources. Besides, they have become an essential part of the sales funnel since most buyers and sellers are starting their journeys online and chatbots are there to assist 24/7.
The key benefits of using AI and chatbots in real estate are:
- Increase of qualified leads
- Easier to build and nurture relationships with the customers
- Multichannel customer support
- Chatbots can scan MLS listings to find and match properties that will be displayed to customers. Such collected data can also enhance advertising by analyzing the most popular and in-demand types of properties asked from a chatbot.
- Automate property visit scheduling
- Streamline data management
- Recognize patterns in the data and generate valuable insights for a real estate agency
Convoboss is a chatbot, tailored to cover real estate business needs, and specifically lead generation. It is fully customizable so you can change text, flows, visuals, and listings as you see fit. You can also integrate it with Facebook, email, or Messenger.
MobileMonkey, on the other hand, offers convenient chatbot building tools. It helps to set up a chatbot with quick forms, text, images, qualifying questions, and more. Such a chatbot can give very precise answers to your customers so they will get exactly what they came for.
Task Automation in Real Estate
We can view task automation as the evolution of approaches to specific tasks. For example, people switching from bonfires to microwave ovens would be task automation. Today, businesses across various industries, use task automation to simplify and reduce the amount of paperwork and other mundane tasks. In short, task automation minimizes the workload. According to the SalesFusion report, 71% of businesses use marketing automation.
Invoice processing, automated notifications, mailing, chatting — these are just a few of administrative and communication tasks that can be automated and help save time for a real estate business that they can spend on actually selling. CRM systems, various management, and marketing tools are especially useful for task automation purposes.
The key benefits of using task automation in real estate are:
- Saving expenses and time
- Keeping all accounting in one place
- Managing transactions across all stages of the sales funnel
- Automated communication, reminders, and reporting
- Quick access
- Tailored workflows according to your business needs
- Less paperwork
- Easier backup and recovery
- Third-party services integration
Some apps that can be useful for task automation in real estate:
- LandlordStudio is a mobile property management app that is useful in almost any way possible for your real estate business. It can set reminders, manage tenants, log rent payments and auto-generate rental reports. The app also outfits you with a streamlined dashboard. Pricing starts at $5.99 per month, which is affordable even for a small business.
- Zilo is a mobile app for valuating, listing, buying, and selling. Basically, Zillow is a marketplace for a property with a vast database. Thus, it can be used by real estate businesses to discover home value estimates, past sale prices, and to monitor the market.
The Necessity of Digital Transformation in Real Estate
Now, you may wonder if the future of real estate should be about digitalization. Even so, digital transformation currently overtakes the world economy. According to Statista, by 2023 digital transformation worldwide is expected to reach $2.3 trillion. So it is getting more significant every day.
So, why does the real estate industry need to adopt digitalization?
- First, it will make it easier to access real estate services for customers. Mobile users have already adopted eCommerce well, so they are expecting such swiftness and quickness from other businesses as well. Search engines are the first tool modern customers are using to get information because it is so easy. Now, owning a website is great, but typically not enough. Website, enhanced with chatbot and virtual tours? That sounds much better.
- Second, it enhances customer engagement. Content drives long-term relationships with customers. Thus, content brings actual value to attract and keep customers’ attention. AI can enhance content by showing only relevant information for each customer, thus bringing more value.
- Third, digitalization helps real estate businesses to discover new patterns, values and improve business decisions. Any business generates data that can be used to improve its business processes. Yet, today, social media, websites, and mobile apps generate loads of unstructured data that simply wait to be leveraged. That’s where agents of digitalization such as automation, predictive analytics, AI, and CRM come to the rescue.
- Fourth, digital transformation will allow real estate businesses to keep up with the competition. Now Amazon and Realogy have become partners. Amazon offers the incentive to its customers to buy homes with Realogy agents for up to $5K worth of Amazon products, whereas Realogy gets exposure on the biggest eCommerce sites. Thus, the real estate business now has Amazon as competition.
The good news is that you don’t need to turn your business upside down to take advantage of what digitalization can offer. You can start by expanding the asset base or enhancing the capability of existing assets, testing out new business models, and analyze the benefits of all your efforts.
As you can see, digital innovation is altering the future of real estate and its business models. Yet, the industry will reap the real benefits only by adapting to changes as early as possible and by doing so help to shape those changes.
The digital real estate ecosystem already has the foundation. Real estate trends, mentioned in this article, help to bring data transparency to real estate businesses and the market. Such a technology-driven approach results in enhanced efficiency since new services and products are made available for customers.
Still, the real estate industry slowly adopts digitalization. Thus, if you want to linger no more, yet not sure where to start with creating a software solution for your real estate business — drop us a line and we will be happy to help.