Inman is interviewing industry thought leaders to find out what’s next in 2016. Here’s Zach Schabot, Vice President at Bamboo Realty.
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What are your technology predictions for 2016?
Technology around “smart homes” will become even more mainstream. The price of consumer goods is coming down, so watch for even more talk about the “Internet of Things.” Also, keep an eye on Zumper. They have created a solid platform, and rentals will be a battleground for some of the larger search portals that have dealt primarily in single-family homes for sale.
What big tech trends are you watching?
I am watching trends in social media monitoring and user-generated content.
Big brands outside of real estate are becoming much more sophisticated in monitoring social media and connecting with consumers on a very personal level. If it can be done on large-scale campaigns by big corporations, consumers will expect the same level of engagement from individual service providers on the local level.
What is more important: mobile or the cloud?
These go hand in hand. Utilizing cloud-based solutions is probably more important, but we are still lagging way behind in our development of mobile productivity tools for agents.
Why should we have to download software to devices? If we focus on building better overall solutions that include a mobile-first approach, we can rid ourselves of clunky programs and storage issues. We can add an incredible amount of efficiency to our business.
Will the tech bubble burst?
No, but it will slump. There has been too much focus on companies that generate “leads,” and agents will realize there can’t be that many companies all offering something unique. I mean, how many actual consumers are there? But recovery will also happen much faster because people are anticipating it this time around. The lows won’t be quite as low.
What is next for Zillow?
Customized closing gifts. :)
What is next for realtor.com?
An East Coast-West Coast battle with Zillow. Lots of headlines, lots of insults, people will choose sides.
Will the Broker Public Portal be launched in 2016?
No. Consolidation and standardization of MLS data is extremely complicated. As we have seen with RPR, unless you have everyone on board, the system is minimally effective. Individual boards make decisions based on their membership, if the board feels they already have a system that is better than what’s being offered (or they want to avoid whining from their members), they will simply opt out. Unfortunately, it’s easier to say no than it is to say yes.
Will Upstream be launched in 2016?
It may be launched, but it will not have widespread adoption. Even though the project is being supported by many of the large franchise brands, it will take a change in agent behavior to make it happen. And agents do not like to make changes to their routine, especially when the market is good.
How will predictive search change home buying?
It will make the Realtor even more important. Consumers will have access to information customized specifically to them, and they will be more overwhelmed than ever. They want lots of information but they aren’t ready to place blind faith in it yet. They will still need someone to help them make sense of it all.
Will on-demand showings go mainstream?
No. Sellers will not allow it. The flaw with technology being developed around “on-demand showings” assumes the buyers will get an agent to respond almost immediately to a showing request and assumes sellers will allow it to happen at the same speed. I don’t think the latter will happen as quickly, if ever.
Will the automated offer become reality in 2016?
Yes. It will not have widespread adoption, but in highly competitive markets (urban markets like New York City and Boston), some buyers will automate the offer process. Basically, taking a shot at anything that is remotely close to what they want.
This also points to a trend in choosing lifestyle over “bricks and sticks.” If the property is located in the neighborhood they want and allows them to live a certain lifestyle, the physical space becomes secondary, which opens the door to automated offers.
Will Closing in the Box happen in 2016?
No. Until the mortgage industry figures out how to properly regulate the mortgage process, this will continue to stall. The pendulum swings from under-regulated to over-regulated which makes it impossible to develop any sort of tech efficiency between consumer, real estate and mortgage.
How will machine learning change real estate?
We will see a rise in “translators.” People and companies who can understand the algorithms and data sets and be able to put that into real terms for agents, who in turn can interpret what that means for their clients. In essence, computers will become too smart.