5 Real Estate Trends to Watch at Inman Connect 2013
By Colin Ryan
Inman News’s Real Estate Connect, the biggest real estate conference of the year, kicks off tomorrow at in New York City. With over 30 exhibitors and nearly 100 speakers packed into three days of events, Connect is poised to set the tone for real estate technology in 2013. Here’s our take on the biggest trends to look for.
Turnkey Real Estate Websites
Naturally, this is our favorite trend for 2013. Building a website has traditionally been a messy, drawn-out, and all too often, disappointing process for real estate professionals. At the same time, as the field becomes more crowded, consumers are demanding more search features, more integration, and better design from the real estate websites they visit. That’s why we’re doing our part at Placester to build sites that look great and perform well, all while making the process faster, easier, and cheaper for agents.
We’ll be showcasing our vision for better real estate websites at Connect with the Website Factory Launch Contest, where visitors can set up a brand new site on the spot, from start to finish, complete with a new headshot and logo (plus two free months of ProTools!)
Content Creation for Real Estate
We’ve harped on the importance of creating great web content to improve your search engine visibility. Of course, it’s easier said than done. Luckily, several folks at Connect are set to offer valuable insight and tools for content marketing.
For starters, a clutch of prominent editors, including Sarah Polsky of Curbed NY and Vivian Fay of The New York Times (one of Connect’s biggest sponsors), are set to discuss “how the best editors choose what, who and how to write about the real estate beat.” Then, of course, there are new media proponents like Jimmy Mackin, whose forthcoming Curaytor.com promises to be “real estate’s first crowd-sourced-and-vetted group-buying and tech support community.”
Finally, video promises to play an increasingly vital role in any real estate marketer’s strategy, and vendors like OnVedeo (a video platform for real estate) and Videolicious (a video-editing app) will be on hand to highlight their solutions.
Real Estate-Centric Mobile Apps
While mobile apps geared specifically toward real estate professionals have been around for a couple years, few have been able to offer the crisp UIs and deep integration with other tools and services that smartphone and tablet users have come to expect from consumer-facing apps.
Nevertheless, the conference lineup includes several players determined to reverse this trend. From inspection apps Happy Inspector and Inspection Manager, to industry-facing search tool Appraiser5, to innovative floor plan creator Sensopia, you can expect mobile app developers to make a splash at Connect and beyond.
Paperless Transactions and Cloud Management
2012 was the year of the cloud, and the trend will only continue to expand this year, starting at Connect. While hardware vendor Fujitsu shows off their beloved ScanSnap scanner line, several software developers will be demoing a variety of cloud-based tools. A crowded field of transaction management platforms hope to compete with leaders like DotLoop and Cartavi, while Xcira and NuOffer aim to digitize auctions and negotiations.
Meanwhile, other companies are focusing on the backend, with FileSprout offering easy cloud management of your listing media.
Social Media for Business
Until recently, the question most of us were asking about social was: how can we use mainstream social media to grow our business? But as brands continue to see lackluster results from their efforts on Facebook and Twitter, new platforms are emerging that are built from the ground up with the real estate business in mind.
Some tools like Hearsay Social are helping businesses leverage their existing mainstream social media presence, while others like HomeLight are tailoring existing ideas (i.e. review sites like Yelp) to the real estate business.
There are also even more innovative ideas on display. Nest4Less, for instance, helps agents build their referral network by partnering with local vendors (lenders, service providers, contractors, etc.) to offer promotions to clients and their friends.
If you’re heading to Connect, be sure to stop by our table in Startup Alley and check out our products the Website Factory Launch Contest. If not, you can still get two free months of Placester–just sign up before the conference ends on Friday!
Published on January 15, 2011