Is Real Estate a breeding ground for innovation? Are digital transformations eagerly adopted by the industry? According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly half of all agencies surveyed reported that maintaining pace with technology causes considerable stress and concern for the realtors.
Despite this considerable roadblock to innovation, there are two reasons that prop-tech is taking over the industry. Firstly, like all professions, internal efficiencies translate into reduced costs which make a difference to the Realtor’s bottom line. Secondly, it helps the industry with their customer-focus goals.
So what are the big digital trends for Real Estate in 2022?
1. CRM software
Customer Relationship Management is an essential part of any Realtor’s toolkit. But what really is a CRM and why is Real Estate unique?
A CRM is a database of contacts and deals, which facilitates the customer decision journey from start to finish. Real Estate is unique for two reasons which makes generic CRM solutions like Salesforce, Hubspot and Zoho ineffective.
Firstly in Real Estate there are three parties to the deal, the vendor who sells the property, the buyers who are interested in the property and the Realtor(s) who facilitate the sale. Secondly, unlike businesses selling products and services, a Realtor’s leads come primarily from their contact database. The relationship between the contacts and the agent is the single most important factor for listing turnover.
One of the digital trends for 2022 will be agencies realising the inappropriateness of the big CRM solutions for Real Estate and moving to Realtor specific CRMs.
2. Cloud Computing
If you’re one of the 45% who is terrified of technology advancement, a few years ago Cloud Computing might have been a mysterious concept reserved for geeks and IT wizards. Now it has formed an ubiquitous part of our personal lives. We take for granted our ability to store photos and videos online that are accessible from any device. Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify have become part of our leisure time.
While the software you use as a Realtor should be cloud based, what about your own office’s file storage? Do you have to physically go to the office to find digital files, or perhaps you need to use a VPN to remotely access your office computer?
There are many cloud based services like Office365 or G Suite by Google that exist to move your digital storage off-site and into the cloud, enabling access from anywhere on any device.
3. Big Data
You’ve heard of big data, but what makes it different from regular data? Originally databases were for businesses only and stored at a client’s premises. Now software providers have re-centralized data into their own storage. In addition, with the rise internet connectivity and the proliferation of smartphones, virtually everyone on the planet is interacting with databases on a daily basis, through social media, consuming content or browsing online.
All of this data is being collected by these companies. As the saying goes, if the product is free, then you are the product.
In fact, 90% of the data that we have was collected in the last two years. The remainder of human history is only 10% of the data that exists. This is BIG data.
But there is good news, as a Realtor you can use this data for your benefit. Advertising listings on social media and google gives you the ability to leverage big data and target audiences that are prime to sell or buy, in your area.
4. AI and Machine Learning
If Cloud Computing was a buzzword ten years ago, then Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning are the buzzwords of today. But what do they actually mean?
Unfortunately this is not going to lead to a rise of robot servants in 2022, however it is slowly moving from the realm of science fiction into our daily lives.
One example is predictive text found in Gmail. As you type, Gmail gives you hints about what it thinks you’re going to say next, greatly improving your speed and accuracy.
So how do they do it? In 2003 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released 1.6 million Enron emails into the public domain. Software engineers used this database to teach machines how humans communicate. Each time you agree to a suggestion from Gmail, or ignore it, this helps the machine learn and improve future predictions.
As a Realtor you won’t be replaced by a machine any time soon, so AI and Machine Learning will find its way into your professional lives in helpful ways like auto-suggestive text and task management.
5. Predictive analytics
As an extension of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics takes the data that you’re generating and attempts to forecast future outcomes.
For Realtors, this will be highly valuable for streamlining back office processes, but also in providing market forecasts and pricing information.
Expect to see Predictive Analytics as a digital trend for Real Estate around likely fiscal policy decisions and the impact those decisions will have on property prices and population changes.
6. Virtual Tours
A virtual tour is Real Estate photography on steroids. Using specialized cameras and software, a provider can create a virtual tour of any listing for buyers to explore in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Virtual tours exploded in popularity as a digital trend in real estate during 2020-2021 as a result of the pandemic’s restrictions on movement and in-person interactions. Because of this, many buyers have begun to expect a virtual tour on a listing to help them decide to attend an open house.
Therefore Realtors should be including virtual tours on all their listings to ensure more qualified buyers attend their open houses.
7. Online Presence
If you search online for a Realtor in your area, where do you appear in the results? If your name is not in the first three results, you are considered invisible to sellers.
While most Realtors have at least a website and push their listings to the various portals, successful Realtors have mastered Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Another digital acronym buzzword, what does SEO mean?
Well, in other words, SEO means improving your website and online presence in a way that a search engine like Google values. The better you are judged by the search engines, the higher you appear in the results. The higher you appear in search results, the more leads you will get.
There’s good news, there is a science behind SEO and you can engage a specialist consultant as part of your marketing budget to improve your search engine rankings without much input on your part. What’s even better is that investing in SEO is usually a one time project that requires minimal ongoing maintenance, however it will return leads constantly, indefinitely.
8. Mobile Applications
Companies the world over are embracing “work anywhere” for their employees. Although as a Realtor you may be bound geographically to your listing area, working away from the office is part of the job.
The digital trend for Real Estate software solutions is mobile first in 2022. The software that runs your business, your leads and your listings will be accessible from any mobile device, anywhere.