In recent years, modern technology has empowered the real estate industry, offering advantages through efficient and convenient tools like online listing websites, virtual tours and e-signatures on sale documents. However, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and forward-thinking experts are getting excited about the potential of new and upcoming tech solutions that will revolutionize familiar processes.
So where will the next wave of technological advances take the world of real estate transactions? To find out more, we asked a group of Forbes Real Estate Council members to weigh in on what they see developing in the next few years. Here is what they are paying attention to—and why:
1. Blockchain, Sharing Economy And Transportation
Technology has started to figure out the services side of the real estate business by providing more efficient solutions for commercial property owners, but it has continued to be a primarily human-driven industry. Three things I am particularly interested in watching: First, how blockchain technology changes the transfer of title. Second, how the sharing economy (Airbnb, WeWork) changes how space is used within buildings. And finally, how ride sharing, mass transit, autonomous and on-demand vehicles affects the demand and need for parking structures. – Justin Leahy, F&B Capital, LLC
2. Integrated And Streamlined Workflows
Having a computer science degree and strong software background, I think about this problem often. Real estate is still a very archaic industry that lacks consolidation and integration. The future of real estate is a world with much more integrated and streamlined workflows across niches, as well as a space where issues can be identified early based on KPIs and heuristic analysis before they impact performance. – Feras Moussa, Disrupt EquityForbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?
3. Easier Credit Checks
Technology has vastly improved credit determination, workflow and efficiency. If the next 10 years presents the same progress as the past decade, our industry will thrive. – Bruce Huff, Kimber Management LLC
4. Distributed Ledgers
I see technology cutting down the friction in transaction at the same time increasing transparency and security. A blockchain/distributed ledger-style disclosures to verify a title, tenant estoppel, natural hazard and other due diligence items could provide a monumental shift in how transactions are done. – Jason Hsiao, Shaw Investments
5. Tools Like VR Tours And AI Search Becoming ‘Must Haves’
The digitalization of the real estate trades is now experiencing very strong growth in particular due to the use of new generation technologies which have enabled the emergence of services with very high added value. At this point, we can notably anticipate technologies such as Blockchain, artificial intelligence search, 3-D and VR tours to take over. These tools, which were considered as emerging a short while ago are now solid differentiators and “must have” for many real estate professionals as more and more sales occur without the client seeing physically the property and we can anticipate that this movement will grow exponentially. – Adam Redolfi, Barnes International Realty
6. Shifts In Transparency, Convenience And Remote Opportunities
I see the future of technology taking once familiar real estate processes onto exciting new horizons. Transparency, convenience, remote opportunities, financial processes, and value all appear to be shifting faster than many may imagine. It’s hard to give an exact destination, but hopefully this journey continues to provide and improve as an excellent opportunity for the general public. – Broby Leeds, Slifer Smith & Frampton
7. Faster Sorting Through Leads
Technology is allowing investors on the front end of the transaction to sift and sort through leads most efficiently, saving hours and hours of time. On the back end, even the attorneys and paralegals are automated with technology allowing us to be literally anywhere in the world geographically. – Chris Prefontaine, Smart Real Estate Coach
Read more in Finding That Perfect House: How Technology Will Make Property Search A Lot More Personal
8. A Greater Focus On The End-User
In every asset class, more and more value is being created by owners and operators who can understand and address the needs of specific end users. Technology is enabling the ability to identify and address the experience of the end-user. – Trevor Hightower, Craftwork
9. Realtors Will Always Have An Important Role
Technology is transforming the real estate research process and is helping further automate the overall real estate transaction. From contractual paperwork to mortgage loan automation, transaction coordination, and the closing/signing process. However, I believe Realtors will always have an important role in this process. Realtors facilitate the most important transaction of their client’s life: the sale, and purchase of their home. Yes, technology will eventually automate most of the Realtors’ current tasks, but that’s a positive thing as that will enable them to spend more time on generating new clients and serve them that much better. – Anton Danilovich, TopHap, Inc.