Technology has changed dramatically the way real estate professionals operate. They can abandon the traditional office environment and work only from their smartphone. Drones can be used to generate incredible views. And clients from all over the world can go through virtual tours without having to be physically present. Therefore, in order to provide the best service, agents need to stay on top of new and emerging trends. But at the same time they tend to be overwhelmed by the innumerable choices and by the novelty of new tools. Comparison web sites are giving consumers more choices when it comes to buy and sell a property, along with not always accurate information.
There are 24 different technology areas that will affect real estate in the future. Some of them are still on the horizon, like blockchain, augmented and virtual reality and big data/artificial intelligence. Others are in the development stages like Internet of Things, smart homes and chat bots (applications capable of chatting with customers).
The key changing trends we see for the near future are in the following 10 sectors, which we will cover more in detail in future articles:
- MLS Evolution
- Lockbox/smart key devices
- Social Media
- CRM applications
- Digital Photography and Virtual Tours
- Video Marketing
- Beacons Technology
- Transaction management software
- Marketing Automation
The MLS Is Still King, but It Is Now Closely Followed by Social Media
The three most valuable technology tools used by Realtors in addition to email and their phones, are MLS websites/apps (64%), lockbox/smart key devices (39%) and social media platforms (28%). This is the result of a technology survey published in September 2018 by the National Association of Realtors
Only 2% of the Realtors interviewed do not use the MLS at all and only another 2% doesn’t consider it valuable. A staggering 96% of Realtors use their MLS services which most of them consider satisfactory. The typical uses are to build CMA (comparative market analysis to win listings), research property history and generate automatic emails for clients and prospects. This produces high quality leads for 32% the Realtors interviewed in the survey. Another big portion of the leads comes from the brokerage’s website (29%) and listing aggregator websites (29%) which are themselves connected to the MLS.
Yet the highest yield in terms of quality leads comes from Social media according to 47% of the respondents. These platforms are used by 77% of Realtors, with the main being Facebook (97%), LinkedIn (59%), Instagram (39%), Twitter (33%) and Youtube (29%).
Some professionals have a social media account just because they can’t avoid it. And only 26% use it to actively promote listings while 25% use it to build and maintain relationships with customers. Considering the growth of foreign buyers, the increased competition and the need to establish a personal branding/presence, it is likely that more Realtors will use social media aggressively in the near future. According to the survey by NAR, video marketing is a clear winner and it could become a key player in this field.