Real estate agents need to digitalize now to remain relevant

While traditionally slower than other industries to innovate, many real estate businesses are boosting sales with the help of technology.
23 August 2018

Embracing technology is key to survival for the real estate industry. Source: Shutterstock

Digital transformation is bringing disruption to almost every industry. Many businesses are beginning to realize the need to harness technology in order to vastly improve their services and to keep up with the most forward of thinkers.

Traditionally, the real estate industry has been slow to innovate and embrace technology. But now it seems that the industry is reaching a tipping point, and digital transformation can no longer be an area to be ignored.

The search and discovery of real-estate

The use of technology in the real estate industry seems to be especially impactful in the process in which buyers are searching for and discovering property.

Today’s prospective home buyers can search for properties using various property portals, at any given time, at any place, from any device.

What used to be a process of flicking through a newspaper or starting your house-buying journey by visiting an estate-agent recommended by a friend or family member has now transformed into a process which is predominantly led by the internet.

The majority of buyers are now using internet-based portals when hunting for a property. Thus, it is crucial for businesses to adapt accordingly, ensuring their websites have detailed information about properties including interactive maps, neighborhood information, virtual tours, and photos.

Moreover, according to a survey, 58 percent of all buyers found their home on a mobile device. Ensuring the website is mobile-friendly (even better, mobile-first), is, therefore, key to engaging with customers.

The use of emerging technology

In order to really bolster engagement in the age of a more empowered, informed, and spoilt-for-choice consumer, many businesses are creating memorable and interactive experiences.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two technologies that can truly enable superior experience creation. And many real-estate companies who are investing in this technology are seeing a favorable return-on-investment.

Virtual reality

Though more commonly associated with the gaming world, virtual reality (VR) is becoming more and more popular within the real estate industry.

VR has emerged as a powerful tool in the selling of real estate. Source: Shutterstock

House-hunters are able to take virtual tours of houses, in the comfort of their own homes, providing solutions to common industry issues such as inconveniences in timing and location for buyer, seller and realtor alike.

Augmented reality

As well as VR, in recent years there has been an increase in augmented reality apps within the real estate industry.

Apps such as Realtor uses an image recognition feature where buyers can point their smartphones at a house and receive listing details such as price, number of bedrooms, real estate agent contacts in an instant.

Another use case of AR in real-estate in allowing buyers is the visualization possibilities. Last year, furniture giant Ikea released The Ikea Place App, which allows users to bring its catalog to life by using AR to see how a piece of furniture will look in their house.

Want to see if your sofa will look good in a house you’re viewing? Simply open the app, point your camera at the floor and watch it appear to scale.

Technology-enabled innovation in the real estate is still in its earliest phases.  But for those forward-thinking businesses who want to stay ahead of the race and power sales, embracing technology now is vital.