Virtual Era: How Technology is Changing the Buyers' Market

Social networks are the fastest growing businesses of the past millennium. They reach 41 percent of all individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 who live in countries with developed market economies.

The so-called Millennial Generation are people born between 1980 and 2000. It is one of the largest generations in history and they are now starting to spend money. This generation's readiness for economic transformation and alternative buying and selling methods is forcing companies to change how they do business. The real estate market is not an exception. Those looking for their first homes will be on the market soon as the social networks are changing the buyers' market in ways we have never seen before. Traditional photographs and videos are being replaced by instant, free and unprocessed recordings of offered properties without involving a large number of people in the process. "What is great in the use of networks is that you are the sole producer, director and actor in your own television show", people of the Stephen Udoff real estate agency have stated. The agency has recently concluded a deal worth $80,000 per month for renting properties using only the Snapchat application meaning that clients do not personally go to see the properties before they sign rental agreements.

It is important to make yourself stand out from the crowd. When the potential majority of buyers are from the Millennial Generation, social networks are the medium that can help you achieve that goal. However, this is not just about the Millennials. This is also about the demographic group of people between the ages of 30 and 45 that is becoming more and more active in the world of internet and new media. During the upcoming years, the older generations will likely join the platform user base just like it has happened with Facebook and Instagram, for example. Therefore, real estate agencies should start using these communication channels as soon as possible in order to respond to the market demands and to effectively present their services to potential users.

In today's digital era, buyers gather information on the internet. This is why the sales tactics of real estate agents must continually evolve. Agents tend to use innovative technologies in their work: advertising, searching for new properties and gathering information. Such method of operating and communicating makes their work more effective. The advantage for a buyer is that his/her agent can arrange a viewing and, even before leaving home, the agent can make an appointment to view another property.

One of the greatest changes in real estate transactions in terms of technology use is how clients make purchases. Most buyers today have an idea of what type of a house or apartment they want to purchase. In most cases, they check out the offer and photographs of certain properties they are interested in even before they make an appointment to view it with the agents. Basically, clients make decisions to buy a property in a virtual environment. Therefore, photographs must be professional and of superb quality with the added benefit of drone shots and virtual walks. When all of that is accompanied by instant posts featuring new property offers on the social networks, then we can talk about a step forward in the use of technology in real estate sales. However, this does not imply that online portals and applications are becoming less important. Buyers and sellers still need a basic starting point to help them steer the buying process in the right direction.

The goal is to allow individuals to use their mobile phones to see advertisements and then call agents, or send messages or e-mails asking for more information. This facilitates and speeds up the communication process, and quite often, the buying process as well. Also, the advancements of the information-communication technology facilitate administrative tasks as scanning and e-mailing allow buyers to sign the necessary documents or request additional information from the comfort of their homes at times convenient to them.

Development of the internet and new media is creating new trends on the real estate market, especially in the area of marketing. Network advertising in form of Facebook and 3D advertisements attracts the attention of sellers and buyers. It is believed that individualised marketing – used by real estate agencies to focus on the desires and needs of each individual from their targeted audience – is going to be the next new trend.