The first two months of this year has provided me with a clear view of the future of real estate; and at the same time provided a view of the leap that I think we will collectively take in the application of technology in the property market. This clarity has come as a result of a couple of key signals, the first of which came from the single defining message from the Inman Connect conference in New York at the start of January – the message loud and clear was MOBILE.
Mobile, as in the always-accessible, real-time, comprehensive, location-aware data to enable buyers to be more efficient in the property searching process to find that perfect home.
Secondly we have witnessed the birth of not just a new product, but a new category in technology. I am speaking of course of the iPad. I am confident this new product will spawn a new category for information and media consumption. The new Apple device whilst being derided by some as just an iTouch with a bigger screen, for me is the first computing device built as a reading device that is not derived from the humble typewriter. If you cast aside smart phones for the moment for their limited screen size; the iPad is the first accessory that is designed to be viewed, read and used to help us make sense of information. It is not compromised by a clam shell construction and a 19th century keyboard structure.
Rightly as some will argue the iPad will not become the instant hot item as the iPhone was; but give it a few years and let a few of your friends get one, and before long the iPad and the “me-to” devices that will undoubtedly spring to life will hold a serious role in consumers’ lives in the coming years.
So the question then is – how could this device and its competitors change the world of property search? To think this through, visualise for a moment a day in the future, some day a year or so from now when you are looking for a new home.
You will be walking across the road to the open home having utilized the turn by turn driving instructions in your car downloaded from the web app to get the travel sequence for today’s open home schedule for the 3 properties you wanted to check out. The app also conveniently worked out and recommended a convenient cafe on the route for you to have a quick coffee.
The long black and flat white was all the better for the online promotion code and the service more than merited a recommendation easily uploaded through the iphone app as part of the open home schedule.
Approaching the open home you activate the record device on your iPhone to capture images and comments pertaining to the layout of the house – all contextually linked to the dynamic floor plan of the property. You calmly wander through the house having by passed the registration book as an established client with the real estate agent.
No need for open home brochure here, as the agent had already provided all the necessary reports including LIM, valuation, title record and Zoodle report on the community and amenities. All accessible and stored online for easy reference.
The open home “host” reminds you politely for the completion of the open home survey which has already been triggered by the iPhone app. The open home “host” now has a complete list of attendees at the property through blue-tooth & RFID matching to enquirers interested in the property.
Leaving the property your attention is drawn to the property across the road. Accessing the Zoodle app you verify the property ID through the augmented reality and having already set up a 3 month subscription service to the Zoodle data you are instantly provided with sales history and current valuation on the property as you stand facing the house. The data certainly gives you confidence that the home opposite, the one you are keen on is reasonably priced.
Returning home you relax in the lounge and complete the open home survey on your iPad, providing the listing agent with comments on all aspects of the house. You also take the opportunity to provide an indication of what you think the property is likely to sell for. You then have the chance to review the property combining the agent provided details together with your own images and notes recorded during the open home visit making for a comprehensive portfolio about the property all stored and accessible on the “My Property” section on Realestate.co.nz.
With all the relevant information you could need, you are now ready to contact the agent to discuss an offer – you conference in the agent and your solicitor and make an offer – all electronically – of course!