Technology has impacted everyone's lives, from the high school student to the real estate professional. More devices, apps, websites and other resources have found their way into the day-to-day grind, and odds are they aren't going anywhere.
Therefore, real estate agents looking to gain an advantage in the new year should pay close attention to several emerging tech trends. These elements can help appeal to niche markets, such as investors looking at foreclosed houses, as well as reach a broader demographic. Not only should professionals be aware of these elements, but they should also take the time to learn how to use them. Technology is a major part of any industry, and many new developments are set to take hold in 2014.
Emerging patterns in 2014
It seems that each year presents a whole new array of technological tools and tricks, and going into 2014 that appears to be the case. That means real estate agents have a lot to look forward to, and plenty of resources they can already use to get ahead in the industry.
Tom Flanagan, a contributor for Inman News, wrote that mobile devices have found a way into nearly every workspace. Essentially, each employee - regardless of field - brings a smartphone, tablet or laptop to work on a daily basis. As a result, IT departments have created an atmosphere of seamless integration, so users can log on in the office, at home and everywhere in between. The use of personal devices is a trend that is expected to only increase in 2014, not slow down.
In addition, one of the biggest trends set to take hold this year is the "Internet of Things," according to Flanagan. What this means is a series of smart connected devices, like common appliances with online capabilities. For example, the Nest Protect smoke alarm is WiFi enabled and can actually detect the severity of a fire, from burnt toast to something much more serious. Devices like this could soon find their way into more homes, which means real estate agents have to be aware of what they can do.
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Technology that a real estate agent should use
Technology is constantly changing. This could put a real estate agent behind the times, or make them feel like they aren't as prepared as they could be. However, there are several tools that are worth the effort, and these can be extremely valuable for anyone interested in growing professionally.
For starters, digital signatures are gaining popularity, according to the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate blog. There are several platforms to make this easier, but regardless, ditching paper for this method has its advantages. Primarily, it is very convenient, and it saves time and money. Instead of driving to the client, real estate agents can email over the document to be signed. Better yet, these are widely accepted as legal signatures and printing costs will disappear.
If real estate agents haven't already, they should look into cloud-based storage, the news source noted. The cloud is an Internet solution that allows users to upload every piece of data they have, then access it at a later date from any device they choose. Sites like Dropbox and Google Drive are cloud-based, and a real estate agent can take a note on their tablet, save it here, then access it back at the office on a desktop computer. With this added ease, it is simple to become more efficient and succeed in the industry.