(Last updated: April 7, 2021)
No industry is immune to rapidly advancing technology, and that includes real estate. Real estate technology – also known as property technology (proptech) — is changing the way we buy, rent, sell, and manage our properties. Over the next few years, technology will continue radically reshaping multifamily, residential, and commercial real estate.
In the past, owning and managing a property simply meant washing the windows, tending to the facade, and keeping the lobby clean. But not anymore. With property technology, you can now do more with your property than ever before. New devices make it possible to keep your building safer, cleaner, and smarter.
Here are five new trends in real estate technology:
- Artificial intelligence
- Internet of Things
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Apps and social media
1. Artificial intelligence
From chatbots to data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere these days. Don’t worry. It’s not the scary robots you see in science fiction movies. Instead, it’s a powerful force to make your property smarter and more connected.
The vast amount of data collected every day through internet searches, social media, and connected devices is incredibly valuable. But, its sheer volume is overwhelming. AI can quickly comb through these data to identify trends such as forecasting future movement. In real estate, this means potentially predicting trends that impact housing/rental prices due to neighborhood growth, which leads to more accurately priced inventory.
How AI is used in real estate
Property owners and brokers can use AI to pinpoint prospects who could be potential buyers for a particular unit. Then, they can reach out to them with a personalized sales pitch. Artificial intelligence has the unique ability to streamline processes, allowing us to focus on the creative projects we’re better suited for.
2. Internet of Things
Forget the old intercom systems that make you try your luck at calling a resident in the building and hoping they’re home. Those are clunky, time-consuming, and unreliable – an artifact of the past!
From smartwatches to self-driving cars, the Internet of Things (IoT) is vastly changing our way of life. IoT refers to devices that exchange information with other devices using the internet. Today, IoT allows property owners and residents to turn their smartphones into mobile video intercom systems.
That means no matter where you are, you can see who is trying to get into the building. It’s easier and more convenient to welcome visitors, and it’s safer to control who has access to the building. Also, it allows property owners and managers to easily track who is entering the property to ensure tenants’ safety and security.
Since these devices are cloud-based, they can connect with other smart appliances and devices within a building. With smart devices, residents can automatically call the elevator, turn on the air conditioning in the unit, and preheat the oven.
A new era for property security
What more, IoT intercoms simplify and enhance the resident experience. Since IoT intercoms are cloud-based, it’s easier to connect smartphones and integrate with existing property management software. The data stored in the IoT intercom is encrypted, making it difficult for hackers to access the information. Also, the intercom keeps a video trail of all door release events, which makes it easy to detect any suspicious activities in the building.
3. Virtual and augmented reality
Imagine being able to view a property without actually setting foot inside of it. Virtual reality (VR) transports people around the world, so they feel like they’re somewhere else.
This has enormous potential for real estate. Buyers can use VR to walk through a property like they are there, even if they’re on the other side of the world. Using VR, companies can create virtual home tours and showcase the neighborhood, allowing prospects to walk down the street. Virtual reality makes the world smaller and opens the door to viewing and purchasing property around the world.
Similarly, augmented reality helps people see virtual additions to their current location. This technology doesn’t transport you somewhere new but instead adds things to your current view. It’s the same technology that puts digital creatures in your house on Pokemon Go.
Augmented reality is already allowing property owners to see furniture in their homes or view renovations before actually making them happen. Augmented reality showcases a property’s potential and helps people make decisions before taking action.
With hacks and data breaches on the rise, security is a huge concern these days. Blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows transactions to happen between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way. Real estate professionals no longer need to rely on Excel spreadsheets, or worse, pen and paper. Instead, blockchain technology offers workflow automation and secure transfer of information such as titles and account numbers.
Ever so popular, blockchain transfers data and personal information through a series of dispersed ledgers to keep it secure. When used for large transactions — like selling real estate — it greatly reduces fraud. It also gives customers and realtors access to more data once their identities are verified. Though still in its infancy, blockchain technology could revolutionize how we negotiate and pay for real estate.
5. Apps and social media
Everything is connected today, which makes for smarter homes that are easier to control. Instead of waiting for a business to open to make a phone call and wait on hold, people can now use apps and chatbots to communicate with companies conveniently.
These apps can even speed up how quickly real estate is purchased, and projects get done. You can use an app to find the perfect home, chat about financing, and learn about renovations and projects you’re interested in.
It also makes real estate move faster. If there’s a popular property, you don’t have to wait to talk to someone and schedule a time to see it. You can simply use an app and bot to find the answers you need to move the transaction along.
The influence of social media
Since we’re on the topic of smartphone apps, let’s also discuss social media. You may be asking, “what does social media have to do with real estate?” or “isn’t social media only for young people?”
Well, more than half of the world’s population uses social media, which is definitely more than just young people. And whenever potential renters or buyers are deciding on a property, they’ll turn to social media to view photos and reviews. Additionally, current residents will turn to social media to engage with their communities and connect with neighbors.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool for real estate professionals to attract new residents and retain new ones. (Fun fact: residential property tours are now happening on TikTok).
An exciting future for real estate
Thanks to new technology, real estate will look completely different in the next few years. These trends will lead to more efficiency and an industry that keeps properties safe with happy owners and tenants.