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How Drone Technology is Changing the Current Real Estate Market

drone tech real estate

With the outbreak of COVID-19, real estate agents have had to change the way they work profoundly. Now relying on technology more, agents have shifted away from multiple in-person visits to virtual viewings to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Smart home technology has helped in that viewers can see a property without an agent present. Thanks to smart locks, potential buyers can browse locations and make an offer without even meeting their real estate agent in person. Given this shift, agents have changed their marketing tactics and begun to look towards the new future of showings.

One technology that has already been on the rise in the real estate world is drones. This unique feature of a listing is in demand as 83% of home sellers prefer an agent who uses drones. Most of us have seen drones flying around at some point. This industry is on the rise; drone sales are expected to reach over $12 billion in 2021.

Of course, there are concerns over this technology that agents must be aware of as they invest in this new way of showing a property. Here’s a look at how drone technology is changing the real estate market, especially through the changes from the pandemic.

Better listings

The real estate industry is the second-highest user of drone technology (behind photography). One reason for this is that the views are stunning and add value to the listing. High volume agents use aerials 3.5x more often than low volume agents, likely due to buyer and seller demand. Without an aerial view, it is complicated to showcase the lot and the full size of the property.

Buyers who are careful about social interactions can have a better idea about a property without leaving their homes. Adding drone footage to a video view of the property accurately displays what the buyer will get in the purchase. Perhaps that’s the reason why homes with aerial images sold 68% faster than homes with standard images, according to MLS statistics.

Comprehensive views

Drones are particularly useful for large properties. It’s very challenging for agents to show a large estate just from the ground, and drones can help showcase the magnitude of a place. Furthermore, it’s challenging for those moving to a new neighborhood to get a sense of what living there would entail.

Many businesses are currently shut down, people are walking around the street less, and viewers do not want to spend time possibly in contact with others. Drone footage, however, can showcase entire neighborhoods, giving viewers a feeling of actually being there.

Design and mapping

Drones ease the burden of property design, especially when it comes to views. It’s nearly impossible to see what a view would be from the ground, so drones can help decide placements of sitting areas, windows, and overall design structure of properties.

Drones can also help identify any unseen issues and give in-depth looks into dense regions. This technology can also view traffic patterns, which is crucial for retailers thinking about building a new location. Drones make gathering this information quicker and more reliable, which is a massive help for architects and investors.

Concerns with drone technology

While it seems as though drones are a dream technology addition to the real estate industry, numerous concerns about drones exist. Privacy and legal issues are among the top issues many have with drones. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) created a helpful FAQ about using drones.

Drone legalities have changed, with the small drone rule going into effect on August 29, 2016. This new rule eased Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) restrictions and created an FAA-issued “UAS Operator Certificate.” This new certificate does not require a pilot’s license to operate UAS, which opened the door to more use of this technology.

Agents should be sure to inform neighbors when taking aerial footage. Depending on the area, drone usage regulations vary; however, as a courtesy, the surrounding public should be informed when taking drone footage. Another issue with drones is liability. Drones do crash, so the NAR suggests having insurance for the drone and pilot.

Drone use moving forward

Another significant reason drone use has increased in real estate is the price has come down quite significantly. Before drones existed, aerial footage was costly, making it more of a luxury. However, the cost of drones has dropped, which is why many real estate agents can afford to add this to their arsenal of tools that attract buyers and sellers.

The commercial and residential real estate market has been hit by changes due to COVID-19, making agents more reliant on technology to solve these new challenges. Drone use is one way to safely show a property, making it an accessible technology.

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automation real estate real estate technology Smart Home Tech

The Untapped Opportunities in Real Estate Automation

Real estate technology, or proptech, is one of the industries that has produced the most unicorns in the last few years. Historically, however, the real estate industry has been among the lowest spenders by sector on technology. Despite being slow to adopt new technologies, real estate contributes 13% of US GDP, making it the country’s largest industry.

Such a large sector represents a huge market ripe for technological disruption, especially in the post-Covid-19 world.

How automation can improve the real estate process

Automated real estate transactions will soon be the norm. By digitizing documents and paper trails, technology improves information security for both consumers and agents. Processing payments digitally also increase transaction security and speed.

Many automated tools help reduce busywork for agents, freeing up their time to focus on tasks that require a personal touch, like building client relationships.

Automation can also help agents maintain consistent timelines and messaging. The expanded capacity to collect and analyze data allows agents to create informed strategies and concrete measures of success.

As a whole, automation saves agents time and generates more opportunities by scaling their efforts. This, in turn, creates more opportunities and increases revenue.

Over the last few years, the real estate industry has begun to prioritize technology.

With the addition of technology –large real estate corporations have hired CIOs and created technology budgets, and most agents recognize the importance of tech for remaining competitive. The consumer research experience has already been transformed, and 44% (nar.realtor) of buyers now begin searching for homes online.

The rest of the buying and selling process, however, can also be improved through technology that automates previously manual procedures.

Marketing

The automated marketing tools market was valued at $3.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to nearly double by 2024. While agents can use much of the automated marketing technology that already exists, there is also a demand for marketing technology specifically adapted to real estate needs.

These real estate-focused tools help agents expand their reach and gain insight into their client base. For example, some real estate-focused tools generate targeted video and ad campaigns based on agency listings. Other marketing tools help agents create and manage social media campaigns across different platforms, automatically scheduling and publishing social media posts. Some even suggest existing relevant real estate content that agents can repost on their channels or use as inspiration.

Data analytic tools also help agents track content views and types of engagement. Based on that data, the software compares content performance, helping agents determine what marketing tactics are working best.

Lead Generation

Automation tools can also help agents generate more high-quality leads. Chatbots, for example, allow agents to engage with potential clients through their website at any time of day. The chatbots provide information that moves the lead down the pipeline, so they are better informed when they speak with the agent.

CRMs designed for agents sync with real estate search platforms and agency social media profiles to gather leads across channels. Then, activity tracking tools monitor and sync potential client activity.

Using this information, agents can adjust their outreach strategy for those potential clients. For some, an automated follow-up sequence triggered by specific activities can be activated. Meanwhile, other higher-quality leads might require more personal attention.

Lead scoring tools help agents determine which leads they should prioritize for personalized outreach. In tracking lead activity and source, these tools also show where the best quality leads are coming from, which helps inform marketing strategy.

For agencies with multiple agents, lead routing software can automatically assign leads to agents based on geographic location. By streamlining and improving the lead generation process, these technologies increase lead opportunities and reduce the time it takes to turn a lead into a customer.

Agents’ everyday workflows

In addition to expanding the lead pipeline, automation can help agents manage their everyday workflow. Agents are constantly juggling many clients at different points in their customer journey, and automatically generated task lists can help agents track and sync their activities for each client by stage. Tasks can be assigned deadlines with automatic reminders to keep agents on schedule.

Calendar automation simplifies scheduling with clients, allowing agents to set windows for types of appointments and block off times for inspections and showings. Thanks to calendar updates in real-time, clients can find an available time that works with their schedule, avoiding the back and forth that manual scheduling entails.

For agencies with multiple agents, automation tools sync any updated information or documents, keeping everyone on the same page, and increasing transparency. Agent activity can also be tracked and evaluated to determine performance across the team.

Transaction process

The transaction process to close deals with clients can also benefit from automation technology. For most agents, this process is currently complex, slow, and mostly analog. For the real estate sector alone, technology for managing the transaction process has been valued as a potentially $100 billion opportunity. As a result, fintech solutions are on the rise, with the adoption of fintech quadrupling from 2015 to 2019.

The transaction process involves many steps, each with the potential for improvement through automation. E-signature and e-notarization technology would speed up the signing procedures and increase process transparency. Digitized paperwork facilitates smart contracts, giving all the involved parties access to the most updated version of the agreement and prevents tampering.

Digital money transfers also offer a more secure option for agents and clients.

After a money transfer is made, blockchain technology could automate the digital paperwork update for a faster and smoother ownership transfer. Using technology, agents can improve the customer experience by providing an easier, quicker transaction process, which results both in satisfied customers and efficient agents.

A turning point for the real estate industry

Due to Covid-19, many agents have turned to new technology to continue working. This period will likely be a turning point, marking the start of large-scale adoption of real estate technology throughout the sector. With the market potential, and numerous opportunities to improve security, efficiency, and consistency, proptech will be an industry to keep an eye on.

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