How Technology is Transforming the Real Estate Landscape

How Technology is Transforming the Real Estate Landscape

Market conditions and changing consumer behavior often bring poignant change in a given industry over time. That's what has happened in the real estate industry in the last decade. Real estate companies are focusing more on digital innovations in their business models. More and more companies are building real estate websites, apps, and platforms. For agents and brokers, using technology is necessary to collect, assess and report on listings and consumer behavior. On the flip-side, that same technology can often impact their businesses negatively. Furthermore, a whole range of digital platforms are springing up to make the "for sale by owner" option easier.

Today, digital innovation is redefining what it means to buy or sell a home and exciting digital trends are emerging in this new digital landscape. How will they impact the real estate industry for good or bad? Here is a list of a few factors to illustrate how technology is transforming the real estate industry right now:

1. Transparency

As more data companies provide real estate information to the public through digital mediums such as websites, blogs, and cloud applications, people will become more aware of real-time data as compared to that of past decades when only newspapers and word of mouth were the communication mediums. These easily accessible platforms will provide transparency in the real estate industry like never before with regards to property availability, pricing, data curation and whether a property is for sale by owner or agent represented.

2. Quicker Transactions

Remember the time when it used to take months to close a deal? Today, digital platforms are making it easier to sell and buy properties. Sometimes in a matter of days and that time will continue to get smaller. Even if you're a newbie to real estate, you can get information online and work it out quickly. You can no longer say you don't know how to sell your house fast. Using search engines and advanced data tools available in real estate mobile apps, you can now instantly access information related to a property such as price, property details, comparable properties and even whether or not you can afford a particular home. Don't forget that just a few years ago none of this data was easily accessible. In fact, consumers now tell their agents about houses they want to see.

3. Efficient Marketing

Marketing is one of the most significant technology-enabled updates to the real estate industry. You'll find many websites such as Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia that help you broadcast your message with tremendous visibility. There is more opportunity than ever to get your home in front of potential buyers by using free tools and social media.

4. Accurate and Updated Data

For the last 20 years or so, regular homebuyers and sellers did not have access to real-time data, even if it's your property. You haven't had the power to do with that information what you'd like. It has been held up in systems that can only be accessed by a select few. However, with new digital platforms emerging in the real estate industry, you're getting immediate and accurate data along with expert analysis and critical trending points. Access to data and freedom to decide how you use that data is probably the single most empowering change that new technology is providing.

The Future of Digital Real Estate

Let's discuss how things are going to look in the real estate industry in the upcoming years. Here are a few transformations you should watch out for:

1. Chatbots, Voice Enablement, and Artifical Intelligence

Maybe you've heard about the efficiency of chatbots recently. Some of the peoples' favorite products such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Echo use voice-controlled chatting architectures to engage with customers, and this is the case for many other industries. Companies use chatbots for efficient customer service, and though you may not have noticed, you've most likely already dealt with chatbots when you're shopping online or browsing a website. These technologies and the devices they power will revolutionize the real estate industry by improving lead generation and providing powerful customer services without large service teams or growing overhead. Chatbots, voice, and AI will play a significant role in engaging home buyers and sellers and bring significant value to companies focused on redefining the current real estate ecosystem.

2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

In just the last few years, we've seen new technologies like low cost, high-quality drone footage and online home tours take off. But this is nothing compared to what AR and VR will bring to the industry. Imagine sitting at home and taking a guided tour of a house in 3 dimensions with a simple VR headset and your smartphone. Or use your smartphone to see how your desired furniture will fill an empty house. Inspectors, appraisers, insurance carriers and many other stakeholders will use these technologies to streamline every process in the transaction making it easy for home buyers and sellers to work directly with each other.

3. Blockchain

In September 2016, Cook County Illinois Recorder of Deeds announced that they would take part in a pilot program, along with California based Velox RE, to study how they could use blockchain technology for Illinois land records. Their focus was to uncover opportunities and potential roadblocks in using blockchain technologies. Their goal; to simplify and secure property transfers on a distributed ledger. Their findings are here. This pilot program is only one indication that not only are private companies getting involved but local, state and federal governments as well.

The term "blockchain" is often used synonymously with "Bitcoin," the cryptocurrency that has brought blockchain technology into the limelight but blockchain technology is much broader than the Bitcoin use case. It will play a significant role in the future of real estate.

In a 2016 report released by Goldman Sachs, "Blockchain: Putting Theory into Practice," title insurance is likely the only type of insurance where the cost of the insurance is not directly tied to actuarial risk but based on the labor and effort of the title company employees. In short, inefficiency is driving the cost of title insurance. There is nothing more ripe for disruption than inefficiency-driven cost.

Though implementing blockchain technologies will take time and the collaboration of many groups including local and state governments, the potential for securing title and property transfers while reducing inefficiency and cost is unprecedented.

The past 5-7 years have seen significant shifts in real estate due to technological advancement, but it's just getting started, and we plan to play a leading role in the change.

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Selling your home is not a magical formula but is comprised of just a few key factors. Making your home look the most appealing, pricing your home correctly and waiting for the right buyer.

1. Make your home look appealing

If you want to attract the best buyers you will want to make your home look its best. That means de-clutter, touch up paint, and clean up the yard. Listing your home is like dating; you want your home to look its best so it attracts the most attention. But don’t spend all that time making it look good and skip capturing it with great pictures. That means hiring a photographer or asking your professional cousin to take photos of the home. The internet is your first chance to make an impression and can often be a deal maker or breaker before they even enter your home. Hiring a photographer isn’t that expensive and is well worth the money. It typically costs around $100-$200 for a standard photographer. Make your home look its best and the buyers will call.

2. Price your home well

This is so important! Every seller thinks they have the best home on the block. Try to be less subjective and look at other homes that have sold and are currently for sale in the area. Look at how your home compares and then nail down a price. Remember, the goal is to get your home sold. Sometimes that means listing your home for a little less than your neighbor just to attract those extra buyers. Pricing your home too high can leave your home sitting on the market for too long and becoming stale. Focus on the balance between getting the most for your home and getting it sold quickly by making a fair comparison to the homes around you.

3. Wait for the right buyer

Wait! Be patient! Too often sellers get worried when they do not see a flurry of buyers on the first day listed that they are overpriced or that they need to consult with an agent to bring those buyers. The fact about real estate is that homes sell themselves. If you are priced right and your home looks the best it can then buyers will come. If you are not seeing activity after a few weeks then you might want to reevaluate your price. However, sometimes homes take a few weeks or months to sell. If your home is listed online buyers will see it and buyers will come. Selling is a very nerve wracking experience but if you are confident your home is priced well and looks its best then you can be confident that buyers will call.

Sellers are smarter than they have ever been. With the robust and powerful online tools available sellers are finally able to represent themselves as well as a real estate agent can. We truly believe that. Good luck with your home sale!

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To a lot of people, showings seem like some elaborate scheme of scheduling to get buyers into your house but it takes more persistence than genius. Showings can make a lot of sellers feel vulnerable. Here’s your guide to making showings simple and safe and uncovering what buyers want and expect with showings.

Showing your home is one of the most frustrating and time consuming parts about selling a home. You are always working on either keeping the house spotless for the next buyer or scrambling to pick up for an unscheduled showing. Know that you’re not alone and this crucial step in the process can make a huge different in how quickly your home will sell. This might mean eating off paper plates for a few weeks just to keep dishes to a minimum. But a clean house is one of the best ways to sell your home.

When it comes to scheduling, brokers typically use a showing service that fields all of the calls for showings, gives out the lockbox info to the potential buyer then call you to let you know when the showing is happening? When you sell on your own, buyers or their broker will be calling you directly to set up a showing. Although some showing times might be tough, try to make your home as available as possible. This may be inconvenient at times but it only takes one buyer to buy your home—you want to avoid missing those buyer opportunities.

Showings can seem overwhelming because you’re letting complete strangers walk through your home unsupervised. With an agent, it might seem less anxiety-producing. But think of this as an opportunity to sell what is special about your home. In the event the buyer is unrepresented by a real estate agent there are a few things you can do to make sure they are a real and legitimate buyer. First, make sure they have been pre-approved by a lender and have a lender letter to prove it. This will not only assure that you aren’t wasting time with a looky-lou, but it will also show they are serious and qualified. Be sure to have them email you the lender letter. With Vidulist, a buyer can upload their lender letter so you’ll always have access to it. If a buyer does not have a broker it is appropriate for you to be there for the showing. This could be your greatest opportunity. Treat them as a house guest but give them some space to look and talk. You will be able to let them in and point out the features of your home. You don’t need to give them a tour but feel free to keep an eye on the buyer throughout the showing. Some sellers prefer to be gone for showings so getting a lockbox might make sense. If the buyer does have a broker get their information and feel free to give the broker access to the house. You can let the broker and buyer in or you can give them a lockbox code.

Lastly, we mentioned giving buyers a little space. Let them have a little alone time. Buyers want to walk through the house and picture it as their own as well as talk openly about what they like and maybe don’t like. That’s hard to do with a seller on their heals.

If you have done everything you can to prepare for showings, the house will sell itself. Let your home do just that. Be safe and have some fun with the process.

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3 tips to getting seen.

You have determined your home's price point, de-cluttered, and are ready to begin marketing to potential buyers. Where do you start? The good news is there are great options to market your home online. Thanks to the Internet, real estate agents and the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) no longer have complete control over the listing and marketing of homes. In fact, utilizing these online options will reach a larger audience than the MLS and cost you nothing!

Tip 1: Use the best tools

Let’s start with the best websites to market your home. Depending on your state, you have several options that are a great way to put your home out there for every buyer to see. The most commonly used sites for sellers and buyers are Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Hotpads.com. Every buyer visits at least one of these sites, plus you will find others in your area that bring some extra eyes to your home.

Not only are these sites very popular they are also free to use.  Want in on a little secret? They are the same sites real estate agents use to market your home in addition to the MLS. In fact, many buyers ask their agents to show them homes they’ve found on these sites by themselves.

Still want the benefit of the MLS? There are services like snapflatfee.com or flatfeegroup.com that will list your home on the MLS for a flat fee. Go a step further and Google other great sites for your area. The point is there are great marketing tools out there that will give your home great exposure to attract buyers.

Tip 2: The MLS is great, but...

Since the beginning of time, the MLS has been the main source for agents to list your home and for agents to find you homes listed for sale. The MLS is still a great tool, but it is not the only tool. In fact, putting your home on the MLS alone limits your exposure to just the market that the MLS covers. For example, if you list your home in the Denver MLS, your home will not be seen by buyers in Colorado Springs or Fort Collins or any other area outside of Denver, unless the MLS or real estate agent uses third party websites such as Zillow and Trulia.

Tip 3: Buyers are doing the finding:

Remember what we said in Tip 1 about buyers finding homes? Buyers are obsessed with finding the right home. They’re constantly searching sites like Zillow to see the latest listings, instead of anxiously waiting for their agent, who might look twice a day. Agents are busy and have multiple clients, they will not be able to look at the market as often while buyers are looking all the time. The point is, buyers are more likely to see your home listed on sites like Zillow than they are the MLS.

Buyers are looking for your home right now.  Be sure they see it by utilizing all the tools that are available to you. Happy selling!

 

 

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Before the Internet took over so many aspects of our lives, it just wasn’t possible to access information on anything and everything with the click of a button. The Real Estate industry was like that too because licensed Real Estate professionals were the only ones with access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and were truly gatekeepers to buying and selling property. In the last few years, there has been a revolution in the DIY space. The availability of online information for “do-it-yourselfers” has provided success like never before. From home repairs to taxes, we feel empowered and armed to tackle things we might not have tried otherwise. So, if you’ve ever considered marketing, selling, or buying your home, now’s the time. Vidulist will help you make and receive offers, remind you of deadlines and guide you step by step through what may seem like the uncertain terrain of real estate.

Before we can do that, we have to figure out out what your home is worth. You may already have an understanding of your home’s value by using tools like Zillow.com where you can research what your neighbors’ homes have recently sold for, and even what the Zillow “Zestimate” says your home is worth. Also consider finished square feet, (this includes a finished basement), number of bedrooms, bathrooms, lot size, finish work, and—often overlooked—the overall condition of your home. You might really love your home, but don’t let that get in the way of pricing it right. Be objective about the pros and cons of your home. The best shot you have at selling quickly is by pricing it appropriately relative to homes around you. Once you have a solid understanding of what other similar homes have sold for and how your home compares, price your home fairly.

Now that you’ve priced your home, it’s time to get it ready to be listed and shown. Go through your home and complete any unfinished projects and make needed repairs. Touch up walls, baseboards and banisters, making sure paint colors and finishes go well together. Deep clean your home and de-clutter from top to bottom. Consider this Step 1 of moving to your new home and begin by packing a few boxes of personal papers, books, and unnecessary items from bookshelves. Pack seasonal clothes and other items from your closets and storage areas so they are neat and spacious. Clean off your kitchen counter and remove small appliances. If you have pets, clean your carpets and furniture so there are no pet odors. You want your home to be fully furnished but look as if no one lives there.

There’s one area that is often overlooked but can be the difference between sitting on or selling your home. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and the exterior, or “curb appeal” of your home will determine whether a potential buyer wants to see what’s inside. Make sure your yard is clean, grass is mowed, and shrubs are trimmed. Remove anything that is dead and cut back anything that is overgrown and hides the front of your home.

Once your home is sparkling and ready to go it’s time to photograph it. Make sure your home is light and bright by taking pictures during the day and with all the lights on. Good photos will highlight your home’s best assets and many homeowners hire a professional home photographer. For about $150, you’ll find several real estate/home photographers with a quick Internet search.

Great job! Your home is listed and you’re ready for showings and offers. Be prepared; showing your home can sometimes feel like a relentless process of vacuuming carpets and fluffing pillows, but it’s a necessary part of selling your home and is all worth it once that offer shows up. When you receive an offer, be careful not to fall into the trap of asking for more. Having an interested, prequalified buyer is just as important as price, and often simplifies the buying/selling process.

Things really pick up once your home is under contract. The dates and deadlines set forth in the purchase contract keeps the closing on track. Vidulist will send you and the buyer reminders to make sure the transaction is smooth. You will go through inspection, loan deadlines, and finally, the closing day. Occasionally, buyers or sellers need more time to complete a loan, get a bid on or complete a repair, or extend the appraisal deadline. Vidulist helps you move deadlines with an amendment form and notifications so that when you close, each party walks away with signed papers and a 100% complete real estate transaction.

Vidulist puts the sale of your home in your control while saving you thousands in the process.

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Since selling a home has been a thing, Real Estate agents have been a vital part of the process. From advising sellers on prepping their home for sale, to marketing, to contracts and negotiations, all the way to closing, they have helped their clients navigate the sometimes confusing process of buying and selling a home. In recent years the Internet has made advertising and marketing homes more automated. It has improved and streamlined the process of buying and selling a home for both agents and homeowners. Sellers have realized that advertising their home is something they can do on their own. There are many resources for seeing what’s on the market. Sellers can finally choose how their home is listed and there are online resources to advertise that property to prospective buyers. But then what? That’s where Vidulist steps in to fill the gaps.

Vidulist provides online tools that guide you, the seller or buyer, through the real estate process. You answer a few simple questions to navigate the contractual process of buying or selling your home. Vidulist keeps you informed about the sales process so that you're always aware of upcoming deadlines, what forms to use, when to use them, and what to do next. With this simple resource, the buyer and seller can walk themselves through the entire process to legally complete the sale.

Technology is enabling the public to help themselves whether it’s taxes, investing or now, thanks to Vidulist, Real Estate. Take control of your biggest investment and allow Vidulist to help you with your Real Estate sale from start to finish. You’ll keep thousands of dollars in your pocket while you confidently negotiate every aspect of buying or selling your next home.

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