How Technology is Changing Real Estate Brokerage

Since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, no one can honestly argue that technology in general (and personal communications technology more specifically) has played an increasingly larger role in our lives year after year. In areas as diverse as entertainment and politics, investing and traveling, the always-on, internet-connected smartphone has played an outsized role — and real estate is no exception. Just consider how a recent infographic revealed the following: 

  • 98 percent of older millennials search websites compared to older baby boomers 
  • 76 percent of buyers found a home on a mobile device 
  • 44 percent of people purchased a home they found on the internet 

However, technology in real estate isn’t restricted to smartphone. In this post, we’ll discuss real estate technology trends and how they fuel disruptive trends in real estate. 

How technology is changing the real estate industry 

According to the National Association of Realtors, there are 106,548 U.S. real estate brokerage firms. While that number is doubtlessly fluctuating from day to day, one thing is sure: That sum represents a lot of people attempting to sell, lease, and rent a wide variety of properties. How can they stand out from one another and provide value for their clients? One of the ways in which professionals are driving innovation in real estate is through technology. And while that sometimes may involve familiar smartphone integration and internet-based approaches others are more surprising. Below you’ll find some examples of both residential housing technology trends and commercial real estate technology. 

Online listings

If you’ve purchased property in recent decades, you know that online listings aren’t anything new. RISMedia estimated that more than 70 percent of home shoppers start the process online (although we’ve already seen that some sources state that this portion is even greater). What has changed, though, is the availability of cross-referenceable material. School districts, neighborhood livability data, comparable sales and rent estimates, geographical information, satellite imagery, projected repair costs — all of this is available at the click of a button.  

Mobile apps 

Postmodern life is busy, and even seemingly easy tasks such as checking one’s email can start to feel onerous. That’s where utilizing technology in real estate though brokerage-specific apps comes into play. Increasingly, customers don’t want to have to seek out information on their own; they want it to come to them. Commercial and residential realtors have multiple options open to them, such as bespoke, firm-specific apps and general commercial sites such as, Zillow, and Redfin. The same holds true for purchasers, and active agents can use multiple portals to serve clients and evaluate prospects. And while we tend to think of such sites as phone-only propositions, they can also provide email and desktop alerts when users are at their desktops. 

3-D virtual tours

In a Forbes article entitled “Will Technology Replace The Real Estate Profession?”, real-estate professional Carolynn Diakon stated, “Technology has been a wonderful addition to the real estate industry, but it has not and will not replace the real estate agent. … As much as  I personally love technology and look forward to the many more benefits it will bring, I do not expect that our AI vacuums and robotic apps will take over the work of showing houses to clients.” Although she is doubtlessly right, framing the discussion as an either/or choice minimizes the very real opportunities presented by technology for real estate agents. One of the most valuable is 3-D virtual tours. 

These tours aren’t solely the domain of bulky and odd-looking VR headsets. Specialized websites and accompanying apps provide 360-degree, adjustable panoramas of specific properties. Potential purchasers can compare these visuals with accompanying floorplans. Yes, such innovations won’t replace a flesh-and-blood person physically guiding you through space. But it can help you decide whether or not you’re interested in a property, saving everyone precious time. 

Online investing 

Real estate has remained an important part of wealth generation for upwardly mobile investors, but often the high price of most investment-grade properties has remained a barrier to entry. However, that is much less of a problem today thanks to real estate technology market trends allowing ordinary and accredited investors alike to acquire fractional ownership in traditionally expensive areas. Thanks to online investing, individuals and companies alike can acquire positions in real estate debtincome-producing farm land, and commercial real estate

E-signing services 

Once upon a time, finalizing real estate documents with multiple signees was a painful process, especially if the document required the services of a notary. Fortunately, e-signing services have greatly simplified a necessary (but time-consuming) process. With the click of a mouse or a tap of a screen, all parties can execute and finalize agreements in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days. 

How the technology is impacting tenants 

Real estate brokers and purchasers aren’t the only individuals realizing benefits from advancements in real-estate technology. Tenants are also enjoying smoother transaction, better living conditions, and faster maintenance services. Many of the amenities and advancements originally intended for homeowners have shifted into power rental management tools.  


Traditionally, tenants could only pay their rent with a check, cash, or verified funds. However, online options now allow tenants to use credit cards, debit cards, and ACH transfers. At least one property-management platform is also letting them pay with cryptocurrency.  


The quaintly named “internet of things” might be a silly moniker, it provides a pithy description for recent advances that see internet connectivity embedded into, well, pretty much everything. While always-online thermostats, doorbells, appliances, and the like are clearly aimed at homeowners, they also benefit tenants, who often find that they enhance their living experience in a particular property. Additionally, they’re an important technology for real estate agents and property managers for reasons that we’ll discuss further in the following section.   


The internet of things offers additional innovations for those who market properties and those who manage them. A unit that will brew coffee for you, adjust the temperature when you’re out and about, and let you know when a package is delivered has obvious cachet. But it’s also an invaluable tool for property managers. In addition to helping keep utility costs low, this technology can send out alerts when errors occur or when devices stop working entirely. 

When seeking to leverage the latest technological advances, you want an established partner on your team. Millennium Properties has 25 years of experience selling and managing real estate in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland area. Contact us to learn how we can help you! 

Anne Barer

About Ro Crawford

Ro has extensive background in several sectors of the Real Estate industry including residential and commercial assets. Ro is responsible for developing a comprehensive marketing plan for each property as well as managing the company’s social media accounts. She designs, writes and edits offering memorandums, press releases, proposals for new business, eblasts and more. For questions, comments, or suggestions related to our blog, you can contact us via our website.