How Blockchain Technology Is Transforming Real Estate
Today, when many of us think of the blockchain, our minds immediately go to its use in cryptocurrency markets, where the tech first became popular. Though crypto may have been the first industry that utilised the blockchain extensively, the blockchain itself has expanded into nearly every sector of the economy.
Blockchain technology is being incorporated nearly everywhere. Hospitals are using it to secure and share patient files. Accountants and banks are investing in the blockchain as a means of increasing the speed and security of financial transactions. Even in the real estate markets, the blockchain is transforming the way things are done.
Real estate may not seem like the obvious industry to capitalise on blockchain technology. However, experts believe it can help make a positive difference in the efficiency and security of real estate transactions. Rather than working in person, the blockchain may enable more online transactions to realistically take place.
Taking Real Estate Online
In the modern world of smartphones, the internet, and apps that all work together to put the world at your fingertips, customers have come to expect a certain ease-of-use. This sentiment carries from easy online shopping to scheduling appointments online to buying a house. The rules for customer courtesy are changing and the real estate market is using the blockchain to meet the demand.
One of the primary ways the real estate market has changed is by taking listings online where customers can browse homes and find an agent with an easy click of a button. However, the blockchain stands to create an even larger online opportunity for real estate. With the blockchain behind them, many agents believe they could complete the entire process — outside of physically visiting the home — online.
Some platforms are coming online that do just that. In order to use the blockchain, real estate companies “tokenise” their assets, so the property can be traded on an exchange similar to that of the stock market. The tokens can easily be traded or exchanged for money — i.e. purchasing a home. Doing this could cut out a lot of the middlemen in the home buying process and create a more straightforward and transparent opportunity for consumers.
Increasing Speed And Reducing Fraud
Incorporating blockchain technology into the real estate market can also be a huge boon to consumers in other ways. Because all transactions are verified on a network of computers, transactions can be completed in minutes or even seconds. Rather than relying on people to review transactions and operate within normal business hours, these transactions can happen anywhere at any time. This speeds up the process substantially.
Because all blockchain transactions are completed on a public ledger, all parties can see the transaction at all times. Traditional methods are prone to fraud and human errors, but this increases transparency profoundly and helps reduce the likelihood of fraud taking place. Furthermore, the blockchain is an incredibly tamper-proof means of storing information, which makes it one of the most secure means of doing business.
Part of the reason the blockchain is so secure is that the information is decentralised. It would be incredibly difficult for a fraudster to change a blockchain transaction that is stored on hundreds of different computers across the country without someone noticing. Ultimately, this increases trust in the real estate market system, which doesn’t have too far back in history to look for proof of the dangers of a lack of transparency. The 2008 housing crisis is a prime example of what can happen.
Real estate companies are interacting with more data than ever before. Some of this data is internal, relating to sales figures and revenue, while some of it is external such as data collected by government or social media entities. All of this adds up to provide real estate agents with a broader picture of the markets they are working in and offers the ability to create innovative opportunities.
For instance, once properties have been “tokenised” it is easy to divide them up in meaningful ways. Fractional ownership becomes a much more straightforward and realistic option. This could be a scenario where investors are given the equivalent number of tokens to represent the per cent of the investment they’ve made. Ultimately, it could lower investment costs and barriers to entry into investment markets.
Blockchain technology is truly transforming the real estate industry. The technology stands to speed up transactions and reduce the number of middlemen involved, all while bolstering security. Additionally, the technology can open up a number of new opportunities such as fractional ownership for investors that could generate a lot more wealth among certain sectors of the population. It could be a win-win advancement.