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article imageReal estate turning to technological solutions: Interview Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 27, 2018 in Business
New York - The real estate company Ideal was founded in 2007 by Aleksandra Scepanovic and partner Erik Serras. The duo identified a need to build a technologically innovative infrastructure for sales and rentals in key neighborhoods.
To understand how real estate is adapting to new technologies, Digital Journal spoke with Aleksandra Scepanovic, who is the Managing Director at Ideal Properties Group. Ideal is a privately owned, independent real estate firm specializing in premier Brooklyn and Manhattan neighborhoods.
Ideal see the need to be technologically innovative, such as through is website and database, Scepanovic also provides information about technological changes affecting the real estate market in general.
Aleksandra Scepanovic  Managing Director at Ideal Properties Group
Aleksandra Scepanovic, Managing Director at Ideal Properties Group
Aleksandra Scepanovic
Digital Journal: Thanks for the interview. What’s the current state of the real estate market?
Aleksandra Scepanovic: The real estate market in New York City is just waking up for the season. With the first rays of sun, buyers’ enthusiasm starts to soar, driving the prices up along with the interest. Open houses, mostly “by appointment” in the last few weeks of the winter, are turning into inspired ways to spend a weekend afternoon. Commercial real estate is taking a bit of a back seat, in an era of retail, especially, trying to figure out how to continue to compete with familiar online shopping destinations.
DJ: How is new technology altering real estate?
Scepanovic: Brokerages are trying to keep up with the swiftly changing technology. On the residential side of the equation – professional photos from myriad angles, virtual staging, videos, online applications, digital open houses, instant appointment booking, automatic drip campaigns helping brokers keep atop the inventory and stay in touch with clients – everything is meant to speed up the process, and save time.
DJ: Which are the key technologies for real estate firms?
Scepanovic: From much revered and equally much-dismissed chatbots, attempts to apply blockchain thinking (currently relatively exclusive to the still puzzling in its instability world of cryptocurrencies) to real estate data storage, and to more mundane technologies (CRM, webinar production and presentation capabilities, marketing drip campaigns, social media management) – real estate brokerages today are all about a tech arms race, and a constant state of internalized debate at what technologies to deploy in order to remain relevant, or become a leader.
DJ: How are analytics being used?
Scepanovic: Analytics provide invaluable insights into asking price points, potential market movement and general market trends, across the sectors.
DJ: How reliable is the data? Does this vary in different regions or for different property types?
Scepanovic: In New York City, publicly available data is relatively accurate and to a degree – reliable. Interpreting data, on the other hand, depends on the goals set ahead of any individual report. Many different brokerages put out market reports, oftentimes contradictory to one another, and with different parameters and elements being examined. Co-operative units, for example, given the nature of this real estate asset, are sometimes more difficult to accurately track.
DJ: What technology does Ideal Properties Group use?
Scepanovic: We have a proprietary system that includes a variety of lines of interest – from a built-in CRM, to property database, to training and webinar applications, online apartment application systems, document signing platforms, to a series of robust follow-up and analytic systems.
DJ: How about property hunters, what technology are they tending to use?
Scepanovic: Property hunters use a variety of portals into the city’s listing inventory – from national listing aggregation systems, to small area-specific blogs. Naturally, any resource with reliable data, good photos or videos, and accurate availability information, tends to become a trusted go-to destination.
DJ: Are newer technologies coming more from start-ups rather than established firms?
Scepanovic: That depends on the respective company’s commitment to change and technological innovation. Some older behemoths in the industry move slower, but can make up for the lack of agility and immediacy – with a wider pool of funds available for tech R&D. Start-ups are not the ultimate answer either, often plagued with the need to create value quickly, without much capital backing up the efforts.
DJ: How is real estate set to change over the next three to five years?
Scepanovic: Just like most industries and service fields, ours is prone to disruption. I believe that early adopters, and those most committed to fluidity, change and tech innovation (i.e. those making investments into thinking up the tomorrow, rather than simply operating in the today) – will be around to write (or be mentioned by) the real estate history chapters in 2023 and beyond.
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