Real estate business is an information- driven business where valuable information is shared and evaluated between buyer and seller, and/or tenant and landlord before concluding a transaction through an agent who serves as an intermediary between them in the localized property market. In this article, we take a critical look at the influence of technology and the Internet on the real estate industry in Nigeria
Technological advancement, no doubt, has greatly influenced the survival of man in all ramifications. The impact appears so enormous on some areas of life such as construction, manufacturing, finance and communication, amongst others.
Communication on the other hand seems to have affected the way and manner people share information and interact on daily basis in the society as well as business transactions/relationships such as real estate agency.
Real estate business is seen to be an information based business where the prospect of an agent appears to be hinged on how well and accessible the information is made available.
The emergence of ICT has greatly influenced business activities of real estate agents. Real estate is an information intensive business which is inherently amenable to application of information and communication technology tools and services such as the internet,
World Wide Web (www) and global system mobile phone which have provided impetus to the real estate industry in Nigeria and the world at large.
In Nigeria, the real estate industry can be said to be an attraction to investors. The property market anywhere, is open to participation from any part of the world, because the social media has the tendency to connect buyers and sellers together for real estate transactions.
Therefore, the question of, to what extent the social media has been used to ease real estate transactions in a developing country like Nigeria will interest foreign investors who is contemplating investing in the Nigerian property market.
Previous studies have concentrated on the use of ICT, web, and internet facilities in the real estate industry with little or no emphasis on social media (which among others include Facebook, email, Blog, Instagram, LinkedIn Twitter and WhatsApp) provided on the platform of internet.
The evolution of internet and web facilities provided a platform for social media technology which provided opportunities to develop new relationships, create awareness and enhance competitive advantage.
Consequently, there appears to be easy flow of information on the social media which may be optimised by using the platform for real estate business.
As studies have revealed, the use of ICT has no correlation with the gender of the Nigerian real estate practitioners who have embraced the use of social media for real estate transactions in order to enjoy wider marketing coverage.
Invariably, technology and the internet is not a question of gender.
Also the use of social media has no relationship with the geographical location of real estate agents.
Albeit, the use of ICT/ social media is mostly influenced by service failure (in terms of connectivity), power failure (energy to power the system) and cost (of obtaining data).
While service failure, power and cost still influence and determine the effective use of the social media for real estate transactions, it can be said that Nigerian government does not in any way regulate the use of the social media and as such does not portend any threat to its use or non-use.
The policy implication is the need for government intervention by investing more on broadband and to also ensure regular supply of power/electricity so as to enhance effective use of ICT/social media in real estate agency transactions by the practitioners in Nigeria
Change is coming to the real estate industry in the form of a vast array of communications, construction, energy, security, process and operational (“smart”) technologies that will affect virtually every aspect of the industry.
In fact, that change is already here. The way properties are conceived and built; the way they are researched, marketed and sold; and, most importantly, what they offer to tenants in the way of energy-efficient, flexible, adaptable smart functionality are all becoming critical factors when assessing the future viability of investment properties and establishing sustainable long-term investment criteria.
Everything in real estate from how retail, industrial and office processes are conducted to the way buildings are designed, built and operated will be transformed in profound ways.
In developed countries of the world, residential real estate is already well along in their digital transformation. Change is already evident in the ways properties are marketed and managed, in social programming and e-commerce accommodations, and in new and different footprints and amenities.
Where information is inadequate, successful transactions in the market may be impeded. With the introduction of ICT, social media in particular, it appears that this problem has reduced.