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The real estate industry has a (mostly earned) reputation for being stodgy, set in its ways and wary of outside influence. But as the world grows exponentially more plugged-in and tech-forward each year, is the real estate industry finally embracing emerging technologies?
The short answer: Yes. After a long time dismissing emerging tech’s inherent advantages, the real estate industry appears to be coming around. Consumers, practitioners, developers and investors are starting to see the potential in various cutting-edge technologies. This article explores a few ways innovators leverage modern tech to elevate the industry and, where possible, offers suggestions for further reading on the subject.
The Power of AI and Machine Learning
Other industries – like the financial and medical industries – have long understood the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning. These emerging technologies can automate processes that once required cost-prohibitive human labor and comb through reams of data in a fraction of a second. In other words, they save time and money, while offering consumers, agents, developers, and investors access to clear and actionable data.
Take Nobul, for instance, a real estate digital marketplace that uses a proprietary AI-driven algorithm to help consumers find the right real estate agent. While some agents were initially skeptical of the disruptive company, most have now roundly embraced it as a mutually advantageous tool for consumers and practitioners. And according to Nobul CEO Regan McGee, AI has more to give.
In an interview with Medium, the tech maverick said, “it’s exciting to see how AI technology is improving detection for Title Fraud, Mortgage Fraud.” The whole interview, available here, is an excellent primer on how the real estate industry is embracing technology.
The Immersive Potential of AR and VR
The real estate industry had no choice but to embrace immersive tech in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments enforced strict stay-at-home policies, practitioners needed a way to continue engaging buyers remotely. So, it turned to virtual and augmented realities.
Over two years later, the industry isn’t ready to let go. Brokerages and agencies continue to capitalize on AR and VR to provide immersive property tours to remote buyers, and to gain a competitive advantage in marketing.
Use Cases for Distributed Ledger Technology
Distributed ledger technology – and blockchain in particular – is currently a hot topic in real estate.
According to Investopedia, these immutable, shared ledgers can facilitate fast, secure transactions without the need for real estate intermediaries like lawyers, escrows and brokers. If you’re interested in how blockchain impacts third-party costs in real estate transactions, consider researching “smart contracts.”
Investors may also use the blockchain to complete small, communal transactions on a single property in a process called “fractionalization.” Essentially, several investors can pool their capital (usually cryptocurrency) to buy an investment property, each owning a small share in the asset.
Real estate may need a few more years until it fully and wholeheartedly embraces what emerging tech can do. Until then, leave it to pioneering tech innovators and early adopters to guide the industry with AI, machine learning, immersive tech and blockchain.