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What Is the Future of Proptech and Real Estate?

By Ben Shepardson | December 15, 2022

Illustration of prop tech or property technology which is an application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets
Illustration of prop tech or property technology which is an application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets

Whether you're new to the real estate industry or a long-time veteran, few would argue it's a boring time to work in the industry. Advancements in technology have made real estate more exciting than ever. Regardless of if you're a buyer, seller, investor, or agent, you're going to be impacted by these advancements - collectively known as proptech.

If you're not technologically savvy or haven't heard of proptech, you need to be aware of it - it's both the current state and future of the industry.

Here's how proptech is changing the real estate industry.

What Is Proptech?

First, let's define what proptech is. Proptech is short for property technology.

It's a catch-all term used for all the tech tools that real estate agents may use. Proptech can be used to buy, sell, manage, or research property.

Proptech can offer shared economy real estate. Think of Airbnb or similar competitors that you may have used for vacation travel. Or in terms of workspace, WeWork is the most obvious example of a workplace equivalent.

Proptech can also consist of smart homes or smart real estate. Smart homes bring technology into the home via connected devices, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart home tech allows for remote monitoring and management of a property.

An example could be adjusting the lighting during certain times of the day. Or you could have a smart thermostat set to different temperatures, depending on the time of day and if someone was home or not.

Proptech could also be behind the scenes. Real estate fintech combines financial technology with the real estate industry. Real estate fintech can make the financial processes behind real estate easier.

Or it could make investing in real estate easier. That's what Roofstock is doing. The Roofstock platform allows for easier investing in single-family rental properties.

Proptech for real estate can be divided further into residential and commercial categories.

Implementing Proptech in Real Estate

Now that we've defined what proptech is, how can real estate agencies and agents use it?

It's more than a theoretical use case. Proptech has some interesting uses in the real estate

Industry. A few examples of these include:

Alternative Payment Options

The rise of digital currencies like Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies has led to many wondering if they can buy a property with their crypto. It turns out, you can buy a house with cryptocurrency. Crypto can be leveraged for a down payment on a property.

Of course, some caveats apply. For one, crypto is volatile. Unless you are using a stablecoin, the value of the cryptocurrency can be volatile.

A stablecoin is a coin whose value is pegged to a specific asset as a reference. An example is USD Coin. As the name implies, its value is pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The problem with crypto loans is they are not available in every state.

However, crypto can still be used for purchasing a property. A direct crypto transfer from a buyer to a seller is possible via a private agreement. However, it's advisable to hire a lawyer who understands both cryptocurrency and real estate law.

Finally, a crypto holder can always cash out their crypto and pay in cash. They can either cash out a portion of their crypto holdings or the entirety.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Tours

Few would argue the value of seeing a property for yourself. But that's not always possible, and as we've seen in the case of the pandemic, not always safe. For many, remote virtual tours became the new standard, allowing buyers and sellers worldwide to navigate the market from anywhere in the world.

Suddenly, a real estate listing is more than just photos. Sellers and property management companies can highlight the unique features of their properties. Buyers, renters, and investors can compare properties and amenities for themselves.

If a property is still under development, VR and AR allow investors to conceptualize the end result, even if it's still months away from completion.

3D Printed Houses

The immediate use case for 3D printing has been for scale models of developments. 3D printing can bring blueprints to life.

But 3D printing has far more uses in real estate. Although using 3D printing in real estate is still a new concept, some real estate developers are using it on a much larger scale, 3D printing entire homes.

3D-printed homes have a lot of advantages over traditional "stick-built" homes. They're often more affordable upfront, more affordable in the long term due to their energy efficiency, and offer resistance to natural disasters. They can be easily customized and faster to build.

However, these perks don't mean much unless buyers want 3D-printed homes. Fortunately, younger generations are very much open to the idea of buying and living in a 3D-printed home.

54% of millennials cited lower costs as the chief reason to buy a 3D-printed home. Energy efficiency, reduced building waste, and a faster, customizable build were also important considerations.

3D-printed homes can become even more sustainable when paired with energy-efficient appliances, green power generation, and smart thermostats.

With so many advantages, expect the share of 3D-printed homes to grow. Lennar is already 3d printing a 100-home community in Texas. The community will feature homes ranging from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet and offer 8 different floor plans.

The Future of Real Estate Is Proptech

They say change is the only constant. That certainly applies to the real estate industry. With the rise of proptech real estate technology, those in the industry need to stay on top of the latest trends if they want to smartly manage their properties and stay competitive.

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Ben Shepardson is a Realty Biz News Contributing Writer and has a long track record of success in online marketing and web development. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, he worked doing enterprise-level SEO and started an online business offering web development services to small business customers.
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