As the world moves more and more towards digital, the real estate industry has learned that in order to survive, it must embrace technology at its core. Now, nearly every step of the real estate process is done through technology — from the beginning of a home search to closing deals, every transaction can be done with a click or a swipe. From gathering metrics on customers, to bringing home design to their fingertips, there are so many ways in which technology plays a crucial role.
Here are a few technology-driven changes which are transforming the real estate sector:
Today, data is king. There is more information available to real estate developers and agents including metrics gathered through website, social media, and mobile app interactions. Harnessing and employing this data can allow real estate agencies to make more accurate and calculated decisions. Developers and investors have always sought to understand where to acquire property and when to trigger development and, in the past, data was not readily available, or aggregated and analysed quick enough, to allow developers to make prompt decisions.
However, with modern technological advances, developers can now predict with greater accuracy what direction the real estate market will move towards in the future. Being slow to pick up on subtle trends means leaving money on the table. Conversely, being the first to recognise and seize upon a compelling opportunity translates into a significant advantage. Learning to use accrued data is an essential step in scaling up the real estate business.
Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) can help businesses make better decisions by managing vast amounts of data. The increased use of machine learning techniques and deep learning will boost the quantity of information available, as well as the efficient processing of this information. This could lead to faster and more accurate matching of property and potential tenants.
VR and Augmented Reality
Technology offers a user-friendly experience when showcasing homes. 3-D technology and aerial drone footage are quite commonly used today. Virtual and augmented reality technologies are revolutionising the way that people view potential purchases. With continual improvements in augmented reality technologies, a potential homeowner will be able to design and digitally see how their new home will look.
Utilising this technology, DAMAC has launched a unique concept called ‘A La Carte Villas’ at DAMAC Hills, which enables buyers to personalise multiple aspects of their homes, including villa type, layout, landscaping, interiors, and furnishings, among others using a cutting-edge configuration app. We have found that giving the customer a clear and vivid picture of how their new home will look, motivates a purchase.
Online Transaction Management
Not only is technology changing the way agents sell homes, but it’s also changing the way users buy as well. Transaction management has been made simpler by using mobile technology. With electronic document signing apps and automated emails, we have significantly cut down the time spent on this portion of the sale. There are more options than ever to connect with clients and tenants, and being available on multiple platforms makes it easier for clients to reach out anytime, anywhere. At DAMAC, we have launched the ‘DAMAC Living’ app, that allows users to make payments, schedule handovers, access discounted home services, and make amenity bookings. According to the feedback we have received from customers, the app has made transactions much simpler and hassle-free.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a critical component of home automation and smart homes. This involves automating the ability to control items around the house from curtains, temperature, electricity and more through a mobile device. Making homes smarter not only puts security in the hands of the homeowner, but also helps them lower utility costs by cutting down on energy usage, which leads to a lower carbon footprint in favour of the environment. These tech innovations are playing a significant role in helping consumers shortlist properties before making the final purchase decision.
Technology and a changing workplace are also creating new demands for developers and owners. Tenants are continuing to move towards smaller, open-concept spaces because of “workplace 2.0” changes. Co-location and space sharing will improve for smaller businesses, and pooled resources between companies may become the norm. Adding to this, the unprecedented work-from-home model has set in as a norm over the past year, making real estate developers rethink how homes are designed to incorporate working spaces within them.
DAMAC is working towards integrating office spaces within its communities and properties, while the company’s office real estate offers social spaces and amenities that are unparalleled in the sector.
As mentioned in PwC’s yearly trend report for real estate, ‘If people don’t recognise technologies are existing and how to integrate them, opportunities are being missed.’ From shortening the purchase time to delivering top-notch tenant service, technology will continue to change the way we purchase, sell, and look for real estate. As real estate tech evolves, the industry is undoubtedly headed for a revolution. Investing in technology as a real estate company is a key differentiator moving forward.