The National Association of Realtors (NAR) set out to answer a very simple question—how much are Realtors spending on new technology for their businesses? NAR conducted the 2013-2014 Realtor Technology Survey, which found that Realtors continued to invest in technology for their business in 2013 and spent more than they had in previous years.
According to NAR's survey, brokers spent a median of $1,410 on technology for their real estate business, up from $1,122 in 2012. Agents spent less—in 2013 agents spent a median $848, up slightly from $822 in 2012.
The survey found that technology that allows work to be done while on the move generated the most interest among Realtors. "Smartphones and tablets—iPads, Androids, Surfaces or Kindles—are the tools Realtors are most intent on purchasing; 29 percent of participants said they plan on procuring one of these tools in 2014," NAR found.
"Technology has transformed the way Realtors do business, but in real estate, being high tech can never come at the expense of being highly accessible," said Mark Lesswing, NAR SVP and chief technology officer. "Advances in Smartphones and social media have made it easier for Realtors to stay in touch with their customers, but maintaining a strong, personal relationship with clients is still at the heart of the business."
NAR's survey found that 94 percent of Realtors use mobile devices to communicate with clients. Realtors spent a median 44 percent of their time corresponding with or doing work for their clients with their mobile devices. Certain mobile devices were used more widely than others—iPhones made up 52 percent of devices respondents use, while 36 percent use Android devices and 3 percent Blackberry devices.
"Realtors tend to find the most value in technologies that allow them to conduct business quickly, conveniently and on the go," Lesswing said. "Embracing new technologies and online resources is a vital part of how Realtors identify, market and sell homes and guarantee that they are meeting their clients' needs."
Social media also proved to be an important link for Realtors to reach their clientele. The survey reported that 91 percent of all Realtors use social media, with 70 percent saying they use social media to build relationships and network. Additionally, 64 percent of Realtors said they use the platforms for marketing and lead generation.
Facebook topped the list as most used social media platform with 77 percent of respondents using the service, while 75 percent said they used LinkedIn.