In today’s fast-paced world, technology touches every aspect of our lives, and its influence has seeped into the real estate realm.
Technology has allowed the real estate industry to evolve and has streamlined how REALTORS® do business.
No one knows this better than Matthew Honsberger. Honsberger wears many hats: REALTOR®, broker, president of Royal LePage Atlantic, past-president of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® (NSAR)—and the 2019-2020 Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)’s Technology Committee Chair. He also participated in the CREA WEBForms® focus group.
We recently sat down with Honsberger to discuss all things technology. Here’s what he had to say:
How do you use technology in your business?
This is a long list—everything from digital document signing and storage, through to photography and video applications. Basically, the best way to describe how we use technology in our business is to enhance and improve the communications that we know we need to have with customers on a daily basis. Whether that’s through organization (client relationship management systems, digital signing or digital document storage), enhancement (video chat, Matterport and iGUIDE virtual tours, digital photography, etc.) or anything else to improve our communication with stakeholders—it’s essential to our business.
How has technology changed the way you do business?
We can be way more efficient with the way we interact with stakeholders (customers, colleagues, other agents, etc.) when using technology. However, we make sure to use caution to ensure we don’t lose that “personal touch.”
What is your favourite technological advance?
For me, in my roles, I host a lot of meetings. Zoom (which allows you to host remote video conferences) has been invaluable to me as it replaces face-to-face meetings with about 80% effectiveness.
I also love cloud storage—I can get whatever I need, wherever I am.
What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my iPhone, iPad, iEverything…
What’s your favourite piece of CREA technology?
REALTOR.ca is such a dominant force in the Canadian real estate industry—we have such an advantage as a nation that there is a fantastic resource, we can all turn to. Clients can get verified, accurate information on homes for sale and REALTORS® have access to Listing Statistics, leads and more.
What type of technology do you think will be the next “big thing” in real estate?
Two technologies that I think have the ability to change how we think and do business in the long term are virtual tours (for example, the use of virtual or augmented reality to allow the customer to “visit” a home without physically visiting it) and the use of Blockchain in closing and title processes.
Do you have any tips for real estate professionals who may be intimidated by technology, or those who simply prefer pen and paper?
The two tips I always give in this regard are:
1. Do what works for you. There’s no need to change what’s working for you if it continues to work for you.
2. Don’t try to do it all at once. Start with some of the building blocks and get to know them (such as cloud technologies). So many other technology pieces become more intuitive when you master one first.
How do you use social media in your business?
We use social media to not only to communicate with customers, but with our staff and other stakeholders. Social media is a gift to REALTORS® in many ways—it’s a non-invasive way to maintain relationships with a large database of people, and it should be viewed as an essential channel of communication with the folks you want to do business with!