The entire world is being transformed by the infusion of technology. It has permeated nearly every aspect of daily living. We use it to communicate back and forth, to keep track of our finances, monitor out homes and even do our shopping. Technology offers some of the most amazing innovations that make everyday living and life in the business world more productive, but in some ways it can work against professionals.
Technology in the real estate industry seems to have the effect of a double edged sword. While to some degree it an make transactions go more quickly and smoothly, it does have its drawbacks. This is one of the reasons why so many old school real estate brokers are hesitant to employ many of the new platforms and systems that have become available. Some may think that they are behind the times or living in the dark ages, but many brokers have realized that the cons of using some types of technology, seriously outweigh the pros.
These are the companies that do not offer online applications, home tours and other computer based customer conveniences. They want to make the face to face contact with prospective clients themselves and keep the relationship more in the human to human context. Here are five ways that technology is hurting real estate.
Heightened client expectations
Technology has given us the things that we want at the time we want them. The desire for instant gratification has made consumers want answers to their questions within a very short time frame. If they make an online inquiry about a property and don’t hear back right away, they are apt to go somewhere else where they can get a rapid response. This is damaging for real estate agents and brokers who can not respond quickly to online inquiries and it is why so many opt for other ways to communicate with potential clients. It can be both good and bad, depending upon the staff size and availability of the agents for monitoring online inquires.
Many of the newer programs allow for documents to be processed online or electronically. While this can be a time and paper saving process it is also one that is very flawed. There have been multiple instances of documents not being filled out properly and more signatures or initials required. It isn’t always as simple as going back online and making the electronic changes needed. Online form submission can take weeks to straighten out, depending on the financial institutions that you are dealing with.
It can delay the processes and more often than not, hard copies are required anyway. This can escalate into more inconveniences when one party or another is not available to make the needed corrections. There are several professionals in the real estate industry who prefer to use hard copies versus electronics whenever possible. They are easier to read and it is easier to catch any mistakes with a quick proof reading prior to submission of the documents.
Online home tours
While online home tours are one of the latest trends and very convenient for clients shopping for a home, they can put the agent at a disadvantage. The one on one contact with the prospective client is lost. Agents are trying to sell homes and make a commission on the sale. The chances of selling a property are greater when they are going through the home with the clients and can answer any questions that they may have, and point out the benefits of the property. They lose this opportunity when potential buyers are casually browsing though a multitude of online home tours. This is another way that technology is hurting those who make their living in the real estate industry.
Realtors who use the newest technology are more likely to be viewed as having a more advanced operation than those who don’t. Because people like innovations that save them time, they will be more inclined to go with companies who offer online tours as opposed to those who do not. This puts the real estate agents who prefer to do the one on one way of conducting business at a disadvantage in competing with those who use all of the latest technology.
Larger tech-savvy brokers complicate the system
It is well known that larger real estate companies with their hundreds of listings offer information that becomes outdated or is incorrect. There is a high number of listings that do not get updated and frequently, properties which are listed have already been sold or there have been changes made to the prices or terms. Zillow is a good example and it has generated many complaints from potential home buyers who have had their hopes raised only to discover that their dream home already belongs to somebody else. This lowers consumer confidence and it isn’t good for the real estate industry.
Although technology has made some tremendous innovations that are revolutionizing the real estate industry, some of them are also having a negative impact on the real estate industry. Technology must be used responsibly in order for it to be a positive influence on a business. The downside is that when you take the human element out of sales and marketing, opportunities for forging business relationships are lost.
This can actually result in a downturn of sales percentages. More mistakes are made when conducting business in an online atmosphere because there is no quality control involved. People who rely too heavily on technology are often disappointed when it doesn’t deliver the instant gratification that is becoming the expectation of those who live in this modern era. We have a fixation on getting things quickly and this isn’t always the best approach to take, especially when it comes to business.
As much as technology is helping the real estate industry, it is also hurting it and there are many issues that have yet to be worked out to improve the system. It’s something that we can’t live without at this point, so it’s time to start looking at the problems and proposing fixes wherever possible.