Real estate and the larger finance space have historically been slow-moving, antiquated industries, inhibited by middlemen and outdated regulations.
However, slowly but surely, technology has begun to move its way into the world of finance, showing enough growth to warrant the naming of the “FinTech” (financial technology) sector.
And, the real estate industry has not been spared.
Below we review some of the top tech innovations in the space:
#1 Digital Everything
People looking to buy, sell, or invest are able to do so online. Searching for real estate has become a seamless process with the advent of sites like Trulia and Zillow. Within minutes, homebuyers, real estate agents, and investors can find out a property’s history, research other trends in the market, and using Google Maps, even take a tour of the neighborhood.
#2 Smarter Homes
More affordable and pervasive technology has allowed us to control our homes (lighting, temperature, security, and even our TVs) through our phones. And, sales of home automation systems could grow to $9.5 billion by the end of this year and to $44 billion by 2015 (CNN).
#3 Drone Technology
Though the regulations for consumer drone usage are still in flux, there is a lot of buzz surrounding the industry as companies explore ways to use the technology for surveillance and delivery. Companies like Spark Aerial are now offering drone flying lessons to real estate professionals, while DroneBase lets you commission a drone and its pilot for commercial jobs.
#4 3D Cameras
As 3D technology improves and becomes more widely available the buying and renting lifecycle is sure to become even more virtual. Last year, Matterport released a 3D camera which allows for virtual property walkthroughs while capturing accurate measurements of a space. Users are able to “walk” through and view a small version of a property from a phone, tablet, or computer.
#5 Wearable Technology
Wearables will completely redefine the way in which we think about all aspects of business, including real estate. The introduction of wearable tech allows for a more intimate use of the applications already available to smartphone users, with the major innovation being the ability to be truly hands-free. New wearable technologies like the Cuff or Apple Watch, for example, could give agents, lenders, and investors the ability to walk through a property, while simultaneously taking quick photos of the space and pulling up the title history, tax information, and any outstanding liens.
#6 Online Marketplaces
Technology has opened a new portal to investors and borrowers. Through online marketplaces, investors and borrowers can connect online, without going through a slow-moving, expensive bank or broker. It’s a win for both real estate companies and investors, as projects can be funded within days of being posted.
Tech is beginning to get at the real estate industry the way it got at commerce and media and travel and transportation. With all of the advances in technology and their increased application to real estate, the next few years are sure to be exciting and full of growth. Stay tuned!
Image Source: Bill Selak, Flickr