Using Technology in Real Estate

A recent article in Forbes considered the role of technology in the business of real estate. With technology at our fingertips almost every minute of the day, it’s clear that everything from the internet to smartphones has changed the way most American do business. Shopping of all kinds – even for a new home – has been altered forever by constantly-expanding technological advances. Forbes suggests that moving in that direction has, for realtors, been a difficult transition.

“Beyond the fact that thoughtful, well-designed, agent-focused tools have not existed until recently, there’s another reason behavior in this space has remained somewhat status quo: change is hard,” wrote Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass, a technology-driven real estate company.

“In order to build tools that agents will actually use, it’s essential to recognize how difficult it is to alter behavior. Agent-focused technology, however, shouldn’t be built around deals and dollars.” For technology to truly transform the industry, wrote Reffkin, “it has to make agents’ lives better. Having access to great technology isn’t enough. Agents have to understand why we’re building the tools we’re building, feel empowered to use them and be confident that they will make their jobs, and lives, easier and more enjoyable.”

There are both advantages and disadvantages to the proliferation of technology and its effect on the real estate profession. But one thing is certain: There’s no avoiding it.

“You have to be on the internet,” said Lynn Reecer, president, CEO and managing broker of Reecer Properties. “That’s the importance of good marketing. You need professional photography, top-notch descriptions and a beautifully designed page. Because of the internet, we see clients who are much more informed because they’ve been doing their research online, and then when buyers come to see the property, they want to know what we can tell them that they don’t already know from reading online.”

Reecer said that technology has changed the way they do business, but she also admitted there are some pitfalls.

“Technology has shortened the attention span of buyers,” she said. “We have a shorter window now and really have to hit the market, delight the market. There can also be some buyers who might not even bother to see a property based on the online research, people who might have at least come to look at it in the past. Maybe they hate red, and the kitchen has a red wall. Or there are other features that they see that they don’t like, and they just move on to the next house without giving it any consideration.”

While searching online listings is a big advantage to potential buyers – and an absolute necessity for serious sellers – Reecer advised that realtors often have knowledge that can’t be found on a website.

“We sometimes know about a property that’s available before it’s officially on the market and therefore not available to look at online. Sometimes the seller has just had surgery or there’s been a death in the family so listing the home immediately isn’t an option. But we know those listings will be coming, and we can help buyers who might be looking for a property like that but have no idea that it’s coming available,” she said.

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