Real estate tech no longer an add-on, it's core

by Donald Horne21 Mar 2016
The way real estate is sold has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last decade, thanks to the proliferation of the Internet and smart phone technology.

“If we look at how the market has changed from a consumer standpoint, the big difference is that people today want answers and access to professional real estate individuals almost 24 hours a day,” says Martin Charlwood, CEO of Century 21 Canada. “They expect much quicker turnaround times than in the past – all of which dictates being on top of the social media and the technological marketing tools that are available in today’s fast-paced real estate market”

Charlwood told REP that he finds it interesting that when the Internet began to infiltrate and influence home buyers and sellers, a lot of Realtors didn’t spend much time focusing on leads that came via the Internet, whether it was an inquiry through the website or by text message.

“One of the things that has changed in the last five years has been the increased use of technology in the marketing of real estate.” he says. “Five years ago people were making initial inquiries into real estate and dreaming about home ownership (via the Internet), and I think the real estate brokerage and agent community hadn’t yet realized the consumer’s new expectation for response, and didn’t get back to them quickly enough.”

“The challenge is, when someone is dreaming of home ownership and you ignore that, when they become a real estate shopper and buyer, they are going to ignore you as you haven’t been cognizant of their needs, and reactive to their inquiries in a timely basis,” he says. “Our mentality is if you ignore the real estate shopper when they are in the dreaming stage, they will ignore you in the buying stage.”

Jack Miller, the chief technology officer for Century 21 Canada, has been witness to how the various components of new technology have been incorporated – mostly as “add-ons” – as they appeared in the marketplace.

“Now that we’ve come through this experimentation stage, I think we’re going to move from where technology was an add-on to where it is the core of the business,” Miller told REP. “In five years, the competition will come from the quality of the technology that real estate companies provide. That will be a core component for both the client and the agent.”

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