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How Will Technology Change the Real Estate Industry in the Next 20 years?

Technology has a way of changing industries. Fast. We’ve seen it across nearly every vertical that exists and when it comes to real estate, the industry is no exception.

While we know what technology has done to the industry in the past 20 years, what the next 20 years will look like is unclear. So, to help us understand just what the future looks like, we spoke directly with 8 real estate industry insiders with the following question:

How Will Technology Change the Real Estate Industry in the Next 20 years?

Here is what we learned…..

Steve Brant, Founder and CEO Offer1 & Brant Regency 

“Real estate is slow to adopt technology. Faxing was the way most agents submitted offers just a few years ago. The only major technological advance that has truly changed real estate in the last 30 years are digital photos/online access, electronic signatures and email. VR will be a fun gadget and perhaps a good tool for investors but humans will still want to connect with their home in person. The real promise of technology in real estate will be utilizing data and online tools to fine tune the marketing plan for a property and improving the method that buyer’s and seller’s consummate a transaction. The current process of creating, disseminating, receiving, reviewing and negotiating offers is incredibly archaic and prone to errors. Technology will provide a more transparent and efficient manner for buyers and sellers to come to an agreement in an exponentially shorter period of time.”

Pam O’Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

“As many sellers discover that they have more equity than they thought and realize they may well face higher rates on the buy side if they don’t act soon, we could see a release in pent-up demand among move-up buyers. That would ease the severe inventory shortage that has plagued the starter home segment of the housing market and create demand for more expensive homes. If regulation does decrease, we could see a bump in new construction, further reducing the inventory shortage over time. This is probably the first time in history that real estate sales have been suppressed because there aren’t enough houses to buy, so the major mandate of real estate professionals now is to educate sellers about the current window of opportunity.”

Sissy Lappin, Founder, Lappin PropertiesListingDoor.com

“Commissions rates will continue to shrink & FSBO selling will grow. Middlemen are disappearing all over the place & there’s no stopping the Internet when it comes changing an industry. Look at E*TRADE and Turbo Tax. Real estate is no different. Anyone with a laptop can sell their own home. There are several platforms that walk homeowners through the process. Real-Estate-Market-has-gone-from-inefficient-to-efficient Real estate has become an efficient market because of all the information available on the Internet. The real estate market has made a remarkable shift from “inefficient”market to the current “efficient” market. Real estate agents are no longer the only one’s privy to the market information. Homebuyers& sellers in today’s world have access to a wealth of information and can determine an unbiased estimate of the true value of a home with a few clicks. Innovation doesn’t care about the real estate commission or its own consequences. With so many homeowners facing retirement, they want the commission dollars.”

George Kachmazov, Founder, Managing Partner, Tranio.com

“Two of the biggest trends I anticipate will reshape the real estate industry in the coming years are climate change and aging. In light of climate change, global warming and increasingly aggressive weather patterns, architects are brainstorming new energy-efficient building models that reduce emissions and bills. Over the course of the next couple of decades, I expect to see more and more green roofs, water collection systems and other amenities aimed at minimizing energy and water bills while also contributing to landscaping maintenance at a minimal cost. Another key factor will be our aging global population. By 2030, more than half of the world’s population is expected to be over 60. I anticipate a proliferation of wider doorways, entrance ramps, adapted bathroom facilities, additional accommodation for care assistants, concierge services and hotel-like interior design, motion detectors and smart technology to monitor the physical condition of tenants.”

Matt Murphy, Global Vice President of Renren (NYSE: RENN), Appsurdity, CMO, Chime

“In the next 20 years AI and VR will drastically alter the real estate market. New advancements in AI and specifically deep learning will enable robots to do some of the basic tedious/time consuming tasks that real estate agents do each day. Computers may be beating humans in GO, but the beauty of AI is that computers are getting smarter every day. While they may be getting smarter, we have a long way to go before they will be able to truly understand how to think like a human and understand emotion and empathy. As technology advances, especially in VR, I could see a world where you can sit in your broker’s office and tour hundreds of homes without ever leaving your chair. This will enable consumers to sift through homes without the hassle of physically visiting them and allow them to only visit only the homes they truly love.”

Dan Daugherty, CEO, RentBits 

“Over the next 20 years, technology will completely disintermediate the Real Estate Agent in the following ways: Market Research Real estate data will become even more robust and transparent. Both buyers and sellers will have more access to data than ever before, making the transaction more liquid and fluid. Showings Traditional showings will become obsolete. Virtual Reality will become so real that you will be able to view, touch and even smell any home in the World from the comfort of anywhere. For those that want to see the property in person, home automation technology will allow for self-showings without the need or a Realtor. Buy and Sell Side Companies like opendoor.com will enable real estate to be so transactional that buyers will be able to liquidate their assets in real-time just like they do with stocks today. Closing The closing process will be done virtually and online at a cost significantly less than today. There will absolutely be no need for traditional Title Companies.”

John Kostrey, Agent,  Nourmand & Associates

“The real estate market has evolved into a wildly different beast. Now buyers and sellers are able to access detailed property records on their phones within seconds. Technology is changing the relationship between agents and principals, and will continue to do so over the next twenty years. New technologies, such as video and virtual reality tours, as well as programs such as e-signing services that transport much of the paperwork of real estate transactions online will streamline the process even further. Online rent auctions will allow a landlord to post a property, and potential renters to submit their highest and best offer, which should result in renters paying (and landlords receiving) true market rent for a property. While technology is still shaping the real estate industry, people are not going to be too eager to leave the biggest investment decision of their lives up to a faceless robot managing the transaction.”

Nathan Miller, Founder, Rentec Direct

“In the next 20 years you will see the complete automation of both the real-estate sales and rental process. Companies like Zillow will attempt to remove Realtors and property managers from the equation by providing true virtual tours and make buying or renting a home as simple as purchasing laundry soap off Amazon today. Lending regulations will continue to ease and getting a loan will be just as easy since more and more personal details will be instantly available online. Technologies like ACH (electronic checks) will progress to be an instantaneous transfer so the use of checks and cash will all but disappear from real-estate related transactions. Smart homes will be a requirement for renters and only the cheapest properties will not have full automation including robotic cleaning systems (think Roomba on steroids), electronic access, and fully connected appliances.

About the author

Nick Hastreiter

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