News, Real Estate Tech, Trends

5 Ways Tech is Disrupting the Traditional Real Estate Model

Technology continues to infiltrate real estate in ways we never thought possible. In Los Angeles, a company is replacing the traditional real estate model with robots and “big data”. Out west in San Francisco, another bold startup is using blockchain to help customers buy homes anywhere in the world. Everywhere you look – the story is the same.

Real estate technology has produced two of the most valuable startups in the nation today – WeWork and AirBnB. But there’s much more to it. This article explores how tech is disrupting the industry as we know it.

1. Direct challenge for the traditional real estate model

Rex Real Estate Exchange – a 2014 startup – seeks to overhaul the traditional real estate model. The firm uses robots and ‘big data’ to lower the cost of selling a home. While a real estate agent will charge a 5-6% selling commission, the company takes just 2%.

Perhaps the main challenge facing Rex’s approach is that both buyers and sellers still value quality personal services from a professional real estate agent. The facts are very straight on that. In 2015 and 2016, 89% of all home sellers relied on a real estate agent.

At the end of the day, most people are still relying on the value a real estate agent provides,” says Adam DeSanctis, a spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors.

But Rex’s Chief Executive, Jack Ryan, argues this could change once people learn how much money they may save using their platform.

Traditional real estate rates are just crazy compared with every other industry in the United States,” he says.

Rex identifies probable buyers by rigorously analyzing consumers’ income, spending habits, location, and similar data. It then reaches out to them through focused advertising on social media platforms and websites such as Zillow.

Although computers do the more sophisticated work, the firm employs salaried real estate agents to guide both buyers and sellers through the transactions. This way, customers get the same service they would with a traditional real estate agent, but at a fraction of the cost.

Rex Real Estate Exchange has so far attracted over $16 million from investors. Four years down the line, the firm has managed to put up office locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, San Diego, and Denver.

2. Blockchain powered real estate transactions

Experts predicted digital currencies would at some point in time be used for major transactions. In the real estate context, a San Francisco startup called Propy is taking steps in that direction.

The company recently helped Michael Arrington, found of online publisher, purchase an apartment in the Ukraine using digital currency. The title change was recorded the old fashioned way – on paper – but with the blockchain address for the digital transaction inscribed on it.

A few years ago, it would be hard to envision use of digital currencies to conduct such a transaction. But it appears we are much closer. “I can’t really tell you the date. But I think it’s going to happen much faster than everyone anticipated,” says Alex Voloshyn, the Chief Technology Officer at Propy.

In many parts of the world, regulations are changing to recognize blockchain contracts. In the U.S., the state of Vermont is moving in that direction. Propy hopes to position itself as a major global property store dealing in digital currencies.

Real estate insiders who understand digital currency deals say that they have numerous advantages over traditional transactions. “They are more transparent, more efficient, less expensive, and less prone to corruption,” says Drew Nichols, lead agent at Greenville’s Palmetto Park Realty.

3. Smart contract technology

SmartRealty is a Seattle-based startup that is working to apply smart contract tech to everyday real estate transactions. The company has been developing a smart contract template and management system that will handle common transactions in buying and selling properties, as well as rental agreements.

Parties involved in the transaction will be able to build their own contract that is specific to the transaction.

Some of the major benefits this platform will offer include enabling users to securely track payments and efficiently solidify the terms of their agreement. It reduces risk of fraud or theft, and provides a faster, more reliable and trusted system for sale, purchase or rental of real estate property.

4. Virtual and augmented reality

Augmented reality is another real estate technology frontier that has a real possibility of appending to the home buying process. Tech savvy real estate professionals have often used augmented reality to market real estate and entice customers to purchase property in far-away cities.

Since buying a home can be a very emotional process, the technology helps personalize things by putting the buyer in the actual space.

Pandora Reality, a firm based in New York and Istanbul, creates augmented reality solutions for brokers and developers who want to depict the potential of an unfinished space.

Currently, the challenge with augmented reality is that it still does not offer a true sense of realism. But this capability is right around the corner, according to most experts.

Read >> Swanky Apartments with Drone Balconies 

5. Chat bots to answer simple customer queries 

Powered by artificial intelligence, chat bots are emerging as the technology of choice for answering simple customer queries. This rapidly growing technology being used in multiple industries to empower customers while freeing up employees’ time so they can focus on other pertinent tasks.

The good thing about chat bots is their capability to work round the clock. They can furnish customers with a relevant market report at 2 am in the night, and answer numerous customer queries in a matter of seconds.

Chat bots are becoming an instrumental part of the real estate marketing approach, capturing data and generating leads on autopilot.

A good example of a commercial real estate technology startup that’s using chat bots is Truss. This is a Chicago-based real estate firm that helps customers find office space below 10,000 square feet. The company uses an artificially-intelligent chat bot to automate the process of finding office space in cities like Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Washington and Austin.

The primary feature on their website is Vera, a cartoon representation of the chat bot that beckons visitors to start the process of looking for the perfect space.

Many technology-oriented real estate firms are picking up the use of these bots to improve customer service, improve engagement, monitor consumer data, gain insights, save costs and increase growth.

Investors are betting big on real estate tech

In 2017, investors splashed over $5 billion into real estate technology. That was a huge leap compared to the $33 million invested in the sector 7 years ago in 2010. Although total real estate investing declined in Q1 of 2018 compared to the same stretch last year, there are many indicators this trend will continue to hold. Large real estate firms are increasing investment in new technology as they seek a competitive advantage – and there’s an urgency to find the most promising startups.

Real estate technology startups are getting some major attention from venture capitalists. Here are some major deals that happened in recent times.

  • Late 2017, real estate technology firm Compass announced a $450 million investment from SoftBank Vision Fund.
  • Apartment List is a San Francisco based firm that helps landlords find renters, and only charges after the landlord has success finding someone. The startup raised $50 million from Passport Capital, Industry Ventures, and other venture capital firms.
  • Rentberry, a rental platform that uses blockchain technology to connect tenants and landlords, raised over $20 million in funding through its initial coin offering.
  • Last year, Truss (the Chat-Bot Powered Commercial Space Finder) raised $7.7 million in Series A funding.

From applications that help manage multiple rental properties to machine learning solutions, technology will continue to impact real estate.Through innovation, and investing in promising startups, forward thinking players are positioning themselves to own this future.

Greenville, SC, News, South Carolina

9 Amazing Reasons for Moving to Greenville SC

Does everyone seem to be moving to Greenville SC? Well, after interviewing both residents and visitors, we present the top 9 reasons why people are drawn to the magic of this southern town.

Great weather, ample outdoor activities, an incredible music scene, town festivals and excellent schools. These are just a few of many attractions that highlight Greenville’s charm. Tucked in northwest South Carolina, the town has made it to the top of one national list after the other.

Overnight sensation?

Thanks to an overflow of media praise, many people tend to think of Greenville as an overnight sensation. But the city’s success has been in the making for decades. Its leaders deliberately worked to make the Greenville downtown area a destination that appeals to the best and brightest. The city, for instance, embraced use of green spaces before most other towns in the country. Its downtown makeover has helped attract multinational companies, paving the way for expanded manufacturing activity across the stage.

Across the nation, many big cities and small towns are studying Greenville as they try to reinvent their own central business districts.

Reasons to move to Greenville SC

15 years ago, there would be no chance of Greenville making it to anybody’s top list. Today the downtown Greenville area is one of the most popular small towns in the country. The city is known for its favorable business climate, and is generally considered as a great place to live in. Whether you’re planning to change jobs or just looking for a great place to retire – here is some of the top reasons why many Americans are relocating to Greenville.

1. Strong economy with promising projections

Greenville is home to a wide range of business interests. Despite being small in size, the downtown Greenville area has a higher concentration of corporate headquarters than any other city in the region. The city boasts low taxation rates, market accessibility, and availability of skilled workforce. It’s no surprise that marquee multinationals and fortune 500 companies such as BMW, Michelin, Lockheed, 3M and GE have set up camp in greenville county. The Greenville area can be described as one of South Carolina’s foremost economic engines.

A 2017 report by the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Greenville as the fourth fastest-growing city in the country. Thanks to steady investment in infrastructure, and surpluses in tax revenues, Greenville is expected to accommodate further growth. The unemployment rate in the town fell by 4.5% and the job growth went up by 2.82%. Over the next 10 years, future growth is predicted to be 41.15%. Individuals looking to move to Greenville SC for business have more than enough reasons to settle here.

Already a concentrated center for automotive research, Greenville has real potential of becoming a hub for aviation research and development in the coming years.

F-16 Production Moving to Greenville South Carolina

Lockheed Martin plans to relocate production of the F-16 Viper (a 4th generation fighter jet) from Fort Worth, Texas to Greenville, SC. The defense contractor is modifying their 16-hangar facility at the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center (which is just 8 miles from downtown Greenville) to be able to handle more business.

The U.S recently approved sale of 19 F-16 Vipers to the government of Bahrain. Lockheed will hire at least 160 people at the Greenville facility through the 3rd quarter of 2018 to support this production. It’s highly likely that their Greenville center will be seeing busier days as the contractor anticipates new orders from Colombia and Indonesia.

2. Affordable housing and cost of living

Greenville, and most other charming towns in South Carolina, are known for their pocket-friendliness. For a city of its caliber, Greenville offers a pretty decent cost of living. Housing costs in Charleston, SC are 25% higher than those in Greenville. According to an article published on Greenville today, the town is also slightly more affordable than Charlotte (NC), Asheville (NC), and Atlanta (GA).

Generally, the cost of living in this part of South Carolina is 13% lower than the national average. You can save up some vacation money quicker than you would in other cities. And not to forget, Greenville itself offers a mighty mix of places to go and things to do.

3. Ample sports and outdoor activities

A modern, urban environment is one of the reasons why a lot of people are relocating to Greenville SC. When your backyard is made up of rivers, lakes, waterfalls and mountains, you tend to spend a lot of time outdoors.

The town’s Falls Park is quite the nature lover’s paradise. It offers unsurpassed views of the waterfalls from the Liberty Bridge, from where you can always take iconic photos.

Along the Reedy River is a 20-mile, multiple use trail system known as the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail. It offers paved surfaces for bikers, skaters and walkers. There’s an extra rubberized surface for runners, and amenities such as lighting, benches, water fountains, picnic areas, restrooms and signage along the way.

4. One of the south’s best food scenes

Any highlight of Greenville’s would be incomplete without a mention of the city’s bustling food scene. If you are a foodie looking for a thriving restaurant scene, you have more than enough reasons to move to Greenville, SC.  The dining scene in Greenville is always heating up. Over 100 restaurants occupy a mile radius in the downtown Greenville area, offering more than enough culinary delights for food enthusiasts. Visitors here have ample opportunities to treat their taste buds to a variety of traditional southern dishes and modern cuisines.

Larkin’s on the River is one of the local favorites. Here, diners can enjoy delicious seafood and great steaks while viewing fall foliage. The joint radiates a casual, family-friendly vibe, and is a must try for your Greenville outdoor dining experience.

Along Greenville’s Main Street is the Soby’s New South Cuisine, which serves braised beef short rib with bourbon bacon in a storied century-old building. This is a great place to dine while you take in some of the town’s rich history. And that’s not all there is to this community favorite. A wine menu with over 500 items has won awards for years.

The Halls Chophouse on Main Street is one of the best spots for fine dining. You can enjoy great shrimp and grits while listening to magnificent jazz music. Often hailed as one of the best steakhouses in the upstate, the Chophouse offers a thrilling experience for seafood lovers.

These and many other food joints have helped make Greenville the next big southern food city!

5. Vibrant art and entertainment scene

Greenville SC has a vibrant art scene that reflects the city’s growing diversity. It’s not unusual for venues here to attract nationally-acclaimed talent. Greenville’s museums often house works by master artists such as Botticelli, and the many small studios serve to nurture budding artists to keep the town’s talent pipe flowing.

On any night, residents can choose between a country music concert, a symphony, or a Broadway show at The Peace Center or the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

The Peace Center is a nerve center for art and entertainment in the city, where pleasing performances are provided in an architecturally sound environment. You can catch dramatic plays, comedic acts, and light hearted musicals after a hard day’s work here.

It features a 2,000 seat concert to accommodate guests for a wide variety of events. The center also has the more intimate 400-seat Gunter Theatre.

Check Upcoming Events at the Peace Center

Greenville’s nightlife is very different from what it used to be about 20 years ago. Residents and tourists can now choose between mega-entertainment sites and smaller venues where house bands and visiting groups run the show.

More: 21 Amazing Things to do in Greenville

6. Great people and a family-friendly environment

One of Greenville’s biggest charms is the people that live there. The laidback, sophisticated atmosphere is something of a thrill for out-of-town visitors. Within the downtown Greenville area, local entrepreneurs have blended a world-class business culture into small-town businesses. It’s common to hear people speaking in all sorts of languages while they enjoy the tree covered streets. Hotels have a small town feel with modern amenities, and the city generally radiates a beautiful vibe.

Few southern cities (if any) embrace families as well as Greenville does. Kids can quench their curiosity at the Smithsonian Affiliated Upstate Children’s Museum, or enjoy an entire block dedicated to them at the Fall for Greenville Festival. Older kids can try cycling, walking tours, and limitless other activities in any of the city’s recreational parks.

7. Convenient, prime location

Greenville is conveniently located close to other major towns and just about everything else many people would need to keep going. The city is just a few hours’ drive away from major metropolitan centers such as Atlanta, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Charleston. A few minutes’ drive will take you to mountains, lakes, and other natural attractions. This great location makes it super easy for the town’s residents to move for either business or pleasure.  

The city of Greenville is located halfway between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC. The convenient placing on the northwest of the state offers access to the mountains in less than an hour, and access to the coast in just over 3 hours by car.

8. Excellent school system

For families with school aged children, the state of the education system is always a major consideration. Many parents ask about the quality of the education system and schools in Greenville before they relocate here. Well, the city happens to have some of the best schools in South Carolina. Various institutions within the city and surrounding areas of Mauldin, Taylors and Simpsonville have very good ratings at

The Greenville County public school district is the largest in South Carolina. Up to 63.1% of the 5,200 teachers in the district hold a master’s degree or higher qualification. The town also has a number of good private and religious schools (e.g. the St. Mary’s Catholic School and the Camperdown Academy for kids with learning disabilities).

Furman University in Greenville is one of the nation’s top private liberal arts colleges. This institution has a Division 1 athletic program, having produced several national stars. Other notable institutions of higher learning in the area include the North Greenville University, and the Clement University International Center for Automotive Research.

9. Generally great weather through the year

Greenville is certainly not Florida, but if offers generally good weather. The city gets an average of 3 inches of snow per year compared to a national average of 26 inches of snow. Greenville boasts about 221 sunny days per year, higher than the US average of 205 sunny days.  The warm, sunny climate means that you have more time to catch up with the town’s parks and other attractions within and outside town.

Considering moving to Greenville SC? We can help

Moving to a new city can be an exciting adventure for your whole family – particularly when that city is Greenville, SC. Palmetto Park Realty has proudly served the Greenville community and actively works to help out-of-state customers find great homes in this magnificent town.