Elite AgentTECH + SOCIAL

Agents, tech or both? The agency of the future

Advances in technology shape every aspect of our daily lives, from smart kitchen appliances to the implementation of 5G.

Conversations have turned from how Augmented Reality (AR) will impact society to how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will revolutionise life as we know it, even the real estate market, and it’s going to happen sooner than you think.

Already we see huge advances such as the US-based Opendoor and the adoption of an agent-less iBuyer model, while overseas rental properties are utilising Amazon’s Alexa as a ‘virtual concierge’.

Currently, the question is how technological advances will affect agents.

Will there be a shift to tech-enabled agents or to agent-enabled tech?

The former seems more likely.

It’s less about agents being replaced by technology and more about how this new technology will enable agents to be more efficient in the way they add value to the industry, their employer, but most importantly the customer: vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants.

The real estate industry will look a lot different in a couple of years, with businesses such as the US-based Compass having already adopted an aggressive tech-enabled agent approach.

However, which of these business models will become more prevalent in the industry is yet to be determined.

What we do know is that the perceived value of real estate agents by the general public will be a significant determining factor.

If the client stays at the absolute core of your value proposition, the future is significantly less shaky than for those who prioritise outside factors over and above the client relationship and experience.

New tech isn’t only limited to AI. Blockchain, chatbots, forums, VR and AR are all prime examples of other tech trends that affect the real estate industry.

If the client stays at the absolute core of your value proposition, the future is significantly less shaky than for those who prioritise outside factors over and above the client relationship and experience.

Virtual reality and augmented reality allow people to get an immersive visual that will resonate on a deeper level with potential buyers.

If prospective buyers can take a virtual tour of a house or get a visual of what a house will look like with furniture, it offers a more meaningful connection to the home for sale.

Similarly, chatbots are becoming increasingly popular, saving time for agents and giving the customer an outlet to ask and respond to simple queries, as well as learning more about what is on the market.

Chatbots can work around the clock and deliver a service to clients as and when they require it.

Inman conducted an experiment of brokers vs bots to see which was better at predicting buyer preferences, with the bot besting the brokers each time.

How can agents stay on top of the game?

With many platforms available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, researching and understanding this technology is imperative in ensuring agents stay ahead of the game.

By embracing and adopting new technology, agents can boost their engagement with their clients and deliver an enhanced customer experience.

Though there are differing opinions in the industry regarding the benefits and potential downfalls of merging technology and agents, the pros outweigh the cons.

Giving technology to our agents will provide them with increased data and knowledge, effectively setting them up for success.

When the only foreseeable downfall is the unlikely extinction of the real estate agent, why fear advancement?

It might be hard to imagine a world without agents – but less so if the industry doesn’t evolve and adapt with technology.

This shift is likely to begin with AI handling basic processes; however, it could very quickly escalate to answering questions about various locations, properties or local markets.

There are numerous ways the use of AI will alter the future of real estate, such as improving the efficiency of operational tasks and changing the decision-making process, but there is also the opportunity to improve safety, sustainability and data-driven comfort.

While it may seem overwhelming, agents who embrace technology are in for an exciting time.

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Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones is the Chief Executive Officer at Buxton Real Estate Group.