I’ve found very few real estate agents and brokers have ever wondered how robotics might impact real estate in the future, and I would assume that's mostly because they are working on securing the next listing or taking around a buyer or two to look at properties along with 1000's of other everyday task. So when Janet Jolly-Porter told me my blogs were getting a little boring and I needed to add a little diversity to my post, I jumped at the chance to write about: ROBOTS
As a real estate professional who wants to understand disruptive technologies, it’s time to learn about some of the basic ways automation will alter the world of real property in the near future.
How Robotics Will Change Your Business
- Robots will be involved in new-building construction. This will lead to better building quality, causing longer life cycles for residential and commercial structures. In the long run, you’ll likely see better use of space and less new construction (which is also more sustainable and less reliant on planned obsolescence).
- They’ll help us maintain properties more efficiently. Building Information Modelling, or BIM, allows architects, builders, and designers to code information about how a building functions in digital format. By layering that technology with property-machine communication, a sensor within a wall could signal to a facility management robot that the building’s depreciation had reached a critical level, and that robot could inspect and repair structural problems without getting any humans involved.
- We’ll need to make room for them. Sensor-enabled houses, roads with charging stations, and even entire cities must provide space for the robots that will work for us, which means changing usage and planning processes.
- They will change our economy. Automation will likely cause tremendous shifts in employment, which could lead to rapid change in consumer demand patterns. In real estate, these two contradicting trends will make the biggest impact:
- Decentralization of work: The “pull factor” of the city as an employment hub ceases to exist, meaning that your future clients might want to move to cheaper and more remote markets. This hypermobility means that the traditional focus on a property’s distance from employment centers could diminish.
- Centralization of leisure: Assuming the successful implementation of a basic income, automation might allow us humans to focus on culture, reemphasize social activities, and develop to an experience-driven economy in city centers.
- Brokers will hire robots to carry out real estate chores. Brokerages might find robots who can help with tours, virtual reality, and other tasks, which will cause shifts in real estate offices’ demand for talent.
This is just a selection of changes that will impact real estate, especially in the context of brokerages. But it only partially tackles the major elephant in the room when it comes to discussions about automation, and that’s the job market.
The rise of the robots: Will Robots Take Over Real Estate Jobs?
The idea that machines or technology can take over human chores fascinates me. I loved watching “The Jetsons” when I was a kid.
Examples of human-driven tech
These are a few examples of great technology that won’t do more than aid a real estate agent in buying and selling homes.
As any good appraiser or real estate agent will tell you, estimating the value of a home requires a site visit. Factors such as renovations, views and condition can significantly alter the value of a property.
We use some great comparable market analysis (CMA) tools, but never provide an estimated value without visiting with the homeowner in their home.
We love our customer relationship management (CRM). It greatly enhances our outreach and our ability to get referral business and to convert inbound leads.
However, it does require a human touch. An email outreach campaign is minimally effective if it is not combined with telephone calls and face-to-face appointments.
In addition, our agents check their dashboard before each email is sent out to ensure that it is consistent with past communication.
Has this ever happened to you?
Your phone rings from an unfamiliar number in your ZIP code – it could be your next buyer or seller, so you answer the phone immediately.
“Hello?” (Suppressing exasperation.)
Silence followed by “Hello. I’m calling about your credit card account …”
“Sorry to interrupt. Please remove me from your call list.”
That conversation, which I have had more than once, is a sure sign that I am the victim of mass-marketing. Knowing that I am being robo-called makes me feel inhuman, so I prefer not to engage.
Buyers often cannot visualize furniture in an unfurnished room. They cannot conceptualize the size or dimensions of their sofa or bed in an empty space.
Virtual staging seems like a less expensive solution to this problem than actual staging. However, in reality, virtually staged images generally appear a smidgen off-kilter.
The true value of an agent
I have a theory that most jobs look much easier from the outside than they really are. We don’t see the hours of curriculum planning and lesson preparation that teachers do when they’re not in front of their students or the hours of research a doctor conducts when he or she is not with a patient.
Likewise, there’s so much preparation that a real estate agent does that doesn’t take place in front of the client.
I’ve often heard people say, “I’m going to get my real estate license, so I can make extra money on weekends. I could do an open house and make a 3 percent commission.”
As real estate professionals, we understand all of the work that goes into landing that exclusive and preparing a listing and an open house. Our job is not just hosting an open house and answering questions, like a robot could, but also knowing when to provide the information and to whom.
Technology is only as good as the people implementing it.
I buy groceries online as it’s a great time-saver. However, if the person filling my order misreads an item or if it wasn’t described properly in its online description, then I don’t receive the order that I wanted, and I still have to stop at the grocery store.
Let’s embrace the progress that technology brings us. Let’s use our imagination like the creators of “The Jetsons.” And let’s remember that the purpose of technology is to provide humans with more information and make us function more efficiently, not to make us obsolete.
The Cascade Team Real Estate is a company like no other because of the marketing, service and home seller savings we provide. We understand that in today’s real estate & home selling environment, we need to provide a high level of real estate service and wide spread marketing of the home for sale, utilize technology to keep our home seller clients in the communication loop and provide added value to both buyers and home sellers in the real estate transaction. The effective use of technology tools allows our local Seattle & San Diego real estate agents to focus more of their time on servicing our clients and finding buyers for your home, all the while providing the most comprehensive real estate marketing program available. In the end, you get the perfect combination of online real estate tools and personal service in the home selling process.