One of many lessons the pandemic has taught the real estate industry is how important technology is to conducting business when face-to-face opportunities are limited, and the National Association of Realtors‘ 2021 Technology Survey bears this out.
When asked to look back at the last 12 months, 78% of respondents cited eSignature as the most-valuable technology tool used in their business, followed by local MLS apps/technology (54%), social media (53%), lockboxes (48%) and video conferencing (39%).
Looking forward, 37% of respondents expect drones to be the most-impactful technology over the next 24 months, followed by cyber security (34%), 5G (31%) and virtual reality (30%).
Indeed, drones already comprise an important part of a Realtors’ toolkit, according to Stephanie McCarthy, associate broker at Atlanta Fine Homes Realty, who said both still and video drone footage have been “vital” during the pandemic.
“With an extreme number of relocation clients moving to Atlanta, not only are many homes being contracted sight-unseen, but many buyers are not able to attend their inspections, so drone footage allows us multiple angles of the home a traditional inspection never could,” she said. “I have personally closed two listings in the past month where the out-of-town buyers have been sight-unseen.”
Survey respondents said their most-valuable tech tools for generating quality leads are social media (52%), customer-relationship management (31%) and MLS sites (28%). Not including listing search, the single most-valuable tool provided by an agent’s MLS was the comps/comparative market analysis function, which was cited by 29% of respondents.
Among social-media platforms, Facebook was by far the most useful to respondents, with 90% of them saying they use it for business, followed by Instagram (52%), LinkedIn (48%) and YouTube (24%). Fifty-four percent of respondents said the main reason for their use of social media in their business was because they are “expected” to have a social-media presence.
At 62%, the majority of respondents said their brokerages provide them with agent websites, while 33% said they do not, while 37% agree that their brokerages provide them with the necessary technology to do business, and 27% strongly agree. On the other hand, 13% of respondents either disagree or strongly disagree that their brokerages provide the necessary tech, and 23% neither agree nor disagree.
Cybersecurity was the leading technology tool that respondents think their brokerages should provide but don’t, at 19%, followed by lead generation at 16% and eNotary at 11%.