(May 29, 2015) The younger Generation Y and some of Generation X are sometimes called “digital natives.” They are people who have grown up with the latest technology. This technology that reshaped the lives and business world of Baby Boomers is second nature to digital natives. With the average age of a Realtor being 56, this can create a gap between buyers and sellers and their Realtor.
Digital natives are very mobile and use technology through a number of devices. Most use messaging as a core piece of communication. They like the instant gratification and swift communication of messaging and the fact that it is not as intrusive as a traditional phone call. This can be text messages or Facebook messaging. Digital natives also prefer multimedia messaging programs such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Another area that digital natives want to see technology put to use is through mobile payments. Many younger buyers don’t even use checkbooks, instead transacting all financial business in an electronic or mobile format. Wiring funds at settlement has become commonplace in real estate transactions, but the use of mobile payments for good faith deposits has not been implemented.
Digital natives also want to be able to work wherever they are and utilize cloud technologies. Electronic signature programs are becoming increasingly popular; for example, DotLoop keeps all documents associated with a transaction stored in the cloud, giving all people associated with a transaction access to the “loop.” The loop is essentially an online workplace, or file cabinet.
With the rise of social media platforms, Realtors are learning to utilize social media to reach this new segment of buyers and sellers. Digital natives consume more online video than ever before, and important video sites such as YouTube are being increasingly utilized in the real estate industry.
Innovations in technology will continue to change the way we transact business in the real estate industry, especially as younger buyers enter the marketplace. Realtors will need to continually learn to adapt and modify the way they communicate and transact business to keep digital natives engaged.
— Lauren Bunting is a licensed REALTOR® with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.