WASHINGTON – Nov. 12, 2014 – Mobile technology advances could radically change the ways consumers search for real estate online, according to speakers at the 2014 Realtors® Conference & Expo.

Technology will change and put more power into the hands of consumers – but that's not a bad thing if Realtors understand the tech trends and incorporate the changes into their business.

According to NAR Managing Director of Data Analytics Todd Carpenter, the "Internet of Things" (IoT) – which transfers data over networks without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction – will transform the way consumers shop for real estate online. In fact, it has already changed Americans' lifestyles in some ways.

Carpenter shared big data examples: Mobile apps are already revolutionizing the way individuals go about their day, such as tracking daily physical activity, navigating traffic in real-time and managing a home thermostat from afar.

"A buyer could eventually ask an agent about how a home functions – such as how well it heats or the amount of electricity it uses during certain parts of the day – and receive an immediate answer with detailed graphics and analysis," said Carpenter. "That information may not be readily available to buyers today, but it's coming soon as more individuals use their smartphone to connect their home to the Internet."

Carpenter said that individuals already make more informed decisions about everything from transportation to healthcare industry based on data collected from their smartphone. "These (types of) advances in mobile technology will make it easier for Realtors to communicate valuable information to their clients during the home buying and selling process," he said.

Carpenter said IoT and predictive analytics help more than just consumers. They help the real estate industry too, because it has gained a better understanding of transaction and market data; and the amount of that data will continue to increase and better predict buyer and seller behavior. It will also offer more insights into trends in home preferences and neighborhoods, including highly customized home searches that might include factors such as proximity to the buyer's work, public schools and restaurants.

"Realtors should educate themselves about big data and be knowledgeable of how it's being collected through mobile devices," said Carpenter. "Buyers will increasingly use their smartphone during the search process – often before talking to an agent. Realtors who adapt and embrace big data will add considerable value to their relationship with clients."

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved