Why is That Drone Flying in My Backyard: Using Technology in the Real Estate Industry

Technology is now the face of real estate. It allows a buyer to see a house 10,000 miles away. It allows a buyer to see an aerial view of a house to see the neighborhood—up close views of nearby homes, for example, so that the buyer can see if the streets are in good condition or impressive. But the largest thing driving the real estate community is “Big Data.” Here, without further adieu, is how tech can influence the real estate market to drive purchasing behavior.

Big data—the notion, from one perspective, that more data, not less, can help someone make an informed decision when it comes to buying a house—is being used in real estate to specialize their content. But big data is now available to the public and professionals are using them to do search and research, thereby cutting out the real estate agent.  Bill Lyons, founder and CEO of Revestor,  said,

“In the past, real estate investors needed access to the MLS, rental income data, expenses like HOA fees, occupancy rate, insurance, taxes, mortgage calculators and the sale price of homes sold nearby. Then they would have needed to input all of those numbers into a spreadsheet to analyze the potential value of a property. Now you can do all of that with a few simple steps online.”

One problem with big data is that it infringes on an agent’s expert knowledge to the point where he or she is no longer needed. That may not happen for quite some time, yet the fear is real. But big data investing shouldn’t replace agents; the information can empower them to add the data to their own, thereby doubling their skills and allowing them to really specialize so that they can give the buyer  the most informed information available. Big data can help make a decision, add immense value and increase revenue. As Lyons adds, “Realtors can then market these investments to their existing databases and new prospective clients.” Then they can spend less time researching and more time selling.

Another way real estate agents can stay ahead of the curb using technology is through virtual reality. With VR, clients can actually walk around their prospective home with just a headset from a different location. VR is also the future of the real estate business. Buyers just put on headsets and can tour a house shot in 360 degrees—it’s that easy to use. VR gives a view of a house in a realistic way so that a buyer can see the house up close as if he or she is at the site, without even setting foot on the property. VR works best for the harried, busy client, as well as those looking for properties in Madison, CT from Madison, Wisconsin.  For those who don’t have time to get to a property that they may not even like, giving a headset to the client is the easiest and fastest method of showing a home. It’s a win-win. Not only does the client save time, so too does the realtor.

Business team using virtual reality headset in the office.

VR also helps in another powerful way. It connects and closes the distance. If it is physically impossible for a client in New York to travel to a potential vacation or second home in Palm Springs, the VR takes over, showing every corner of the property. This obviously also saves time, as well as money. The client doesn’t have to take multiple trips to Palm Springs to make an informed decision. VR also lessens the disruption of the daily schedule of a person or a family. Also, the real estate agent can use VR as a way in which they can show unfinished projects like never before, especially during those days when the clientele gets antsy and wants to see the progress of the property but can’t because the house is still in construction.

In a similar way, drones also help connect buyers to properties. Since this may be the biggest financial transaction that they may make in their life, the client will of course worry about safety, whether or not the location is great, whether or not if the property is near a train station or on the wrong side of the tracks. Drones help market property listings. It provides an overview of the property and the area around it, as well as amenities. If there is no coffee shop in site and one is miles away, that small factor can actually impact a sale.

Lastly, beacon technology, which uses microchips and transmitters that can detect if buyers are using an app, allows clients to see the smallest detail of the property on their own. An agent is then fed with personal information of the prospective buyer. Beacon technology, in short, is an open house, a walk-through with an agent and a way for buyers to make even smarter decisions.

It’s not clear how many of these tricks of the trade will invade or penetrate the real estate business, but the technology is out there are ready to be used.  But the technologies discussed here—this list is not exhaustive—are a good thing. It empowers the buyer, allowing them to access data and make informed decisions like never before.

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