In an industry that heavily relies on in-person meetings, agents continue to look for more efficient ways to connect with their clients on a regular basis. Buying a house is an extremely personal, emotional, and detailed process. There are many moving parts and complexities involved. Providing outstanding customer experience for clients and creating a lasting relationship is a main priority in real estate. As of 2020, the industry had to quickly shift towards modern technology to help conduct the day-to-day business, and it is already creating a lasting impact for the future.
Here are some ways industry-specific technology has become a necessity in real estate and helps keeps client engaged.
Probably the most obvious and rapid growth – virtual and 3D home tours have seen a continuous increase in numbers each week since mid-March. This format quickly became a staple for any one in the market where practicing social distancing is mandated. But the trend wasn’t that far behind to becoming a go-to process. The NAR conducted a survey in 2019 reporting that 48 percent of buyers ages 39 to 63 found virtual tours to be “very useful” during their searches. Now that Millennials and Gen Z are entering the market at large, digital-centric ways to communicate are trending.
Zillow saw the jump in 3D tours and created their own “AI-Powered 3D Tour” technology that launched at the end of April. This free tool is used on iOS mobile platforms allowing agents and even sellers to create 360-degree panoramic photos of their homes.
Some other alternatives have been for agents to create a pre-recorded virtual walk-through of a home, or conduct a live virtual tour with their client.
And there are benefits on all sides. Agents can capture a virtual or 3D tour in minutes while providing the client opportunity to see more homes. The seller also gets more views on their listing. This eliminates the scheduling showings and traveling to homes and helps narrow searches from the get go. Overall, the virtual world can save time and money for everyone.
Features such as chat bots, and auto-responders have already seen popularity on websites and social media; a great way to get back to prospected clients and consumers immediately. There are already developments in progress to have AI generate home tours and process paperwork.
Artificial Intelligence can enhance the buyer and seller aspect by creating searches based off of more personal data such as personality, behaviors, and other preferences. One of the more advance tools that can help the industry is data and analysis. The more data collected, the better industry professionals can assess. AI can outwork the man-hours it would take to collect large amounts of data to produce these types of results. Programmers continue to work on AI accuracy that could even help show trends or pull past patterns to help see future predictions.
‘Why not keep everything in one place?’ — the huge advantage of mobile apps.
Several real estate brokerages have already developed their own mobile apps for agents. Buyers and sellers can interact with listings, neighborhoods, research vendors, and more while having the agent’s guidance throughout the whole process. It creates a freedom for the client with the comfort knowing they have assistance when they need it. Mobile apps also create a direct connection to the client without crossing any personal boundaries.
Given the fact that mobile users spend 87 percent (or about 3 hours and 30 minutes a day), and counting, of their time on apps, is a big indicator that this may be a developing tool in the industry.
New platforms and technologies have created a wider opportunity to reach out and stay updated. Some agents turn to a more ‘grassroots,’ or traditional style of communication via snail mail, or postcards for an added personal touch. In the end, it all comes down to the basics. Building a community and staying engaged are some of the best ways to stay connected, and that doesn’t always require WiFi.
Technology focuses on what consumers want: “to create ‘on-demand’ experiences for consumers” as Josh Weisberg (Zillow’s Sr. Director of Product Development) states. When consumerism is used to a faster, better, more available mentality, technology has found its way, ironically during a time of pausing and slowing, to improve and benefit an industry that was still catching up.
Now, there may be no going back in the real estate industry, along with many others. Everyone has made adjustments to continue communication and productivity. It’s a big improvement and industry professionals continue to embrace the helpful role technology plays while finding innovative ways to stay in front, and it can only go up from here.
How can my team and I continue to improve your experience? Please reach out – by phone, text, email, postcard, Zoom – whatever your preference. We’d love to hear from you.
This article is intended to be accurate, but the information is not guaranteed. Please reach out to us directly if you have any specific real estate or mortgage questions or would like help from a local professional. The article was written by Sparkling Marketing, Inc. with information from resources like Zillow, Forbes, and NAR.