Technology has become so important to real estate professionals that the National Association of Realtors® has created a separate department tracking technology development and usage by real estate professionals. Recently, they conducted a national survey of real estate professionals regarding the technology they use and how important it is to their business.
I think you'll find the results useful for your own investment business. This information will help you focus your technology use in the areas others are finding it the most effective. Or if your use of technology is limited, you'll learn why you need to incorporate it and which is the most important.
Many of the percentages do not add up to 100% for two reasons. Those responding were allowed to give multiple answers to many of the questions. Also, in the interest of brevity, I didn't include some of the least popular responses.
The Most Valued Technology
The smart phone is the most valued technology. Next comes internet access to sites and applications like Trulia app, Zillow app, postlets, WordPress, Goomzee, Kurio; DriveSafe.ly, PDF Expert, Ziforms, HouseLogic, Docusign, Dropbox, eEdge, and mortgage calculators.
There has been a small shift in internet browser preference. While Internet Explorer remains the most preferred at 58%, Firefox gained ground to 20% in the most recent survey, followed by Google Chrome at 14%.
The technologies most planned for purchase or replacement during the coming year are Smartphones 38%, iPads 29%, digital cameras 17%, and laptops 16%. The most used Smartphones are the Android 35%, iPhone 28%, and Blackberry 18%.
Social networking continues to play an important role with real estate professionals. A full 63% say they are comfortable or extremely comfortable with social networking technology. Only 7% say they don't use the technology. In decreasing order, the most used social network sites are Facebook 79%, LinkedIn 67%, Blogs 46%, Twitter 34%, and YouTube 31%.
On the marketing side of their business, real estate professionals list these preferences for marketing properties for sale and rent - their own site 63%, Facebook 48%, MLS 47%, Craigslist 47%, Yahoo Real Estate 41%, local newspapers 21%, and magazines 12%. A full 85% say internet marketing is important or very important to their marketing efforts. Referrals are their most important marketing tool as reported by a full 95% of those surveyed. As for social networking sites, 51% said these are important or very important to marketing efforts.
Regarding investing in technology, 27% of respondents say they spend $100 - $500 annually on their website, 22% less than $100, 16% between $500 and $1,000, and 16% spend up to $5,000. Professionals report total annual technology expenses as 19% spending up to $250, 19% up to $500, 29% up to $1,000, 21% up to $2,000, and 7% up to $3,000.
The top reasons given for investing time and money in technology are that it keeps them mobile while staying connected, saves time, and increases productivity. As for how they learn about technology and stay on top of it, 62% of those surveyed said most technology information comes from other real estate professionals. While 55% stay informed from real estate news websites, 47% from the NAR website, and 41% from friends.
I hope you are able to put this information to good use towards improving your own real estate investing business.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.