Normally we look ahead to the New Year to see what trends will be important in the real estate market. Normally this has to do with where homes are selling and where the market is cold. But a new factor has entered the real estate market in the last few years. Technology has become much more important in marketing and success in real estate. With evolving technology in mind here are our thoughts on real estate tech trends to keep an eye on in 2018.

The Virtual Home Walk-through

An essential part of selling a home has always been walking through the property with a potential buyer. They have read the property description and have seen a couple of photos and now they are going to see the house. For someone who is not down to the final choice, there can be several walk-throughs a day. This is tiring for both the real estate agent and the clients. Simple logistics may make it impossible to see all the properties that the client wants to see and do so within a reasonable timeframe. And it becomes really easy for home buyers to forget which property had which features without a return visit. In this regard, an important real estate trend to keep an eye on in 2018 is the emergence of virtual reality as a supplement to or even replacement of the home walk-through.

To create a virtual reality tour of a home, three-hundred-sixty-degree photos are taken of every room. This image data is processed by a sophisticated computer program. Using a computer, smartphone or, ideally, a virtual reality headset, the realtor or their client can experience a realistic tour of the property without leaving the realtor’s office or even their own home. Using this technology will allow home buyers to see more properties in a shorter length of time and shorten the list of homes they need to visit in real life. And when they forget what was in the last room the user of a virtual reality setup can simply turn around in the virtual world and go back the way they just came.

Virtual reality programs will get better, cheaper and more prevalent in the real estate world. Watch this trend in 2018.

Intelligent Computer Programs Answering Your Phone

When you call your bank you probably interact, at least at first, with an intelligent robot computer program. Chatting with a robot has been shortened to Chatbot. And the next stop for these guys will be the real estate office. Like virtual reality, this technology will get better and cheaper. The goal in your real estate office should be to quit missing leads when someone calls, does not want to leave a message and goes somewhere else with their business. The beauty of a well-designed Chatbot program is that it can direct phone traffic, answer simple questions and alert a real live human when the need is urgent. Watch this trend as we move into 2018.

The Irresistible Advance of Social Media

When was the last time you saw a millennial without a smartphone pressed against their ear or held out to take a photo or a “selfie”? Folks are now carrying their personal computer in their pocket or purse. And whenever they have free time they are communicating via social media programs like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. When millennials decide they want to buy a home the first places they look are on social media. Facebook began as an online meeting place where people shared personal photos, personal news, and opinions. Today Facebook has great business functionality. If you are not using it you should. Watch Facebook and other social media sites as we roll into 2018.