Real estate technology continues to serve one purpose, and one purpose only: to optimize the performance of today’s investors. There is no reason to think the right real estate technology couldn’t simultaneously increase an investor’s productivity while decreasing the amount of time they invest in a particular task. Results can, therefore, exponentially increase in the presence of properly implemented technologies, but I digress. It is not enough to blindly trust today’s real estate technology trends; you have to introduce the best real estate technology to your business. The perfect combination of real estate and technology can very easily turn an inexperienced investor into a good one, and a good investor into a great one. After all, what is technology in the real estate industry for, if not to improve the systems that are already in place?
Moore’s Law still carries just as much weight as when Gordon Moore himself, the co-founder of Intel, discussed the concept in a 1965 paper that revolutionized the way we look at the evolution of technology. In its simplest form, Moore’s law suggests technology will continue to improve at an exponential rate, and his theory has hardly been disproven. To that end, technology continues to improve at a rapid rate, which I would argue has drastically improved the real estate industry. In fact, real estate technology has changed the way we do business, and will continue to do so. Those able to keep up with real estate technology trends should find themselves with a unique advantage.
It is worth noting, however, that not all real estate technology is created equal; not only that, but what works for one investor may not work for another. Real estate technology is nothing, if not particular. You see, technology only becomes invaluable when it’s placed in the hands of someone that will use it correctly. The true value of technology in real estate can’t be realized until it’s used to complement a particular exit strategy. Passive income investors may not covet the same technology as rehabbers, and for good reason: their exit strategies are inherently different. While there are certainly similarities between the two strategies, both are going to require different technologies to realize their full potential.
Due, in large part, to the fact that real estate technology tools will vary widely between exit strategies, it is important to know which trends pertain to which exit strategies. That said, I’ve taken the time to highlight some of the most important real estate technology trends for two individual circumstances: property managers and those intent on automating their businesses.
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The following represents a few of the technology trends I expect to take hold for passive income investors:
FinTech: FinTech, otherwise known as financial technology, has finally been accepted by the masses. More people than ever before are comfortable banking online, as corresponding applications (apps) can be found on just about everyone’s phone. As a result, it is now easier than ever to transfer money back and forth between parties. That said, the mass adoption of FinTech should play into today’s passive income investor strategies. If for nothing else, apps like Venmo facilitate the transfer of money almost immediately, and hassle free. There’s almost no reason investors shouldn’t offer their tenants the ability to pay their rent through FinTech.
Online Notary Functionality: Online notary sites like Notarize award today’s landlords the ability to legally notarize important documents between them and their tenants whenever and wherever they want. More importantly, online portals eliminate the need for unnecessary trips. While not relegated to the real estate industry, Notarize is the perfect tool for investors to maximize their efficiency. Again, if your goal is to collect passive income, the more automated your business is, the better, and online notary functionality can get you one step closer. Think about all the time you’ll save by not having to drive back and forth between properties, and consider how magnified the benefits will be when they are compounded over several properties.
Geo-Targeted Social Media Ads: As their names would suggest, geo-targeted social media ads award investors the ability to market their services in specific locations, and to the audience that would be the most receptive. Take advantage of the tools offered by Snapchat, Instagram, Google and Facebook to get your listings in front of the right people in the right areas. If for nothing else, these ads will optimize your marketing efforts.
If you are looking to introduce more automation to your business, may I recommend the following?
Virtual Reality: While many are convinced that virtual reality is still in its infancy, and rightfully so, there’s no reason not to believe in a technology with the ability to impact so many applications. To that end, virtual reality may be years out from full adoption, but I am convinced it’ll be a household item for real estate investors of every level sooner rather than later. Through the use of virtual reality, investors can take potential buyers or renters on tours of properties without ever leaving the house; not only that, but they can also increase the amount of people that see their homes exponentially. With virtual reality, investors no longer need to trade time for showings; they can simply have their clients log online and “walk through” the property themselves.
Property Manager: Not so much a technology as it is a service, third party property management is designed specifically to do the “heavy lifting” for those who would rather not. Third party property management, in fact, allows passive income investors to refrain from taking an active role in their own property. As such, those inclined to hire a third party manager may spend their time on more important things, like adding more properties to their portfolio.
Optimized Squeeze Pages: Squeeze pages act as a funnel to direct internet traffic to a desired location. Blogs, for example, may direct interested readers to a squeeze page in order to collect the reader’s information. Therefore, if you were looking to automate your real estate business, one of the first things you should do is hire someone to write regular blog content for your website. Provided the content is good enough, and readers would want more, there’s no reason each blog couldn’t send your audience to a squeeze page that elicits their contact information in return for something of value, like an ebook. More importantly, evergreen content (content that doesn’t have an expiration date) could drive traffic to your squeeze pages regularly, without any additional work on your behalf.
The right real estate technology in the hands of someone that knows how to use it is a powerful combination. After all, technology in real estate is meant to do one thing: optimize performance. Therefore, if you hope to get the most out of your career in the real estate industry, I highly recommend adopting the technologies that have proven themselves, time and time again. Only then will you be able to realize your true potential.