Real Estate Relies More on Technology  

By Anita Mba
Alongside interest rates, government policies and demographics, Technology is poised to become a major driver of the real estate market in the foreseeable future. Given the rapid influence over many facets of other industries, the real estate industry is not left out. 
As technology continues to advance, tech trends are gaining more traction in the industry and the Nigerian market is starting to adopt some trending practices. The market has utilised traditional methods for so long, it is somewhat unwilling to adopt major changes to its practices because it has not so much been affected or bitten by the technology bug.
There are big areas of opportunities for innovation across the industry already being used in more mature markets. Tech is being used to improve other areas of real estate such as mortgage processes, construction, laws/regulations, and marketing. The existence of such platforms and applications makes lives and work simpler.
The most prevalent use of tech has been focused on property listings dominated by a few notable platforms, making it easier for industry leaders to reconsider how tech can make their lives easier and improve business processses. These innovators have showcased the power of tech as it can affect the industry by operating property online marketplaces primarily for sales and lettings of residential and commercial properties, so far it has proven to be very viable, quick and an easy way to get results. This seems like a rather obvious tool but the industry is one that has adequately generated wealth on it’s own for so long without necessarily relying on external factors like tech thus there is the lack of urgency to upgrade practices. 
Developers and owners are embracing online services as a way of engaging prospects and by so doing, circumventing agency fees. The upside is that it allows for transparency as prospects are exposed to a broader selection of properties, thus making comparison easier. The downside however is that puts a lot of unqualified agents out of work, with their roles evolving from agents to advisors which demands some in-depth knowledge of the market.
Real estate professionals are always on the move and are getting smarter with incorporating tech to improve marketing and sales with tech enabled tools such as websites, social media, e-marketing services, mobile applications etc. Smartphones play a major role in the lives of many, there are apps, especially in more diverse markets that agents and brokers employ to carry out their day to day activities.
Agent focused tech innovations that integrate marketing tools, agent operator platforms and customer relationship management have only begun to emerge, this is great development for real estate in many ways, one being that it gives a presence that can easily be managed.  It is expected that these tools which directly serve the market will experience growth to keep up with the trends.
The most obvious hindrance for tech growth is the lack of verifiable data for research and analytics. Accurate data initiatives with specific softwares as opposed to guesstimates by analysts in identifying deficits and opportunities will give the Nigerian real estate industry a major facelift and create room for tech to thrive.
Change may be difficult especially in an industry that has generated trillions on its own, nonetheless, tech adoption is key. Denying the enormous contributions of tech so far to the real estate industry will be ludicrous. As incredibly vast as it is, we have only just begun to scratch the surface as far as tech innovation is concerned.
Given the huge returns, the magnitude of risk and proportion of economy the industry represents, it is only right that some of it be invested in producing fantastic and robust innovations befitting for the industry. The last few years have been quite interesting for tech innovators, we look forward to what the future holds for real estate and tech.