As technology continues to integrate into the real estate industry, it is important to keep an eye out for tech trends that will help shape the market in 2019. Technology is changing the way homebuyers and sellers look for and purchase homes. It is also changing the way real estate professionals conduct day to day business. Keep track of these top 3 real estate tech trends for 2019 so you can be a leader in your industry.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are both trends that we have seen in previous years, but in 2019, these concepts will see the most growth yet. AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects around you are “augmented” by computer generated information. For example, AR can allow you to virtually decorate a space by using an app on your device. Brokers and developers are able to showcase the potential of an unfinished space using AR to help present a desired lifestyle for consumers.
VR is different in that it completely replaces the user’s real-world environment with a simulated one. For real estate, this means potential buyers and renters can tour a property from anywhere, at any time. These tools help the consumer make a quicker, more informed decision during their online home search and save agents time and money on showings and open houses. Here are two apps that use AR and VR:
- Ikea Place: This AR app allows the user to digitally “place” furnishings in any room that you scan. IKEA PLACE lets you virtually “place” home products that are 3D and true-to-scale so you can make sure they’re just the right size, design, and functionality for your room.
- Matterport: This VR app creates virtual tours for real estate agents and helps them reach out to potential clients. This means in a matter of minutes, potential buyers or renters can virtually visit dozens of locations and decide which are worth visiting in person.
Real Estate Robots
Chatbots, voice bots, and virtual assistants prove to be of assistance to both real estate agents and customers when it comes to saving time, money, and additional resources. In the perspective of an agent, chatbots assist potential buyers and sellers by answering basic questions and gathering important information about why they have visited your page. Robots can also help agents manage their day-to-day operations by performing tasks such as scheduling meetings, creating reminders, and searching the web for property news. Two examples of helpful chatbots for real estate agents include:
- Aisa Holmes: Aisa is a personal assistant for real estate agents. She will respond to your leads within 1-2 minutes and handle the initial qualifying conversation for you. You are able to take over the conversation at any point or wait till it is over to follow up. All of this communication is done through one central app.
- Chatfuel: This tool is extremely user-friendly as it allows you to build your own Facebook chatbot without coding. Chatfuel can automate responses for the most common questions and hand over the conversation to you whenever needed.
If you haven’t heard of blockchain yet, you certainly will in 2019. Blockchain is a public, digital ledger that records transactions utilizing a peer-to-peer network of computers. It originated from Cryptocurrency and the Bitcoin movement, but is now being leveraged as a way to record any transactional data such as the transfer of money or the transfer of ownership. Essentially, blockchain puts a time stamp on each step in a transaction, making the process legitimate, recordable, and public information.
How does this involve the Title Industry? Blockchain serves the same function as the county clerk land registry, with additional security, transparency, and efficiency for land records. Once a record is stored in the blockchain, it cannot be altered or removed.
Although a blockchain can help form a system that will better detect potential fraud and flag such transactions, it will be unable to determine the legality and enforceability of a document once it is recorded on the chain or to correct said document. “Human involvement will be needed to help ensure the integrity of the records by clearing defects and keeping bad data off the blockchain”(CATIC). In other words, Blockchain can only be beneficial if the data provided to it is correct.
Buying a home is a huge investment that involves a level of trust that only a real estate professional can provide, regardless of blockchain’s secure technology. Although blockchain is a great way of keeping protected records, it does not provide insurance for any errors in these documents or records from the past. The presence of title and escrow professionals are still necessary to act as an objective party to make sure records are insured against risk and everything goes smoothly during the transaction.