Technology is Disrupting the Luxury Real Estate Market

Changing times mean that a few industries who didn’t change with them get left behind or go bankrupt. When times change, technology changes with them. For example, we’ve seen astounding changes in the medical field through wearables, telemedicine and home monitoring systems reporting to patients’ doctors. An even better example is driverless cars, which are becoming a little less fearsome to normal drivers. What else can be expected to change? We’re seeing the real estate market leaning towards new technology which would disrupt the luxury real estate market.

What Needs Disrupting?

To answer that question, the progression of both the real estate market and technology should be understood. Millennials and other young people won’t remember how their grandparents found a new house. They had a choice between studying the Sunday newspaper, in which up to six to ten pages of Homes for Sale were listed, or they could call a real estate agent about whom they might or might not have known anything. Grandparents also drove around, pen and paper in hand, to spot For Sale signs in yards. They wrote down the contact information and returned home to make phone calls. Lots of people still do this.

When they hooked up with an agent, they would drive to the properties, walk around, ask questions and then make a decision. They put in an offer and went to closing if the offer was accepted. Lots of phone calls were made between the agent and the grandparents. This dinosaur system of finding properties needed to be disrupted.

Then Times Changed

Pictures in small magazines found at the grocery, postcards mailed out in bulk and radio and TV spots came next. Dedicated publications saw many real estate agents’ pictures, which, when seen often enough, giving house hunters a comforting face to see and a number to call. Getting themselves out there was the point of the exercise, along with instilling confidence in the buying public.

Computers were slow to catch on. When enough people could afford them, emails were the next slow thing to catch on. Suddenly, people could send word to anyone anywhere instantly instead of taking days for snail mail to arrive. The real estate industry jumped on that, too.

Technology then brought the speediest Internet along with websites and social media. Smart phones and tablets soon followed. We know this sounds like a history lesson to young people, but in order to understand how technology is disrupting the luxury real estate market, it is necessary to know how far technology has come. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that pictures on rolls of film needed to be developed from cameras.

What Kinds of Technology?

First, we have to look at who is using the technology to understand the disruption. House hunters go online to Realtor sites and peruse pictures. They drive around their ideal neighborhood, smartphones in hand, and pull up pictures of the house with the For Sale sign in the yard. They already know from the Internet what school district the house is in, how far from work the house would be, and what the taxes would be.

Seller’s load the Internet with pictures, both on social media as well as on real estate pages. Agents take their own pictures and load them on as many pages as they can find. The pictures are also loaded onto mobile real estate sites and mobile social media sites.

Virtual Reality

The modern-style luxury home sits on a wooded lot. The sun shining on the lake sparkles. The home offers an open concept kitchen, dining room and living room. As you walk around the rooms, you can almost smell the fresh paint. Your footsteps resonate on the cherry colored hardwood floors. You decide your furnishing will fit wonderfully in these rooms. The bedrooms are large, the bathrooms up to date, and the master bath is a work of art in spa furnishings. You turn to the real estate agent to discuss an offer, only to find that there isn’t one. You smile sheepishly as you take off the headset. Welcome to virtual reality.

One of the problems of today’s technology that virtual reality can and will overcome is when viewers flatly declare “it doesn’t look the way it did in the pictures”. While real estate agents are on the phone with other clients while fighting traffic to get to your showing, clients will be “touring” the property in question. It will look better than it does in the pictures.

Viewers won’t need a headset to tour a home. They will begin to look, when a hotspot will lead them to the next room. Out of the corner of their eyes, they will find another turn in the home, and they will walk into another room via a dedicated hotspot. The colors and textures and contrasts will be so much sharper and clearer than in videos or pictures loaded onto the Internet. Go ahead give it a try, click play on the image below.

A potential life-saver for both real estate agents and builders is the future lack of model homes. Clients will be able to tour a home via virtual reality. Builders will be able to sell their wares faster, and real estate agents will be able to “show” more homes than ever before. While less than one percent of builders use this technology today, we expect it to really take off in the not too distant future.

Since a headset is out of the realm of most builders’ and real estate agents’ purviews, apps and mobile apps will take their places. Viewers will see homes, their landscapes and views. They will then contact the builder or agent in charge for discussions. No muss, no fuss. And way cool.


Drones are used now for myriad deployments. Picture it: an overhead view of a vast property, fenced and with a swimming pool and outdoor kitchen and living space. The dog even has a brick home of her own. A five-car garage with gables is on the near end of the picture. Six thousand square feet never looked so pretty with gables, solar panels and innovations in the roofline. But what does it look like inside?

Now the picture changes. The kitchen is amazing, and so is the butler’s pantry or second kitchen. The Florida room is a thing of beauty. Five bedrooms and baths, open concept floor plan and a combination of hardwood floors and natural stone floors leave you speechless. You go through each room, fingers to mouth and eyes wide. You’ve just seen a home through the magic of drones.

Drones can fly inches above a hardwood or natural stone floor. Viewers will see the sheen on the floors. Viewers will also see the individual markings on quartz and granite counter tops. They will notice how the light comes into the room from banks of windows. Some of these things can be caught on video, but you rarely see a video cameraman on his knees in order to film the character of the natural stone floor. Video mostly concentrates on the positive features of a room; drones capture the whole thing.

That could be a drawback to drone photography. If a less than pleasing vista or a characteristic of a room should not be highlighted, perhaps video would be the better bargain. However, showing clients the grand and majestic sweep of a property from 2,000 feet in the air is beyond compare.

We are Realty Executives by Realty Choice. The newest technologies are fascinating to us. We appreciate a chance to not only use them, but to show you luxury properties from a new and exciting perspective. We’d love to tell you more about it when you contact us for more information.