12 startups that are changing the way we interact with real estate

Imagine conducting entire mortgage transaction online without the aid of a loan officer

Are you ready for a glimpse into the future of real estate? Real Estate Connect’s “New Kids on the Block” session and an eye-opening Agent Reboot session called “9 technologies that will change the real estate landscape forever” provided a preview of coming attractions that may dramatically change the real estate industry.

James Dwiggins, CEO of Nexthome and the moderator for Agent Reboot, outlined a series of game-changing technologies that are already making their presence felt in the real estate industry.

Screen shot from Lenda.com.
Screen shot from Lenda.com.

Search with the wave of a finger
Your mouse, computer track pad and remote controls are about to become obsolete. Leap Motion has already released an app that allows you to control your screen with just a wave of your finger.

Fin is “a trendy gadget you can wear on the thumb and make your whole palm a digital touch interface.” Rather than having some smart chip implanted in your body, you will soon be able to preview property videos, share files, change TV stations, control visuals from head-mounted devices, or do a host of other real estate-related activities using nothing more than Fin, your thumb and the palm of your hand.

Eye Tribe
Imagine simply moving your eyes to flip to the next page of a book or to discover property prices as you are driving through a neighborhood. Eye tracking is making that dream a reality. This technology can tell when and where someone is looking. Eye tracking will also make both gaming and real estate search more immersive and intuitive.

Matterport 3D Camera
Matterport bills itself as “bringing 3-D capture to mobile.” The Matterport 3D camera takes 360-degree photos of each room in the house. The app then generates a 3-D immersive experience where you can “walk through” the property creating the closest thing to being there in person. It also accurately estimates room sizes and measurements, as well as generating a floor plan. Moreover, your clients can redesign the space to fit their lifestyles. Look for videographers and/or virtual tour companies to make the $4,500 investment for the camera. For luxury properties, this service will be a “must have.”

Automate your home with Piper
Having a fully automated home ranks highly on most Gen Yers’ wish lists. That goal is now reachable with Piper. Given the $199 price point, home automation will become a standard in virtually every home. Piper monitors security, the temperature and humidity, as well as tracking occupants if needed. The system also notifies your mobile device when any system or event in your home requires your attention.

TrackR Bravo
TrackR Bravo is “the slimmest and most elegant item-tracking device ever created backed by the world’s largest Crowd GPS network.” The device can be attached to a purse, wallet or anything you would like to track using your mobile device. It’s easy to find the lost item, and if you lose your phone, the app will cause your phone to ring. It’s a great way to also track your keys. At $19.95 for two devices, it also makes a great client gift.

Future building technology
Invisible buildings? Buildings where each floor rotates separately from the other floors and are powered by solar and wind energy? These innovations are already here. Buildings become “invisible” when images can be projected onto glass to match the background.

One rotating tower has already been completed in Brazil and another is being built in Dubai. As Dwiggins noted, “Imagine the disclosures — birds randomly flying into your windows, random motion sickness, and more.”

New Kids on the Block
At every Connect, New Kids on the Block gives us a taste of new companies that may be the next Zillow or Trulia. Here are some highlights.

Lenda — replace your loan officer with an iPad app?
In his keynote, Brad Inman observed how simple it is to make automatic deposits, pay bills, sign documents or do almost any other purchase online. Mortgages continue to be the one major bottleneck for the real estate industry. Lenda’s new app will allow you to conduct the entire mortgage transaction in two to seven days on your iPad without the aid of a loan officer. Getting a quote, signing off on the disclosures and completing the application takes only 30 minutes. Moreover, the savings are substantial. Lenda reports that its average client thus far has saved over $18,000.

Patch of Land
Patch of Land uses crowdfunding to rebuild neighborhoods by partnering with successful developers. Participating developers crowdfund short-term real estate debt and then syndicate that debt to institutional investors. This emerging strategy allows investors to diversify into real estate without the headaches associated with property management.

Balcony
Your seller is relocating and your company does not have a relocation service. Balcony launches this fall as the nation’s first peer-to-peer referral network. You can send, receive, and track referrals either on the Web or on your mobile. Most important, Balcony also makes sure you receive that referral fee when the deal closes.

Distil Networks
Distil Networks and Inman Innovator finalist REDPLAN are out to put a stop to data pirates and scrapers who rip off listing and other copyrighted content. Distill networks has already blocked 2 million real estate bots from ripping off our data and will continue to wage the war against data thieves.

Property Connect
Property Connect is the first real-time bidding platform for rental properties. Potential renters can make multiple offers on rentals. This helps landlords achieve higher rents while lowering their vacancy rates.

HouseCall — home maintenance at the touch of button
Have you ever wanted to aggregate your favorite service providers in one place? Perhaps your client needs a roofer and you don’t have a good recommendation. HouseCall is out to remedy that situation, and, unlike Angie’s List, there is no charge for their service.

Real estate innovation will continue to alter our business in ways we can’t even imagine. Stay tuned — there’s always more innovation just around the corner.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

Matterport bills itself as 'bringing 3-D capture to mobile' ... For luxury properties, this service will be a 'must have.' "

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