Know what the latest tech can do - and where it may fall short

June 28, 2017

While there are many emerging tech options that help real estate professionals get ahead, sometimes there's no substitute for that personal touch. With this in mind, it's important for agents - especially those relatively new to the business - to simultaneously research and adopt emerging tech whenever it makes sense, but also remember the kind of industry-recommended best practices for forging strong relationships with clients and prospects that give them the best chance to gain a strong foothold in their local markets.

The amount of flashy tech that's come into the real estate industry in the past few years has really helped a lot of agents innovate and make themselves stand out from the crowd. Many now use virtual and augmented reality technology that can be used with devices as simple as smartphones to really impress clients, according to Inman. There are plenty of benefits to using this kind of technology, including cutting down the amount of time that has to be spent on open houses since they can now be done virtually in just about any setting.

Next-gen tech is nice to have
That, however, doesn't mean agents shouldn't still hold open houses, because while VR is a great way to give people an idea of what a home looks like, there's no real way to simulate what it actually feels like to be in a home a person or family may want to buy. Put another way: VR may help people whittle down the number of homes they want to visit, but agents need to make sure they have plenty of time to spend in that home.

Along similar lines, many real estate brokerages and agents now also rely on artificial intelligence for some of the day-to-day work they used to have to do themselves. For instance, some now use AI-based "chatbots" to interact with clients on their websites in real time. And while that can be a great way to gather information initially, it's vital for agents to make contact with those people as soon as possible to actually build a relationship that's likely to lead to a sale.

It's still a 'people business'
While it's great to have all sorts of gadgets that make the job easier, most of an agent's job still revolves heavily around the ability to interact and build relationships with clients, Inman further noted. If a client has a pressing or complicated question about the real estate sales process, AI isn't going to be able to answer it. In addition, it enables agents to look buyers in the eye and make them understand that they have their best interests at heart, care about getting them through that sales process as quickly and easily as possible, and are genuinely happy to have begun this relationship.

That kind of in-person connection is impossible to replicate on even the best agent website, social media or newsletter. Agents sell themselves by being authentic and building strong connections, and technology simply can't replace that ability.