• If you want to give your real estate business the best chance at realizing its potential, you need to implement the latest technological trends.
  • Advancements in technology will aid in real estate professionals’ efforts to sell homes more than they are aware.
  • It is no longer acceptable for real estate professionals in a competitive environment to rest on their laurels and ignore anything that could provide them with an advantage.

A simple audit of your average real estate business will most likely reveal a slew of antiquated technologies that are still in use. If for nothing else, real estate professionals are creatures of habit; they are content relying on dated systems that have gotten them to where they are today.

I can assure you, however, there is no faster way to cripple a healthy real estate business than by ignoring trends, especially those related to technology.

The advent of technology has put the age-old adage “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” to the test. It’s no longer acceptable for real estate professionals in a competitive environment to rest on their laurels and ignore anything that could provide them with an advantage.

That said, technology is meant to make our lives easier; anyone not taking advantage of it is essentially doing the opposite. Those who refuse to adopt advancements in technology will be rendered moot by the competition in no time flat.

If you want to give your real estate business the best chance at realizing its potential, you need to implement the latest technological trends. Let’s take a look at a few of the gadgets real estate professionals can’t afford to ignore in 2016:

360-degree views

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, it’s safe to assume a 360-degree camera is worth, well, a lot more. These little devices are revolutionizing the way real estate professionals introduce buyers to properties.

As their name suggests, 360-degree cameras capture much more than a single field of vision; shots are entirely capable of creating a scene worthy of immersion. Everything within the device’s field of view, which is (not surprisingly) 360-degrees, is essentially on screen.

Gone are the days when real estate agents had to spend hours meticulously positioning their cameras to capture the perfect angle. At the least, a 360-degree camera gives even the most inexperienced agents the freedom to capture the true essence of a living space. What more could anyone trying to sell a home ask for?

360-degree cameras offer those who possess them the largest field-of-view any retail camera has to offer. There are essentially no blind spots to worry about, which makes it nearly impossible to miss a home’s best features.

With more benefits than your everyday camera, it’s not hard to see why a growing number of real estate professionals are incorporating 360-degree cameras into their listing strategies.

Many companies are already seeing huge success with Matterport, a 3-D media technology company currently dominating the industry that creates digital representations of home interiors for its users. These innovations allow for both sellers and buyers to see the whole picture.

Without getting ahead of myself, 360-degree cameras are essentially the spearhead of the next item on this list.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality headsets are no longer relegated to science fiction novels and futuristic conceptions. In fact, several variations of virtual reality headsets are already available for purchase on retail shelves. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the concept, VR, or virtual reality, is much more of an experience than it is a device.

VR headsets can immerse its wearers in an incredibly lifelike experience in which their own movements are tracked in a three-dimensional world conveniently displayed through the headset.

Although VR technology is widely considered to be a gaming application at the moment, it’s only a matter of time till it revolutionizes the way we do everything. The sooner real estate professionals realize what VR headsets are capable of, the sooner they will find themselves at the forefront of their own industry.

Think about it; combined with a 360-degree camera, agents can offer prospective buyers an all-inclusive walkthrough of their property without ever physically setting foot inside.

360-degree cameras essentially capture the house in a fully-immersible static environment, and the VR headsets will allow anyone interested in a home to traverse it from the comfort of their own home.

The possibilities are endless. Real estate professionals can provide potential buyers with an in-depth look at a house whether they are across the country or around the corner.

What’s more, those in the real estate industry are no longer constrained by time management; VR will permit them to show multiple homes simultaneously without burdensome scheduling conflicts. At the very least, VR has the potential to free up a lot of time for real estate professionals to focus on income producing activities.

Incremental smart-home additions

There is no doubt about it; smart-home technology is here to stay. However, the concept is still relatively new to the average real estate professional and tends to carry a certain degree of stigma for those who have yet to understand it fully. Those who have yet to adopt smart-home technology are cautiously optimistic of its capabilities.

However, adopting smart-home technology no longer requires real estate professionals to invest heavily in an expensive solar panel system or a water conscious plumbing apparatus. There are cheaper, incremental steps that can introduce smart-home technology to a property without breaking the bank.

Some companies have discovered that there is a sizable market for people who want to, more or less, test the waters. Instead of forcing homeowners to commit to revamping their entire home, some companies have discovered ways to add elements to existing appliances to make them smarter.

If you are not already aware, the Nest thermostat represents the epitome of smart-home technology, and for a very reasonable $250.

For what it’s worth, Nest is much more than a device that regulates the temperature of a subject property; it learns the patterns of homeowners and implements them in a way that is more convenient and energy efficient.

Outside of the standard duties that coincide with a thermostat, Nest has been developed to protect homes from unforeseen circumstances. The device sinks with phones to alert owners if something is wrong — like freezing temperatures that can freeze pipes or a broken furnace.

But what does all of this have to do with real estate professionals who are not living in the home, but rather trying to sell it?

Each Nest thermostat can be programmed to learn the schedule of anyone who chooses to do so. That means you can have a home properly cooled by the time you intend to show it off or host an open house. The device can have a home warm enough in colder regions as well. Either way, the Nest thermostat will ensure a comfortable environment while saving energy.

If you are not in the market for a thermostat, there are several smart-home additions that can enhance the prospects of a home without breaking the bank. Choose the ones that you think will give you the biggest advantage, and use them to your benefit.

Voice command

The average person is familiar with Siri; the mainstream voice-control service provided on every iPhone. Voice-control services have stuck a chord with the public and are now widely available.

A quick Google search will reveal that almost everything from door locks to appliances come complete with responsive voice controls.

What’s more, voice services are much more dependable than they used to be, with the rate of error dropping from 23 percent in 2013 to a modest 5 percent over the course of last year. It’s safe to assume the trend will continue in 2016.

Of particular importance, however, are the devices that are being developed to incorporate voice-command technology into homes. Amazon’s Echo, for example, can be used to communicate with smart-home technology and lock doors, arm security systems, adjust temperatures, open garage doors and adjust light fixtures.

Think of the impression an application like voice-command technology could leave on prospective homebuyers. Imagine walking up to a property and unlocking the front door with a voice command or turning on the lights without lifting a finger.

With a price point less than $200; it would be hard to argue with the return on investment Echo could award savvy real estate professionals.

Technology has certainly made our lives easier, and there is no reason it shouldn’t do the same for real estate professionals. Consequently, those who neglect to adapt to today’s technological trends will assuredly find themselves behind the eight-ball.

If for nothing else, those agents are losing out on significant advantages that the competition is most likely implementing on a daily basis. Do yourself a favor and incorporate the latest technology into your real estate business; I can assure you it will be well-worth your time.

Than Merrill is the founder and CEO of FortuneBuilders and CT Homes. Connect with Than on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @ThanMerrill.

Email Than Merrill.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription