Ever thought of the past and how the internet has transformed the way of doing things? How about how technology has earned people’s way of life. The fact is the internet has transformed everything and in this case the real estate industry. The Internet has influenced the way people buy and sell the property at large. Even though the fundamentals are still the same, someone who joined the market 20 years ago would tell you of how wild the real estate sector has changed due to technology. The real estate sector includes a lot of operations and activities that have been transformed by the internet to maximize its productivity. The good results from those that have already embraced technology are undeniable.
15 years ago, house hunting would involve trekking for hours in search of a home. Days would turn to weeks without having found a house to settle into. What a waste of time right?. you would talk to friends and relatives to try and help you get a house, hoping that the search would end soon. As if that was not enough, you would then be required to pay charges by agents to view houses most probably you would not like.
15 years later, all you need is a smartphone or internet connection to find your dream home!
In the year 2017. There was a tremendous increase of 51% of the people who use the internet to sell and purchase homes. Today, if a real estate company chooses to ignore the internet they would be doing away with the gravy train. For any business to do well it needs to be where the customers are looking and with the evolution of technology, every buyer wants to explore the variety of options displayed on their screens. Digital technology now allows real estate firms or agents to catch up with their customers through online marketing methods on different social media platforms through online advertising and SEO.
Not only has the marketing of properties been made easier but the connection between the seller and a prospect has been improved. The two parties now connect directly. With the help of social media applications such as WhatsApp, a seller can directly answer the questions of a prospect, sharing images at the same time. Contrary to what many may think, such social media applications have not taken the place of real estate agents but are an opportunity to get more customers. It’s more of a way to understand the needs of the customers.
Site visits are also an operational aspect of the real estate industry that has been changed by the wave of digital technology. There are two ways in which the internet has changed site visits. First, site visits are now scheduled online where real estate agents use custom software to reach social media users and talk of the prices, deposits, location etc. The second way has been influenced by the 4th industrial revolution where virtual reality applications provide the buyer with 360 degrees experience without needing the buyer to travel to the location. Advance virtual reality will even allow a buyer to have a check at the neighbourhood!
Gone are the days when document preparation when buying or selling a home would take hours due to manual errors that would take long to correct. This would be worse in cases where the buyer was from another country. Today we are spoilt of websites and advanced tools that take minutes to prepare all the documents. These websites help with direct validation of documents and processing other legal requirements.
Finally, in the building sector, technology has dominated the entire lifecycle of the building using Business Information Modeling (BIM). This also falls under the 4th industrial revolution. BMI is an intelligent 3d-based model process that provides architects, engineers and constructors with the tools and insight to plan, design, construct and manage buildings. It also helps to keep track of operation and manage design phases.
Real estate will continue changing as digital technology advances. But are we ready for the change? For me, this depends on how open-minded a person is. The industry is growing and so is the need for the players in the market to catch up with the change. The above are some of the transformations in the market, more are yet to take place!