Tech Trends Changing the Real Estate Game
Every day there is a new tech tool released, some of which claim to be industry disruptors or ones that will displace real estate agents. To talk about some of the current tech trends that he feels are truly changing the real estate industry, Simon Chen, EVP of Innovation at Realogy, recently offered his insights during his session at C.A.R.’s REimagine Real Estate Virtual Conference. Here are three tech trends he wants agents to know about.
#1. Technology is not going to make you obsolete. Chen says he is constantly asked if technology is going to be the end of the real estate industry. He wants agents to know that technology is more of an enabler than a disruptor. A lot of companies coming into the real estate space are saying they’re going to disrupt agents, but in actuality they’re doing a 180 and embracing brokerages and agents. In some cases they’re actually creating their own brokerages because they realize agents truly are at the heart of a transaction.
Chen pointed out that a recently generational survey from NAR shows that despite the availability of tech, buyers ages 22-40 are actually more likely to use a REALTOR®. Regardless of the amount of information available to consumers, they don’t know how to navigate a real estate transaction and they want to rely on an expert.
He noted that websites such as Legal Zoom and WebMD have been around for years, but laws and doctors haven’t displaced so agents shouldn’t be concerned either. Instead, Chen said agents should use the tech to be smarter about how you spend your time.
#2. Stay connected to clients over the entire homeownership lifecycle. Survey after survey show a high percentage of clients say they would work with their agent again, but a small percentage actually do. And that is because most agents don’t stay in contact after the close of the transaction.
However, a number of companies are moving into the tech space to keep agents connected to clients and prospects in ways that are beneficial to the consumer. Companies like MooveGuru, Move Easy and Updater were primarily in the moving space. They identified a pain point for consumers and came up with a way to ease that pain. Now they’re seeing the benefit of being involved in the entire homeownership lifecycle and helping homeowners manage the home they just moved into. They’re helping consumers with renovations and offering contractor referrals. Many of these apps offer agent-branded opportunities for free to consumers and for a minimal cost to agents. The benefit is that the agent is visible long after the close of escrow and consumers can engage with their agent.
#3. iBuyers are here to stay. Chen said there is a population of consumers that want the convenience of iBuying. It could be because they need to close quickly or because they want to avoid showings and open houses. He likened ibuying to trading in a car. Everyone knows they’re going to get less money for their trade in than they would selling it privately on the open market, but they don’t want to deal with the general public.
So, how do agents stay relevant? One company Chen highlighted is Zavvie. It empowers agents by helping them offer all buying and selling solutions to their clients. In the example he showed, an agent can show their seller how much they are likely to receive by selling their home on the open market as well as what they could receive from various iBuyers. It is another resource agents have at their disposal to help guide their clients.
Chen also talked about additional tech trends, including data usage, client privacy and security, and what’s coming next for real estate tech. To hear more about these trends, watch his session for free, on demand through Dec. 31, 2021 at reimagineexpo.org.