Chatbots, IoT and VR, Oh My: A Look Ahead at Tech in Real Estate

Technology in the real estate industry doesn’t start and stop with the computer and smartphone. Regardless of your role in the real estate transaction, you can no longer afford to dismiss the impact of technology in the home buying process.Inman Article Image

Technology in real estate is designed to improve the end-to-end experience for home buyers and sellers, from initial discovery to purchase. Whether it’s real-time status notifications, electronic signature requests or mobile notary services, opportunities to improve the customer experience are limitless.

This week, I attended Hacker Connect at Inman in New York City, where the real estate technology community discussed the most pressing tech issues and opportunities. Here’s a look at what we expect to see in 2017 and beyond:

  • The average agent uses 30 different apps or systems in their daily work, pointing to the need for agents to streamline and integrate solutions to maximize efficiency. One solution is to partner with settlement providers, like our partnership with zipLogix™ that allows REALTORS® to place title/escrow orders and send documents directly to Stewart through zipForm®. Newer technologies like zipLogix™ will play an increasing role in real estate at the individual agent level as brokers struggle to provide a “one size fits all” tech solution for their agents. Tech-enabling real estate professionals will only serve to maintain parity with an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base.
  • As more smart devices come to market and the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes household norm, cybersecurity will be more important than ever. With new points of entry for hackers, from the building of the home to the transfer of IoT assets through a home purchase. You must be more aware of the security risks that comes with IoT adoption, as well as what you are buying when you purchase that smart fridge, Nest thermostat or Alexa.
  • Chatbots are already here, but they’re not as smart as they will be in the future. An opportunity exists to leverage chatbots for “lead-gen” REALTORS® who need to respond quickly on portals. Utilizing chatbots in the real estate transaction process will provide a real-time solution for maximizing the client-agent relationship.
  • Both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will remain boutique technologies in 2017, with cost and use cases out of reach for most real estate scenarios. Few listings on major portals currently include video. Since videos have high user engagement, we expect to see this extend to real estate as the millennial population starts to purchase more homes. Imagine the possibility of checking out properties through VR or 3D modeling before viewing a home in person, or even closing on your home over video. Though this capability is still in the beginning phases, look for more to come in the years ahead.

As with most technology solutions, development and integration of tech in the real estate industry won’t happen overnight. So what can you do now? Arm your company with the right people in the right places to make sure you’re always at the forefront of the latest technology. This is the approach we are taking at Stewart as we look for ways to innovate the title and closing process. As these technologies become mainstream, this will better equip you to be on the leading edge of adoption.

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