Is Technology Taking Over Construction?

Computer technology first entered the field of building construction as a means for architects and clients to design customized structures. Today, digital technology and robotics have entered the construction phase with the ability to prefabricate or completely build homes, businesses and other structures. The technology speeds the building process, while in many cases, protects the environment and saves money.

Technological Need 

Robotics became popular in the construction industry secondary to the economic decline. The housing slump cause many workers to leave the field. The traditional techniques for building homes also became too costly for contractors and potential homeowners alike.

Traditionally, a number of people comprised construction crews who were present for every phase of the building process from the laying of the foundation to completing the finishing work. Now, a number of companies create the floors, walls and roof of a structure in a factory or a warehouse in less than one day. The components are then shipped to the construction site and assembled in a few days time. Electrical, plumbing and finishing work is then completed.

Construction Robots 

Blueprint Robotics is one of the many innovative companies that enables architects and engineers to convert blueprints into software. Robots follow the plans to create the components of each structure. The automated machines do the measuring, cutting, drilling and basic fabrication. Factory workers start the machines, load the materials and monitor the processes. Compared to old-fashioned techniques used for home building, the digital and robotic technology have the capability of reducing the time frame needed for construction by 20 to 80 percent.

Robotics can also be used on the construction site. A company in New York uses robotic technology to lay bricks in a fraction of the time that it takes traditional bricklayers. Construction management software used during the building process also prevents possible miscommunication between contractors and subcontractors. In this way, all involved in the construction project are continually updated as to progress or delays.

3D Printed Structures 

The popularity of 3D printing in recent years also inspired engineers to develop robots capable of printing homes, businesses and other structures in less than one day. The Russian company known as Contour Crafting was recently able to complete the construction of a 2,500-square-foot home in under 24 hours. Similar companies demonstrate similar capabilities in China and the United States.

How To Create Client Relationships That Can Build Your Business

Real estate agents have many tools at their disposal to help them find the perfect home for their clients or to sell a home for as much over list price as possible. The internet and other technology makes getting the word out about a particular home as easy as pressing a button on a keyboard.

But, as any successful real estate agent will tell you, all the technology in the world is not as important as building lasting and solid client relationships. Below are some ways to form lasting bonds with both home buyers and sellers:

1. Engage your community: This is an area where technology can be extremely helpful. Ensure that your web site offers clients and prospective clients an engaging experience with plenty of feedback.

2. Help your client to shine: Be intentional in helping your client to look their best in front of others. By helping them to appear to be the hero in the real estate transaction, you will not only advance your business relationship, but gaining a friend who can help you grow your business.

3. Kindness and respect matter: There’s a great deal of truth in the maxim “treat others as you would want to be treated.” Kindness, courtesy and respect are the hallmarks on which successful personal and business relationships are built. It is also important to be honest and admit where we’ve made a misstep.

4. Marry your personal relationships and technology: Technology exists to simplify your business, so use it to help you keep track of appointments; clients wish lists; and sales leads. These reminders mean you don’t have to remember anything but still have all the information you need to successfully close the deal at your fingertips.

5. Put your clients first: Successfully closing deals is the heart of the real estate business, but to do that an agent has to demonstrate that he sincerely cares about the needs and personal situation of every client.

6. Make a lasting impression: Whether you’ve just rented an apartment or sold a family their forever home, placing a gift that is unique to them in the residence is a way to show them you appreciate their business and care about them.

ICSC Real Estate Conferences

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has a mission to guarantee that the retail real estate industry is recognized for the important and vibrant role it has in the civic, social, and economic life of communities throughout the globe in 100 different countries. This is a leading industry because, in 2016, statistics showed that annual sales of shopping centers in the United States alone yielded over $2 trillion.

ICSC has more than 70,000 members that join together to help drive the United States economy, create jobs, discuss business policies and trends, inspire innovation and collaboration, enrich their local social endeavors, and lead businesses into the exciting future. The organization is strengthened by working with the views of people with different cultures, backgrounds, and thinking styles.

Whether your goal is to bolster your company’s bottom line, learn how to increase your business, or kickstart development of your career, belonging to ICSC opens the door to helpful information on valuable research and industry insights, provides lucrative career-influencing gatherings of members, and leads to new connections with thousands of industry influencers. In addition, members receive discounts on approximately 200 yearly ICSC conferences and meetings.

Events

ICSC hosts hundreds of programs every year so that members can expand their industry expertise with educational and certification courses while they build relationships, do business, and network with other professionals.

An example of an upcoming regional event is:

The annual Florida Conference and Deal Making that will be held August 26 through 28, 2018, at the Orange County Convention Center, South Concourse, in Orlando, billed as “Fun, Sun, and Getting Deals Done.” Learning the latest news and developments about business opportunities and operations and attending education sessions regarding the retail real estate industry will be developers, owners, lenders, brokers, investors, retailers, property asset managers, service and product providers, title underwriters, attorneys, and others who are anxious to talk shop, trade ideas, network, and make deals.
The ICSC Foundation is the charitable arm of the Council and is dedicated to giving back to the communities. It plays a role in attracting, identifying, and developing the outstanding next generation of future employee talent with professional and academic education scholarships, mentoring, and presenting learning opportunities together with job assistance.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Real Estate Startups in 2018

2018 is finally in full swing. Regardless of your thoughts on last year, we must all move forward and look towards a bright and hopeful future. And, if you’re invested in the real estate industry, you may have some exciting trends to look forward to. As someone who is closely connected to real estate, I am incredibly excited to see some new companies and businesses that are looking to make some waves in the industry. Without further ado, here are some of this year’s most interesting real estate startups.
Dealpath
For any of you involved in commercial real estate investment, you may be tired of the tedious and mundane tasks associated with the job. Luckily, Dealpath is looking to make the process a bit easier. With Dealpath, development and acquisition teams can streamline their process by cutting down those pesky tasks and focusing on high-level strategy. Dealpath allows users to communicate easily, collaborate more efficiently and to keep track of deals and projects in real-time.
Flip
Where Airbnb focuses on providing users with the ability to house guest for short-term rentals, Flip does the complete opposite: long-term rentals. With Flip, landlords have a better deal of security on payments and renters have a bit more flexibility. Leases on Flip can range anywhere from a month to a year, but they typically begin at six months. The startup is currently works in the New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles markets and recently secured a $2.2 million seed round of investments.
Rentalutions
With short-term rental services such as Airbnb and FlipKey becoming more and more popular, we are in an era where anyone can be a “landlord.” This is a bit scary, considering the fact that being a landlord isn’t necessarily easy and that title comes with a great deal of responsibility. Rentalutions looks to solve this dilemma by providing the necessary tools and information to brand-new landlords in order to make their lives a bit easier and to make tenants feel a bit more comfortable and safe. Last year, the startup earned $2 million in funding and it looks to continue growing this year.

Real Estate Trends For 2018

It’s the dawn of a new year. 2018 is officially here, and we have a bright future to look forward to. Multiple industries have much to look forward to this year, and real estate is no exception. There’s plenty to celebrate and get excited about. With that being said, I wanted to highlight some of the most fascinating and impactful trends that real estate will likely experience this year.
The Millennial Mindset
Real estate agents are quickly learning that they must learn to work with a newer mindset: The Millennial Mindset. Millennials (those born anywhere from early 80s to late 90s) look at housing in a very different way than previous generations. Millennials are, for one, in debt. Several Millennials have a college degree, which is fantastic, however, that does mean that a great deal of Millennials are now in debt due to their student loans. They are incredibly price conscious. Millennials are also very open to communal/co-living situations. They understand that having more people in a home means less pressure on rent price. Millennials are also constantly invested in their digital devices. Real estate professionals are now learning that, in order to reach this new demographic, they must begin to utilize the tools that Millennials use. This means social media, emails, Internet, simplified websites and mobile apps.
Millennials are also very accustomed to living in a world where almost everything is available at the tap of a button. We can now hail a ride, order food, purchase clothing and goods and even handle our bank accounts from our mobile devices and computers in a few easy steps. Millennials see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do the same with real estate. Having dedicated websites or mobile apps that allow potential home buyers to sell or buy a property is almost a must in today’s age; and if it isn’t yet, it’s getting there.
Short-Term Rentals
This is a growing trend with both Millennials as well as older generations. Short-term rental services, such as Airbnb or FlipKey allow users, and everyday, average citizens, become landlords. You can use your home as a hotel or bed and breakfast and profit! These stays tend to be very short, hence the term, “short-term rental.” As people look for cheaper ways to pay for housing, short-term rentals are the most lucrative market. If you haven’t looked into short-term rentals yet, make sure to do so. The industry has been growing for the last few years and shows no signs of slowing.

Disruptor: Bitcoin in Real Estate

Technology is an absolutely invaluable part of our society. Objectively, the Internet is no longer an option, it is a necessity; we are constantly performing a variety of tasks on our smartphones, which are really supercomputers condensed into a device that’s barely larger than a deck of cards; and we are moving closer and closer to self-driving cars that no longer run on gasoline. The world around us is evolving into a digital utopia, and it’s taking no prisoners. Almost every industry, field or sector has been heavily influenced by some form of technology. One of the more recent impacts technology has made on our society is in our money. And this new form of money is impacting another important aspect of life: real estate.

 

Before I go any further, let me explain what exactly Bitcoin is. Originally introduced in 2009, Bitcoin is a digital form of currency known as cryptocurrency. The system works on a model known as peer-to-peer, meaning users exchange monies with one another directly without the use of a “middleman.” In the simplest description possible, Bitcoin is an online-exclusive method of virtual payment. And even though it has been around for roughly 10 years, it is just beginning to catch on in the mainstream market now.

 

Bitcoin seems to be most prevalent in the retail and restaurant industries. It is quickly becoming a viable option for payment. And now it looks to take on the real estate industry.

 

A report from CNBC.com states that there have already been properties purchased through Bitcoin in New York, Texas and California. President of Magnum Real Estate Group, Ben Shaoul, who was featured in the article, claims that he has begun to see Bitcoin make an impact in the Texas real estate market. He believes that the younger demographic of America is looking for alternative methods to purchase homes and property; they no longer want to rely on traditional U.S. currency. Bitcoin offers that freedom and variety in spades.

 

If Bitcoin continues to become widely accepted, it could take over the world and become just as easa to use as a credit card or a check. I am very interested to see if this new trend will take over or fizzle out.