NAR recently released 2017 Real Estate in a Digital Age report takes a deeper look at REALTORS® use of digital technology. Real estate agents predominantly communicate with clients using digital means, namely email (94 percent), phone (91 percent), and text messaging (90 percent). The majority of REALTORS® use email, computers, and smartphones daily and 48 percent of real estate firms cited that keeping up with technology will be a challenge in the next two years.
The REALTOR® presence on websites and in social media has become commonplace displaying property listings, agent profiles, and financial calculators. Real estate agents under 30 are the most likely to write a blog and women and sales agents are the most active on social media.
In an industry where marketing is paramount, using high-quality video and photography can make a listing stand out. For example, camera drones are one of the hottest new devices to offer online video tours. Twenty-six percent of offices use drones in some capacity and 18 percent plan to in the future.
Smart home devices, as another example, are increasingly becoming important to clients. Agents reported that the following smart home devices are important to buyers: locks (62 percent), lights (61 percent), thermostats (60 percent), cameras (51 percent), and doorbells (35 percent). Nearly half of real estate professionals would like to continue to expand their use of technological advances in their business. Buyers have expressed on interest in smart home devices (42 percent), smart home technology for the entire home (22 percent), and smart features for specific rooms (13 percent).
There is certainly a need for additional training and assistance in the use of social media to expand real estate marketing. Fifty-seven percent of NAR members are comfortable using social media and 18 percent are uncomfortable or do not use it. Facebook is the most used social media tool (80 percent) followed by LinkedIn (71 percent). With two-thirds of business derived from past clients and referrals, social media allows agents to cultivate and maintain relationships with clients over time.