Realty One Group
It used to be realtors worked like other professions. They got up to go to work in a real estate office. They spend the entire business hours there looking or serving deals. When the agent on desk time answering incoming calls all other agent listened. Not long ago I still had to carry local maps study directions to each property making a note of directions with high lighters to show how to reach there. As GPS III became fully operational in the late 1990s I became aware of its usefulness. I was envious of the Global Position System as it made a rookie a local specialist instantly to locate properties without stop looking at maps and not able to find properties. Not quite, there were a period the poorly charted GPS will make one spin his wheel going around and around a street. These days technical bugs have ironed out more. But in rural area I use two GPS complementing each other. I still carry a map if I am totally lost in area that has no wireless or GPS service.
Times have changed a lot. Our 250 agent office offered us desk time. There are few takers.The last two years there were 3 calls looking for a realtor. Others find clients through face to face contact and to a lesser degree on the Internet. Riders go directly to agent's cellular phone without having to call the office. Most realtors opt not to need a desk or a line phone and offices can be meeting at Starbuck or Peets Coffee. Perhaps some agents pick up their commission from the broker but our office have direct deposit. Going to the office is no longer needed. You work with your Smart phone. It even measure the room sizes through applications.
Virtual tours- those 360 degree stitched images became popular in the 1990s. The name Virtual Tour was a cross between Virtual Reality and Her Highness Queen Elizabeth Royal Tour. I was fortunate to work in that capacity serving many high end homes in the San Francisco Peninsula. It was hilarious I overheard my cubical neighbor that she was looking for Sam Shueh to shoot her Los Gatos home. I got up introduced me to her. I am closer than you think. Then the drone photography came along. In all its honesty I do not see the merit of showing cookie cutter tract homes with someone's back yard which had nothing but trash or disabled automobiles. I do not invest in the drone in fear of licensing, complaints from other home owners. I see big lands can use it.
In the past, the real estate industry and investors prefer to do business the traditional way. The realtors are expected to due diligence marketing properties while looking for a buyer. Some may even reluctant to share their listing information and keep them as proprietary. The data is constantly changing and massaging the messy data takes a lot of technology and investment effort. Over $6 billion dollars have poured in to get us to where we are.
Real Estate is a huge business. In the US it is a $35 trillion dollar business with $1 trillion dollars rewarded to those who represent buyers and sellers. The technology which serves the industry has created some successful stories to combine technology with marketing making the process simple. The companies that had the right tool went public. CoStar, Move, Z, Trula, Redfin etc are some the successful stories which went public.
According to Pithford Platform (Olsen & Hammond) venture capitalists no longer think real estate is just a niche market. Since the economic recovery investment companies have annually pumped more than $1,000,000,000 each year to refine data analytic and data graphic technology. The AVM estimates are getting better each time it gets refined. There are more investment in the West Coast and NY area. The answer is people want instant information. When I post a listing on our MLS system, it takes from 10-20 minutes before everyone else including unauthorized sites have syndicated. Within 30 minutes phones start ringing wanting to view or hinting an offer can be coming this way. Without new technology it will take more effort may be days or weeks to get the information out. Some of the tools we enjoyed all developed in Silicon Valley for homes are: 1. Nest thermostat(Google), 2. DocuSign, 3. Dropbox cloud storage for documents and disclosures, 4. Netgear or Ring security camera, video and internet able cameras. The first one made techie savvy engineers show off their new skills. DocuSign saved hours of driving getting signatures.
The video camera systems are good selling point but it also spies on everyone involved. After I find homes equipped with cameras I became cautious as home owners know more about people movements and traffic than you know while in absence. They even can hear light conversation during an open house or home showing. You want be in control being responsible and professional.
Last week, a start up company contacted me to peddle artificial intelligence firmware. It is backed by several investment firms to collect anonymous intelligence images and sound with edge computing that tenants need to purchase. It does not upload video streaming to cloud to protect users. Tenants can access that information but landlord can not. It even defines the difference between loitering and prowling. If one tries to access a single device he is a guest. If he is detected in front of another monitoring device or kick the door the tenants are alerted instantly. It even claims it has machine learning capability to recognize people face. Relatives, friends, of anyone with a face is compared as Yea or Nay. This company claims they have product ready to take on more clients.
The technology innovation always disrupt traditional industry who prefer to do things the old way. I will complete my thoughts in part II as there are even better ways to get connected in a speedier way. Most of these companies are also in my kitty neighborhood.
Shueh, Sam How is my Silicon Valley home worth? (Silicon Valley Home Values)
Shueh, Sam (Real EstateBlogs)
Forbes Real Estate Council Ten technologies will change real estate
Snyder and Harris, Future of Real Estate Technology