Technology in Real Estate
Posted June 1st, 2016 by Clarissa Gregg

Technology in Real Estate
Times, they are a-changing! It used to be that the real estate agent that listed a home would be the main real estate agent showing the property to buyers as well. You may have seen other agents from your listing agent’s office coming through your home also. Agents used to comb through a huge book of listing printouts to determine what properties they would show their clients based on their buyer’s criteria. Well marketing and showing homes in today’s technology-based real estate world have come a long way, and the process is very different than it used to be. We thought it might be helpful to share some tools of the trade to get you up to speed.
First, the Multiple Listing Service. Gone is the cumbersome book of listings an agent would scour to find their buyer a home. And thank goodness! It wasn’t efficient at all! Today, agents within a geographic area cooperate with one another to show each other’s listings and maximize the potential to match a buyer with a home. Consider how many real estate agents there are and imagine if you could only visit the listings represented by your agent or even just the agents in their office. You would be missing out on the listings represented by the hundreds or even thousands of other active agents in your area! The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) allows agents to enter the information for a property (square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, room sizes, home style, lot size, photos, etc., etc.) for all other area agents to view. And vice versa, the MLS allows a buyer’s agent to search for homes that have the characteristics their buyer is looking for. Through this system, agents can much more easily weed through properties to find the best fit for their buyer.
The internet. This is more of a self-service method. I’m sure we’ve talked about it before, but 90% of buyers today begin their searches online. They hop on sites like realtor.com, zillow.com, trulia.com which provide listing information on homes for sale. The information is actually disseminated from the local Multiple Listing Service, another way the MLS helps to maximize exposure of home listings. Buyers can compile their own lists of properties they would like to tour. Again, I know we’ve made a point of mentioning this in previous blog entries, but presenting your home with the best photographs and best description will improve your chances of converting an online viewing of your property into a physical tour through the house.
Electronic lockboxes. Before lockboxes, your agent had to meet every prospective buyer at the house to let them in. This still happens in different areas of the country, but homes are primarily shown by buyer’s agents accessing keys through lockboxes posted outside of the property. Lockboxes were initially like a combination lock you would use on a gym locker with a number or letter combination given out by your listing agent upon the request of a showing. Nowadays, electronic lockboxes are the norm. Electronic lockboxes work much the same way as their predecessors by giving a buyer’s agent access to the property key after requesting a showing from the listing agent. What’s great about the electronic lockboxes is that they also store information on which agents have accessed the key for the property. This is a big deal for safety and for following up with agents after showings to see what their clients thought of the home.
Smart phones and tablets. These gadgets allow agents to use their time most efficiently, thus maximizing the time representing their clients. Agents are no longer, except for in rare instances, tied to their brick and mortar offices. Agents can work anywhere and anytime. If they are far from their office and have time between showings, their car or a nearby coffee shop with Wi-Fi becomes a “pop-up” office where they can do virtually everything they would in their office. Having a smart phone, tablet, and/or laptop along for the ride makes it easier for agents to cover more ground and to be more accessible to their clients.
In the last twenty years, real estate has changed quite a bit, in large part due to the introduction of new technology. Hopefully we’ve given you some insight into the workings of real estate today. But keep your eyes and ears open, technology is ever-changing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *