• SPONSOREDInnovative Technology That Can Give Home Buyers the Advantage in L.A.

    By: Amy S. Carden, Owners.com

    While in-person meetings are great for solidifying relationships with home buyers and lending on-the-ground expertise, digital is the way to go for real estate agents working with buyers in fast-moving markets like Los Angeles — particularly when it comes to acting quickly to scoop up a home that may have several offers already. And buyers are beginning to expect their agents to leverage technology to give them an advantage and personalize their experience.

    Owners.com, a tech-driven real estate brokerage dedicated to making real estate simpler, found in a recent survey that more than one-third (36 percent) of recent home buyers wished their agent had leveraged technology to streamline the process. It’s becoming easier for agents to do just that.

    Innovative technology is disrupting the industry in interesting and often fun ways. Take virtual reality, for instance. Pop on a virtual reality headset, and a buyer can tour a home from their own couch and use that interaction to make a decision to see more or move on. One Goldman Sachs report anticipates that the immersive tech market specifically for real estate could top $2.6 billion by 2025.

    Then there’s augmented reality, which mimics the real world and — using the lens in a smartphone or tablet — overlays pictures while viewing a space in person. This tech lets a user take measurements of a room, place virtual furniture in their own style in a space, or test out a wall color before buying the paint.

    Using augmented reality technology allows buyers to visualize the potential of a space, envision themselves in the home, and come to a decision quickly about how — and if — the space works for them. And buyers seem primed to embrace innovation: In a Bank of America survey recently, 36 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable attending an open house using virtual or augmented reality.

    The advancement of devices like Nest and Amazon Echo could disrupt home tours further. It’s not too far of a jump to imagine a smart device that sellers use to alert buyers or agents to open houses as they are driving around. As an agent, being an early adopter of this kind of tech means giving buyers an advantage in competitive markets.

    What about technology that is less science fiction and more practical? Leah Black, an Owners.com agent specializing in the L.A. area., depends upon the Owners.com agent app and its sister app for consumers, and says they are key to streamlining her business and allowing her to find the right home for her clients in less time. It also allows home buyers to have access to their agent on-the-go, which is important in a fast-moving market like Los Angeles.

    “Owners.com technology integrates the entire home buying journey and creates a highly personalized experience,” says Black. “The consumer app and website have MLS and for-sale-by-owner listings. And that means buyers can access a wide variety of listings, narrow their search quickly and act quickly, too.”

    Through a cutting-edge online search algorithm, visitors to Owners.com can sift through listings based on their individual preferences. Results are ranked to show how well houses match those criteria. In addition, Owners.com gives buyers the ability to schedule multiple property tours via online or mobile, increasing their chances of being the first to view a home. After the tour, agents can use the agent app to email a tour report with a summary of the viewing including pictures, a description and any notes, thus helping their clients stay organized and understand their options.

    All of these features make the home search more efficient and they lessen the risk of missing out on the right home in a competitive market. And Black says that these tech-forward tools can help with every part of the home buying experience.

    “You can do it all on the app: get preapproved for a mortgage, book home tours, look at schools and neighborhoods, and close,” Black says. “Plus, the apps make it easy to communicate. I can work with my clients in whatever way they want to work with me. It’s all about personal preference.”

    Once an offer is accepted, things slow down and go analog for the rest of the process. However, there are other useful apps to keep things moving. One example is the ability to collect signatures securely online with DocuSign (Free, itunes.com).

    All of this available technology significantly shifts the way real estate professionals conduct business and connect with clients. Keeping up with the trends in technology can be challenging for agents and buyers alike, but using even one of the above tools can give clients a definite advantage in hot markets.

    Visit Owners.com to find your way home.