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Adoption Of Mobile Technology

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When it comes to new technology, the mortgage industry, or for that matter the entire real estate industry, can be firmly classified as late adopters. The industry’s move from paper documents to electronic, brick and mortar to online lagged that of most consumer markets. While the reluctance to adopt new technologies is rooted in a number of viable reasons, chief among them the complexity of the mortgage/ closing process and the large sums of money involved, the industry is now facing a new technology challenge that demands immediate attention- mobile devices.

Over the past decade the use of mobile technology has grown exponentially. In 2015, over 60% of internet traffic came from a mobile device, whether a smartphone or tablet. Much of the growth in mobile technology has been attributed to the Millennials, the first true internet generation, as they outnumber baby boomers and 20% of them access the internet exclusively through their mobile device. However, a survey of Realtors® conducted earlier this year found that they spend on average 44% of their time conducting business on their mobile device. The average age of the Realtors® surveyed was 57, a couple generations older than the Millennials. The reality is that mobile technology has already become a preferred communication technology across all strata of the home buying public, from the Millennials buying their first home right through to those close to retirement.

Lenders and Realtors® who do not adopt and implement mobile technology will face a double threat that will jeopardize the long term survival of their business. Not only will they be passing up opportunities to reach new customer, but they will also be passing up on the operational benefits that mobile technology affords, directly impacting their competitiveness.Reaching and working with customers through mobile technology streamlines processes, much like the internet did two decades before, resulting in reduced overhead expense that can be funneled back to the market with more competitively priced products. Further, mobile technology improves and speeds communication between the Realtor®, lender and customer by making it easier to interact, share information and keep up-to-date on the status of the transaction.  While improved communication can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, for many customers the ability to communicate by mobile device is an expectation and not a luxury. Realtors and lenders who cannot communication with customers through mobile devices are at a distinct disadvantage to competitors who can.

With increased government regulation of the real estate industry and growing threats from international hackers, companies moving into mobile technology have to ensure that their mobile platform is not only efficient and easy to use but highly secure. In addition, companies must be prepared to uniformly meet the service/ communication demand of mobile device users. Increased levels of customer communication and the expectation of rapid replies 24/7 can quickly overwhelm unprepared staff.

Conducting business through mobile devices is inevitable. Companies that do not get ahead of mobile technology and implement a mobile strategy will, at best, have their customers force the issue or, at worst, see their customers leave for competitors who conduct business through mobile devices.

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