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Digital signatures the most valuable tech tool for agents

Digital signatures, a lockbox and apps and technology that connect to listing portals, are the most important technology for real estate agents according to a new US survey.

The 2022 Technology Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found 79 per cent of respondents said eSignature was the most valuable technology tool for their business, followed by a lockbox (67 per cent).

When asked to predict which emerging technology tools would make an impact over the next two years, members said cyber security (31 per cent), 5G (30 per cent) and drones (27 per cent) would have the most significant clout.

NAR Chief Executive Officer Bob Goldberg said technology continued to add value to real estate businesses.

“It’s clear that technology plays a key role in our members’ lives and businesses,” Mr Goldberg said.

The survey also examined the total spent on technology tools over the past year, with 34 per cent,  paying between US$50 and US$250, while 19 per cent of respondents spent more than US$500 each month on their real estate businesses. 

Just 20 per cent spent less than US$50 per month.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that their brokerage provided them with all the technology tools they need to be successful in their job. 

Among the most valuable technology tools provided by brokerages were eSignature (67 per cent), lockbox/showing tech (53 per cent) and transaction management (45 per cent). 

When asked about technology fees paid to their broker, 47 per cent said that the price their broker charged was reasonable, while 38 per cent said their broker did not charge a technology fee, slightly up from 36 per cent last year.

Facebook remained the top social media network among realtors with 89 per cent using it in their real estate business. 

Instagram was used by 59 per cent of realtors – up from 52 per cent in 2021 and 39 per cent in 2018. 

Sixty-three per cent of respondents said the main reason for using social media was to promote listings – up from 49 per cent in 2021.

For the first time this year, the survey asked about the impact of specific emerging technologies in the real estate industry. 

Thirty-five per cent of realtors said blockchain technology would definitely or probably have an impact on real estate. 

For big data and artificial intelligence, 48 per cent thought it would definitely or probably have an impact.

The metaverse scored a similar result – 46 per cent said it would definitely or probably have an impact on the industry.

When asked about the timing of these impacts, nearly one in four realtors – 24 per cent – predicted the metaverse would have an impact on real estate in one to two years. 

Twenty-seven per cent said it would take three to five years and 11 per cent said the impact would occur in six to 10 years. 

Ten per cent of respondents believe the metaverse currently has an impact on the industry.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.