At this point, you may be tired of hearing the term "disruption."
Like "pivot," it has been one of the buzz words of the past year. We all know that technological innovation, changing demographics and the COVID-19 pandemic have all turned the real estate world topsy-turvy. Brokers, agents and investors have all had to up their game and stay abreast of trends and behaviors that impact — and disrupt — their industry.
Each year, accounting firm PwC publishes a report that analyzes the various factors that will change our industry. This year's report looks at the many trends that have taken shape during the past year. We've taken each of them (in order of priority) and given you just enough detail to prompt you to think about your own business and how you'll "pivot" in 2021 and beyond.
- Cybersecurity: With the proliferation of personal data on the web, consumers and businesses are seeking ways to keep personal data private. Work with companies and individuals who keep your business information safe from hackers and treat your client information with care.
- Construction technology: This is especially relevant to developers and flippers. You can estimate rehab costs, secure multiple bids and check references from your device.
- Big data analytics; More information about neighborhoods, buyers and sellers is available than ever before. But you no longer need to sift through it on your own. Cloud-based platforms bring big data to your small screen — anytime, anywhere.
- 5G implementation: The work-from-home (WFH) — or from anywhere — trend means that new homebuyers will be seeking communities and properties that give them fast access to the rest of the world. 5G availability will become as important a selling feature as a backyard or multi-unit building amenities.
- Workplace automation: If you're the only broker or agent in your office who still has a Blackberry, you'll need to amp up your tech skills. Speed and access are directly tied to results these days. Automate or fall behind.
- Internet of Things: All generations will be talking to devices — especially as we move toward a health-centric and touchless business environment. From smart appliances and HVAC to conveniences that allow an older population to age in place, we'll see more people talking to tech-powered things.
- Sharing/gig economy: A generation that grew up with Uber and Airbnb is used to sharing rides, space and other services. This will manifest itself in new types of living arrangements and communities. Even older populations look to economize through partial ownership or communal live/work situations. More than 40% of U.S. workers have "gigs" instead of or in addition to full-time jobs. Real estate lends itself to being a great "side gig," so seasoned brokers and agents may see new competitors arise.
- Co-working: This will have more impact on the commercial than the residential real estate world, but gig workers (see #7) and WFHers (work from home) will evaluate communities based on their proximity to shared workspaces such as WeWork, Impact Hub and Your Alley.
- Autonomous vehicles: One day soon, you may have a robot "chauffeur" drive you and your clients to home tours. With an increased focus on sustainability, pollution and traffic reduction, this alternative to gas-guzzling vehicles will become a reality over the next decade. It will, according to Forbes, "transform the suburbs."
- Augmented/virtual reality: We have already seen this come to life and accelerate during the pandemic. Home tours are virtual, consumers can "remodel" or "redecorate" a home from their screens, and developers/brokers can sell properties that don't exist yet by creating lifelike models and walk-throughs.
- 3D printing: Creating home models will be faster, less expensive and more customizable than ever before.
- Drone technology: Photography from the air is already old news in our industry. Next-generation drones will fly in and out of neighborhoods, rooms and closets in homes and apartments for sale or rent, and even deliver tacos to your open houses.
Think about how each of these technological enhancements will change your everyday life and your 2021 plans... and prepare to be disrupted.