The past few years have seen several major shakeups and technological breakthroughs that have disrupted just about every industry.
Real estate has been regularly disrupted by new technology, but some aspects of the industry haven’t changed as rapidly as other sectors. Now, proptech — real estate applications of technology ranging from artificial intelligence to the blockchain — may be poised to change every aspect of real estate, including how buildings are built, discovered, operated, leased and sold.
Here are some of the technology trends having an impact on the real estate sector right now.
VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY
Advancements in virtual environment tech are changing the way potential buyers tour homes. Virtual and augmented reality (VR or AR) allows buyers to tour homes without needing to be physically present.
Apps like magicplan convert floor plan data into walkable 3D environments that buyers can use to get a sense of what every room of a home looks like without needing to tour the actual space. Augmented reality tech can superimpose decor and furniture over images or scans of places. This helps potential buyers understand what the house will feel like when decorated and lived in.
The tech will likely be useful when buyers interested in a tour are out of town or traveling, or for when you need to show properties to a high number of potential buyers.
1. The Predictive Power of Big Data
Major real estate firms have started to use big data technology — which can sift through and analyze huge amounts of data — and AI-powered predictive analytics to drive purchasing decisions and plan for the long term.
With big data technology, you can use correlations between thousands of seemingly unrelated variables — like the number of permits issued to build swimming pools and the sentiment or tone of local business reviews — to predict fluctuations in building values. It can also help you determine the next big shift in the local real estate market.
In the future, real estate may be even more data-driven than today. It might be normal to collect millions of data points before every purchasing decision.
2. Place Tech
Place tech includes online platforms designed to facilitate transactions involving real estate and the tech that makes these platforms work.
At the same time, major figures in real estate believe that co-living and co-working are here to stay. This means that these platforms may be significant players in the real estate world of the future. We’re already seeing this in the rise of platforms like Airbnb.
As the relationship between buyer and seller becomes closer, you may need to reimagine your role in the process. In the future, brokers and agents may act more like assistants or guides. You might help buyers navigate some of the potential difficulties involved with purchasing real estate, like mortgage applications and shopping for homeowners insurance.
Blockchain technology allows for transfers of property that are secure, create instant digital records and don’t require authorization from anyone beyond the buyer and seller.
The blockchain creates a distributed database of ownership and transactions, without the need for manual verification from third parties. You can use the blockchain to establish a direct relationship between yourself and buyers — creating a real estate sale method that’s secure, transparent and doesn’t need an intermediary.
E-signature platform DocuSign, which enables users to sign documents digitally, is aggressively pursuing blockchain technology. In the future, buyers and sellers may be able to have their signatures stored on the blockchain, offering both parties an added layer of security when purchasing, letting or transferring real estate.
4. Proptech May Transform Real Estate
New technological breakthroughs may change the way we buy, sell and manage real estate in the next few years. This includes developments like co-working and co-living platforms, VR tours and real estate blockchain.
These may shake up the relationship between buyer and seller, but there’s also lots of potential to make the process easier and more efficient for everyone involved. Understanding and adapting to changes can help the industry avoid growing pains as we step into a new world. Holly Welles