The Evolving Role Of Technology

By RSIR Staff |

We live in an increasingly technological world. As such, advances in technology shape much of our daily lives, from the smart phones we hold in our hands, to consumer experiences in a range of industries and the strong Seattle economy fueled, in large part, by tech. Together with Forrester Consulting, Sotheby’s International Realty® conducted a study to uncover the roles technology plays throughout the home buying and selling journey. To be sure, in just the past few years, technology has changed the landscape of the real estate industry, and while these changes might feel monumental, the reality is we are only at the beginning. Below, we’ve outlined key findings from the report.

“Technology continues to be topical in the world of real estate. It brings consumers into new conversations and allows brands to be innovative in fresh and inspiring ways. However, this focus on technology can cause us to overlook the key component in engaging with today’s consumers: the personal touch. While the latest tools are important, they cannot replace the human element that is involved in a real estate transaction,” Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, writes in the report introduction. “We are committed to sharing this research so that, as a brand, we can provide you with industry leading tools . . . and point the way forward in our industry as it continues to evolve.”

Technology Captures an Active Audience

Consumers are more knowledgeable and empowered than ever. But while most begin their home search online, they still want real estate agent expertise and guidance during the complex process of finding and buying their dream home.

Technology Gets Consumers in the Door—Virtually

Technologies that were once considered cutting-edge are now expected. Consumers want to explore homes using 3D and virtual reality (VR) tours, but few get the change. Real estate agents who can implement these technologies immediately have a unique opportunity to stand out among competitors.

Technology Lets You Focus on Relationships

Technology isn’t just empowering consumers. For real estate agents, it can increase productivity and task automation, freeing up time to build more meaningful relationships with clients.

Visiting Homes — Virtually / High-Tech Viewing Solutions Excite Consumers

The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is an industry leader in ensuring our entire network has easy access to the very latest technologies that consumers are demanding. Just a few years ago, 3D and VR tours were well out of most real estate agents’ reach. But today, they’re readily available to our real estate agents as well as integrated directly in to property detail pages on

Both 3D and VR tours come with a host of benefits. Consumers can experience a realistic tour of a property of their own terms and their own time, which means:

  • Fewer wasted viewings and open house days
  • Less inconvenience for your sellers
  • More engaged leads
  • More time for you to devote to more clients

Stage a Whole House in Minutes

The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is the first real estate brand to launch and implement an exclusive AR virtual staging app: Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty℠. This app enables consumers to visualize any house furnished in their preferred style before purchase.

Technology in Seattle

The landscape of the Emerald City has been greatly shifted by technology. According to a recent Puget Sound Business Journal article, Seattle falls within the top ten national metropolitan areas for tech employment, with Washington state ranking number one in “tech economic impact as a percentage of the state economy.” As the article outlines, “the industry pumped $94.5 billion dollars into the Washington economy [in 2018],” much of which is concentrated to the Seattle metropolitan area. In all, tech companies such as Microsoft and Amazon employ over 240,000 workers alone and there are over 250,000 people that work for a company outside of the tech sector but hold a tech job, such as an IT worker at a department store. That means there are nearly 500,000 workers that hold tech occupations in Washington state, making up “10.6 percent of the total workforce in the state, the third-highest ratio in the country, behind only Massachusetts and Virginia.”

Tech also seems to be moving “across the lake” in the region as well, with the Eastside—and Bellevue in particular—making headlines for new Amazon and Facebook campuses. Amazon recently announced plans to shift thousands of employees to Bellevue over the next five years. Some have speculated that Amazon’s decision to move east could have a ripple effect, encouraging other tech companies that haven’t yet set up satellite offices on the Eastside to do so.

In late 2018, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty outlined the way in which tech titans are driving demand into Seattle and beyond. The report covers key tech statistics include “by the numbers” looks at the industry in Seattle and the Eastside. Read more here.