In our recent panel on Real Estate Technology Trends to Watch in 2018, we discussed what technology disrupted real estate in the past and what we should be aware of in the coming months and years.  When it comes to true impact, what technology has had the most influence on the real estate industry?

The panel narrowed it down to a top 3:

  •  Lockbox
  •  Online Search
  • Turning your Home into an ATM

Let’s break down each:

1.        LOCKBOX


Heather Sittig-Jackson, CEO and Co-Founder of Relola, said the first real disrupter she noticed in real estate was the lockbox.  “Think about what it took to show a home before the lockbox,” she said.  “You had to make appointments, pick up and return keys – the whole thing took up a ton of time.”  With the lockbox, agents could significantly increase their efficiency, showing more homes to more people.

The next phase of the lockbox is making them smarter, so both buyers and sellers can get a better picture of the popularity of a home, neighborhood and the health of the local real estate market.



The next change Sittig-Jackson noted was that of online search.  “It gave agents a new job,” she said.  “They were no longer the source of listings information, but were the source of professional insider information.  They made transactions m ore seamless and helped navigate a complicated and confusing process.  Agents became project managers.”


The development of national portals and online search has created a different type of consumer, according to the panel.  “It’s given consumers an artificial sense of reality,” said Jack Berube, CEO and Founder of Pathway RE.  “You’ve created this massive place where you can go get a valuation of your home and get neighborhood reports, which gives consumers this false notion that they can go and do this for themselves and don’t need the expertise of a real estate agent.”

While consumers are finding properties online, they still work with an agent 88 percent of the time, according to a recent study from the National Association of REALTORS®.  While the process starts online, home buyers and sellers still seek advice and guidance from a trusted real estate professional.  Now, consumers are just coming into the process more informed on what inventory is available and what they want.

“Everyone enjoys looking at homes, it’s just been exposed now,” said Mike Schneider, CEO and Co-Founder of “The problem is when we think about anyone looking at homes online as a lead.  That’s where some of this [needs to] shift.  Search hasn’t changed how many people are moving, but it’s impacted the realtor.  [Consumers] are coming and asking tougher questions and local expertise is becoming more important.”



“Any real shake-up in the industry will come when there’s movement in how the transaction is facilitated and the means of compensation around the transaction,” said Aaron Kardell, CEO and Co-Founder of HomeSpotter.  “Zillow is not a disruptive company at this point.  They are tightly aligned with the industry.  It’s going to be new entrants like Open Door that are looking at how they can change the transaction will have the bigger impact.”

Schneider expanded on this idea by including not only the transaction but the valuation of a property impacting how future home-owners interact with their home and their agent.”  is within 2% accuracy of actual valuations,” he said.  “Once they perfect that science, it will turn homes into ATMs for people and transform how often people move and how ownership is structured.  Realtors will then [be able to] guide people through those decisions.”

In Part II of this series, we discussed the role of technology in expediting the sales process as the next frontier.   The discussion on disrupters expands on that idea to include not only what technology might impact the industry overall, but how that will impact the role of agents, brokers and their relationship with clients.

We are in the process of publishing a white paper on the impact of technology in real estate based on a survey of nearly 2,000 real estate professionals.  To get your copy, register for monthly updates on this page.


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