TORONTO – real estate agent Shawn Zigelstein remembers the time, just a few years ago, when the printer, scanner, and fax machine were the most important tools of his trade.
Now these gadgets are almost outdated.
"I do not know when I last sent a fax to be honest with you," says Zigelstein, a sales representative with the Royal LePage brokerage company in Richmond Hill, Ont.
"Oh, the dilemma we once had was incredible. Now our customers can open their phones, press a few buttons and sign up (offer) papers."
Zigelstein says the adoption of real estate technology has grown exponentially over the last few years and is the trend he thinks will only grow as more options become available and Realtors will lure into the millennium market.
"Agents that do not adjust to this change will see that their business will be considerably reduced because they can not adapt quickly enough," he said.
From smartphone applications such as Loom, which enables realtor remote sharing of slides and presentation slides with clients, to digital signatures that can be sent over the phone and tablet, technology shapes a new way to do business.
Historically, the real estate industry was "left over" when it comes to technology adoption, says Frank Magliocco, a partner in PwC Canada specializing in the housing market.
"But I think that's what you'll see now quite a significant increase in accepting that technology when it becomes more mainstream," he said.
"It will be all the more important to stay competitive and to be competitive on the market. When you see these technologies show up, you will see more and more adoption."
According to PwC, proptech, broadly defined as a technology used in the real estate market, was the US industry in Canada and the US in the amount of $ 4.6 billion. Last year, this figure rose to $ 7.3 billion, indicating that interest and opportunity in space also grew.
Magliocco says proptech, referred to as a cousin of the banking industry's fintech, can refer to anything from web sites to smart buildings that use large data for automating heating and lighting in 3D printing houses.
"Think about the banking industry many years ago, before the fintech … banking had to do it personally, the entire business model had changed, now put a check and transfer money and you can do everything on your phone," he said.
"Sometimes, sometimes, every transaction had to be hard on paper with a lot of involved attorneys and geodesists who were checking the space and measuring the space. That's no longer necessary."
Stephen Jagger, co-founder of IMRE, who manages a personal assistant for real estate intelligence, says technology is so embedded in everyday life that customers expect to use it in real estate transactions.
The IMRE chatbot can answer the core questions of potential clients on behalf of the Real Estate Agent 24 hours a day via text and social networks. It uses machine learning to answer questions about the list, such as price, number of bedrooms, and school districts where the home is located. However, the bot can not respond to subjective inquiries for real estate, such as comparisons of different neighborhoods. .
Jagger says this type of technology is not replaced by a real estate agent, but as any good technology improves their business.
"(Realtors knows) you have to be responsible for five minutes or you will lose leadership," said Jagger, whose company is based in Vancouver. "This allows realtors to focus on high-level tasks, such as displaying a home instead of answering random issues of all time."
However, Cam Woolfrey, a Toronto real estate retailer, says technology will not make the real estate industry outdated.
"(Realtor) with experience can make an experience," he said.
"Clients actually see the dollar in that. If you have the knowledge and experience, customers will see it as an invaluable value."