The profession of real estate broker began over 100 years ago. As with any industry with roots that deep, conducting business can become routine, and old ways are often hard to give up. But if real estate agents plan to remain relevant in a world where iBuyers and other forces are trying to disrupt the industry, real estate agents need to use technology to compete. And they are.
The most-used technology so far
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) created a technology survey for agents. It found that one technological advancement outshone all the rest by far. This new technology is one that 78% of Realtors use and embrace. What is it?
The e-signature, which stands for "electronic signature," a digital version of a traditional signature using pen and paper. An e-signature is as legal as a traditional signature if it meets the following criteria:
- Intent to sign.
- Consent to do business electronically.
- A system that can associate the signature with the document.
- The e-signature must be stored for the required amount of time so the parties can reference it.
The most popular real estate technology this year
The five most popular types of technology with Realtors are the following:
- 78% of Realtors use e-signature.
- 54% have been using local multiple listing service (MLS) apps and technology. This includes tools like a comparative market analysis (CMA), automated emails from agents to clients and prospects, and property data and history that agents can instantly get through their local MLS.
- 53% have been using social media.
- 48% use lockboxes.
- 39% use video conferencing.
Clearly, many real estate agents are changing their ways, and not only that, lots of agents are looking to the future.
When asked what technology agents are likely to use next year, the results are as follows:
- 73% of Realtors plan to use e-signature. (It's unclear as to why this percentage dropped.)
- 53% will use social media. Note: Some Realtors enjoy using it, but most (54%) view using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to be more of a necessary evil -- they're expected to have a social media presence to reach their audience. A whopping 90% of Realtors use Facebook, though, and over half use Instagram.
- 47% will use local MLS apps and technology.
- 44% will use a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
- 43% will use lockboxes.
The next two years of tech in real estate
When you're talking two years into the future of real estate, anything can happen:
- In March 2007 (before the housing crash), the average sales price of a home was $329,400. In March 2009 (after the crash), the average sales price of a home dropped to $259,800.
- Regarding what's happening today, active listings declined 33.5% over last year.
As you can see, predicting the future of real estate can be tricky. But here's the technology Realtors predict they'll be using two years from now:
- 37% say they'll use drones.
- 34% predict they'll use cybersecurity.
- 31% say they'll use 5G.
- 30% think they'll use virtual reality.
- 27% might be using artificial intelligence.
How much money Realtors spend on technology
Some Realtors like using technology so much they're putting their money where their mouth is: 36% spend between $50 and $250 a month on various types of technology to conduct business, and 23% spend more than $500 a month on technology tools.
The Millionacres bottom line
If you plan to invest in real estate technology and the companies that provide it, there's a large audience of Realtors ready to adopt certain tools -- whether they want to or not.