Technology has no doubt impacted many different aspects of our lives throughout the United States (and really the world). One sector greatly impacted by the growth and advancement of technology is real estate. With more and more buyers and investors beginning their search online, a tech-forward website and customer relationship management (CRM) software is a must for any company, office or agent looking to be a heavy hitter in today’s real estate business.
But why is keeping up with changing technologies important, and why is it important for the real estate industry?
It’s a matter of fact that we now live in a digital age. Paper resources have seen a strong decline in recent years, especially newspapers and magazines. In 2015 alone, “weekday [newspaper] circulation fell 7% and Sunday circulation fell 4%, both showing their greatest declines since 2010.” With print media resources steadily declining, more and more consumers are taking to the internet. As of 2012, 90 percent of home buyers searched online at some point during their home buying process (NAR 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), and in 2016 79 percent of recent home buyers found online websites as the most useful resource in their property search (NAR 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers). The real estate industry has been one of the biggest influenced by society’s shift to internet resources, and with the advent of better smart phones and tablets, more and more buyers and investors are using online resources to find the information they’re looking for.
As a real estate technology company, Reliance Network stresses the importance of keeping up with changing technologies. Not only for our own benefit (we are a technology company), but more importantly for the benefit of our clients. When companies don’t keep up with changing technologies, they risk a lot. Not only is there the risk of falling behind the competition, companies also risk becoming irrelevant in their field, missing out on new opportunities and ultimately falling into obscurity.
A major part of business is competition. If there was no competition in a market, there would be less incentive for a company to try to do better year-to-year. In the real estate industry, competition throughout the U.S. is fierce, especially in certain regional markets. With strong competition, a real estate company needs to be able to provide a product that is equal or better than that of the competition. The same can be said for a company’s technology, especially for those companies that rely on competitive and forward technology. Real estate companies need websites and CRM systems capable of handling heavy traffic, multiple user inquiries, multiple MLSs, and the site needs to provide a modern and intuitive user experience. If a company chooses to disregard the need for expanding and improving technology on a regular basis, it’s going to fall behind the competition.
Many of us have heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” While over time that phrase has been altered to make it seem like every customer is right, it was originally meant as a reminder to companies and business owners to market to the customer, not to the company’s own needs and wants. If buyers, sellers and investors are using the internet to search for properties and make inquiries, real estate companies need to fulfill that need by providing modern, fast and intuitive websites. If customers are using their smart phones and tablets for searches and inquiries (as of 2014, 50 percent of buyers used a mobile website or application in their home search) (NAR 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), real estate companies need websites that are not only tech-forward but also responsive and suited to desktop, mobile and tablet use. A company that ignores the needs and wants of its customers will ultimately become irrelevant in its field as said clients jump ship for another option. To stay relevant, a company needs to adapt and change, especially if its customers change.
Every business has a need for long term stability and growth, and that need is echoed in its technology. In the tech field, the risk of missing new opportunities is a huge impetus to offer new ideas or services to consumers, especially in real estate. Tech forward companies actively look for new applications they can offer to customers because they know what’s new today will become standard tomorrow. Ten years ago the idea of sharing property listings on social media platforms was unheard of because social media was relatively new. Now, applications like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and more have become important parts of modern marketing because of the number of people using social media platforms every day. A company that chooses not to be tech forward is taking a huge risk in today’s market. Real estate is no different. Knowing that “78% of new home shoppers visit 3+ sites prior to taking action on a real estate site” (Google & Complete New Home Shopper Survey, 2012), it’s never been more important for a real estate company to invest in technology and offer its agents and customers a modern and forward thinking online experience if it expects to be successful and competitive in the ever changing and evolving U.S. real estate market.