Technology That Has Changed Real Estate

Real estate is one of the oldest industries in the world. People have always needed a place to live and call home. Although real estate as we know it has not actually been around since the dawn of man, it has been in existence for several decades, and because of this, it has had time to develop and change drastically. Due to the recent advancements in technology, real estate has a very bright future, but I wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the tech that has changed real estate over the years.

 

Internet

To be fair, the introduction of the Internet didn’t solely affect real estate; the entire world was given the ability to communicate instantaneously with one another and, naturally, this astounding technology greatly impacted various aspects of society. It’s not everyday that such a versatile and unique invention comes along, so when the Internet was created and then permeated throughout the public, it changed almost every major industry, real estate included.

 

Like most professional industries, real estate was impacted greatly by email. Before then, realtors could only communicate via telephone, physical mail or in person. With email, realtors and clients could communicate at all hours of the day, instantaneously. But the biggest advancement for real estate has to be the ability to utilize online real estate sites for listing and buying homes. The Internet allowed for sellers, buyers and realtors to truly take control of their listings. Sellers can upload photos of their listings to sites like Zillow or Homes and give potential buyers an idea of the home before they even visit for a showing; buyers can get great feedback on realtors from actual users in order to make informed decisions; the Internet truly allowed for major progressions in real estate that helped streamline the process of buying and selling a home.

 

Social Media
Without the Internet, we wouldn’t have social media, but I still feel as though social media has become its own separate entity. It may be hard to believe it, but social media in its most basic form, was invented in 1997 with the creation of a website called Six Degrees. Since then, we’ve had a complete digital and social revolution with sites and applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram taking over the majority of the world’s Internet users. Coincidentally, each of these social media profiles has allowed for new and exciting ways for realtors to reach out to potential buyers. With Facebook, realtors can host live viewings of their listings and showcase the house to hundreds of viewers in order to accommodate almost any schedule; with Twitter, realtors can give quick updates to listings in real-time; with Instagram, realtors can host a variety of videos and photos of their listings. And each of these platforms allows for realtors to communicate directly with their clients at all times.

 

There have been a bevy of technologies to release that have drastically impacted real estate, however, I feel as though these two technologies have done the industry a great deal of service. I may discuss these other technologies in a later blog.

Why Your Realtor Won’t Sell Your House

You’re ready for a change of scenery, either because of work or simply through your sheer power of will; you want to sell your house. So, you look for a realtor, and no matter how hard you try, not a single one seems interested in selling your home. This may seem odd since most people assume that all realtors are begging for houses to sell, but that is simply not the case. There are many factors and variables that can affect whether or not a realtor will even spend his or her time on your home. Here are a few reasons why a realtor wouldn’t want to work with you.

 

Asking for too much

If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably spent years in your house; you’ve renovated the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom, you’ve painted the outside of the house and you’ve spent a great deal of time growing a beautiful garden outback. To you, your house is almost invaluable. Unfortunately, not everyone will see it this way. There are a bevy of factors that go into what determines the actual value of a house, and if you believe that your house is worth more than what your realtor does, then the agent will more than likely not bother. If the agent does decide to take on the listing, it could spend months on the market, which hurts his or her reputation.

 

You aren’t willing to show it

The best way to really entice potential buyers is by letting them into your house. Much like any other purchase, humans typically enjoy seeing something before they buy, especially when making such a large investment. Because of this, you need to be willing to show off your house. If you’ve put the time and work into it, then don’t be afraid to put it on display. Many sellers are afraid of theft and they opt out of showings, or they are not flexible in their showing hours. This can all make a realtor very wary of your home.

 

Your house is messy

This is incredibly plain and simple: if your house is unkempt and dirty, it makes the sell much harder. And realtors know this. While they can suggest that you clean it up before they take the listing, if you are unwilling to make the appropriate adjustments, they will more than likely skip altogether.

 

At the end of the day, realtors need to make a profit from the house that they are selling. If your home presents too many challenges, and you are unwilling to be flexible and reasonable, they will likely refuse to list your house. Take some of these tips, get out there and sell your house!

4 Reasons Why You Should Add Commercial Real Estate to Your Portfolio

If you’ve followed the stock market recently, you’re no doubt familiar with the volatility the market has suffered in recent weeks. Indeed, February saw the largest one-day drop in the history of the Dow Jones. And while the markets are still strong, this turbulence — as well as future uncertainty with international trade relations — has made real estate investing a more enticing option for forward-thinking investors. In particular, more investors are turning to commercial real estate opportunities in the United States as a way to balance out their investment portfolios.

Investing in Real Estate to Combat Inflation

According to a recently released study by famed investment specialist, Martha Peyton, commercial real estate investments responded better to periods of inflation than corporate stocks, long-term government treasuries, and private bonds. The reason why commercial real estate is such an effective hedge against inflation is that during times of inflation, the price of real estate — particularly larger multi-tenant properties — also goes up.

Take Advantage of Tax Benefits

The Internal Revenue Code offers a wide range of benefits to individuals who own real estate owners. For instance, smart investors can transition large portions of their real estate earnings into things like depreciation deductions and mortgage interest as a way to shield their dividends. Before diving into this sort of high-level real estate investments, though, it’s wise to have a conversation with your tax accountant about how to derive the most benefit from this approach.

Commercial Real Estate Continues to Appreciate

A quick analysis of historic investment trends in commercial real estate indicates that commercial real estate appreciates faster than other investment types. One reason for this is that commercial real estate can appreciate in value because of things that exist outside of the market. For example, a landlord can make a commercial property more valuable by renovating or updating a building to make it more modern. These improvements make the commercial holding more valuable, even though the stock market is not involved in the process.

Commercial Real Estate Has Intrinsic Value

Another reason investors are beginning to turn to commercial real estate is because these properties actually have intrinsic value. While it can be difficult to pinpoint the actual value of a stock, a commercial real estate property is valuable because the land the property sits on has tangible value, as does the actual structure of the property itself. This intrinsic value means that commercial real estate holdings do not fluctuate in value as frequently as stocks do.

3 Great Tech Tools for Real Estate Investors

Although the real estate world was late to the party when it came to adopting technology, property investors will be pleased to know that there are a number of tech tools out there that real estate moguls can use to increase their investment earnings. Just like in other industries, digital technology and online networks have made it easier than ever before for real estate investors to scale their businesses and grow their holdings.

This article will outline a few online tools and digital networks that savvy real estate investors should consider adding to their arsenal as they build their business.

Finding Sales Comparisons with Zillow

Zillow is a real estate listing website that offers a wide range of tech-related benefits for real estate investors. Zillow allows users to quickly compare current listing prices and market trends to see if they are making a fair offer on a particular property. If you’re thinking about placing an offer on a fixer upper in a college neighborhood, for example, Zillow lists the prices of all recent sales in the property’s neighborhood, giving you a good idea if you’re making an offer that will allow you to win the property. Zillow’s quick comparison feature makes it an indispensable digital tool for real estate flippers.

Online Communities for Real Estate Investors

Another tool real estate investors should consider utilizing is real estate-specific online networks. If you’re on Facebook, poke around and find the real estate investment groups for your area — there are sure to be a few! These groups — as well as Facebook chat groups that were made for landlords — are a great way to learn about local real estate events, foreclosures, and auctions.

For investors wanting to join a broader digital community, a popular real estate forum to look into is Bigger Pockets. This forum brings together real estate enthusiasts from around the United States to trade tips and tricks on the latest real estate investing trends.

Tools for Landlords Wanting to Estimate Rent

Depending on your real estate investment strategy, figuring out how much to charge your tenants for rent could be an important step in building a more sustainable, long-term real estate portfolio.

For aspiring landlords, a tool like Rent-O-Meter is a great way to ensure that what you plan on charging your tenants is in-line with what they might expect to pay elsewhere for something comparable.

Zillow also offers historical rent information on properties, making it just one more reason to acquaint yourself with the site if you want to consider yourself a tech-savvy real estate investor.

An Overview of a $30 Million Mansion

What kind of real estate does $29.5 million buy? That’s a question that few will ever have the opportunity to explore–at least seriously. This Manhattan townhouse, though, allows a heady peek into the lifestyles of the upper echelon. Read on for a sampling of the delights of this Chelsea gem.
It comes with its own Bentley
Yes, it’s true: Whoever buys this house won’t have to worry about finding a place to park in Manhattan, as the pad comes fully equipped with a hot rod–itself worth half a million dollars. Check out the pictures here.
It offers two-plus bathrooms for each bedroom
While the mansion itself has a relatively modest five bedrooms, there are 11 baths, including a steam room and a sauna. This means that even if two people were to occupy each room, no one would have to take turns in the shower. Talk about how the other half lives.
There’s a yoga room and a lap pool
No need to join a gym–the tenants will have plenty of opportunities for exercise right in their own home. That ought to make the price tag sting just a little bit less.
The living room is the best spot in the house
Alyssa Soto Brody, the Realtor handling the property, is most enamored of the 26-by-23 foot living room. In addition to the 13-foot ceiling and wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, the space also boasts LED lighting that casts different colors on the enormous gas-powered fireplace.
A kitchen to die for
With its marble surfaces, cabinets covered in Swarovski crystals and vegan crocodile leather, and sleek chrome appliances, this area almost looks too pretty to cook in–although that’s not likely to bother the residents..
A room with its own floor
The fourth floor is taken up entirely by the master suite, which includes a gorgeous hand-cut mosaic Italian soaking tub.
The Realtor refers to the property as the “Bentley Batcave”
At 11,000 square feet, the space is clearly no cave; however, die-hard Bruce Wayne fans are likely to appreciate the comparison. While the price tag may be steep, bear in mind that in this corner of the Big Apple, parking spots alone have been known to fetch over $1 million.

New Virtual Lab for Developers, Builders, and Clients

The real estate industry is a perfect one to make excellent use of the amazing game-changing Computer Aided Virtual Environment (CAVE) technology. Suffolk Construction, a national building contractor, announced having opened a Smart Lab in its Miami office in March, joining other labs in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Tampa, and San Francisco, all having opened during the past year.

Using CAVE enables an individual wearing an HTC Vive headset or a group exploring a virtual space via WorldViz VR 3D glasses to “walk through” a photorealistic future project’s 3D model that was created from architectural drawings and blueprints. Imagine being able to go to a work site, make design decisions, spot potential problems, ride elevators, go into rooms to make sure dimensions are correct, change appliances or the wallpaper or any item, all with a handheld controller.

Joe Fernandez, Suffolk Construction’s vice president of operations, said that the basic concept is being able to build a structure in pixels before building it in brick and mortar and therefore being able to show a client and the builders exactly what it is going to look like, both inside and out. According to a recent Software Connect survey, currently just six percent of construction companies implement VR technology, but that is expected to grow to 15 percent by the year 2020.

Additional features of the Smart Lab include a Data Wall of nine smart-board touchscreens providing predictive analytics and information for ongoing and completed projects, live streaming feeds of job sites, comparisons of construction at various stages, and more. Also included is a Huddlewall, which is a giant display for planning meetings which allow plumbers, electricians, painters, and others to collaborate on the current project in real time.

Projects that have already incorporated virtual reality technology in the designing and building include:

The Sunny Isles Beach Jade Signature futuristic luxury condo tower that opened on March 16, 2018; the new Royal Caribbean Cruises terminal at Port Miami, which is looking at a completion date of October 2018. Royal Caribbean has even designed some of their ships entirely using virtual reality; and the 638-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood that is due to open in the summer of 2019.

Best Architectural Designs

Empire State Building

At 350 Fifth Avenue between West 33 and West 34 Streets, this Art Deco building has a steel frame plus granite, limestone, and mullions with aluminum. Dating back to 1930-1931, the skyscraper has 102 floors, is 1252 feet high, and has 6,500 windows with sandblasted spandrels that created the facade’s unique vertical striping.

This was the tallest building in New York City for over 40 years until 1972 when the North Tower of the World Trade Center was completed. Following the harrowing events of 9/11, the Empire State Building became NYC’s tallest building for the second time.

It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1986, was ranked number one in 2007 by the AIA on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture, and was named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Modern World’s Seven Wonders.

Chrysler Building

This is another skyscraper with Art Deco architecture and is located on Manhattan’s east side at Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. Standing 1,048 feet high, having 77 floors, and dated 1928-1930 at a cost then of $20,000,000, it was the tallest building in the world before the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931. Steel gargoyles which depict American eagles stare out over the city, and there are sculptures of Chrysler automobile radiator caps and car wheel ornaments.

The entrance lobby is three stories in height, was refurbished in 1978, is shaped like a triangle with entrances coming in on all three sides, and is lavishly decorated with Moroccan red marble walls and Art Deco items of blue marble, onyx, and steel.

It is still the world’s tallest BRICK building, it has 3,826,000 bricks, is an outstanding example of Art Deco, and is mentioned by a multitude of architects to be one of NYC’s finest buildings.

Grand Central Terminal

At Midtown Manhattan’s 42nd Street and Third Avenue, and often inaccurately referred to as Grand Central Station, it dates back to 1903-1913 and has a Beaux-Arts stone facade style. Built in the heyday when long-distance passenger trains were so popular, it is still the world’s largest train station with below-ground 44 platforms with 67 tracks on two levels with upper-level 41 tracks and lower-level 16 tracks.

Real Estate Myths Debunked

Whether you’re trying to sell your home or looking for a home to buy, there is a great deal of misinformation out there. It’s important to learn the truth, because believing in one of these myths could force you to commit a costly mistake.
Sell Your Home for More Than it’s Worth
This is a common myth and it could actually hurt the sale of your home. Some people believe that setting an asking price above the home’s market value can help you sell your home for the price you really want. While it’s true that buyers try to negotiate the final price, trying to sell for too much can chase away potential buyers.
Buyers Do Better Without an Agent
The idea behind this myth is that the real estate agent’s fee will be spared. This is a false assumption. Real estate agents working for the buyer and seller share a percentage of the sale. In a case where the buyer isn’t working with an agent, the seller’s agent gets the full share.
Sellers Don’t Need a Real Estate Agent
While technically true, trying to sell your home won’t save you much money. The buyer will expect a discount from a seller working without an agent, so the money you save on the agent’s commission will be lost to the buyer. Additionally, you’ll have to be able to do everything an agent can do from listing the property online to handling the closing.
Sellers Should Remodel Their Kitchen and Bath
This is frequently recommended, but it may actually be bad advice. Buyers may have their own plans for the kitchen and bath, so putting in the work ahead of time could negatively impact a sale. Especially if they don’t share your tastes, they may prefer to look for a home that hasn’t been updated recently.
Sellers Can Expect to Earn Back What They Spend on Renovations
While it will be noticed, if the roof is in bad shape or the air conditioning doesn’t work, fixing these big ticket items won’t help you raise the value of your home. Buyers may feel it’s your responsibility to repair these things before putting the home on the market, so they usually won’t be willing to pay more for an updated home. However, if you don’t fix these things, you may actually lose value in your home.
There are more myths flourishing in the real estate industry, so always check to be sure something is true. If you don’t do enough research, you may find that it cost you money instead of helping you save. Always direct questions to a qualified and experienced real estate agent to avoid making devastating mistakes.

Renting Vs. Owning: What’s The Difference?

Many people are torn between the prospect of owning a home versus the carefree lifestyle of simply renting. The pros and cons of both renting and owning have been laid out below in a simple and concise manner.
Upfront Costs

When calculating the upfront cost of renting a home or an apartment, the figures are relatively affordable. Renting only requires a light contract with first and last months rent along with a security deposit in order to successfully obtain said property. Alternatively, homeownership tends to be very heavy in regards to upfront costs. When going through the process of purchasing a home, a person is usually required to pay a certain percentage of the mortgage immediately including any and all closing costs.
Fluctuating Monthly Expenses

One advantage of owning a home is that the monthly mortgage payment is set by the bank who issued the mortgage. Depending on the type of interest rate that was negotiated, the monthly mortgage payment can remain steady for many months depending on how housing costs rise and fall. Alternatively, when paying rent to a landlord, the rent can be increased at the whim of a landlord but only if they follow proper legal regulations regarding rent increases. If someone is renting without a contract, the renter is at the complete mercy of the landlord in regards to the monthly rental rate.
Repairs and Renovations

A homeowner is financially and physically responsible for all repairs to the home. The bright side to this is that they also have the freedom to redesign, redecorate, or renovate the home as much as they desire. A person who rents isn’t usually afforded the same privilege. Landlords may impose strict rules in the rental contract regarding changes to the home or apartment, preventing the renter from painting, remodeling, or redecorating. On the other hand, renters aren’t responsible for any repairs and can usually apply for replacement appliances and fixtures if covered by the rental agreement.
Relocating

When renting a home or an apartment, deciding to pick up and move to a different city or state is relatively simple. A person can sublet the remainder of their lease to a third party and skip town before their rental contract has expired. On the other hand, a homeowner doesn’t have that same luxury. A homeowner must first prepare their home to be sold and ensure it has enough equity to be marketable. This could take months or years to accomplish.
Choosing whether to become a homeowner versus remaining a renter really depends on the type of lifestyle you live and whether you prefer security or freedom.

How Tech May Impact the Real Estate Market Over the Next Year

Technology’s impact on the real estate industry is gradually starting to take hold. To stay competitive, many real estate professionals and companies are changing their business models or the way they do business. With technology rapidly changing consumer behavior, real estate professionals must adapt to the digital innovations that are beginning to define the sector. Here are some tech trends real estate professionals can expect to happen this year and beyond.

Machine Learning/AI
Real estate pros are constantly looking for ways to streamline their processes, and many in the industry are counting on machine learning and AI to improve efficiency. Many agents and brokers now use artificial intelligence to match properties to a homebuyer’s specific requests. Additionally, many companies are finding ways to use machine learning and AI to spot trends in housing markets. The goal would be to use data backed by facts instead of relying on a hunch to make home buying and selling decisions.

Chatbots
Artificial intelligence is what programmers and computer scientists use to process natural language in the form of chatbots. This technology is one of the fastest growing trends in the customer service industry, and the real estate market is certainly no exception. Companies are looking for ways to use AI and chatbots to automate engagement between agents and brokers. They also hope to use chatbots to transform lead generation in an effort to streamline their marketing efforts. Chatbots are proving themselves as an invaluable tool in answering customers’ simple queries about home availability and pricing.

Blockchain Technology
By now, many people are familiar with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but they may be unfamiliar with the technology that fuels cryptocurrencies. Known as blockchain, this technology is far more than a cryptocurrency payment gateway. Instead, it is a powerful decentralized database that could hold important records on virtually any property in the world. If real estate professionals implement the technology, it could provide a fraud-proof way to access far more data on homeowners and properties.

The real estate industry could see some dramatic changes in the way companies conduct business over the next several years due to the rapid rise of technology. However, many real estate experts agree that the industry is overdue for a tech shakeup. Although the future of real estate and technology is uncertain, companies will have to adapt as AI and machine learning continues to evolve.