Real Estate Innovation: Is Technology The Answer?
Technology drives our culture and the world is now far more connected than it has ever been.
Technology drives our culture. The world is now far more connected than it has ever been as a result of advancements made in just the last few decades. Increasingly, where you are does not impinge on what you can do and the technology that facilitates it is entirely commonplace. A businessman in China can Skype with a client in Chicago, documents can be sent instantly across the world, financial markets are followed 24 hours a day from anywhere. The economy—and the world—are connected by technology. Agorafy, in fact, is an information technology company. And, as a result, has utilized new technologies that can help propel the industry forward. But how has this exponential surge in technology affected other aspects of the real estate industry?
Surprisingly, the answer to that question is, not much. Despite the almost futuristic advances in the tech world, real estate continues to move trillions of dollars of properties with much the same workflows as were in place before the Internet. Why is this? What is the reason for this failure of the real estate industry to keep up with the technological times?
There may be a few reasons. And, perhaps the primary reason is a good one. The tradition of exchanging goods and services is as old as culture itself. From the beginning, this exchange had to be based on trust. One would have to trust that the quantity of grain was as promised, or it’s quality was equal to the goods it was exchanged for. When the concept of money was introduced, trust became even more important in order for both parties to believe and agree that the currency had value.
Real estate exchanges, in particular require trust. An agent must build a trusting relationship with a prospective buyer in order for the buyer to be willing to take the risk inherent in any property transaction. And, with the huge sums of money paid for commercial properties, building this trust is essential. As a result, many real estate professionals have traditionally preferred face time with clients. One-on-one interactions has been the way deals are done. Despite texting, Linkedin, Skype and Facebook, there is still no better way to build a trusting relationship that by shaking hands, having a lunch together and making direct and authentic eye contact.
“The more you know about your customers, the more you can provide them information that is increasingly useful, relevant and persuasive.” – Jay Baer, New York Times best-selling author
At Agorafy, we understand this. And, one of the cornerstones of our mission is to, through real estate, build communities and relationships based on trust. So how does Agorafy, as an information technology company, see the role of technology itself in all this?
As Steve Jobs said famously in 1997, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” So, while perhaps a bit behind the times, real estate stands perfectly poised to take advantage of innovation. Brokers, Realtors and agents are all well versed in the importance of relationship building, or, as Steve Jobs put it, “The customer experience.” Agents understand the importance of building trust. So how can real estate technology help to build trust between the customer and the agent?
When a customer is looking to buy a property, the first thing they do is ask questions. And, the first person they ask those questions of, is an agent. If the agent is able to answer intelligently and eloquently, that’s a great start. But ultimately, the answers need to be accurate. The veracity of those answers, over time, and with consistency, is what builds trust in the customer. Now, you may ask, “Yes, of course. But how does this relate to technology?” Well, in truth, the technology is not the solution. The solution lies in how people use the technology. The Agorafy platform uses innovative technology to constantly verify and update the information that agents can use to better answer questions. Here we can see the intersection of technology and human interaction.
Technology is an effect of the people who build it and Agorafy has built a technology that upholds the human interactions that have always been the cornerstone of the real estate industry. Beyond its technological innovations, the Agorafy platform helps real estate professionals interact with their clients, bringing more information, more easily.
The very nature of technology is to bring greater ease to our lives, to make things faster, more efficient, more accurate and smarter. This in turn gives people more time to use as the with. Weather to be more productive, to educate themselves or to build personal relationships. While it may not be the first thing you think of when you think of technology, innovation can bring the chance to build communities, and to build better lives within them.
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