Digital transformation has evolved as a necessity to stay relevant with the rapidly changing market and business trends. Over the past five years, we have seen how high tech has revolutionized the real estate sector by delivering significant productivity, effectiveness, innovation, and customer experience enhancements. The PropTech boom has dramatically altered the way we search, buy, and manage properties.
If you want to get a complete picture of real estate transformation, then this article is the right place to start with. In this guide, you’ll discover how property businesses can go digital by pursuing technology trends prevailing in the industry.
Driving forces behind digital adoption
One of the key aspects that set apart winning real estate businesses from the competition was how much they embraced technological innovations. Here are a couple of factors that drive digital adoption on a grand scale:
- Change in customer behavior.97% of home buyers start their initial property search online. The internet provides them with all the information they need, including photos, home listings, reviews, and other relevant data to find the most suitable home. And customers prefer to contact agents online predominantly through messaging platforms and chats. Hence, the absence of a solid online presence means your property listings aren’t seen to your potential clients.
- Customer experience. The customer experience is the name of the game. From property discovery to communication and after-sale maintenance, modern buyers expect seamless services on all fonts. Generation Z and Millenials get used to services being tailored to their search history, and their anticipations are unlikely to change for buying or selling a property in the future.
The real estate players have to consider launching innovative digital initiatives to make every aspect of the leasing and buying process as smooth and painless as possible.
- Technological advancement. People have embraced the new digital world and the ease of services that they offer. Even though the real estate industry was a latecomer to the technology space, now it’s time to shift from their traditional working model into a digital one.
Real estate listing platforms and mobile applications are becoming popular due to outstanding features and an extremely user-friendly experience. From intelligent home search to a virtual walkthrough, business owners leverage these platforms to take the customer experience to the next level.
Why is digital transformation important?
Digital transformation often feels like it comes out of nowhere, but it doesn’t. This process keeps taking over the world economy. And it’s going to get more critical as you progress.
This move towards digitalization is essential for sustaining a relevant customer base, eventually ensuring a constant high demand for homes. Early movers will be able to create a more dependable customer base.
Therefore, adopting disruptive real estate tech that enables workflow optimization and data analysis is more a requirement than a recommendation to keep pace with a whopping consumer-driven movement and technology-driven environment.
Understanding the benefits of the digital transformation
Now that you are well aware of the necessity to propel digital innovations, it’s time to consider the key benefits of a digital-first, client-oriented approach for real estate.
Access to more robust data
The beauty of the digital age is that it brings valuable information right to our fingertips. By increasing the availability of data in real-time, the real estate sector has become even more transparent.
Plus, the ability to unify data from all internal and external sources into one assimilated platform is of considerable value to all. By introducing a unified IT system into your real estate business, you can minimize routine operations, synchronize changes in real-time, and get a deeper insight into your portfolio.
During 2020, real estate agencies have seen a significant drive towards automating inefficient manual processes. Business automation not only drives cost savings but also makes maintaining client relationships much simpler. The hours saved by automating the property management process could add up to an enormous productivity gain.
Technology is a great ally to cut unnecessary expenses and keep the budget under control. Some critical aspects in which you can reduce costs:
- Software capable of centralizing the entry of information from each source and making it available to the rest of the company has become the perfect solution to make the right decisions to reduce costs.
- Tapping into the cloud. You can securely host your information on the cloud, which allows saving significant money due to flexible price policies based on your needs. Furthermore, cloud solutions are more affordable compared to physical infrastructure maintenance.
- Processes and tasks automation streamlines the management of all aspects involved in real estate.
- Document digitalisation. In addition to not so notable savings of material costs, digital lease and buying agreements that can be validated by government authorities directly without intermediaries lead to significant cost reduction in the entire process.
Preventing fraudulent transactions
Online property websites having verification systems can validate identity proofs and other legal documents for every transaction. Hence, a real estate listing platform built by an expert software development company allows you to create a transparent pricing structure, avoid intermediary fees, provide tax revenue to the authorities, thus eliminating fraudulent transactions.
Better user engagement
Today, technology is leading the way to better customer engagement. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools help deliver personalized experiences to your clients. Leveraging the power of AI and ML, your real estate platform can provide tailored property recommendations to buyers and sellers and make their journey more seamless and delightful. These cutting-edge technologies will help you optimize property search and create engaging experiences based on consumer behavior.
Faster response time and deal closing
When clients approach agents with questions, concerns, or other issues, they expect to receive a first-class service that’s fast and personalized. Thanks to the nature of cloud-based tools, you can respond and take action anytime from any device. Easing the transaction and documentation process helps digitally native users buy property fast without the hassle.
Immediate evaluation and analysis
By consolidating siloed data sources and applying analytics and AI-powered tools, you can learn from past failures and successes to drive more intelligent decisions faster.
A system of record that learns from historic workflows allows real estate firms to drive further success through a greater understanding of what works.
The pillars of digital transformation of real estate business
After working with multiple real estate companies of various sizes, we realized that digitalization must rely on four aspects.
A better understanding of your customers is a ground-breaking piece of insight for creating lasting experiences for sellers and buyers. Why is it important? Because 62% of customers have purchased more from a company after a good service experience, while a whopping 83% would be happy to provide a referral if asked.
Investment in seamless customer experiences across all channels brings a range of gains, including lower cost to serve, increased loyalty, higher willingness to spend, and brand advocacy.
2. Optimization of key processes
Optimizing key processes is an approach that helps business owners limit risks and maximize the return on investment.
We get into the habit of doing things without determining whether the best process was used. The outcome is frequently unnecessary activities, delays, costs, and loss of quality.
You can’t add a layer of technology on top of inefficient processes. Therefore, you need to first identify and optimize them before implementing a new system.
One of the fundamental elements of digitalization is the increased use of data to make informed decisions quickly. The information flows within the silos take much time to move from one department to another.
The integration into a centralized system easily avoids time-wasting and reduces the risk of errors. The unifying software enables the different systems in your company to be interrelated. Many ERP and CRM tools allow integrating systems easily, or you can opt for custom solutions with as many system integrations as you need.
A successful transformation also involves a change in internal business culture and thinking.
Innovation requires open communication, iteration, collaboration, and experimentation with new technologies to see how you can use them to solve your business problems. And innovation should be constant, there is no total completion point. The internal company culture equipped with the right mindset that embraces new ideas and supports initiatives will lead to long-term success.
Ways to digitally transform the real estate business
The digital pivot must become the default way to enable agile, digital-first business. You should keep working on eliminating inefficient paper-based processes, providing access to data and software systems from anywhere, implementing powerful instrumentation and virtual representation.
Here is a list of measures you can take to get started digitally transforming.
Embrace live chats and messengers
While digital pivot may sound complicated, some steps are relatively easy to implement. Getting started can be as simple as having one or two of your team members send text messages to clients.
You should adopt a live chat or use social messaging platforms simply because these mediums have the highest consumer satisfaction rates at 82% and 48% correspondingly. They are advantageous for providing top-class customer support, giving instant responses, and promoting new listings and open houses.
Incorporate e-signing of documents
The digital signature services facilitate the signing of any documents that accompany the agent’s work. With this tool, you will provide buyers and sellers much more operational flexibility.
Given that 17% of customers found paperwork one of the most challenging steps in the property buying process, integrating an e-signing software like HelloSign will delight your clients and agents. They will be able to sign contracts for rent, sale, or lease and accept offers from any device quickly and safely. Using e-signatures, you can keep up with the speed of business and sign all documentation remotely.
CRM for a 360-degree view of data
If you keep using Excel spreadsheets to organize data, then it’s time to move on and embrace custom software solutions and dedicated CRM tools to stay organized.
A CRM helps real estate professionals interact with new leads, prospects, and existing clients while keeping all the information about them in a single place. The software automates everyday tasks and customer management, streamlines data import, enhances transaction management across all sales funnels and real-time reporting.
Bring real estate business into the smartphone era
The key to digital transformation is being present where your customers are. NAR research shows that 55% of buyers found and purchased homes using their mobile phones. Due to the growing demand for mobility, most software products come with mobile applications already.
The app can target potential customers or be used internally by company employees, or combine both mechanisms, providing access rights differentiation. The possibility of remotely accessing the necessary data and managing the database is the main argument in favor of real estate app development.
IoT for estate management
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a tech that uses a network of internet-connected computing devices embedded in our daily objects. IoT is becoming one of the leading property management trends as it empowers residencies and commercial properties with advanced automation features capable of cutting operational expenses.
Building managers, agents, and homeowners can use smart sensors and mobile technology to monitor the property’s condition in real-time. These sensors collect information on equipment, security scenarios, service interruptions enabling proactive maintenance and energy optimizations.
Building intelligence with 3D Modeling
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a robust software for graphical 3D modeling that provides realistic visualizations of an eventual apartment. The tool allows clients to see what everything will look like before the construction stage. BIM software benefits architects by enabling them to manage design phases and lets property owners and investors keep track of operations.
The 3D model allows users to access information such as who created the building, what it’s made of, how much it will cost, and more valuable data. Also, it helps optimize the building space usage.
Digital image classification
Posting pictures is one of the essential parts of property advertising. Manually sorting photos and selecting the best ones for a property portfolio might work for smaller agencies. When a firm has hundreds of properties for sale, the manual process will be overwhelming.
Digital image classification automates image selection by using ML and neural networks to tag images within seconds. By integrating industry-specific image-recognition API with your real estate software systems, you can quickly classify images by room type, exterior style, better drive website traffic, and engage visitors.
AR/VR for more immersive experiences
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tech transform the real estate industry by providing convenience and unmatched experiences to sellers and buyers. It helps potential customers to virtually take a tour of the homes without physically being there, which can have a decisive influence on the purchase decision and conversion rate. 58% of home buyers found virtual tours helpful in their search. These immersive technologies provide a 360-degree view of the property from a smartphone anytime, revolutionizing the user experience.
Smart contracts are self-executed contracts with terms and conditions between the two parties being written in the code. The code controls the contract execution, and transactions are trackable through the blockchain network. Smart contracts allow carrying out trusted transactions without a central authority and banks.
The real estate sector involves large transactions. Therefore smart contracts are a promising technology that enhances the speed of transactions, reduces costs, and protects against fraud. Plus, this blockchain-enabled technology eliminates the need for bank verifications and middlemen.
Robust analytics powered by AI
Big Data benefits in real estate
AI and ML revamp the real estate industry by enhancing relevant home search and refining transaction procedures. Agents can leverage AI to identify quality leads that visit their website and those most potentials in becoming genuine buyers.
Combining AI algorithms with your CRM and marketplace data will drive even more insights, improve data management and enhance advertising campaigns by scanning data and determining the most required forms of real estate assets.
Digital transformation challenges and how to avoid them
Despite the popularity of digital transformation, many real estate agencies run into challenges along the way.
The initial hurdle of automating property management and other processes would be optimizing the most suitable solution for your unique business requirements. There is no one-fit-all solution that meets the needs of every company. Of course, tailor-made software adds substantial value to the business’s profitability. A bunch of incoherent systems won’t provide the same ROI. It’s vital to approach digital pivot and tech investments with a problem-solving perspective.
Avoid the temptation to adopt digital processes aimlessly just for the sake of digital transformation. But identify the problems your business is seeking to solve and learn how the adoption of technology solutions can tackle them.
How to future-proof your real estate digital strategy?
Digital transformation is a daunting task. It is a long-term process that is more about the actions taken to get there than a singular event. That’s why you should start automating processes one by one.
Often companies need to undergo a culture shift to take full advantage of the technologies available. Real estate transformation requires the involvement of all staff, leadership alignment, and a digital mindset that is comfortable with technology experimentation and reimagining ways of working.
To embark on the rewarding digitalization journey for a sustainable future, think over the five-step model:
1. Collect – Gathering data and getting the right information
2. Visualize – Make information available online using visualization tools to make it easily digestible
3. Analyze – Figure out what the collected data tells you and whether any trend can be observed
4. Predict – Based on data analysis, you can anticipate and make a better decision to accommodate what comes next
5. Act – Once you get the full picture, improve the existing real estate services or create new value-added services.
Given the pace of development in the industry, there is still considerable potential to get a leap on the competition with a well-thought-out strategy and reliable technology partner.
How ORIL helped our clients go digital?
Our team has been digitizing businesses for a while. We helped companies achieve all the benefits of the digital world by creating fully-featured digital products and services.
Have a look at some case studies and successful examples of real estate transformation.
ORIL Experience: The impact of digitalization on Smarta
Smarta partnered with ORIL to transition from an offline model to a virtual and completely contactless digital platform.
College student renters complete the entire off-campus home renting process online and from the convenience of their homes by leveraging contactless infrastructure, including the search of apartments, communication with property owners via the internal messaging system, digital documentation, and payments.
- Easy-to-use and quick-to-navigate web app with pleasant user experience for desktop and mobile users
- Clear and visually appealing UI design that allows students to accomplish their goals fast
- Advanced search and filter functionality to make the process effortless
Visit our portfolio page for more insights.
Development of PropTech service for real estate company
The company approached ORIL to introduce a novice way for buyers to communicate directly to property owners and sellers.
The real estate platform offers an all-inclusive, secure, and transparent means for buyers to interact with sellers directly. Our solution creates a streamlined home sales process so that everyone gets to the closing table more quickly. Buyers can walk through a simple offer process, while sellers can review offers, accept or reject them via the intuitive web platform.
Find out more about how to create a Real estate listing platform.
The moral of the story is clear – digitalization has had a positive impact on the real estate sector. The Covid-19 pandemic has proved that the strength of a business lies in its ability to adapt, build customer-centric experiences, ensure operational resilience, and embrace digital transformation.
In this digital era, when people around the globe are surfing the internet for everything they need, you as a business owner must consider opting for a customized real estate listing platform and enjoy the benefits of digital technology first-hand. It’s high time to start taking steps in this direction.
Want to know how our specialists can enable the best of real estate innovations for you? Feel free to contact us to discuss the details.