Technology is disrupting many industries because of its ability to improve and expedite many of the antiquated processes that stall efficiency. Paper documents and physical files are being set aside to allow for collaborative documents and cloud storage services. Desk phones aren’t ringing anymore — but chat and messenger applications and email inboxes are constantly (and consistently) full.
But it wasn’t until recently that technology finally penetrated into the core processes of the real estate and mortgage industries to offer any long-lasting, impactful value. Yet the process of purchasing a home and getting a mortgage is still more or less reliant upon physical paperwork, notaries, multiple personnel and even in-person meetings — all antiquated systems that do not promote efficiency.
Today’s buyer is immersed in technology, with the expectation that information and/or services are readily available thanks to their laptop or smartphone. They are well versed in user-friendly applications, cloud storage, and seamless file sharing — all of which needs to be adopted by the real estate world.
Thankfully, VCs and tech professionals are pushing for real estate advancements with mobile apps, search platforms, cloud services, blockchain and even AI. All of these tools, services, and technologies — coupled with new consumer expectations — are expediting the real estate market’s move to the online world.
More Buyer-Centric Search Tools These real estate tools and applications, more formerly known as “PropTech,” have shaken up the industry through a new wave of mobile applications, software, and mobile responsive websites that possess easy-to-use tools and digestible information. All of these advancements assist today’s buyer in getting more informed and more confident with the real estate market as they look for their new home.
The tools also get buyers more confident with using technology in the home searching, buying, and financing processes. In turn, buyers are seeking out additional online tools to support, enhance, and accelerate their home buying process.
An Online Portal to Improve Efficiency Because of this shift toward more internet-connected tools, there will be a demand for a place to access, organize, and collaborate on documents. To meet this need, an online portal will need to be created or integrated with a digital mortgage platform.
This portal will service the agent, loan officer and buyer by centralizing all tools into one place for easy access. Searching for homes, comparing realtors, and even getting preapproved for mortgages could all take place in one spot. It’s not so much of a one-stop-shop, however. It’s more of a place to connect and ensure the right hand is talking to the left hand and ensure that everyone communicates effectively so each person is on the same page. One of the biggest contributors to problems in real estate is communication, so clear and often communication is the key to a successful client experience.
Furthermore, the portal could host an individual user dashboard, where buyers could save their preferences, upload their individual documents, and communicate with their real estate agent of choice. It will help to integrate communication with the search process: chat, video calls, and emails will be supported directly in the portal to make for seamless communication between you and your buyer. Is your company adopting, developing and implementing this kind of tech?
With this easy access to data and a central place for communication, efficiency will be at an all-time high. No more scrambling through files or digging through emails. Everything will be streamlined to foster better organization and increased transparency. The next step will be getting all those who are part of the transaction integrated with the portal. You can’t close on a home within 48 hours without blockchain and cooperation from the banks and title companies.
A Buyer-Driven Process Consider this: in the near future, buyers will have access to more information about the housing market and mortgage lending industries. Therefore, the dynamic between industry professionals and the buyers will change as the process becomes more buyer-driven.
Buyers will be more confident in conducting the transaction process, and will likely take the lead role while you act more like a navigator instead of the director. They’ll want to be the ones who make the offer, playing an active role in the transaction. They will turn to you, their agent, for your expertise and negotiation tactics. This has already happened in many other industries.
There’s even a chance that blockchain will come into play in the buyer-driven process. Blockchain technology rose to prominence with cryptocurrencies, but the technology has the chance to disrupt many more industries, one of which is real estate. The technology establishes digital trust in a peer-to-peer network while providing complete transparency on each and every transaction. This type of tech could significantly (and positively) aid in an online buyer-driven process.
With more power shifting toward the buyer, now is the time to reassess the agent and loan officers role in the market while strengthening skills — particularly emotional and personal value — to keep from getting washed away by the wave of new technology.