In 2010, Brad Inman asked Inman readers about their vision for what real estate would be like in 2020. Here are five predictions that I made about the future of real estate based on what I had learned at Inman Connect 2010.

  • If you want a glimpse of the future for 2027, Inman Connect is the place to be.

In 2010, Brad Inman asked Inman readers about their vision for what real estate would be like in 2020. Here are five predictions that I made about the future of real estate based on what I had learned at Inman Connect 2010. How close are we to my crystal ball’s vision in 2017? Let’s find out.

From my 2010 article: Our fictional Realtor is named Ava. She was born in 1990 and is a college graduate. Ava started helping her boomer grandmother with her real estate business in 2010 as a way to earn some extra money during summer break.

Unable to find a job after graduating and lacking the $200,000 it would take to complete grad school, Ava decided to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps. Now, with almost eight years of full-time experience, Ava owns the “under 40” market in her area.

What will a typical day be like for a Realtor in 2020? Obviously, there will be amazing new technologies as well as plenty of agents hanging on to what they were doing back in 2010.

2010 prediction 1

Ava awakens about 10 minutes before her alarm. As soon as she sits up, the monitor across the room scrolls through the weather, headline news stories, stock market activity, current interest rates, new listings, expired listings and her appointments for the day. Hot coffee is already brewed and awaiting her in the kitchen.

2017 truth

Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have already made this prediction a reality. Today, the “internet of things” is also helping wired homes have your coffee ready for you in the morning as well as regulating a variety of functions using products such as the Nest thermostat, which was first released in 2011.

2010 prediction 2

After Ava finishes dressing, she opens her Nokia Morph and takes a picture of her outfit, and the computer keyboard/phone morphs into a bracelet that perfectly matches what she’s wearing.

How great to have all your computer and phone functions in a stylish fashion accessory! Sure beats lugging around a computer and phone like she used to do.

2017 truth

In 2015, the Apple Watch was released. Although the Apple Watch lacks the nanotechnology to shift shapes into a keyboard or to match Ava’s outfit, if Nokia can imagine such a device, Apple or some other innovator could build it.

2010 prediction 3

After breakfast, Ava pops into her home office for a Skype conference with her Parisian clients, who are purchasing a second home.

“Computer, bring up 346 Sky Lane, 125 Canyon View and 556 Park Heights 3-D virtual tours.”

Ava opens the French translation feature. Based upon the bedroom-bath count, location and the 57 lifestyle features her clients selected in their initial buyer interview, there is an 83.5 percent chance that they will purchase one of these three houses.

Since 3-D walkthroughs haven’t shown up yet in France, she’s sure her clients will appreciate being able to review the houses from Paris.

“Pierre” (her computer’s French avatar) translates during the virtual showings. He will also be able to “walk them” to the neighborhood park, to the nearby Parisian bakery and to any of the local shopping areas using the Google 3-D maps feature.

School and community information scrolls across the bottom of the screen during the virtual walkthrough.

2017 truth

Most of these predictions have become a reality. Siri and Alexa can locate almost anything on the web. Companies like TLCengine and LifeStyled Listings are already providing buyers and their agents with full-blown lifestyle search that can include over 100 lifestyle factors.

New seller predictive analytics tools from HouseCanary and Weiss Analytics (Inman Market Intel) incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the probability of what a house will be valued at three to five years from now.

Other solutions identify the sellers who have the highest probability of going on the market in the next 90-180 days.

Real Buzz already provides machine translation in multiple languages on its site, which enables agents to chat in real time in 18 different languages.

Furthermore, Google has significantly upgraded its translation features. Its accuracy will soon become very close to that of human translators.

2010 prediction 4

Ava’s next appointment is with her client Janet who has a loft in a 50-year-old renovated building. Ava’s lifestyle-analysis program predicts that 38 percent of all potential buyers would prefer Janet’s minimalist decorating style. Another 32 percent would select “Artists’ Studio,” and 24 percent would choose “Nineties Retro.”

Ava did two virtual stagings using the other two styles for Janet to review. Janet has not seen the lifestyle analysis program before, so she’s very enthusiastic about how Ava’s marketing plan has targeted the right buyers for her property.

Ava’s premium marketing plan also includes the new holographic 3-D walkthrough, global syndication, plus the lifestyle analysis program.

Janet digitally signs the listing agreement, and Ava clicks “Post Listing.” Within seconds, the digital sign is already turned on and the listing is syndicated across hundreds of real estate portals as well as to several hundred thousand agent websites.

2017 truth

Augmented reality is being widely used by developers and is becoming increasingly common in residential sales as well. An excellent example of how this works in staging (as well as marketing) is the video from IKEA that uses augmented reality to show people how their furniture will look in their homes.

You can now easily stage your homes using any style you want that also includes the option of purchasing the furniture used in the staging.

Furthermore, digital signatures and listing syndication are now standard operating procedure for the industry.

2010 prediction 5

Later that day, Ava checks her appointment scheduler and sees that Tom Johnson has already scheduled an appointment to see Janet’s new listing. She loves the new AI apps that handle her scheduling for her.

2017 truth

New lead conversion tools from Automabots, Roof Ai and Structurely (Holmes) rely on AI to answer incoming inquiries from leads automatically as well as to set up your showing schedule.

What’s ahead for 2027?

Inman Connect is my go-to source for what’s coming in the industry. Craig Newmark was an early Connect speaker who shared his journey as he launched Craigslist.

The folks from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the people who invented the internet) were talking about the changes coming from nanotechnology and robotics over a decade ago. Trulia and Zillow launched at Connect as well.

Today’s New Kids on the Block may very well be the disruption that totally transforms today’s real estate industry. If you want a glimpse of the future for 2027, Connect is the place to be.

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at

Email Bernice Ross

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