As someone new to real estate, I was excited to attend my first Inman Real Estate Connect. That it would be taking place in my (relative, but not MLS-specific) backyard only added to the allure. Even when a blizzard lead to the cancellation of 5000+ flights and threatened to disrupt the conference, people’s spirits weren’t dampened. It’s an exciting time in our industry. I walked away from the conference even more firmly committed to my beliefs that the best is yet to come in real estate technology.
What did I learn? A lot:
Technology advancements are the future of Multiple Listings Services (MLSs).
There is a strong demand for quick adoption of the real estate standards passed at the National Association of Realtors Conference in New Orleans. Some MLSs will be challenged with advancing their technology to meet the new standards. As one panel discussed, it is just as much the responsibility of the MLS to reach out to its members as it is for the members to participate in the MLS. Perhaps the changes coming to the MLS community will open up the doors of communication between the MLSs and their members and create transparency in the data being exchanged.
Consumer-facing technology is just scraping the surface.
Just as the FAA and the general public are wrapping their heads around the use of small drones, virtual reality is ready to flip the real estate world on its head! 3D imaging will transform the traditional listings display of a floorplan and 2-3 meh photos and create a whole new experience for the home-buyer. Having navigated the NYC rental market for several years as a consumer, I can't wait to leave behind the days where apartment listings are limited to three pictures.
Mobile is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Millennials are becoming a force in real estate and are driving the online experience to phones, tablets and apps. Companies like Balcony, Dizzle, and HomeKeepr were representing a new focus on mobility within real estate technology. The industry is starting to realize that mobile is no longer the exception, it’s the rule. Rather than adapting your traditional site to mobile, the thinking needs to be mobile-first with a consistent experience across the brand despite the technology employed to view it (app, mobile/tablet, desktop). This is a very important realization.
Clash of the Titans.
What is the future of the Zillow/Trulia merger? Will Realtor.com become the starting and end points for real estate searches within a few years? Spencer Rascoff, Pete Flint, and Rupert Murdoch have take very visible positions in the industry and made their presence felt at the conference. The industry is watching closely. Is anyone else excited for the new Star Wars??
Hyperlocal is the new local.
The key to big data is to go small. Real estate is a local business and everything in the space – from individual agents to the technology that supports them – needs to highlight local knowledge. I’ll table the discussion of how much is too much, but in a few years someone will be scraping enough social media data (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to start their own data company. Hmm.. Inman 2017?