As technology evolves, so do the ways in which we use it. Whether it makes our lives easier, improves our productivity, or opens new opportunities and communication, technology has become a staple in our daily lives, and it is no different in the world of real estate. With social distancing and health guidelines coming from the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has played an even larger role in the buying and selling of homes. In the 2021 Real Estate in a Digital Age report, we take a look at how technology is used in the home search, by real estate firms, and by REALTOR® members, and how social media and other trends are shaping real estate moving forward.
Matt Christopherson, Research Analyst, was one of the lead authors of the report. In this conversational Q&A, he provided perspectives on how to use the report, insights into the data and the results he found to be most interesting.
Q: What questions is this report trying to answer?
Matt Christopherson: We realize that technology is a part of our daily lives and plays a vital role in the ever-evolving real estate industry. There is a wealth of information related to tech tools and trends, so we created this report to combine much of our technology-related data in one place. We created a one-stop shop on an overview of tech use by REALTORS®, firms, and homebuyers, as well as trends looking forward.
Q: What important trend does this report reflect?
Matt Christopherson: This report clearly shows the prominent and important role that technology plays in nearly every single aspect of real estate. It also further demonstrates how utilization of tech tools only increases. With constant innovations and improvements in tech, one can either fall behind or stay competitive by keeping up with trends. This report helps aim REALTORS® in the right direction to stay in touch with tech usage and trends.
Q: Have there been any notable changes since the last report?
Matt Christopherson: A few noticeable differences have undoubtably come about from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of social distancing and other various guidelines, REALTORS® and home buyers are utilizing technology even more. They are viewing more homes solely online, utilizing e-signature tech to complete the purchase, and communicating virtually at a higher rate.
Additionally, in the 2019 report, the area of highest concern to REALTORS® was keeping up with technology. In this hot market, firms view maintaining sufficient inventory and housing affordability as their biggest challenges looking forward.
Q: What aspects of this report do you find most interesting or surprising?
Matt Christopherson: I believe in general this report shows just how agile our REALTOR® members are. Not only do they constantly evolve the tools they use themselves to stay up to date with trends, statistics, and competition, but they also must know the tech and communication preferences of their clients.
Q: How can our members use this data?
Matt Christopherson: Members can use this report as a go-to resource for technology-related information. REALTORS® can use this report to stay up to date on how buyers are using technology in their home search and what tech tools their peers are using. Brokers can also use this report to see what tools other brokerages are offering their agents as well as what tools are most desired, to stay competitive and attractive to prospective employees.