When we contemplate the potential of AI and Web3 technologies in real estate, it goes beyond simply revolutionizing how consumers search for homes and take ownership of assets. The true power lies in how these advancements can alleviate the intricate processes involved in assisting real estate agents and brokers in efficiently guiding consumers through successful transactions. Let’s face it, the ticket price of a house is often too steep for the majority of consumers to navigate on their own with the click of a button. The stakes in real estate are higher, and the cost of making a mistake is substantial.
Over the past two decades, the real estate transaction process has become increasingly complex, placing even greater demands on real estate agents. While we’ve witnessed the launch of numerous innovative proptech companies, many of them address the top of the sales funnel, such as search, lead generation and financing. Technology applications within the residential real estate space are still burdened with unnecessary friction, preventing the average real estate agent from fully embracing these tools. The technologies that truly succeed are the ones that prioritize saving agents time and driving their business forward and so far there haven’t been many.
Journey through web eras
Let’s take a retrospective journey through the different web eras and their impact on real estate. During the “Web1” era, platforms like realtor.com were game-changers, as they propelled the industry into the digital realm, providing both consumers and brokers with unparalleled access to property listings. This momentous shift dismantled the barriers that once confined inventory to cumbersome books where practitioners were no longer at the mercy of brokers who held real estate data hostage for their own advantage.
When I look back through my agent lens spanning the last two decades, the real watershed moment for me occurred in the Web2 era with the introduction of Docusign and electronic signatures. Why was it such a game changer? It was nothing short of a time-saving miracle. It significantly streamlined transactions, slashing hours of wasted drive time chauffeuring documents in between soccer games and dinners, creating competitive advantage by shortening contract periods and empowering agents to conduct business across borders in minutes versus days.
While Zillow and its “Zestimate” brought undeniable benefits to consumers, it also added a considerable workload to the already-demanding agent transaction and marketing cycles.
The era of AI
Now, enter the era of AI, which holds the promise of delivering the next breakthrough akin to the impact of Docusign. While I may not possess the ability to predict the exact form of this “killer app,” I am resolute in my belief that AI is the technology capable of delivering it. Based on my brief interactions, the potential applications of AI across the agent journey are astounding.
From prospecting and day-to-day communications to marketing projects, client management, handling diverse personalities, and even navigating the complexities of escrow–the possibilities seem limitless. AI possesses the transformative ability to automate and optimize these mundane tasks, truly liberating agents to concentrate on what genuinely matters: cultivating profound relationships and delivering unparalleled service.
Contrary to popular belief, the evolution of technology within the residential real estate industry has not diminished the need for real estate agents; if anything, it has magnified it. While technology has undoubtedly reshaped certain aspects of the industry, it has also shed light on the irreplaceable value of skilled agents who possess the finesse to navigate the complexities and intricacies of real estate transactions. In a world where algorithms and digital tools can only take us so far, it is the human touch, experience, and nuanced understanding that agents bring to the table that are truly irreplaceable.
Tech will not render real estate agents obsolete
Let’s dismiss the misguided notion that technology will render agents obsolete. The numbers themselves bear witness to the growing demand for their services. According to a 2001 NAR survey, only 69% of buyers used the services of a real estate agent. Fast forward to 2021, and that figure has skyrocketed to nearly 90%. This data reinforces my earlier argument that the process of buying and selling a home has become increasingly complex, regardless of the technology deployed in a given market.
The statistics speak volumes, showcasing the enduring need for agents who possess the skills and expertise to navigate this ever-evolving real estate landscape. In an era marked by complexity and rapid technological advancements, it is clear that the guidance and experience of agents are more essential than ever before.
While the precise manifestation of its transformative force remains uncertain, one thing is clear: AI will catalyze the next wave of innovation in our industry. Let’s dive into its vast potential, leveraging it to enhance our efficiency, productivity, and overall success. The future is within reach, and AI serves as the guiding light leading us toward a new era of real estate brilliance.
Christine Choi, also known as the ‘Real Estate Web3 Technologist,’ is a dynamic industry leader with over two decades of deep domain experience in the residential real estate industry.