Cary Sylvester is convinced the next generation of home buyers and sellers are the answer to today's biggest real estate technology challenges. "It’s important to always look ahead, continue to innovate and ensure the greatest experience possible for homebuyers and sellers, because our success as real estate professionals is tied to how happy our clients are at the end of the day," said the vice president of technology innovation and communication for Keller Williams Realty International in her latest contributed article to Inman News.
And whether we like it or not, technology is going to be tied to the solution.
Sylvester also laid out her technology predictions for 2014, citing a need above all else for fluidity and flexibility because as she put it: "No matter how innovative, exciting and fresh an idea or new application may seem, something even more innovative, more exciting and much fresher is right around the corner."
1. Transparency is good, but so is context and personalization. In today's Google infused, social media induced world, information is always available - and that's a good thing for real estate agents says Sylvester. "You know how your clients are using your Website or mobile app and what they’re searching for. For example, they may tell you they want a single-family home, but you know they’re searching for condos. It’s your job to analyze and distill the information that online portals spit out."
2. Blend the knowledge of industry insiders and outsiders to make an impact. Sometimes industries become an insulated environment, prone to repetitive product solutions. The lack of innovation or creativity can result in stagnation. Henry Ford’s inspiration for the assembly line came from the meat industry, of all places. "Austin Allison, dotloop’s CEO — and a former agent himself — saw services like Google Chat, AIM and Basecamp growing rapidly and knew there was a way real estate transactions could happen in real time and more collaboratively online. Fast-forward from 2009, and his company is solving the age-old problem of the paper-laden real estate transaction by blending innovation with credibility and boots-on-the-ground knowledge to make sure everything clicks. Allison is an industry insider, by definition, but he utilized the brains of industry outsiders to innovate."
3. Keep your eye on mobile. Agents and consumers will continue to put more pressure on mobile apps than ever before. "I would argue that in just a few years, 80 percent of real estate transactions will occur entirely on a mobile device, from search to close," said Sylvester. "Look for forthcoming apps that will actually send information to clients about a particular subdivision or even a specific house when the client is in the area, by using GPS and location technology."
4. Educate yourself and your people. With the success of online collaboration classrooms like Coursera or Khan Academy, the dynamics of education and training are changing from a single room to a global community. "Technology is nothing without education and training. Agents need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to meet the demands of a dynamic client base — and we need to evolve our ways of teaching, too."
Read Sylvester's full article: Tech-savvy homebuyers are seeking a painless, personalized experience on Inman.com