Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2018
by George Beall — 11 weeks ago in Contributors
The world of real estate is in constant flux, ebbing and flowing with today’s global events, technological breakthroughs, and financial market shifts.
Amidst all the ambiguity, one thing is for certain, and that is that change is inevitable. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a part of the real estate
industry that has not been affected by any of these influential factors.
Whether you are thinking about buying a home or you are focused on growing your real estate empire, know that the status quo is constantly changing. Real estate agents, in particular, are faced with the overwhelming task of keeping up with all of the recent trends.
It can definitely be challenging to sift through the latest news, but even more so, the difficulty is in figuring out which trends are important and here to stay.
The answers to these questions, though often left without confidence, will dictate strategic decisions from today’s biggest investors, agents, and brokers. The ones who pick right will be separated from the rest of the pack.
I spoke with the CEO of Nan & Co. Properties, Nancy Almodovar, about how she sees the 5 biggest trends among real estate agents coming in 2018.
Here are some of my favorite pieces of what she had to say:
1. Online brands will dominate
2018 is finally the year where real estate agents will not only be encouraged, but rather expected to have built up an online brand and portfolio of their work.
“Buyers and sellers are looking online first,” Almodovar says, not only to find out your contact information, but also to “see your credentials and digital footprint.”
With information accessible from anywhere, commercial and residential investors will be able to make faster and more informed decisions on where to allocate their capital. This transparency, while an overall good thing for the industry, will hold every player in the space more accountable. Increasing access to information that was once hidden to the everyday consumer will further differentiate the best agents, those with good track records, from those who have made lots of mistakes in the past.
2. Mass market everything
With social media becoming a more and more powerful tool for broadcasting messages, real estate agents will be expected to heavily invest their time and resources in
building their online presence. Facebook. Snapchat. Instagram. Linkedin. There are so many options and so many different interfaces you can choose to learn. With all of the different platforms to choose from, which is best and will win out?
Almodovar tells me that “Facebook” is the winner. “Due to the massive number of people on Facebook, your content can reach such a large audience. People can learn more about home buying thru casual post online, whether it’s information about the home, a video tour, photos, or info on how to reach you. It is one of the best ways to market a home.”
3. Smart home automation
We have been talking about it for years, but perhaps 2018 is finally the time for smart home automation to take the spotlight among American consumers. Agents, brokers, and investors will need to stay ahead of the curve, rethinking how they can integrate new gadgets and gear into their home displays.
We will see both niche pieces of tech, like shading and light automation, as well as more fundamental parts of the home, like security and hardwiring, made more affordable for middle class homeowners.As the cost of this type of super useful technology goes down, we will continue to see more players enter the space and try to pave the way for smart home automation to get mass appeal.
4. More specialization
In the past, real estate agents have been generalists, able to “sell anything” because the process has basically been the same across verticals. Now, the best agents
differentiate themselves by specializing, and paying attention to the small nuances that most others leave out. The little things matter, whether you are selling
a multi-million dollar mansion or small condo actually makes a big difference in how you want to present the home.
Almodovar goes on to explain the difference between the two, “There are more moving parts in multi-million dollar properties. There’s more to consider and finer details to perfect because of those luxury home features. When selling a million dollar property, you have to think like one and market like one.”
5. Generation Z is almost here
For years, microeconomists have debated and analyzed the tastes and preferences of millennials, the most powerful and eclectic group of consumers to date. But now,
there is a new cohort, Generation Z (born since 1995), that is quickly taking over.
While some of them are just now leaving college, Gen Z is gaining influence really quickly. Generation Z is expected to reach 2.56 billion individuals globally by 2020. With that comes a ton of consumer power over brands and industries.
The real estate tech sector is being shaped by shifting market conditions and changes in consumer behaviors. Every year, my company tracks and analyzes emerging trends in real estate tech to better understand technology’s impact on the industry. The purpose is to help prepare real estate professionals and organizations for the future by collecting, assessing and reporting the trends that will most impact them.
For the past decade, emerging technology companies that focus on commercial and residential real estate products and services have moved quickly, forcing traditional real estate firms to rethink their core business models and embrace digital first innovations. But as the real estate tech sector begins showing signs of maturity, companies wondering how they will fit into this new era must understand the forces that are leading change.
While the industry will undoubtedly continue to expand as investor appetite remains tenacious and its customer base grows, changes are imminent. The very concept of what comprises real estate tech will shift. As the industry evolves, it will play a role well beyond real estate products and services, individual companies will vie to become undisputed leaders by size and breadth and ecosystems will develop that have a tight grip on customer loyalty.
As technology and innovation continue to hold the key to reshaping the real estate industry, emerging real estate tech companies are creating an opportunity to weave themselves into the new digital real estate ecosystem. What’s the next step forward? Use the power of technology to improve the real estate industry.
The purpose is to help prepare real estate companies and organizations for the future by collecting, assessing and reporting the trends that will most impact them.
These trends are based on quantitative and qualitative data including conversations with executives and thought leaders.
Here are the most important real estate tech trends to watch for in 2018.
Forbes Post written by Ashkan Zandieh
Ashkan Zandieh is the CEO/Founder of RE:Tech, a real estate tech research marketing agency.
The Rise Of Transaction-Engagement Focused Tech
Throughout 2017, one of the largest growing trends in real estate tech has been the shift from traditional transaction experiences to a more curated online experience.
A great example of this is Robert Refkin, the CEO and founder of Compass. Compass is building the first modern real estate platform, pairing the real estate agents with technology to make the search and sell experience intelligent and seamless.
Earlier this year, Compass unveiled its latest development in the mission to modernize real estate with the launch of Collections, an interactive online home search tool. Touted as “the Pinterest of real estate,” Collections enables home buyers and agents to organize, discuss and collaborate on hand-picked properties, ultimately streamlining the transaction-engagement process by better understanding buyer behavior.
Chatbots In Real Estate
From Apple’s Siri to the Amazon Echo, chatbots were everywhere in 2017. Chatbots are emerging as powerful customer service tools in many industries. Whether you realized or not, you’ve most likely encountered a chatbot while browsing or shopping.
When it comes to real estate, chatbots have the potential to revolutionize lead generation and customer service. By automating the initial stages of contact between agents and prospects, a real estate chatbot can be more efficient in engaging visitors, resulting in higher lead conversions.
Blockchain And Real Estate Transactions
Earlier this year, Velox RE and the Cook County Recorder of Deeds took part in a pilot project exploring how blockchain technology could be used to store property records in the 5.2 million-resident county, which includes Chicago.
Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked and secured using cryptography. It is best known for keeping track of who owns digital currencies like Bitcoin. Advocates of the technology say it can revolutionize real estate deals and recording keep costs. A new form of data management has piqued the interest of the real estate industry, especially financial institutions and lenders.
As technology and innovation in real estate continue to evolve, one thing is certain: The real estate industry is long overdue for a shake-up. Transactional real estate, including sales and leasing in residential and commercial, have been high-value targets by “tech-first” companies. Ultimately, today’s real estate tech companies won’t necessarily disrupt an industry but will disrupt legacy companies that refuse to adapt.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry.
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