The National Association of Realtors (NAR) examined trends in technology in its new industry analysis, NAR's 2021 Technology Survey, as Realtors have found drones and cybersecurity as the most impactful emerging technologies in their business. In addition to drones (37%) and cybersecurity (34%), Realtors believe that 5G (31%), and virtual reality (30%) will also have a significant impact on their business in the next 24 months.
The survey examined the current use of technology by Realtors, finding that the most valuable tools used in the past 12 months were eSignatures (78%), local MLS apps/technology (54%), social media (53%), lockboxes (48%), and video conferencing (39%).
"The pandemic has confirmed to all of us in the industry that technology will continue to transform real estate," said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. "The great work being done by NAR, including our Strategic Business, Innovation and Technology Group, has ensured that Realtors will continue to have access to the latest technology and remain at the forefront of the innovations driving the market forward."
Thirty-seven percent of those polled agreed that their brokerage provides them with all the technology tools they need to be successful, and 27% strongly agreed. The top tools provided by brokerages were eSignature technology (57%), personal websites (54%), customer relationship management tools (54%), and transaction management tools (50%). Thirty-six percent said that their broker does not charge any technology fees, and 50% said that the price their broker charged was reasonable.
Even if not provided with these tech options, NAR's report found that Realtors are willing to pay, as 36% spend on average between $50-$250 per month on technology to use in their business. Eighteen percent spend between $251-$500, and 23% spend more than $500 monthly on technology.
Respondents also noted that social media is more prevalent now than ever in their businesses, with Facebook leading the way, used by 90% of Realtors, followed by Instagram (52%), LinkedIn (48%), YouTube (24%), and Twitter (19%). The role of video in marketing endeavors has risen as well, as 37% of respondents noting the use of video in their marketing, and 35% currently not using video but plan on implementing it.
"There is no denying that social media has become an integral tool to promote a listing," Goldberg said. "The pandemic has caused more of our members to use social media and video to creatively market themselves and their properties."
The top reasons respondents cited using social media in their business included that they are expected to have a presence on social media (54%), it helps build and maintain relations with existing clients (49%), and it can be used to promote listings (49%). Additionally, 36% said they use social media to find new prospects, and 33% claim it helps them network with other real estate professionals.
When asked about tech tools not currently provided by their broker, cyber security topped the list at 19%, followed by lead generation (16%), eNotary tools (11%), CRM (10%), and personal websites (10%).
Click here to learn more about NAR’s 2021 Technology Survey.