Technology-oriented attendees of the 2017 Realtor® Conference & Expo in Chicago last week were told to embrace the future of blockchains, artificial intelligence and big data.
"Real estate agents fear being replaced, and they will be. They'll be replaced by a real estate agent with technology," said broker Carrie Little during her session on big data during the conference. Panelists highlighted the major real estate disrupters coming to the industry and showcased new tools to help real estate pros stay ahead of the curve.
Overview of new technology
Real estate's tech 'tsunami': Blockchain and AI
Blockchain – a continually growing chain of records – is expected to make real estate transactions faster, less costly and more fraud-proof. It could also usher in the era of the "smart contract" – an automated real estate agreement that makes digital transactions swifter and cheaper to manage.
Realtors should also learn how artificial intelligence, or machine learning, will change the way real estate professionals do business.
Add more 'big data' to your content
Big data can help agents craft more relevant content that builds stronger ties with buyers and sellers. Little offered advice for using sources such as MLSs and Realtors Property Resource to create infographics for social media, blogs, videos or when hosting community seminars.
The missing piece in measuring affordability
Home shoppers using the "drive 'til you qualify" mentality may be missing a critical factor in selecting a truly affordable home. Transportation costs are typically the second largest household expense behind housing, and can make a home that appears affordable become less so, said Scott Bernstein, founder and chief strategy officer at Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology.
Bernstein highlighted his organization's Housing and Transportation Affordability Index, which factors housing and transportation costs into the affordability equation. Plug in an address at htaindex.org to get a breakdown of the average percentage of their income households spend on housing and transportation in your area.
What consumers want from you
In choosing a tech solution, consider what buyers and sellers really desire. Research shows they want rapid responses, market knowledge and greater transparency within the process from start to finish. In a session on Sunday, realtor.com executives highlighted several tools that aim to help real estate pros improve their communication speeds and outreach with consumers.
Former catch me if you can conman offers identity safeguards
Former con artist Frank Abagnale was the master of assuming others' identities. His story was depicted in the 2002 hit movie, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Abagnale now uses his first-hand knowledge to help save others from getting duped. At the RISMedia Power Broker Reception Friday night, the former con man offered up tips for keeping business and client information safe from identity theft.