Technology an enabler in the real estate domain

14 August 2019 08:45

The digital era has seen computers and online tools replace the filing cabinet in the modern office.

In the real estate domain, embracing technology serves to empower estate agents, effectively supporting them in their various roles in a dynamic industry, while limiting time spent undertaking administrative duties.

“Intuition and experience are valuable tools in the armoury of property professionals, but access to up-to-date information is a well-prepared agent’s most effective strategy,” said Greg Brown, director Data Services at LexisNexis. “The ability to filter an abundance of available information and apply it in a meaningful and relevant manner is a crucial skill. This is where technology is a great enabler, condensing this surplus of information into valuable bite sized – and pertinent – chunks of data,” Brown says.

Technology has had, and will continue to have, a powerful impact on the real estate industry. This impact has not been restricted to the origination of the online agent, where client contact is limited to website or email communication but has also impacted traditional operators in the industry. “Property buyers are increasingly turning online to do their advanced homework, wanting to squeeze value out of every second of their day and make sure that those properties that they do view in person, are a great fit. Estate agents need to be able to do the same,” Brown says. “By using a trustworthy online tool, backed by a renowned search engine, agents can access accurate property reports, valuations and databases,” says Brown.

He adds that it is no longer the case of a single agent operating in isolation, attempting to maintain their property and client database. “Despite the increasing trend towards remote working options, estate agents do not need to feel alone. Online tools, such as Lexis AgentIQ give users the functionality to build and maintain effective area and contact databases. This improves time efficiency and reduces the burden on agents, while helping them to up their game,” Brown says.

Effective and accurate property valuations require access to detailed historical – as well as current information - including sales reports and amenities relating to the area and property of interest. With the fast-paced nature of the industry having this information at their fingertips offers real estate agents a competitive edge.

Brown believes that the real estate industry is an exciting one to be in at the moment and that we will most likely see the increased use of artificial intelligence in the marketplace, with functions such as virtual reality technology allowing clients an opportunity to advance view a property. In South Africa this may be a safer way for estate agents to operate – eliminating the need for risky show houses and enabling thorough screening of clients in advance of property viewings.

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