How Mobile Tech Is Changing Real Estate Forever
July 5, 2018
Director of Technology Products, Florida Realtors®
It wasn’t too long ago that mobile technology for real estate agents was a “nice-to-have” technology. Visionary agents and teams rolled out their own mobile apps. They converted their websites to a mobile responsive design. The smartest ones set up mobile-centric lead generation systems that took full advantage of all the information a mobile home shopper would automatically provide. These early adopters reaped the rewards that this new tech offered real estate sales professionals.
Today, mobile tech is a given for every agent and broker. It is changing the face of the real estate transaction forever. Every tool we now use — from our websites to all the tech tools that help us manage our business and close real estate transactions — must be mobile friendly. Going forward, all new software must be developed with a mobile-first approach. Understanding why is vital.
When It’s Mobile, It’s Personal
One of the most important things agents and brokers need to understand is the power of mobile. As a society, we have personalized and prioritized mobile tech, making mobile devices perhaps more important than any other technology. Greater than radio, television, computers, and maybe even our cars.
Research bears this out. Eighty-seven percent of people always keep their smartphones at their side, and smartphone users check their phones an average of 150 times per day. We even sleep with our devices next to us. And 67 percent of smartphone users say they check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up.
The key point here is that the power of mobile is not to be underestimated. How consumers use their devices must be understood and appreciated by agents and brokers.
REALTORS® Go Mobile, but Gaps Remain
In many ways, REALTORS® are also driving mobile growth. For example, more than 90 percent of REALTORS® use social media, and 77 percent of REALTORS® use Facebook. Facebook has 1.74 billion active monthly mobile users, with nearly 1 billion who only access Facebook through a mobile device. That’s a big mobile plus for REALTORS® who understand how to use Facebook for their customers who are on Facebook.
However, when it comes to mobile or even desktop transaction management technology, real estate brokerages are lagging. Nearly two in five do not have document preparation or transaction management solutions, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. That must change because consumers are expecting it, and they will be demanding it. Modern brokerage firms know this; that’s why they are offering these solutions today. Consumers really do know how to sign documents on the go and even on their phones, despite what we may think. Agents and brokers must adapt to what consumers are telling us they want. Technology companies must provide consumers with the tools they seek to remove friction from the transaction.
Our Mobile Future
Today, nearly one in five Americans use their smartphones for mobile payment. That number is expected to grow rapidly. In 2015, some 69 percent of global device users carried out at least one banking activity through mobile. That’s according to a Mobile Ecosystem Forum Global Mobile Money Report, which also notes the ubiquity of retail beacons that take mobile payments. Fingerprint security and face recognition in smartphones are becoming commonplace as well. This added security is expected to help fuel the growth of payments.
For real estate, this means mortgage payments, earnest money deposits, and commission payouts completed with the tap of a smartphone could quickly become commonplace. That’s not Jules Verne science fiction stuff; that’s the power of mobile — the little supercomputer we all hold in our hands today. It’s already started to forever change the way real estate transactions work.
A version of this article originally appeared on Tech Helpline, a product owned by Florida Realtors®.