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3 tech trends that can make home sales easier

by Meg White

From virtual reality to smart-home integration, technology has been infiltrating the work of real estate professionals at a pretty regular pace in the last decade or so. But there are a few technologies that are poised to make significant leaps in the near future. How will they affect how you do business?

Ahead of the 2019 Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco this month, Leading Builders of America, which puts on the show and is comprised of 20 of the largest publicly and privately held homebuilders in the nation, put together a report looking at the top technology trends in homebuilding. We combed through their report to find the advancements that are mostly likely to change the way you do business.

The Internet of Things speeds up. While a number of advancements — from a gradual decline in technology manufacturing costs to advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence — have all come together over the last few years to bring internet-connected devices into our homes, one major advancement in getting these devices to all speak to each other in a more seamless way is 5G. This next wave in wireless speed is projected to come to Chicago later this year or in early 2020. 5G may allow devices to download data some 20 times faster than 4G. Sprint was the first to announce they’d work to bring the technology to Chicago in 2019, and other companies such as T-Mobile and AT&T are expected to follow suit soon thereafter. This will allow all our connected devices to communicate with each other more quickly, without taking up the bandwidth that they do now in 4G.

Virtual reality will become more than just a toy. Augmented and virtual reality have been around for many years, and both continue to make advances. But the report noted that these technologies have gone beyond just being a tool to deploy when buyers are not in town to tour a particular property they’re interested in, or when brokerages are looking for the latest gimmick to attract high-end sellers. The report noted that the latest evolution of this technology will in some ways be more immersive and tantalizing than traditional selling methods, allowing “potential buyers to physically and emotionally experience a potential space in a far more visceral way than a mere drawing — helping to move the needle in the sales space.”

Some of the promises from the report (that “property owners no longer need to keep their house pristinely clean for months at a time,” or that “buyers can get a better sense of what is available while browsing the web in their jammies at home”) may not be universally true for some time. But the idea of real estate professionals using these tools as a way to screen out “nosy neighbors and Sunday browsers” and spend their in-person time with serious buyers is surely something many busy agents can get behind.

Harnessing property data to sell a home. If you work with a lot of new-construction companies, now might be a good time to see what kinds of data they are keeping about their projects. It turns out that it’s not just square footage that builders are logging, according to the report: “Data management also includes the data required to make the sale. We are quickly moving away from simple demographics towards psychographics—an intimate understanding of what physical, intellectual and emotional needs must be met in order to move the needle towards an initial sale.”

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