GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Embracing Technology

Richard Haggerty | October 2018

Technology seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days, with some in the industry exploring how new technologies can help grow their businesses to others who openly wonder if new technologies will put real estate agents out of business. From my perspective, the ultimate key is how we engage with and stay knowledgeable about new technologies that will determine whether talking robots will replace real estate agents—and I’m not kidding—the prototypes are out there! Here are some takeaways that strike me when I read the real estate headlines every day.

Money, and I mean a lot of money, is flowing into the real estate space, especially the real estate tech space. A lot of folks speculate that there is no way these new initiatives will ever be able to pay back their investors. My gut tells me that these are pretty tech savvy investors and they wouldn’t be opening up their wallets if they didn’t firmly believe they will get a significant return on their investments.

“iBuyers” are here to stay, at least for a while. You’ve been reading about this trend for months, and in areas where home prices are depressed and there is a lot of inventory, I can see how a quick transaction would appeal to some sellers. However, that is not the market we have in the lower Hudson Valley, so while I think the iBuying craze will continue in some markets, it won’t take hold in this market.

AI, as in artificial intelligence, is here to stay, and will get more and more sophisticated. How will it relate to real estate? It is already being used for predictive analytics in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and that’s just barely scratching the surface. AI will allow you to interact with consumers in more productive ways.

Blockchain will revolutionize the real estate closing process. I just need someone who can explain to me what it is in terms I can understand.

So back to my original question about how we deal with new technologies. I believe we should embrace those technologies that enable us to be more effective agents. We can only do that if we stay abreast of what’s happening in the technology space. Stay current with news from this publication, Real Estate In-Depth, as well as other sources like Inman and RIS Media. Don’t play the ostrich and put your head in the sand. Also, recognize that your value goes far beyond your knowledge of technology.

Back in 1993 the President of NAR, Bill Chee, uttered the famous phrase “There were lions coming over the hill.” He was referring to Microsoft and speculating that Microsoft would take over the real estate business. That same speculation has occurred more recently with Google and Apple and Zillow. It hasn’t happened yet, and it won’t happen so long as real estate agents recognize their role as the “trusted advisor” who know the market, the process, and are able to leverage new technologies to their benefit as well as their client’s benefit.

Richard Haggerty