Real estate tech (technology) is a generic term for real estate-related services that use cutting-edge digital technology. Laypeople often find the real estate sector bewildering because the properties it involves have very particular characteristics, necessitating a broad cross-section of knowledge. This explains why there are so many different expert services involved in real estate. Real estate tech uses technological innovations to make real estate more comprehensible and less intimidating to general consumers. It also helps professionals manage real estate more efficiently.
Various actors participate in real estate—from professionals to general consumers. This makes it difficult to digitalize real estate in a way that focuses on the needs of professionals. Another issue is that real estate is so expensive that general consumers rarely engage in a real estate transaction more than once in their lives. In other words, most people have limited opportunities to learn about real estate. Thus, consumers require significant support to guide them through the process, which in turn entails complex procedures necessary for ensuring safe transactions. Given these factors, the real estate industry at large has been slow to digitalize. On the flipside, this means that there is plenty of room for developing real estate tech.
The first three chapters of the book provide a general discussion on real estate tech. The other chapters then outline the key developments in real estate tech and describes the various services wherein the technology is applied.
Perhaps the most notable development in real estate tech lies in advanced data provision services. Companies have combined real estate-related big data with automated learning and other technology to deliver innovative and valuable services. Examples of these include matching and platform services, other real estate data services that provide information customized to consumers’ needs, services that can appraise real estate at lower costs, those that provide data or matching in relation to property improvements/renovations, and those that allow users to rent spaces for a certain time as part of the sharing economy. This book presents examples of these technological developments together with examples of their practical application.
There are also advanced services for real estate professionals. Examples of these include services that help professionals manage real estate and track data; services that help brokers manage their clientele, provide customer services, manage properties, and inspect properties; and services that analyze client trends to inform and guide marketing strategies. This book presents examples illustrating these services.
Digital innovation has also been used to deliver advanced financial services. Examples include crowdfunding, where investors attract funds on the Internet, “home loan simulation” (i.e. home loan calculators), and assistance for securing an actual mortgage. Additionally, some services use virtual or augmented reality to provide simulated property tours. Still, others use the Internet of Things for household security, locking, and monitoring.
In addition to the existing developments in real estate tech, the author discusses the challenges and outlook for this field. Hopefully, this book will serve as a useful resource in the efforts to develop and apply real estate tech.
(Written by ASAMI Yasushi, Professor, School of Engineering / 2019)