Picture this: it’s a Saturday morning, and you’ve just woken up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the house. You roll over and ask Alexa to run you through today’s to-do list. You’ve got the morning to yourself, lucky thing – your first few inspections are being run as virtual tours.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually a very achievable reality.
Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution – where dramatic technological advances are popping up around every corner, impacting all industries. These advances are even changing the way buyers inspect properties, how you market and sell listings, and your agency’s approach to big business decisions.
But before we deep dive into what these advances are, what separates this revolution from all that came before? Let’s have a quick refresh.
Revolutions through the ages
The first industrial revolution saw the transition from human hands to machines, improving the standard of living for everyone (and removing the need to journey to open homes by horse and carriage). The second resulted in innovations leading to advanced machinery and large scale manufacturing, allowing freedom for the people and increased employment. The third industrial revolution, a.k.a the ‘digital revolution’, marked the shift from electronic and mechanical devices to digital.
Today, in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, the physical, digital, and biological worlds are blurring. But what does this mean for real estate?
A few things, actually.
For one, the nature of customer interactions is changing. What once required a phone call, or in person meeting, is now automated and online.
It’s a complex topic, and we could wax lyrical about it for days – but for the purpose of this article, we’ll stick to a few points and save you the time. We know you’re busy. So, we’ll cover three kinds of tech you should be taking advantage of that are either on their way – or already here.
Technologies of today and the future
You’re one of the lucky ones – unlikely to ever be completely replaced by AI. It all comes down to the trust factor. People aren’t too keen on leaving one of the most important transactions of their life up to a faceless robot.
So what developments will the next phase of technology bring, if not robots?
Here’s what we think:
Virtual reality is already transforming the way we work, but it’s about to get considerably bigger. It’s becoming so accessible that it’s set to become a $29.7 million dollar industry by 2020. That’s quite a few Oculus Rifts!
In 2016, realestate VR was launched via Google’s virtual reality app – Daydream. So when 2020 rolls around and most households have a VR headset, virtual house tours are ready to take off. Imagine viewing this through a VR headset, and having the ability to physically walk around the home and get a true sense for the space. Pretty cool, right?
Virtual reality uses fancy tripod-mounted scanners to capture 360-degree views of each room, so viewers can get a real life experience.
There’s a few different types of virtual reality popping up. Let’s get to know them.
- Virtual tours
Virtual tours can be run through a VR headset with an agent – where the agent takes care of the controls while following on the big screen. This way, they’re able to narrate the tour just like they would in a real life inspection. Or, they can be run as a self-guided ‘walk through’. Here, the user will be able to navigate the property at their own pace and ‘walk’ into whichever room they choose.
For buyers, this means the ability to ‘walk through’ houses from the comfort of their couch, and less wasted time. For sellers, it means less disruption. For you, it means a lie-in on Saturdays.
- Virtual visualisation
VR can also help sell properties that haven’t been built yet – or are still under construction. Agents often struggle advertising these properties, as it doesn’t give the buyers much information to go off. This will allow the buyer to get an idea of the future interior and exterior of a property. This can also be viewed in interactive VR format, and you’ve got to admit it looks pretty cool.
- Virtual staging
No one pictures themselves living in a furniture-less house with blank white walls. That’s where virtual staging comes in. Interior designers can go into photos of the property and insert virtual furniture and decorations, allowing potential buyers to experience what the fully-furnished house will feel like. It’s not just pretty, it’s effective too; 77% of agents reporting that homes sell faster with staging.
There’s plenty more benefits – you can read about them on our sister company Siteloft’s blog.
Google, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are all offering targeted advertising based on location – making it possible for you to hit buyers with relevant advertising when they’re near a particular home.
You can even advertise within navigation apps such as Wazee, so that people driving past your property can see a little ‘pin’ above where the listing is that can link out to the property. Think of it as a virtual For Sale sign that’s visible from kilometres away – like a blimp, but far cheaper.
Geo advertising is in popularity, and for good reason – it works.
- Leverage interest to sell more listings
Think about it. When buyers are waiting for an open home to start, what are they doing? Scrolling through social media and the web, most likely. You could use this tech to target them with ads for similar homes using a tool like Spoke. After all, only one buyer will be successful – but you’ve probably got a few listings that might interest the ones who miss out.
- Better online ads
They can also more than double the performance of your online ads. This is because you’re not wasting any of your ad spend on people outside your area. You’d hate to be spending money advertising a house on the Gold Coast and for the ads to be shown somewhere in Norway. Geo targeting allows you to refine your audience, and only advertise to the people who will be interested in your ads.
Every message they receive can be curated for them, based on their interests, location, and buyer behaviour. If they’re sipping on their cold brew at their favourite cafe, you can send them homes around that area or an area full of trendy cafes. Think of geo targeting like a virtual fence around your chosen area, so anyone inside gets sent your messages!
- Save money
On Facebook, you’ve got a whole heap of options to ensure that you’re targeting the right people. You can advertise to people who have recently visited the location, live in the location or have travelled around the location. This means that you’re not wasting any money on advertising to someone who is only holidaying in the area. Chances are, they’re not looking to buy there – unless it was a really good holiday.
Real estate big data
This one isn’t exactly ‘technology’ per se, but thanks to advances technology, we can access it. You’ve probably heard about it before – it’s a bit of a buzzword. Really, all it means is collecting data.
Big data can help you better communicate with customers, and create more personalised experiences. Basically, when you analyse the market knowledge from big data, you’re able to forecast trends and tailor messages to customers accordingly.
Here’s what it can mean for your business:
- Simpler appraisals
Say goodbye to expensive appraisals.
Big data means that these processes can be automated. It compares favourably to the accuracy of traditional appraisals; the error of the automated model now stands at 9%. These automated systems are able to gather put into practice information that is only known to experts in the area.
You’ll also be able to view the appraisal almost instantly, for a fraction of the price.
- Personalised house searches
Soon, agents will be able to create detailed profiles that reflect each person’s lifestyle in order to find perfect house to match their needs.
Property search sites have surpassed basic classifieds sites by a long shot. Instead, they’re reading and analysing the early signs of search behaviour and changing accordingly.
When buyers are searching through property portals, their search behaviours will be analysed and personalised answers sent to them. This means that real estate agents will be able to match buyers to houses on levels not previously possible.
- Predicting trends
Analysis of big data means that behaviours, trends and success factors can be predicted and targeted marketing can be implemented. Big data introduces the power to change our thinking in decision making and develops efficient business approaches by analysing data points. This means that you’ll be able to predict trends in the property market, and remain two steps ahead.
Although real estate is still in the infantry stage of these technologies, you can expect them take off in the next ten years.
It’s not the strongest who survive. Nor the most intelligent. It’s those who are most adaptable to change.