Any time new innovations plow through an industry, there’s bound to be a faction of skeptics who dismiss it as a passing fad. These skeptics tend to be dyed-in-the-wool industry practitioners – either uncertain about the future (and the looming threat of obsolescence) or unwilling to adapt to yet another change in business.
But, as history demonstrates time and again, the innovations tend to win out – especially when they elevate the role of consumers. It happened in the food industry. It happened to news & media, legal services, the financial industry, etc. And it’s currently taking root in the real estate industry.
Real estate technology (also known as proptech), skyrocketed in the past five years, first commanding attention from consumers and then eventually reshaping the professional side of real estate. In this article, let’s explore a big-picture view of technology in business, then parse out proptech’s advantages on both sides of the coin – for consumers and industry professionals – to underline its importance.
Digitization and Consumer-Centrism Aren’t a Real Estate Phenomenon
Let’s start by situating real estate technology within “the big picture.” When proptech first began making waves, some professionals erroneously assumed that what was happening in real estate was exceptional to real estate. To explain why proptech is necessary, we need to burst that bubble.
Across industries, consumers are finding their voice, demanding better access, higher transparency and streamlined convenience. Across industries, experts and innovators are looking toward big data, AI and other emerging technologies to shore up their profits and mitigate traditional risks. It’s not just the real estate industry.
Digital Platforms Optimize How Consumers Buy, Sell and Research Properties
Now that the big picture is out of the way, let’s turn our attention to consumers – perhaps the most critical drivers of innovative technological change.
With real estate technology, it was a no-brainer for buyers and sellers – who had suffered through industry opacity, gatekeeping and a lack of choice for too long. Proptech innovators like Nobul were bound to succeed; Nobul put consumers in the driver’s seat by allowing them to vet their realtors, shop around for commission rates and openly view agents’ transaction histories.
As Nobul CEO Regan McGee told Superb Crew, “We are seeing a huge increase in the use of our platform as we are witnessing industry-wide acceptance of new technologies. Prospective homebuyers are also looking for a competitive advantage in finding their dream homes – finding the right agent is an essential part of that.”
On the Industry Side, Proptech Is Too Advantageous to Ignore
It isn’t only consumers that benefit from proptech; on the industry side, proptech is too advantageous to ignore. Proptech companies like dealpath (CRE) and BoomTown (residential) leverage new advances in CRM technology to boost marketing, lead generation and buyer qualification.
It’s quickly becoming the case that agents using proptech software are gaining a commanding competitive advantage over stalwart practitioners. BoomTown CEO Grier Allen told Medium that he created his business as “a way to help the real estate industry move online to meet their prospects where they were,” further underscoring why proptech is necessary in the modern real estate landscape.
It’s time to disabuse oneself of the notion that proptech is a passing trend. As millions of consumers and forward-thinking professionals will remind you, real estate technology is here to stay.