Hate it or love it, technology is not going anywhere anytime soon. It seems like when you purchase the latest and greatest thing, that by the time you learn how to use it something new and better has been invented. Technology is rapidly changing and has really changed the way people buy and sell real estate.
Today, real estate agents are equipped with the right tools to help speed up the buying and selling process. They normally will utilize e-signature apps, cloud storage systems and other marketing tools right from their phone or tablet.
Here’s how technology is changing the game....... Imagine you’re house hunting and you wake up on a Tuesday morning and check your phone. You see there was a new house listed overnight that matches your criteria. That email was sent to you automatically because your Realtor was able to set you up with an online portal. Through the portal you can go in and make notes on the property. Once you leave notes on the property, it then immediately notifies your agent via text text and email. From there they can read your comment and even set up a showing all online from their phone.
You get to the house, and begin having questions about the schools and about the room sizes. Don’t worry, with a quick search, your agent finds the answers to your questions before the showing is done. At the end of the showing, you decide you want to write an offer. No Problem. Your agent takes out their ipad and begins typing it up. Once the offer has been prepared, they can email it to you for electronic signatures that you can sign from your phone. From there, they will forward it over to the list agent and go from there.
A lot has changed. I could only imagine trying to have someone follow me back to my office at 8pm to write an offer up and then fax it over! That’s crazy. Here are some other ways technology plays a role in the buying and selling process.
Online listings I was not an agent before the internet was created. I do talk with several agents who tell me how they had to do it “back in the day”. Today, you can find all of your listings online. As soon as a Realtor publishes their new listing on the MLS, it will get syndicated to several other websites (IDX Feed). After about 24 hours, if you google that address, it should pull up on several sites. Having listings online gives you as the consumer instant access to these listings. This will speed up the process when you are home hunting.
Mobile apps and mobile devices Once the iPhone was invented, that is when things changed. Facebook used to be something you would check weekly, now people check it hourly (some every 10 minutes). Most major websites now have a mobile app or a mobile friendly website. You should be able to download all kinds of Real Estate apps from realtor dot com, Zillow, etc. Those sites usually refresh regularly. As an agent, we have access to the MLS 24/7, and can schedule showings online, leave feedback, and send you new listings as needed. Virtual tours and videos With the way consumers are purchasing homes (they start online), agents are now having to change up their marketing plans. Now you will see most listings have virtual tours or other video tours done for their listings. Pictures are a great way to show off a certain feature of a home, but a video really puts things into perspective for you.
E-signing services This is my favorite thing by far. I live and work from my ipad. I would be lost without it. I take it with me to all showings and appointments. I love that while showing a house, I can quickly type up an offer or a listing agreement and send over to my clients for e-signature. From there, I can send it off wherever it needs to go. The old days would have required paper and pen, and then a scanner or fax machine. E-signature programs are a major game changer in the real estate world.
Marketing/Social Media If you go to the App Store, you will find hundreds of free marketing apps at your fingertips. This allows agents to quickly create a flyer from Canva, create a nice collage and even use camera filters to make a picture stand out. They can take those flyers and post them on Facebook and all other social media platforms. All of this can be done in a matter of minutes and fall right into the hand of the consumer.
I love technology. Some days it can drive me nuts. When the internet goes out for 10 minutes at the office, I have a slight nervous breakdown. I'm not sure what I would do without it. What is one productive app you can’t live without and why? Mine right now would have to be Trello!