Whoa – it’s almost 2020! It’s hard to believe that we are almost at the year that science fiction movies imagined would be the height of human technology. They envisioned cities with apartments stretching high into the sky (because everyone has a flying car), densely populated communities that have rush hour congestion all day long, and of course, automated and robotic everything.
While it is fun to imagine what the future of real estate will be like in another 20 years (we’re thinking virtual agents, virtual reality walk-throughs, and online-only transactions are on the way!), it is also important to see how far the real estate industry has come since the start of the National Association of Realtors changed the game.
Without delving too deep into the history of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it should be known that they did change how houses were bought and sold and created the first organized system for real estate transactions, and in turn the first open houses as well. That was more than 100 years ago, but the most astonishing changes to real estate have come about over the last fifteen years as we moved into and embraced the digital age.
Back in the early 1960s, the primary way that a home buyer found a home for sale was to read the newspaper. From paid ads in the backs of newspapers, anyone who wanted to buy a home had a challenge in front of them – deciding whether or not to view a house for sale based solely on a short description and a single, hard to see black and white photo. The other option? Hope that someone you know knows of a house for sale and get in to see it before anyone else did.
Up until the 1990s, real estate agents used classified ads and industry-specific magazines to showcase homes to buyers.
Today, more than 80% of home buyers treat themselves to photo galleries, lavish descriptions and details of homes, virtual walkthroughs, videos, and drone footage of a house before they even consider adding it to a to-view list.
Realtors® have always worked together to build a real estate business and make a reputable name for themselves in their area, but 50 years ago, first-time buyers (about 60% of them) relied on word of mouth and personal recommendations to find Realtors® to work with. In 2017, first-time buyers who don’t personally know a real estate agent rely on online reviews, feedback, and social media to find the right agent for them.
There are no ways around it – technology is king when it comes to meeting our clients’ needs, and Realtors® will always opt for the most up-to-date technology available to help their clients find the homes they are looking for. From drones that capture the real walk-through feel of a house to digital house staging, the real estate industry standard is high-tech and always on the move.
The future of real estate is bound to become more technologically-driven, and those changes come about every few weeks these days. This is in such stark contrast a time before the internet when, between the 1960s and the 1990s, not a whole lot changed in the real estate industry. There were certainly advancements during this time, but until the internet took center stage, the method of selling and buying homes was well-established and working beautifully.
What tomorrow will bring, no one knows for sure, but we Realtors® are prepared to make it work to the benefit of our clients.