Real estate agent Shaun Ziegel'stein recalls a time, just a few years ago, when a printer, scanner and fax machine were the most important tools for his trading.
Now these devices are almost outdated.
“I don’t even know when I last sent a fax to be honest with you,” laughs Siegelstein, a sales representative with Royal LePage brokerage company in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
“Oh, the dilemmas that we had were incredible. Now our customers can open their phone, press a few buttons and [offer] documents signed. "
Zigelshtein says that the introduction of technologies in the real estate industry over the past few years has grown exponentially, and he believes that this trend will grow only as new opportunities and realtors appear trying to take over a thousand-year market.
Agents who do not adapt to these changes will see that their business drops significantly, because they cannot adapt quickly enough.– Sean Ziegelstein, realtor
“Agents who do not adapt to these changes will significantly reduce their business because they cannot adapt quickly enough,” he said.
From applications for smartphones such as Loom, which allow realtors to remotely share screens and presentation slides with customers, to digital signatures that can be checked with phones and tablets, technology creates a new way for realtors to conduct business.
Historically "backward" industry
Historically, the real estate industry was “backward” when it comes to implementing technology, says Frank Magliocco, a PwC partner in Canada specializing in the housing market.
“But I think that what you see now is a rather significant step in mastering this technology when it becomes more common,” he said.
“It is becoming increasingly important to remain competitive in the market. As soon as you see that these technologies have proven their effectiveness, you will see that they are being more and more accepted. ”
According to PwC, proptech, widely defined as the technology used in the real estate market, was an industry in Canada and the United States of 4.6 billion US dollars in 2016. Last year, this figure rose to $ 7.3 billion, indicating that interest and opportunities in space also increased.
Magliocco says that proptech, whom he called the cousin of the Fintech banking industry, can relate to everything from online listing sites to smart buildings that use big data to automate heating and lighting in 3D printing houses.
“Think about the banking industry many years ago, before Fintech … banking had to be done personally. He came and changed the whole business model. Now you deposit the check and transfer the money, and you can do everything on your phone, ”he said.
“Previously, each real estate transaction required a large amount of paper, in which many lawyers participated, and the surveyors were going to check the space and measure it. It is no longer needed. ”
Changing customer expectations
Steven Jagger, co-founder of IMRE, a company that manages the personal assistant of artificial intelligence for realtors, says the technology is so embedded in everyday life that customers expect to be able to use it in their real estate operations.
Chatbot IMRE can answer key questions of potential customers on behalf of a realtor 24 hours a day via text and social networks. He uses machine learning to answer questions about the list, such as price, number of bedrooms, and which school district the house is in. However, a bot cannot respond to subjective inquiries intended for a realtor, such as comparing different areas,
Jagger says that this type of technology does not replace a real estate agent, but, like all good technologies, it improves their work.
"[Realtors know] You have to be responsive for five minutes, or you lose an advantage, ”said Jagger, whose company is based in Vancouver. “This allows realtors to focus on high-level tasks, such as showing up at home, instead of constantly answering random questions.”
However, Toronto-based realtor Cam Wulfri says technology will not make the real estate industry obsolete.
He said that a realtor with experience "can make experience."
“Customers actually see the value of the dollar. If you have the knowledge and experience, then customers will see it as invaluable. ”