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The Impact of Digital Technology on the Real Estate Industry

Le Truong
Strategic Technology Executive who brings deep technical expertise and motivational, servant leadership style to the challenges of business startup, product development, service scalability.
・5 min read

As with any other industry, real estate has various operational activities and processes that can be optimized and transformed through the use of digital technology to boost productivity and profitability.

We are already seeing a shift in the behavior of real estate agents, sellers, and occupants (owners or tenants), all of whom are more receptive to embracing digital technology across the value chain.

This transformation is enabled by the deluge of data that is now being gathered and harnessed throughout the real estate value chain, from construction and acquisition to real estate management.

All of this data enables agents to sell more effectively through deep customer insights, allows customers to conduct extensive research, make the best decision, and enhances the overall living experience. The quality of services and processes has significantly improved.

What is clear is that the primary drivers of digital transformation are an exceptional buyer experience, efficient processes, and regulatory compliance. The buyer experience, whether commercial or residential, is critical, as buyers expect a seamless experience from property discovery to post-sales maintenance.

Due to the magnitude of financial transactions, there is also a demand for transparency, accountability, and honesty in all operations and business dealings, including contracts, paperwork, and so on.

Due to the volume and duration of financial transactions and the safety concerns, the real estate industry is constantly under the scrutiny of government agencies, making compliance a significant problem.

Enter digital technology, which has the potential to address all of these concerns. Consider the top ways that digital technology has the potential to transform the real estate industry.

#1 Conduct a search and purchase

According to research, more than 51% of real estate buyers used the Internet to conduct research and decide on a real estate purchase (commercial or residential) in 2017. Today, any real estate agent or firm worth their salt will inevitably miss the gravy train if they ignore online websites and listings. This is not a novel concept. Any business must be present and sell where customers are, and today's buyer is entirely focused on digital technology. If the real estate agent/firm has a website, investing in digital marketing tactics such as SEO, online advertising, and so on is worthwhile.

#2 2.0 version of real estate agent

Therefore, here is a fact. With so many property listings and websites available today, it's simple for buyers and sellers to connect directly, bypassing the middleman, the real estate agent. Even Whatsapp has grown in popularity as a means of sharing property information and locating buyers. However, the good news is that agents are not eliminated from the picture. They view these new channels as opportunities to expand their market reach through digital marketing and the provision of customized services based on an understanding of buyer needs gained through analytics.

#3 Modification of site visits

There are two distinct ways in which digital technology will affect site visits. The first is operational, in which agents can use websites or custom software to schedule site visits and coordinate pre-visit requirements such as deposits, online forms, valid identification proofs, and financial references. The second aspect is a more drastic transformation. Virtual and augmented reality apps can provide a 360-degree view of the site online without the buyer having to travel or schedule a meeting. Imagine being able to view a property virtually and experiencing the size and placement of rooms, the size and placement of windows, and even the fixtures such as wardrobes and closets, or stepping into the bathroom and getting a feel for the shower area.

Additionally, advanced virtual reality software enables buyers to virtually tour the neighborhood. It's as if you're visiting the site without leaving your home or the agent's office. Consider Pokemon Go!

#4 Digital documentation

Previously, preparing documentation for the rental or purchase of any type of property, commercial or residential, took hours. Manual errors were common in the documents. If the purchased property is located in another city or country, there is also the added hassle of complying with regional laws and regulations. However, several websites and automated tools are now available to prepare all documentation in a fraction of the time previously required. Assume you were engaged early in the transaction. These portals track and manage each step, from pre-visit documents to transaction-related documents, payment information, and ongoing rental revisions. Additionally, such portals facilitate direct credential validation with government authorities, enable digital document verification, and assist with other legal requirements. This translates into transparent pricing and taxation, lawful and acceptable payments, and the elimination of fraudulent transactions for the buyer.

#5 Estate administration

Even how properties are designed, constructed, and then managed can be altered. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is already widespread in several countries. One such example is intelligent sensors that use data to guide and assist in managing various types of buildings. Realtors, agents, and property owners in New York use smart sensors and mobile technology to monitor commercial and residential complexes in real-time and even remotely. These sensors continuously exchange information about the state of equipment, service interruptions, security scenarios, and even something as specific as building temperature. Scheduling repairs, containing fire outbreaks, and reducing resource wastage such as water and electricity have all been facilitated by IoT adoption.

#6 Developing intelligence – yes, it is possible!

While we're on the subject of how technology is transforming previously entirely manual tasks, let's also consider Business Information Modeling, or BIM, which refers to managing the entire lifecycle of a product or service using digital technology. BIM is an intelligent three-dimensional modeling-based system primarily used by construction, architecture, and engineering professionals to better understand the tools necessary to plan, design, construct and manage properties. It aids in the management of design phases and operations. This encompasses everything from designing and building a structure to optimizing its use of space, occupation, and associated equipment.

#7 Insights from Analytics

Real estate investors have already utilized data insights powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to aid in their decision-making. AI provides them with insights into market trends, helps them identify new opportunities, develops realistic revenue and growth plans, and even flags potential loan defaulters when applicable. Along with BIM and estate management, as mentioned previously, AI-powered insights are assisting real estate investors in controlling costs, increasing investment returns, and mitigating risk.

#8 Classification of Digital Images

Consider manually selecting and posting photos, entering details, and managing hundreds of property listings. That does sound overwhelming. Thankfully, real estate agents can use digital image classification to categorize and tag site photos using machine learning automatically. They can now quickly sort images according to various criteria, including room type or number, special features, design styles, location, fittings, and required dates. Agents can run more targeted email campaigns and location-specific ads by integrating this tool with their marketing software.

The question remains as to whether the real estate industry is indeed prepared for digital transformation. According to our assessment, adoption and maturity levels vary significantly across the globe, with the United States leading the way in terms of digital technology adoption for real estate transformation. Without a doubt, the industry faces numerous challenges to accelerate digital transformation and catch up to other sectors. The market is ripe with available technology and innovations capable of managing multiple industry nuances and fostering lasting relationships between sellers and buyers. Leading companies have already begun taking a phased approach to leveraging technology as a business enabler and optimizing customer experiences and operations. Our message to the laggards is to either shape up or ship out.

Have any questions about the cost of developing a real estate app? Please feel free to contact us.

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