The real estate industry has changed beyond recognition thanks to the technology we now have available. Whether you're looking for a home, trying to sell, moving or carrying out home maintenance, there's a software solution to help you get it done.
Before there were websites like Trulia and Zillow, buying and selling a home was difficult. Buyers and sellers alike were forced to rely on brokers and agents to help them out, because these were the only people that knew the real estate industry inside and out. But with the emergence of Trulia, Zillow and other sites, real estate suddenly became a lot more accessible, and that's helped to revolutionize the industry. Now, the process of buying or selling a home has become much more transparent, consumers are much more knowledgeable than ever before, and this makes them all the more powerful.
But while the process of buying, selling and renting homes quickly became easier with the advent of the Internet, other parts of the real estate industry took time to catch up.
Thanks to the emergence of dozens of cool new startups , those gaps in the real estate service have slowly disappeared. These include services like ViewTheSpace (VTS), which created a new way for buyers and renters to get to know commercial spaces before they moved in – an important service for many, who previously could only rely on videos or actually going to a place and seeing it for themselves. VTS provides high definition videos of available commercial spaces including offices and retail shops, all served up in a streamlined, consistent distribution channel, making the commercial real estate scouting process so much easier.
Then there's Floored, a different kind of space viewing service that was born in 2012. Floored introduced the concept of 3D modeling to the real estate world with software that transforms homes, offices and other properties into interactive virtual properties.
It seems crazy to think that Airbnb has been on the scene for over seven years now. Airbnb was revolutionary, giving homeowners the chance to offload some of their costs to others by letting people use their properties as holiday homes or just a room for the night. Airbnb's example quickly caught on, and a number of rivals emerged to fill niches in the industry it created. These include Roomi, which caters to the co-sharing crowd and provides a kind of marketplace for roommates. More recently, we've seen the launch of Splacer, which takes Airbnb's model to the extreme by offering rooms or properties by the hour, so people can find a space to host parties, barbecues, events etc.
One of the age old problems in real estate has always been trying to find out information about a particular property or home you just happen to pass by. For example, who hasn't strolled past a vacant-looking home and wondered if it might be up for sale? Before the Internet, the only solution was to jot down the name and address of that property and try to research it later, but now thanks to Falkon, it's possible to instantly research this kind of information. Falkon offers a free location-based application that allows anyone to prospect, research and generate leads simply by searching for a particular property.
CompStak is another startup trying to fill the knowledge gap by providing a marketplace for people to exchange commercial real estate comps. It follows a simple crowdsourced model where users share one comp to receive another comp.
No matter where you look, it seems that technology is changing every aspect of real estate – from the way real estate professionals work to the way people search for a home. Startups like the ones mentioned above are causing unprecedented disruption to an industry that was previously the sole domain of real estate agents and brokers. But while these startups are raking in millions of dollars, its the consumers who're the biggest winners, because they can leverage these new solutions to find exactly what they want and market or monetize their properties in ways that were previously unavailable.