(BPT) – In one sense, technology has made real estate more accessible for both buyers and sellers. And yet, while everyone can see detailed property records on their phones or computer within seconds, not everyone can be a negotiator, price setter or resource. Home buyers and sellers can have difficulty navigating the expanse of information available, leaving many unsure how best to use this data to their respective advantage.
“Technology will continue to improve and, in some cases, automate some aspects of the search and transaction,” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said. “However, the widespread proliferation of real-estate technology, resources and information often leaves consumers feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.”
Bringing in an expert with a deep knowledge of the home buying process and marketplace is the most effective way for a homebuyer to ensure, for example, they can win a bidding war without overpaying for a home. In a 2020 study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), more than 50% of buyers said agents helped them collect more valuable information from online listings than buyers could have uncovered on their own — saving time, money and stress.
According to NAR, 87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001. Similarly, home sellers can benefit from an agent’s support in effectively pricing and marketing their homes. And while the human element will always be an important part of real estate, that doesn’t mean tech isn’t changing how that relationship works.
“Real estate is local and, in most cases, hyper-local,” Goldberg said. “While buyers and sellers may have some understanding of the market, REALTORS® bring the experience, expertise and market intelligence that cannot be found from online sources.”
There’s substantial opportunity to integrate new technology into the buying and selling process, and real estate agents embrace these trends. Sellers and their agents now have the option to give up the traditional office environment and go fully virtual when they meet to discuss marketing strategies and review paperwork. Drone photography now provides an added glimpse into a home. And virtual tours give prospective buyers from all over the world a chance to view a property.
One example of how technology is making the buying and selling process easier is through the use of electronic signatures. For 20 years, NAR has supported efforts to legalize eSignature broadly and in particular for the real estate industry. Today, DocuSign is one of the most well-known eSignature tools and empowers agents to better serve buyers and sellers by getting transactions done quicker and easier.
Technology today has provided consumers with access to more information than ever before, and for real estate agents, access to technology products and services enable a higher level of customer service. And in the process, consumers get the best of both worlds: Technology at their fingertips to get them started and real estate agents making sense of all that information and other technology to help people make the right choice about where to start a family, raise their children and build lifelong community.