Today the National Association of Realtors released its annual Technology survey of members, one of my favorite yearly research studies. With over 2,400 responses, it provides excellent insight into how tech innovations are impacting the real estate business now and in the future. NAR Technology Study 2022

Not many surprises, but this new research confirms the acceleration of tech adoption as one positive factor fueled by the pandemic.

Here are some quick highlights:

-eSigning rules: Looking back at the last 12 months, respondents ranked eSignatures as the most impactful tech tool (79%), with lockboxes (67%) and local MLS apps/technology (67%) tied for second place. A three-way tie is next, with transaction management, CRMs, and video conferencing all at 47%.

Safety, speed, and drones dominate future tech tools: When asked to predict what business tech tools will have the most impact in the next 24 months, Cybersecurity at 31% eked out the first place as 5G followed with 30%. Drone tech landed solidly in third place with 27%.

New tech is starting to gain traction: AI, including computer vision and machine learning, virtual reality, IoT (internet of things), and augmented reality, all are seen as being “very impactful” over the next 24 months by about one-in-five respondents.

Not yet prime time tech: Less than one in ten Realtors predict blockchain/crypto/smart contracts and the metaverse will be very impactful over the next two years. The same is true when it comes to self-driving vehicles.

Hey, big spenders: More than one in three Realtors spend at least $250 monthly on their tech tools. That’s surprising when one considers brokerages and MLSs are investing millions in providing agents with their tech stack offerings. They must be the group that comprises the one-in-four Realtors who spend less than $50 a month on tech.

Yes, they are: More than one in three Realtors – 35% – agree that their brokers provide them with all the tech tools they need. But unfortunately, nearly two-thirds say they are not getting the tech tools from their brokers or are ambivalent, which is just as troubling.

-The price is right: 47% of Realtors said that the price their Broker charges for technology fees is reasonable. Another 38 percent said their broker does not charge them a technology fee. However, over one in ten (12%) said that the price they pay for broker-provided tech is not worth it.

MLSs get high marks for tech: Nearly three out of four Realtors expressed satisfaction with their MLS’s technology offerings, with 33% of respondents saying they were extremely satisfied with their MLS’s technology offerings.

-Top 5 MLS tech tools: Property data ranked No. 1 with 85%. Sales stats was second with 81%. Public records search was third with 75%. Listing syndication is now fourth with 72%. A pleasant surprise to round out the top five is automated emails to clients and prospects.

-Top lead generators – move over portals: Social media was No. 1 with 46%. Local MLSs are second with 30%. CRMs were third with 26%, and that’s a bit of a surprise. You’d think CRMs would be higher as it includes one’s sphere of influence. Other research says that repeat business and their spheres are typically the highest-ranked, top-quality lead generators, but social also overlaps sphere. Most surprisingly: Listing aggregators are dead last on the list at 16%.

-They did not bite on Bitcoin: 87% of all Realtors do not own any cryptocurrency.

One common theme is the lack of general knowledge Realtors overall have when it comes to new tech. Realtors, mostly, are not early adopters. The great tech lag continues, despite the inroads made during the pandemic with the adoption of core tech tools.

But when it comes to newer tech, most Realtors remain largely skeptical, at best. For example, even though there are 14.4 billion IoT or internet of things devices connected in our world today, 41% of Realtors are not familiar at all with IoT. Less than one-in-ten said they were “very familiar” with IoT.

With emerging tech, like the metaverse, more than half are not very familiar or not familiar at all. And yet 36% of Realtors said they believe that the metaverse will probably have an impact on real estate.

Finally, 41% of Realtors said they were unfamiliar with Big Data and AI. Leading organizations in this space – like RESO – need to do some more broker/agent outreach, folks!

You can find the latest report here.