Real Estate Transactions: The real estate industry enjoyed a long period of relative stasis, dating back to the first MLS systems in the late 19th century. In the intervening century, agents were in charge, documents were physical, processes were analogue, and real estate analytics involved scant data and gut instinct.
Things are finally starting to change – and fast. Over the past decade, we’ve seen enormous strides in tech adoption, alternative service models and consumer empowerment. It begs the question: What will the next decade look like?
This article explores the likely future of real estate transactions. Some of these shifts are already well underway, while others are still in the nascent stages of widespread adoption.
The Uberization of Real Estate Agents
This is a relatively recent trend in real estate transactions, precipitated by one company in particular – Nobul. Nobul’s CEO, Regan McGee, was labelled a disruptor back in 2017 when he launched what the media dubbed “Uber for real estate.” But that label oversimplifies a complex business model based on consumer-centrism and transparency.
Here’s how Regan McGee explained it to Bloomberg: “We connect buyers and sellers with agents. It’s a true marketplace, just like Uber… With Nobul, whether you’re looking to buy or sell real estate, you put in basic pieces of information. Agents then compete for your listing or your buy.” The model flips the standard agent-consumer dynamic on its head, handing the bargaining power to buyers/sellers. It’s a trend you can expect to take flight in the next decade as consumer demands for transparency and choice continue to grow.
The New Blockchain on the Block
Several industries are climbing aboard the blockchain bandwagon – real estate included. The distributable, secure and open-source ledger technology has proven itself useful in real estate in a few critical ways:
- Blockchain facilitates “smart contracts” that can remove third-party expenses and bureaucracy.
- It aids consumers in managing their agreements and contracts.
- It helps prevent title fraud by securely storing those agreements on an immutable ledger.
- And it enables “fractional ownership,” a radical new type of real estate transaction that allows people to buy parts of a property rather than the whole thing.
That last functionality, in particular, has industry observers excited. Expect blockchain technology – and fractional ownership – to become more mainstream in the next ten years.
The Rise of the Machine (Learning)
Machine learning is a perfect fit for the real estate industry. The sophisticated analytical tool is capable of digesting and synthesizing vast stores of “big data” (which real estate has aplenty) to arrive at actionable insights, valuations and detections. Here are a few ways machine learning will serve the real estate industry in the next decade:
- Fast property valuations for sellers
- Due diligence in fraud detection
- Real estate chatbots for elevated customer service
- Faster, more accurate mortgage underwriting
- And predictive analytics to pinpoint up-and-coming investment opportunities
It’s all but a sure thing that machine learning – and its close cousin, artificial intelligence – will continue to play a pivotal role in real estate transactions.
The examples above represent new and exciting ways real estate transactions will morph in the next decade. If you plan to buy or sell in the next ten years, familiarize yourself with these cutting-edge innovations.