In a world that’s bombarded with technological innovations on a daily basis, real estate is one industry that’s primed for a major overhaul. There have been rumblings of disruption over the last few years and for the most part, tech advances have been focused on the residential side of the market.
Companies like Zillow and Redfin, for example, have brought home-buying and selling into the digital age by revamping the way listings are viewed. FinTech start-up Lenda has changed the landscape of mortgage refinancing by moving the process completely online.
While these changes have certainly had a far-reaching impact, they’re just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible for the larger market. Opportunities for embracing hi-tech advances in real estate are everywhere.
1. Real Estate Investing
Traditionally the barriers to real estate investing have been high with private opportunities limited to investors who could afford a $50,000 or $100,000 minimum buy-in. Thanks to the rise of tech-focused real estate crowdfunding platforms, those barriers are beginning to be chipped away.
Real estate crowdfunding through companies like RealtyShares is a multibillion dollar industry and it shows no signs of losing steam as more investors are drawn in. Especially now, as alternative investments begin to look more attractive in the face of a potential stock market pullback. Additional operational efficiencies will only make the industry larger. For instance, technology may soon streamline underwriting, making the process more efficient and inexpensive for crowdfunding platforms and these cost savings will ultimately be passed onto customers using the platform to invest or raise capital.
2. Data Collection and Analysis
The way real estate information is accessed by residential buyers has already undergone a major shift thanks to Zillow and its competitors but the commercial market has been slower on the uptake. That’s changing, however, as big data platforms are making commercial real estate increasingly transparent.
CrediFi, for example, mines data for commercial properties from multiple sources and then analyzes it to create a detailed risk profile. Investors can then use this profile to assess the property’s condition and the financial status of the owner to determine whether it’s a wise investment. The sheer size of the real estate industry means that big data will continue to become a focus. Today, CrediFi’s data and analytics relates to over 10 billion square feet of property across the U.S. and $1 trillion in commercial real estate loans.
3. Property Management
Managing a large portfolio of properties is no small task and the inefficiencies make this an obvious opportunity for technology disruption. As cloud-based platforms and an on-demand task force becomes the status quo, the possibility of owning and maintaining properties from the comfort of one’s home is becoming a possibility. A handful of companies are attempting to meet the needs of landlords and brokerages through a cloud-based approach but there’s not much competition at the moment.
VTS, formerly known as View The Space, is redefining how properties are managed on the commercial side. The VTS platform allows leasing agents to virtually oversee every aspect of the leasing process, which includes tracking tenants, updating listings in real-time and identifying market trends. In the residential market there’s Re-Leased, which incorporates these same principles into its cloud-based property management software.
Still, there is an incredible amount of opportunity to continue to disrupt within the space.
It’s possible to do just about anything from a smartphone or tablet today. As such, there is a sea of change ahead for those involved in the sales and marketing of real estate assets.
The ‘Internet of Things’ is a buzz phrase for inserting technology into things like cars, luggage, keys and nearly every other personal device. It is based on the concept of integrating devices with technology to reduce reliance on computers. One possible scenario for implementing the concept to the real estate market is through the use of beacon technology, which would make it possible for buyers or investors to view real-time listings or take virtual tours right from their mobile devices. Drones would similarly open up the world of real estate to the technologically-willing buyers and investors.
Have an idea for improving the RealtyShares platform with technology?
Nav Athwal is co-founder and CEO of RealtyShares, a leading crowdfunding for real estate platform. Prior to founding
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.