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The process of relying on real estate companies and agents when buying or selling property is steadily being supplemented—and in some cases, replaced—by technological advances that are shifting the way the real estate industry operates. From apps that list available properties and provide frequent price updates to property tours conducted entirely in virtual reality, technology is changing the real estate industry.

 

Listing Apps

Zillow, LoopNet, and Xome are just a few prominent examples of apps that provide unique functions and features designed to simplify and regulate the process of buying, selling, and auctioning real estate. Some apps are geared more toward residential properties, including rentals, while others are focused on commercial real estate. Regardless of the user’s intentions or interests, these real estate apps are revolutionizing how to buy and sell property.

 

Virtual Reality

Rather than require homebuyers to travel to every home that interests them, virtual reality permits real estate agents to give their clients a virtual tour of properties in order to reduce unnecessary costs without limiting the prospects of a sale. Incorporating virtual reality into the ideas of open houses and home showings can also alleviate some stress from individuals selling their property.

 

The Cloud

The process of purchasing a property tends to take time, and for many individuals, it can be tedious. With advancements in data management and communication, transferring titles, processing payments, and even signing contracts has become more streamlined than ever before. With the ability to easily transmit paperwork and important files to individuals anywhere in the world without much hassle, buying and selling properties is no longer as time-consuming as it once was.

 

Cryptocurrency

Buying a home with Bitcoin may not be a reality yet, but proponents of cryptocurrencies seem to be pushing society in that direction. Combined with the security and decentralization of blockchain technology, using cryptocurrency to invest in or purchase real estate could prove to be both secure and profitable. From accepting cryptocurrency as payment for rental properties to using Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)—the equivalent of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for cryptocurrencies—as a means of investing in real estate beyond the scope of traditional transactions, cryptocurrency is making a splash in the industry.

 

In all industries, technological advances such as those listed above are changing traditional processes. These shifts toward a more digital society are largely geared toward improving efficiency, security, and independence. For real estate, these developments could cause some disruption, but adopting new technologies to current trends and practices could be beneficial to everyone who is involved in real estate.