9 Proptech Trends to Look Out For 2018-2020

The digital transformation is changing our civilisation now at an unprecedented level. The real estate industry is no exception, in spite of the notoriously slow rate of technology adoption that it has been entertaining until recently. Real estate is now poised for a “proptech boom”. BIM, AI personal assistants, and an array of other technologies are exploding into the real estate agent’s space. At times, it seems all too much.

Indeed, what trending proptech should real estate  have on their radar from 2018 through 2020?

Big Data. Big Data is getting into everything these days. How it affects real estate is through more accurately aligning potential home buyers with appropriate and desirable properties. It also accelerates the speed with which buyers can find and put binding offers on homes.

Geolocation. We all know the vital importance of “location” to real estate sales. Geolocation tech transforms mere maps into full sets of critical data about properties. One crucial benefit here is that real estate developers can now make far more accurate valuations, so that decisions on how much might be spent on a property become less of a game of chance and more of a hard-nosed, economics-based strategy.

Drone visual tech. Drones are being used now to capture full 360-degree panoply views of properties and their immediate surroundings, allowing prospective home buyers to virtually see and feel exactly what it’s going to look like to wake up in or come home to a particular place each day. Drones can also be used to produce videos of communities presently being upgraded or built.

Augmented and Virtual Reality. AR and VR, just like Big Data, are getting into everything these days. In proptech, VR can allow potential home buyers to be shown a home, even one thousands of miles away or one which hasn’t even been built yet, without their needing to leave their current residence. AR apps could also allow an agent to accentuate or more intimately describe parts of a home to a touring prospect.

IoT. The “Internet of Things” simply refers to physical items and structures equipped with sensors which are read by Internet applications and translated into actionable digital data. In relation to proptech, The Edge, a 15-storey office building in Amsterdam embedded with 28,000 sensors, is generally regarded as being “the smartest” building in the world right now, a paragon of IoT success and its future.

Blockchain. The blockchain is disrupting, or promising to disrupt, practically every industry. In real estate, it’s able to do away with the need for any third party actors (who would need to be paid their cut, of course), while enhancing the liquidity of property markets by doing away with the need for most of the current regulations on transactions.

Cryptocurrencies. Intimately bound up with the blockchain are Bitcoin and other emerging cryptocurrencies. Since they’re taking the financial world by storm, it’s no wonder that they’re starting to impact the real estate markets. The big deal about them in this context is that paid legal experts like notaries and lawyers shall become unnecessary, as shall title searchers and escrow holders.

The Bots are coming! Realtors are going to have to take full advantage of chatbots, or get left behind. Even the most energetic realtors need to sleep, but the chatbot never does, not even at 3 AM when a restless prospect wants information. In addition, expect bots to be involved in advising prospective home buyers, their advice to include timing, fair property value, location assessment, and anything else impacting a sale.

The future is digital. In summation: while the buying, selling, and ownership of real estate is always going to be an ultimately physical affair, the future of property transactions is digital. Michael Davis, Head of JLL London Unlimited, tells us that “the wider industry has been slow to innovate. Compared to financial services, things move at a much slower pace…innovation is taking longer to emerge but PropTech has the same potential to disrupt, and early adopters will have the edge.”


Top photo © Tsokur/GettyImages

About Author

Brant David McLaughlin has been a professional writer since 2005. At the behest of best-selling author Gina Smith, he began writing long-form journalism in January, 2014. He lives in the rustic town of Milford, New Jersey.

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