The real estate industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. Not only have several new laws been introduced, but thanks to digital technology, the fundamental way in which real estate deals are done has also shifted dramatically.
The population of the GTA is just under 6.5 million, and with nearly 100,000 people moving in annually, the real estate market is much more competitive, with naturally, more at stake. One can argue that this competitive nature of the industry has created the perfect breeding ground for new technology.
The real estate industry wasn’t always as technologically evolved as it is today. Theoretically, prospective buyers or renters can now find their next home without ever physically visiting it. They can simply tour it on a website and get all the information they need from the digital listing. Then, when they’re ready to make a commitment, the agent or potential landlord can send over the digital documents electronically to be signed using a mobile device. Simply put, the real estate industry uses some of the most cutting-edge digital technology available today, and the following examples showcase just how much as an industry we’ve changed.
Apps & websites
The real estate industry has always been at the forefront of the internet revolution, offering cohesive, digital listings that were once exclusive to realtors. Today vacant units and properties are listed on public websites and apps with sophisticated search functions. While digital listings offer high-quality images, virtual reality tours give plenty of information about the property, all presented in a tidy digital format that is easy to view and track. There are numerous apps for renters and buyers to find their next home, and some include GPS technology that enables them to scout neighbourhoods of interest.
In today’s competitive market, digital listings are much more important than ever. But instead of offering one decent shot, property owners need several quality images to attract clients. Where once upon a time, ‘curb appeal’ was the selling force, now digital listings are key to attracting buyers and tenants. In today’s fast-paced world of digital real estate, properties can be snatched up on the same day they’re listed, while owners deal with multiple offers. This is especially true for rental properties in a city with a vacancy rate below 1.5%.
The real estate industry used to consume endless quantities of paper. From printed listings to legal documents, many of the old processes have been updated to reflect the modern paperless office. One of the biggest changes in the purchasing process is the use of DocuSign technology, which allows all parties to legally sign important documents with mobile devices. The time-saving implications of this are huge, as the ability to get documents signed quickly can make all the difference when the market is tight.
The combination of hi-technology being readily available in everyday devices combined with the ever-increasing integration of social media into society, has led to the photography revolution. Digital listings require professional quality photos to really stand out. Quality photos are also important in ensuring that property images translate well across multiple devices. 3D Virtual reality tours are becoming increasingly realistic, and perhaps it won’t be long until they replace traditional showings altogether. For now, they can be extremely helpful for those looking for a place to rent in a foreign city.
Last but not least, no technology article would be complete without a cryptocurrency reference—and yes, the real estate industry is already embracing it. Believe it or not, today it is possible to buy a property with Bitcoin. Of course, before doing so, buyers would be wise to consult a real estate lawyer. Still, whether you believe in the future of cryptocurrency or not, it’s likely that these types of deals will become more common. For instance, currently there’s a real estate development in Dubai priced exclusively in Bitcoin. Though in Canada, it’s a safe bet that no one is paying their monthly rent this way that may change in the not-so-distant future.
As the Canadian real estate industry continues to become more and more competitive, it’s natural that renters and buyers would seek out innovative ways to gain a competitive edge. Technology enables renters to find listings faster than before while completing deals from wherever they may be. It’s true that the early bird gets the worm, and perhaps the most technological advanced renters and buyers get the property.