Real estate has been one of the most change-resistant industries out there. It’s still a very local, face-to-face business. Real estate agents are licensed on a state by state basis. It’s taken a long time for technology to make it into the real estate world. In recent years, sites like Zillow have helped democratize the process of buying and selling property. Today, things have evolved even further.
Billions of dollars have been pumped into real estate technology in the past few years. Tech entrepreneurs have been eager to find ways to innovate in that space. Some real estate industry pros see these new innovations as heralding big change. They foresee a future where people could buy homes through an app, without ever having to meet or even phone an agent. They feel that real estate is as overdue for disruption as the taxi industry was when Uber and Lyft came along.
Others point out that real estate is a big and very special kind of purchase. To them, it’s not at all the same as getting a less expensive ride home from the airport. It’s a crucial investment that represents many years of their working life. A typical buyer will want to see the property and inspect it themselves before investing thousands of dollars in it. Similarly, people often view their homes as funding for their retirements. many sellers prefer to wait to get the best price. Investors in rental properties also have great reasons to be prudent. For them, knowing a neighborhood is crucial. Location is everything in real estate, and a bad neighborhood can be bad for business.
There are some middlemen making waves as online buyers of homes. These businesses make it easy for people to sell a home quickly. Instead of waiting for an individual who needs a home, they sell to an online-based real estate company. That company then finds a local real estate company to re-sell the home. Although this process does use the internet and apps, in some ways it’s less streamlined than the traditional home sales model. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these companies. IBuying is more popular in urban areas, and with sellers who are eager to unload homes quickly.