Technology has impacted as well as revolutionized the way in which we do business. Not only has it changed what we do and how we do it, it has brought about new and exciting ways for just about every industry, and real estate is no exception.

 

These days, no matter where you are, the majority of people you encounter can be seen with their heads down, looking at their smartphone or some other type of device. That’s because technology has given us access to information right at our fingertips and made it simple to perform just about every necessary task right online. From paying bills, shopping for clothes, food, even a home, it’s as easy as the click of a button.

 

Generally speaking, people spend about 7.6 hours online, with 1% of the time being spent browsing. Whether it’s surfing social media, checking email, watching videos, teaching yourself how to do something with the help of sites like Youtube, shopping online, or reading up on the latest news, a person’s attention is digitally focused.

 

When it comes to real estate, technology has proven to be a powerful tool for the industry. Brokers and agents continue to perform the most essential functions of the business, but with the help of technology, it has made certain areas faster, smoother, and much easier to navigate.

 

In essence, it’s changing the way in which real estate professionals do their job, to a degree. People still want a human connection with expertise in the field and that is something that will not change. The expert advice and knowledge provided cannot be replaced, only enhanced, by the use of technology.

 

With the use of the Internet, it has reshaped the way in which real estate is delivered to the consumer. Between the numerous websites, professional photography, and now virtual property tours, buying and selling a home looks a lot different than it did even 10+ years ago. These days, home buyers are tech-savvy and well-informed, they know exactly what they want, making it the job of the professional, regardless of the sector, to help deliver.

 

 

A few of the most obvious ways in which technology has been impacting the real estate sector include:

 

Transparency

Many websites that provide information to the consumer are free, allowing for the opportunity to educate oneself even before the process begins. These sites provide tools such as data, inventory, availability, and pricing for a potential buyer to browse through. Sly Symons, founder of the Syms company said it best, “An educated consumer is our best consumer.”

 

Marketing

With the aid of technology, marketing just about any type of product has become instantaneous. Broadcasting messages over multiple platforms allows professionals to reach a much wider audience than before. The visibility is not only easier to achieve but more cost-effective. With the use of technology, getting your product out to the marketplace can happen in mere seconds. The easier the platform to navigate, the quicker homes can be listed, which in turn allows potential homebuyers to find what they’re looking for faster. The end result is greater market activity and a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

 

Real-time data

Previously, much of the research and data comprised was focused on what happened in the past as opposed to what was happening in the current marketplace. With the use of technology, outdated data is no longer the case. Now, it’s never been easier to find out information such as pricing and availability in real-time.

 

Virtual Reality

One of the most important steps in the home buying process is the visual inspection of the property, both inside and out, along with the surrounding area. With the use of drone video, it’s possible to not only see the complete exterior of a home but the surrounding neighborhoods as well. Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively newer form of technology used in the real estate industry although there are agents who have already implemented it into their business.

 

Up until now, VR has been a great tool for buyers looking to relocate further away from their current location as well as for people who may be unable to view a property, such as an open house. But now, with the current climate of our country, the chances of VR being used to sell homes is even greater.

 

As we continue to move forward, virtual touring of a home right from a device will allow faster access to a property and the opportunity to narrow down selections. Instead of multiple in-person visits, clients can now scan through places without having to physically be there, making it possible to view numerous homes in a day and make decisions sooner than before.

 

Rich Schulhoff, CEO of the Brooklyn MLS, has also noticed an uptick in the number of listings being posted, which in turn results in using virtual tours. “People are also getting more creative with virtual tours,” says Schulhoff.

 

Social Media

The power of social media is strong and can be felt over a multitude of sectors. The days of buyers opening up a newspaper to look for a home or flipping through a phonebook for a sales agent are long gone. Instead, social media has become the place to go when it comes to finding just about anything you want, including a home, and are a great way for real estate professionals to grow their business. The ability to connect with others is instantaneous; whether it’s connecting with existing clients, potential new ones, or others in the industry, social media sites have made it possible to do so and are important tools to have in your real estate toolbox.

 

Facebook – With more than 2 billion users, creating a Facebook page can help attract an audience on a much larger scale than any marketing plan of yesterday could possibly ever do. Facebook posts should focus on both business and the consumer. Along with sharing your listings, share information that is focused on the home as well as the process. Everything from mortgages to DIY tips for decorating is helpful knowledge to an owner or a potential buyer. Share information on your borough or city; establishing yourself as a thought leader in your community is helpful in attracting new clients and followers.

 

Instagram – More than 700 million users can be found on this social media platform, making it another great resource for real estate professionals. Posting photos of available properties can help generate leads as well as showcase listings to available buyers. Another excellent way to engage potential buyers is by sharing short video clips of your listings. In addition, content you’ve published elsewhere can also be shared by providing a direct link in your bio. This is another great way to direct followers to any additional social media accounts you may have.

 

While there are a multitude of social media platforms and technologies available to real estate professionals, it’s important to remember that the tools are only effective if they are used correctly and consistently.

 

As technology continuously changes and reshapes the way in which we live, it’s imperative that businesses follow suit. Customers will find new and exciting ways to use it, that’s why it’s imperative to stay ahead of the curve in such a competitive market. If everyone else is moving forward and your business remains the same, then you’re actually falling behind. Change can be scary but embracing it will help take your business to new heights.

Since its inception in the late 1700s, women have been a part of the real estate industry, but it wasn’t until the 1840s that it was established as a legitimate business. In those early years, a woman’s role was much different than it is today; her duties consisted of filling office and clerical roles while her male counterparts were out selling. Fast forward 40 years later and women began moving, albeit slowly, into the roles of agents or brokers.

 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), approximately 67% of all certified realtors are women. But that wasn’t always the case, especially during the first few decades of NAR’s existence. Founded in 1908, membership was 100% male but by 1910, the organization saw its first woman member, Corrine Simpson. Soon after others began to follow in her footsteps although they were still in the minority during the first few decades. One of the reasons for the low numbers was due to NAR’s membership being restricted to brokers only, while women, at that time were primarily sales agents.

 

It wasn’t until 1973, when NAR opened up their membership to include sales agents, that those numbers rose and continued to steadily increase. By 1978, the majority of NAR members were women and in 1996, four years after the organization saw its first female president, did women represent the majority of broker licenses for the first time.

 

The real estate industry itself has transformed substantially, and each year the percentage of women continues to grow, bringing with them innovation and change. While women are leading the charge when it comes to the residential real estate market, commercial real estate, an area that has long had a history of being dominated by men is still lagging behind. While top-level positions have been maintained by men, improvements are being made to change those statistics thanks to initiatives in place to help address disproportions and develop women’s leadership skills.

 

Katherine Pontone, a Board Member of Brooklyn MLS, has been in the business since 1982 and can attest to the indifferences that existed between women and men. “In the past, the women took a back seat, they weren’t leaders,” says Pontone. “As time progressed, women became more vocal and present; instead of being agents, women are becoming brokers and business owners.”

 

Well respected in her field, Pontone has held multiple leadership roles throughout her years in the business, but admits, it was rare to see that happen early on. “I was fortunate,” she says.

Life as a real estate agent offers excellent earning potential and one of the most flexible schedules. It has long been an option for women looking to earn additional income, pursue a change in career, as well as work in a field where they can set their own hours.

 

When it comes to successful women in real estate, Barbara Corcoran, Founder of The Corcoran Group and currently one of the Shark’s on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman, one of the nation’s oldest and largest real estate brokerage firms, have made an indelible mark on the industry. Both Corcoran and Herman have proven just how successful women can be in a field that was at one time male-dominated.

 

When Corcoran first started her brokerage firm in 1973, the real estate business was still a “man’s world,” but that fact didn’t hold her back. Building The Corcoran Group from the ground up, she grew her business into a billion-dollar enterprise, and in 2001 sold it for $66 million dollars.

 

Herman, recognized by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Richest Self-Made Women” has created her own success and laid down the road map for other aspiring businesswomen to follow.

 

As women continue to dominate the industry, Barbara LaBarca, Chairwoman of Brooklyn MLS, has seen a growth in the percentage of women in real estate over the last 15 years. “It has gone from a male-focused world to the majority now being women,” says LaBarca. “Here on the Brooklyn MLS board, the past two presidents have been women, one including myself.”

 

These days, more and more women are working together to empower, encourage, and support one another as they continue to move the needle forward in the real estate industry. With March being Woman’s History Month, it’s only fitting that we continue to support, and celebrate, the many accomplishments of our fellow females everywhere.

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