The real estate industry has struggled in the past five years, with a nasty recession and housing bubble threatening the industry. But new surveys show real estate workers are some of the most satisfied in the country—and the new technologies paving the way for their success means success for anyone looking to rent, buy, or sell real estate.
Whereas gaps once existed in industry technology, the cloud is now changing the way we rent, buy, and sell real estate. More specifically, two types of tech are becoming increasingly important.
The first? Mobile tools
Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and other new technologies help agents to access information at anytime, anywhere. Because real estate agents are constantly on the road, these tools help to drive sales faster. Consumers are also using mobile tools to search for new homes at increasing rates.
Another important type of tech changing the game are tools for collaboration and sharing information quickly, like enterprise software. This technology leads to faster, cleaner transactions between real estate agent and buyer.
“Whenever these two aspects line up in one product, that's when things get really powerful. Mobile is the way of the future, and it’s helping agents to track and access important documents and information on the road, leading to cleaner transactions with consumers,” said Dustin Moore, president of real estate solutions at a la mode, inc., in an interview with Business Insider. “And they've got a lot to track: thousands of contacts, changing schedules, contracts and closing documents, information on listings. At any given time, an agent’s plate is clouded with a big, complicated lump of information.”
Cloud-based apps are also leading the way for increased efficiency. Apps like Evernote and Dropbox have been huge for agents helping consumers to keep track of notes and files, like contracts and disclosures. E-signature technology is starting to gain popularity too, helping customers to get their documents signed quickly and easily via iPad.
Increased Search Efficiency
A few years ago, the biggest gap in real estate tech was searching for listings on the Web. Now, the Web listings search is ubiquitous, and consumers are able to access real estate listings more quickly and with more targeted searches than ever before.
Simply put, smartphones and mobile devices have been the catalyst for speeding up the entire real estate process. Consumers have no shortage of options when it comes to finding homes these days. Apps like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia help consumers start the process with several homes in mind, rather than sifting through tons of inventory. Apps like a la mode’s RE:Focus Analytics speed up decisions by providing up-to-the-second pricing and inventory analytics. And Evernote and Dropbox mean documents and information are exchanged in seconds, at any time, from any place.
The Best Part? Accessibility
Most agents and consumers have access to all of this technology, Moore says. In fact, there's so much technology available in real estate these days that it can be overwhelming.
“The real challenge now facing the industry is getting all of these tools to work together in a seamless way for the consumer,” he explains. “Real estate technology is making deals happen more smoothly, making customers’ lives easier and driving more business in the form of referrals. But real estate is and always will be a 'people' game.”
As the real estate industry takes advantage of today’s best technologies, its greatest purpose is delivering the information customers need, exactly when they need it—bringing agents closer to their clients and improving the real estate process overall.