Digital Technologies That Shape Real Estate in 2024

Being in real estate right now feels like riding a rollercoaster: from COVID to a shift to home offices to AI threatening to do everything you can—but a million times faster. However, as difficult as these turbulent times may be, they also provide numerous opportunities for you to grow and prosper as a professional. The key to success is to embrace the change, educate yourself on the latest real estate trends, and stay ahead of the curve.

In this article, we’ll highlight the latest technologies disrupting the real estate industry in 2024, and how you can leverage them as an agent. We’ll also discuss the costs and potential challenges of implementing new strategies and tools, and advise you on the best approach to take.

 

Why Adopting New Technologies in Real Estate Is Crucial

Never before has the market landscape changed so dramatically in such a short time. On the one hand, millennials are becoming the largest home-buying group, bringing in new challenges and expectations, on the other—generative AI revolutionizes the way we work with data, impacting not only the way properties are listed and promoted, but also the market trends and prices via predictive analytics

This means you have to deal with a new type of client—tech-savvy users who rely on online search (97% of home buyers in 2020) and digital content to look for a property, and expect instant responses and high availability when talking to a business. And then you have technology that can provide it, including mobile apps, chatbot assistants, virtual tours, and even digital mortgages. The conclusion is clear: if you don’t connect the two, you will rapidly fall behind.

If you feel like you are being put in a tight spot, you’re not the only one! Business owners and investors also have to face the fact that technologies will affect them, as the advancement of property technology creates new markets, defines business worth, and calls for smarter, data-driven decisions. There are shifts in other industries as well. Law firms, for example, also have to embrace new technologies.

And with real estate taking 13% of the global economy, which makes it a lucrative industry to work in,  the stakes rise higher than ever.

Source: Softermii

Experts started to talk about new technologies reshaping the real estate market as early as 2021, but then no one could fully comprehend the scale of changes ahead. Today it’s clear that AI and big data are much more than just hype. Combined with other factors like new demographics coming into the market and the constantly changing economic landscape, it is transforming real estate forever.

 

Benefits of Embracing Digital Technologies 

Navigating this new treacherous sea that real estate has become may be tough, but the same technologies that seem alien now can become your greatest asset and give you a huge competitive edge. To name just a few advantages you’ll get:

  • Increased Efficiency: A big portion of a real estate agent’s daily tasks consists of creating opportunities, nurturing leads, making follow-ups, and maintaining relationships with past clients to stay on top of people’s minds. Real estate marketing automation and generative AI streamline these processes and free your time and cognitive power for more important work like meeting with people or devising new marketing strategies.
  • Better Customer Service: Millennials might not be the truly digital generation, yet they are much more tech-savvy than Boomers and X’ers. Another difference is that they are aware of the value of data, and expect companies to use it to provide tailored customer experiences and faster solutions. This means understanding what people need before they can fully articulate those needs and making home buying or selling processes straightforward and stress-free. New technologies empower you to do just that without sacrificing sleep and meal times trying to outdo your competitors.
  • Competitive Advantage: Any change means there will be businesses that adapt and businesses that don’t. Being an early adopter of the new opportunities technology brings means you get a boost and can take a bigger share of the market while other people are still figuring things out. By the way, here’s a list of handy real estate apps for agents if you are ready to try something new immediately.

 

Key Technologies Disrupting Real Estate in 2024

This could have been a long list of AI-based real estate start-ups swarming the market, but we’ll go beyond that and see what else you can implement to future-proof and grow your business. However, the disruptiveness of AI is unquestionable, so we will start with it.

 

#1 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Okay, people keep repeating the words ‘Artificial Intelligence’ as a mantra, but what can it actually do? 

Foretell Consumer Behavior via Predictive Analytics: AI algorithms analyze data trends to predict market behaviors, helping agents understand when prices might rise or fall. This can guide pricing strategies and timing for listings.

Evaluate Property with Automated Valuation Models (AVMs): These tools use machine learning to assess property values based on historical data and comparative market analysis, providing quicker and more accurate estimates.

Provide Quality Round-the-Clock Customer Service Through Chatbots: Enhance customer service by quickly answering client queries, scheduling appointments, and providing information on listings, which frees up more time for you to focus on sales and client relationships.

Automate Content Marketing and Design Tasks: Ship out content pieces like blog and social media posts 10 times faster than before. Generative AI-based tools like ChatGPT and Canva let you produce truly quality content. This way, you can take advantage of content marketing while staying on the budget. Plus, you can set automated email campaigns and promotions to reach the right people at the right time and increase your sales.

Automate Document Processing and Management: Tools like Docsumo allow you to extract data from multiple formats of documents to pre- and post-process them and capture key information. You can integrate them to automate invoicing, for example, or keep track of your documents. Other useful tools include PandaDoc which helps you handle online notary for your documents, and Jotform Sign for e-signing documents securely.

Simplify Property Management: AI can help collect rent, schedule maintenance,  screen tenants, and handle property accounting.

 

#2 Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

With more and more potential customers willing to explore the property remotely, virtual tours play an increasingly important role in sales. Being able to create an immersive experience with a house helps speed up decision-making. It’s especially effective when marketing properties in less popular areas served by smaller real estate firms. The National Association of Realtors reports that 58% of all homebuyers want to see virtual tours on listings. 

Even if in the post-COVID world people still prefer to go and see the house they are interested in, a virtual tour has another important benefit for both sellers and buyers. It helps people sort out the options they don’t like, so they don’t waste their or their agent’s time for an offline viewing. This makes the search more efficient overall.

The cost of creating a virtual tour varies depending on the size of the property and the number of photos and videos that need to be taken, but it can be as little as $300—which makes it a worthy marketing strategy to try out.

Augmented reality helps clients visualize unfurnished properties by overlaying digital images of furniture and decorations. This way, people can imagine living spaces without the need for physical staging which saves real estate agents time and effort.

 

#3 Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is the collective network that connects everyday objects to a cloud and each other, making them remotely controllable. It sounds like the stuff of the future, but the future is already here and is changing the way properties are managed at this very moment. Some of the most frequent use cases are:

Enhancing Security: IoT technology can help prevent unauthorized access and vandalism with the help of smart locks. The locks are controlled remotely and provide real-time logs, allowing property managers to see who enters and leaves the property.

Saving Costs: Smart thermostats can optimize energy consumption, reducing energy and maintenance costs, while sensors can alert property owners to equipment conditions, avoiding breakdowns and expensive repairs. Over time, this can make a significant difference in total costs.

Increasing Sustainability: Apart from being cost-saving, smart thermostats and lighting sensors help reduce energy consumption which in turn helps make housing more eco-friendly. With sustainability being a major concern for individuals and businesses alike, this technology proves to be a great asset and an important advantage when marketing a property. Early adopters are already seeing returns. Royal London Asset Management, a leading UK investment firm, reports ROI of 708% and energy savings of 59% by implementing AI-powered technologies.

Improving Tenants’ Experience: IoT takes the housing experience to a new level by making the environment more customizable. With heating, lighting, smart speakers, and equipment controllable via smartphones, tenants can adjust the settings to accommodate their lifestyle in the best way possible.

 

#4 Marketing Materials Digitalization

Given how all real estate processes are moving online, providing millennials and Gen Z’ers with an enhanced customer experience is a must. We have already discussed chatbots for increasing availability, but here’s another way you can step up your marketing and sales efforts: switching from PDFs to digital documents. Any property brochures, listings, offers, and even contact drafts can be shared digitally and with much more efficiency.

Here’s an example of a property brochure created with FlippingBook:

Real Estate Brochure

Unlike static, costly, and difficult-to-update paper copies or PDFs, FlippingBook’s digital documents offer many advantages:

Your marketing materials are available as links: No need to download anything, and a brochure can be updated at any moment meaning your clients will always have access to accurate information like changes in listing prices.

Deeper engagement with your content: Interactive document features like embedded video or GIFs make readers stay longer and explore properties in more detail. You can add video apartment and location tours, gives links to facilities and places of interest, and show the property from different angles with high-quality images that open in pop-ups. 

You can track your brochures: Tracking allows you to gauge your prospective client’s level of interest in the property and see if you should focus your efforts on this particular opportunity. Relationships-wise, knowing when your client is engaged, you can time your follow-ups better, ensuring your communication with the prospects happens at the best possible time.

Instant access to documents anywhere via a mobile app: You’ll no longer have to bring tons of paper copies or rummage through your phone looking for a file to send. With all the links to your brochures at your fingertips, you can send any document in a tap, ensuring fast and effective communication with a client. And once the client opens your document, you’ll get a push notification and know for sure that they are engaged.


💡Case Study: Commercial Real Estate Agency Creates Digital Property Teasers With FlippingBook

#5 Blockchain for Smart Contracts

This technology might be difficult to adopt on the spot. However, it’s important to be aware of it because it’s already reshaping the financial landscape and may soon be regarded as an obligation when it comes to signing contracts in real estate.

Traditional real estate transactions may involve serious problems like lack of transparency, susceptibility to fraud (for example, false ownership claims), and high costs as they require a lot of intermediaries, such as lawyers, agents, and banks. All these issues have long needed to be addressed, and blockchain technology offers an effective solution.

What Is Blockchain? 

You can think of blockchain as a digital ledger, shared among a network of computers. Each entry in this ledger is recorded with a timestamp and a link to the previous entry, creating a chronological chain. Once data is added to the ledger, it cannot be altered or deleted, making it highly secure and trustworthy.

The technology is widely used for smart contracts—self-executing contracts where the terms of the agreement are directly written into lines of code. These contracts ensure the security of the transactions and make the entire process much more efficient.

The benefits of smart contracts are numerous:

Transparency: All transactions and their outcomes are visible to all parties involved.

Security: Blockchain’s security features prevent tampering or altering of contract terms once they have been deployed. It can provide a secure and permanent record of property ownership that is easily accessible and always up-to-date. This can simplify title management, reduce title search time, and decrease the likelihood of title disputes.

Efficiency: Smart contracts eliminate the need for intermediaries, reducing time and cost. The contract automatically performs actions (like transferring ownership) when conditions are met, such as receiving payment.

Speed: Real estate transactions can last from weeks to months due to paperwork and the need to verify everything manually. Blockchain automates many parts of this process, speeding things up significantly.

 

#6 Aerial Video and Photography

Source: Focused Aerial

Drones have become a valuable tool in the real estate industry, enhancing marketing techniques and property management. Here are a few examples:

✅ Drones can capture high-quality visuals, which is not possible with traditional photography. It’s especially effective when marketing luxurious property, and when you want to give clients a better sense of the property as well as its location and surrounding areas, increasing its overall appeal.

✅ Dynamic visuals taken by drones attract more attention on listings and social media, driving more potential clients.

Rooftops and high-floor inspection are much easier with drones making property management more efficient.

✅ Drones simplify access to properties in remote locations, helping potential buyers to make more informed decisions.

✅ Drones help monitor construction progress to give stakeholders regular updates on new developments.

 

#7 Big Data and Analytics

The idea of analyzing both clients and market trends isn’t revolutionary, yet it’s one of those things that real estate agents often overlook because they have so many other things to worry about—like meeting clients and promoting properties.

However, as more and more routine tasks become automated, finally you can and should put analytics into focus. Many tools like various CRMs offer built-in analytics that help you make sense of the collected data and make better decisions. 

 

#8 Space as a Service

When COVID happened and put everybody into a remote-working frenzy, everyone expected home offices would soon become the norm. And while it’s true for many millennials and X’ers, Gen Z feels differently. According to the latest research, only 11% of Gen Z workers want to be fully remote, preferring hybrid work.

However, the future of offices is still changing. For many companies, it seems like a waste of resources to keep a large fully functioning office when it’s used only a couple of days a week. 

That’s where Space as a Service (SpaaS) comes into play. Space as a Service refers to spaces businesses can use flexibly, including co-working spaces and short-term rental properties. These spaces are often furnished, equipped with essential office supplies, and include utilities and other services for a single fee. This allows the users to focus on their business tasks, while the provider handles all the management.

 

Implementing New Technologies

With so many transformations happening at the same time, it’s obvious that you cannot adopt all of them right here and now. You’ll need a strategy to ensure you can future-proof your profession without losing your mind in the process. 

We can't say if a specific AI-based chatbot or a bunch of virtual tours should be a priority for you and your business without knowing anything about your goals and resources. However, we can give a few hints about what to consider:

  • Business Needs and Goals: Think about what will bring your business the most value in the short and long term—improving client engagement, streamlining transactions, or enhancing marketing efforts.
  • Scale of Operations: Consider the size of your business and the scope of your market. Some technologies are more beneficial for large-scale operations, while others might be a better choice for boutique-style firms or individual agents.
  • Initial and Ongoing Costs: What will be the upfront costs of implementing new technology, including any hardware, software, or subscription services? Then, once everything is set up, will maintenance, updates, and training fit within your budget?
  • ROI Estimation: Evaluate how the technology could increase your earnings or save costs. Some technologies may have higher initial costs, but their implementation could improve efficiency significantly or increase sales.
  • Ease of Implementation: Consider how difficult it will be to integrate new technologies into your existing systems and processes. Implementation time is also an important factor, as it can potentially disrupt your current operations.
  • Ease of Use: Some technologies are user-friendly and have a flat or almost flat learning curve, while others are much more complex and require additional training and support. Check if the vendor provides quality materials and assistance to ensure a smooth transition to the new system.
  • Vendor’s Reputation: Given how sensitive real estate transactions can be, security and the vendor’s reliability are crucial when choosing a product. Technical support and the stability of the service are also worth considering.
  • Market Trends: Based on the demographics and the market, your clients can expect you to offer specific technologies and solutions. For example, a younger audience will require more digital interactions and mobile-friendly services.

 

Measuring Success

No matter what technology you decide to adopt first, to understand how much of a change it made for your business, you will need to measure its effectiveness.  Here is how to do it:

  • Set Clear Goals and KPIs: Define objectives you want to achieve by implementing new technologies and select key performance indicators that will help you determine if you are reaching your goals. Make sure your objectives are specific: number of new leads, time spent on routine tasks, conversion rates, or customer satisfaction level.
  • Establish a Baseline: Write down your current performance levels before adopting a new technology. This way, you will be able to compare your current results against the new ones after the implementation of the new product or service.
  • Monitor and Collect Data Regularly: Continuous monitoring will help you get the most accurate results. Moreover, if something goes wrong, you will be able to identify the problem quickly and avoid losses. Think about tools that might help you monitor the data regularly, like CRM reports, Google Analytics, or other analytics tools.
  • Adjust and Optimize Your Strategy: Very few people do things perfectly on the first try. To get the best results from new technologies, you may need to invest in additional training for your team or switch to better-suiting tools.

 

Summing Up

New technologies are shaking the real estate industry, and this process is far from over. While some inventions, like services allowing clients to evaluate, look for, and even purchase property with no help from a real estate agent, may seem worrying, others equip real estate professionals with invaluable tools. 

Keeping a finger on the pulse and adopting new technologies will help you become a better real estate agent, attract more clients, increase profits, and free up time for truly important things by automating routine tasks. Be brave, see what the market has to offer, and ride the wave of the real estate sea. You can do it!

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