‘How Technology is Revolutionizing Florida’s Realtor Market’
Technology is changing our lives more rapidly than we could have ever imagined. From booking a holiday, buying a gift for a birthday or watching a TV show when we want it, digitalization and technology is improving our day-to-day experiences saving us time and often money. But there are still occasions when we need to speak with a real human. Times when we need advice, support and help, and to know that the decision we are about to make is positively verified by someone else.
Buying a house is one of the biggest financial and personal decisions we will make in our lives. Leaving this decision to algorithms and bots is a long way in the future. In fact, in their latest report, the National Association of Realtors states that “the need for a trusted real estate agent to help sell a home is still paramount. Personal relationships and connections remain the most important feature of the agent-buyer/seller bond”.
So let’s explore why the realtor-seller-buyer relationship is so important, where technology is improving and enhancing this relationship, and what Property Matters, Florida is doing to support its sellers and buyers.
Buying or selling your house is huge; the money, the time, the stress. Making the process as simple and as painless as possible is every realtor’s objective as well as negotiating a good deal for the client. Sellers value trustworthiness and honesty as a key priority when selecting an agent, so how is the realtor industry, and Property Matters, using technology to enhance the relationship?
Good, authentic information about the house is essential. For example, using technology to ‘adapt’ pictures or videos will do nothing to build trust. But utilizing the latest in video technology provides potential buyers with an accurate portrayal of the house and leaves little to the imagination. Property Matters offers clients the use of professional photographers, drone photography for really dramatic external videos and photography as well as interactive, three-dimensional floor plans constructed from photographs of the house. This is a very tactile and an incredibly impressive way to show a larger house where the layout isn’t immediately clear from standard photography. Potential buyers that can’t view the house easily can get a very good feel for the way the house looks and works using three-dimensional floor plans and since they are constructed from photographs, the potential buyer doesn’t need to be an architect to understand the plans.
Good, authentic pictures are important. In fact, in the National Association of Realtors survey, 89% of buyers found photos and 85% found detailed information about properties-for-sale very useful. At Property Matters we have an exceptional in-house photographer and work closely with a number of local professional photographers. When we show a seller the listing particulars for their house, it can look so impressive that they might consider not selling!
- Sell My House!
Technology is enhancing the selling process in a number of ways, from electronic documents, easy online searches, and the use of laser measuring devices. Even something as simple as an electronic signature can make a huge difference in speeding up the process. At Property Matters, we work completely digitally, allowing for speed, ease and transparency throughout a transaction. Every stage of the process is recorded and can be reviewed if required at any time in the future. We can invite customers, agents and their customers to work digitally on our systems without the need for them to have to download the software we are using. That means that anyone with online access and a verifiable email address can work with us in this manner. Contracts that we have set up for online signing in our system are effectively held in the cloud and the entire process is recorded. Therefore if changes are made by one party, the previous version of the contract is stored and accessible so there can never be a question as to the order of events, or that something was added without one party being aware. If any activity is brought into question, the entire chronology of the contract can be reviewed which is an incredibly useful tool and eliminates any doubt in the validity of a document.
- Online Research
While we like to think that buyers will prefer to talk to the Property Matters team about Boca Raton, Boynton Beach or Delray Beach, we know that websites are now the key source of information. In fact, 86% of buyers in the National Association of Realtors report found website information useful. 79% found real estate agents useful.
As a result, we are ensuring that our site is not only utilizing the latest in technology, but that it is rich in useful and up-to-date content about the regions that we cover, and the properties that we are marketing. For example, if you want to know information about local schools, get a map snapshot of the houses for sale in the region, see data on the average weather activity or identify local demographics, our website does all of this by aggregating a number of trusted sources into our Property Matters search/mapping system on our website. This has only been recently possible and the feedback we have is that it makes the lives of our buyers easier as they now have a one-stop-shop for essential local data. Importantly, we are allowing unlimited access to this search facility to the general public without insisting on the creation of an account in the hope that this will encourage users to bookmark and make full use of this fantastic tool.
- Local Knowledge
Buyers want to know that their realtor has good knowledge of their neighbourhood. The National Association of Realtors report stated that this was one of the top five things buyers wanted from their realtor. Personal knowledge is gained from living and working in the area, but technology can help them to share this knowledge with both sellers and buyers. Our Property Matters website is rich with relevant, up-to-date descriptive information about the cities and areas that we represent so that you can make a more informed choice. Is the city you are looking at good for bringing up families? Is there a beach? What is the nightlife like? Are there plenty of community activities? We address all of these issues and provide additional links to other sites that you might find useful. In addition, our social media pages are designed to help buyers and sellers navigate new, and often unfamiliar areas through regular posts about local events and activities. We have designed our approach based on the fact that many of our buyers may be out of state, perhaps in New York or Washington DC if not international, and rely on the internet for much of their early research.
- On-Going Relationships
We use technology to enhance our on-going relationships with our clients on their terms. Our social media sites keep our clients abreast of local events, activities, developments, local property issues, prices, property availability and community work via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. We use social media to demonstrate our local knowledge and share information that we believe will enhance the lives of our clients; it’s not just property news. All our clients need to do is ‘like’ our pages. Depending upon the level of information our clients want, we also ask if they would like to sign up to regular email correspondence on a longer term basis. This means that they can use our social media to stay in touch on their terms, or receive information from us every month.
So what will the future hold? At Property Matters, we believe that good, trustworthy and knowledgeable realtors will always be an essential part of the selling or buying process as long as humans continue to need verification, sounding boards and a point of view. Until a robot can perform these tasks then the realtor’s role will continue to be valued. However, the realtor sector will need to continue to embrace technology, and only those that evolve with the times and understand how clients want to consume and digest information, will survive.
Property Matters puts technology at the heart of our approach so that we can be confident that we are delivering a service that is built around the needs of our sellers and buyers.