The real estate business has generally been a low tech field, with transactions based on trust and personal relationships, and carried out on paper. While paper is still used sometimes and there are still plenty of deals carried out in person, new technology and resources have made major changes to the field that may be permanent.
A lot of resources now available online have changed the role of agents in the process. In many cases, buyers can find a wide variety of listings on their own, without needing an agent to offer them. A particularly savvy buyer will be able to do this relatively easily. Buyers can also find public records and other types of information on properties or houses as well as neighborhoods for themselves more easily than in the past. This makes buyers less dependent on agents for this kind of information and helps them make decisions as well as develop their own facts for negotiations. Sellers can also distribute their information more broadly.
When it comes to making offers, technological developments have led to significant changes in the process. Instead of having paper forms filled out, signed and initialed, they tend to be e-signed and emailed. Once the forms have been emailed over, there’s also no need for meetings to present the offers. All of this makes the process more casual by making it quicker and more last-minute, as well as eliminating the in-person formal presentation. It can change the attitude of both buyers and sellers, sometimes leading them to take the process or specific offers less seriously.
The use of apps and mobile devices in real estate means that not only do buyers and sellers have more access to information, they have access to it on a more immediate basis no matter where they are. This encourages the tendency to work in real time. For agents, working on mobile devices especially helps to make working with clients more efficient, and along with other online material is a cheaper and sometimes easier replacement for brochures and other print advertising materials.
On the finance side, mortgage calculators and other financial apps or software can help buyers and their agents determine a realistic budget clearly. Even after mortgage approval, tools to help with money issues can help to avoid problems later on, especially in the current tighter economy.
Difficult as it can be, especially for real estate agents used to operating a certain way, embracing new technology has clear benefits. For example, one Sydney law firm has now begun accepting payments for property advertising and deposits through the online currency bitcoin. Although this may look like just a gimmick, it could be important in smoothing transactions with investors and other international buyers. The development of technology provides new requirements but also new opportunities that can be taken advantage of.
If you are looking at some tech tools to make your life easier..... try these two.
1. DocuSign - Sign documents virtually.
2. Smarter Agent- Dictionary of real estate terms.