Digitizing real estate: Experts predict these tech trends in 2019

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Chatbots, eclosings & digital notaries

Digitization is rising across the real estate industry, and according to a survey of experts, it’s not slowing anytime soon. Experts predict more chatbots, electronic closing processes, digital notaries and online communication portals as we head into 2019.

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The rise of digitization

According to the latest Real Estate Sentiment Index from First American, real estate pros and title agents are “embracing fintech to enhance the homebuying experience” at breakneck speeds.

The reason? According to First Am Chief Economist Mark Fleming, it’s the competitive housing market and the emergence of Millennial buyers.

“Throughout 2018, we’ve seen many trends that set the groundwork for the acceleration of financial technology adoption,” he said. “It has been a strong seller’s market across the top U.S. metropolitan areas. With inventory low and house prices at historic highs, prospective homebuyers felt pressured to settle deals quickly before opportunities fade away. Additionally, the largest group of prospective homebuyers, Millennials, expect greater efficiency and convenience in their home-buying experience.”

For Millennials, homeownership is more important than marriage, kids

Tech in 2019

Fleming expects 2019 to see increased adoption of technology in the industry. And according to experts, automated customer service chatbots, online notarizations and electronic closings will top the list.

More than a third of those surveyed said online notarizations and electronic closings will make a big impact in 2019. Another 65 percent intend to adopt those technologies over the next year.

“Remote online notarization allows a notary to notarize documents remotely over the internet via tamper-evident digital tools, sophisticated fraud prevention technologies and live audio-video conferencing,” Fleming said. “This technology has already been accepted as an alternative to traditional in-person notarization in several states, and we anticipate seeing a further uptick in 2019.”

Alexa, pay my mortgage

Most important though, are secure communication and collaboration portals.

“According to 45 percent of the title agents and real estate professionals surveyed, the most important financial technology that helps potential homebuyers accelerate transactions is secure collaboration and communication portals,” Fleming said. “Survey respondents indicated that buyers would greatly benefit from a secure platform that allows them to correspond with lenders, real estate agents, escrow officers and other parties involved with the real estate transaction.”

Verify your new rate (Sep 19th, 2019)

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Verify your new rate (Sep 19th, 2019)