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How Technology is Changing the Face of Real Estate in a Pandemic

Traditionally a Contact Sport

For decades, the real estate industry has been powered by face-to-face interactions and in-person meetings. Agents needed to physically show property to prospective buyers, and those selling their homes preferred to meet agents in person to make sure their business relationship was a match. Buying and selling homes is an enormous undertaking for all parties involved, so there has been a certain comfort present when conversations can happen face to face and homebuyers can walk through their prospective new homes in person. 

With the onset of COVID-19, the real estate industry has seen a significant change in the way it operates. Brokerages and agents have begun reevaluating the technology platforms they use to effectively do business in a socially distant and remote transaction. Though uncomfortable for some, this new frontier of remote real estate has provoked the adoption of new and innovative real estate technology.

Post-COVID Technology Surge

The immediate need for innovation and automation is now a necessity to not only survive, but to truly thrive in the real estate industry. During the pandemic, successful agents learned how to lean in to the power of technology to help them stay focused on what they do best.  

In just the last few years, there have been comprehensive changes—from the development of virtual brokerages to the adoption of enhanced CRM technologies from both multi-million-dollar franchises and small brokerages. As brick-and-mortar firms pivoted to remote work, they began to truly encourage and adopt cloud-based tools, remote working platforms and live streaming capabilities. And though live streaming and cloud-based platforms existed in some real estate offices, they were rarely fully implemented. COVID forced many brokers to not only implement their existing CRM systems, but optimize them for long-term use. There was also a huge influx in Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools ripe for adoption. 

AI, AI, Oh!

AI-powered tools and solutions have been essential in automating many of the monotonous processes that distract agents from their core revenue-generating activities—such as showing property or signing new listings. Innovative AI-powered tools can be the key element to optimizing efficiency, driving down expenses and creating real value for agents in 2021 and beyond. A study conducted by PwC estimated that AI will contribute a whopping $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

AI can be used to help agents automate the entire hand-holding process—concierge, nurturing, scheduling, tagging, follow-up—essentially becoming an intelligent virtual assistant working for brokers and agents 24/7 to ensure they work smarter, not harder.

The use of AI-powered chatbots also opens the doors for clients to interact and ask questions via a broker’s website, while a chatbot intelligently handles the inquiry. As chatbots are fed more and more information, they become smarter, refining responses to efficiently promote conversion and support more closed sales. When the timing is perfect, an agent is notified and can step in to offer the personalized interaction and concierge service a real human agent can provide. AI is just one type of technology that will continue to surge post-COVID. There’s also been an uptick in mobile technology innovations.

Mobile Technology FTW

AI isn’t the only technology being utilized by the real estate industry. Having a mobile smartphone or tablet has been one of the most instrumental tools in a real estate agent’s arsenal for quite some time. However, during the shutdowns in early in 2020 due to the fast-moving onset of the pandemic, real estate agents were forced to rely on virtual and 3D tours, videoconferencing, augmented reality (AR), remote online notarizations and digital signing tools—all conducted from a smartphone! According to Realtor Magazine, the average real estate transaction takes 181 steps from beginning to end. Agents had to quickly adapt to complete every one of those steps digitally and in a contactless way.

Here are just a few of the tech tools mentioned in a panel conducted by Realtor Magazine: 

As new technology tools emerge in the mobile market, agents will find more innovative ways to continue providing an exceptional customer experience through technology despite being remote.

Human Interaction and Tech

Real estate technology, while an invaluable asset for brokers and agents, will probably never replace the interpersonal, human interaction and connection clients embrace. But it can surely help to enhance the transaction experience for both the agent and the client, ensuring the agent is 100% focused on the client (as opposed to being hung up in the details of transaction management). 

The world was forever changed in 2020 and the real estate industry was not spared in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news? Innovation and positive change came about in an industry still stuck on many inefficient, manual processes. Agents shouldn’t be apprehensive about this change, rather, harness the power of technology to support efficiencies and focus on fine tuning irreplaceable client service skills.

Let’s Get Real (Estate) About Your Tech

We’ve helped hundreds of clients successfully deploy proven mobile and web app strategies to grow their businesses quickly—especially in the wake of COVID-19. Just take a look at one of our clients in the real estate industry Listing Alert. Want to chat through an idea? Schedule a call with this link.

This post was written by Celeste A. Barron, Content Development Manager for Shift3 Technologies. When she’s not writing about real estate tech, she’s reminiscing about her near-decade-long detour managing two brokerages before finding her dream job. (Hint: It’s this one.)