Industry Experts Take on Future of Real Estate Technology

Hey!  It looks like real estate agents and brokers are effectively tapping into technology these days.  Well done!  The 2008 Use of Technology Survey by the California Association of Realtors® shows that it’s members are super “tech savvy”.  Now I don’t know if this holds true for the rest of the country because as we know, the coasts tend to lead the way especially in an area like technology, but even if California is ahead of the curve this report bodes well for technology trends for the real estate industry in general.

There are lots of new technologies developed specifically for the real estate industry and most of them make use of the internet in some way.

“Since most REALTORS® have a high-speed connection in their homes, the Internet has evolved into a crucial tool for REALTORS®,” said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. “REALTORS® are doing more than ever on the Internet —  marketing, maintaining their Web sites, posting their listings, and communicating with clients. As a result, they are generating more business from the Internet than ever before.”

Here are some key bits of information about how our industry is using internet based technology that you may find interesting:

  • 93% of California Realtors® use email
  • 90% check listings online
  • 89% take advantage of online access to MLS
  • 22% said they own a handheld wireless Internet device for their real estate business so they can respond to clients more quickly
  • 32% said they answered clients’ e-mails instantly
  • 34% said they answered emails within 30 minutes to one hour

California REALTORS® are also making use of web sites to make themselves more accessible to their customers

  • Over 77% who have Web sites include an IDX feed to display listings
  • 53% are including virtual tours on their web sites
  • 42% provide a “Contact Me” form
  • 53% are using Google Maps or another mapping system

Additional survey highlights include:

  • 33% use a laptop or tablet computer in the field, up from 27% last year.
  • Seven out of 10 of those who use their laptop in the field (70%) cite conducting listing presentations as the main reason for doing so, an increase from 58% a year ago
  • 27% indicated that a hands-free cell phone was their most important business upgrade in the last 12 months
  • 13% said they purchased a new computer, down from 20% in 2007
  • 45% said their use of technology gives them a competitive edge over other agents in the field
  • 60% pay for upgraded listings on Realtor.com, up from 48% in 2007
  • 11% of respondents send their clients an electronic newsletter
  • 7% of REALTORS® say they participate in online real estate forums or blogs
  • On average, 48% of REALTORS®’ business originated from the Internet in 2008, compared with 44% in 2007
  • 58% said keeping up with e-mail is one of the biggest technological challenges they face in today’s real estate marketplace

When I looked over this survey data the one point that jumped out to me was the low percentage of Realtors who are participating in blogs or forums – only 7%!  Seeing as how blogging has become such an important aspect of real estate marketing I believe we’ll see this number skyrocket when C.A.R. releases the 2009 report.  Check back for an article on blogging for real estate professionals in the near future!
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About David GoldsteinDavid Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments / Questions

  1. I think that these days incorporating technology in one form or another is crucial for an agent. Whether they’re running real estate websites, accessing information through a Smart phone or just looking up properties from their desk, some how or another technology is a part of it.

    It is good to hear though, that agents are catching up with the times and embracing the ways of the future, because as many of us know, technology is where its at right now.

  2. 5 years ago I started going to conferences… the first one was Search Engine Strategies in San Jose. I was not making much money at the time but was making enough to support myself. I attended every session and had 2 notebooks full of notes. It made all the difference in the world to me. That was 5 years ago though. Since then I have attended over 60 various industry events and I would say the 2 that have stuck out in my mind the biggest was that first one and then last year at the techcrunch40 conference.

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