The housing industry is missing key technology that could make the process more smooth and understandable – a missing part that one expert explained would not be accepted in any other industry.
One of the biggest changes to this year’s award is the addition of our editorial advisory committee. This year, for the first time ever, nominees will be reviewed by an advisory committee, made up of some of the best minds in the housing industry. This committee will then advise HousingWire’s internal award review board of potential finalists before the winners are selected.
But now, members of that committee have come together to inform HW readers on some of the biggest issues in tech today. HousingWire interviewed SparkTank Media founder and CEO Jeff Lobb, who talked about some of housing’s biggest issues – including where the most prominent need lies for tech.
Here is the first part, with more questions and answers to follow in the weeks leading up to the end of the Tech100 nomination period:
HousingWire: What areas of housing market are in highest need for technology innovation?
Jeff Lobb: I think the biggest need right now for a technological innovation is in the transaction. The process that takes a buyer or seller from an accepted offer to an executed agreement to the closing table.
Buying or selling a home is already a complicated and stressful situation for so many folks. Much of the process is overwhelming and fractured. Different attorneys or title companies process one way, a mortgage company another way, there’s very little that’s streamlined or systemized. Then, try pulling all the moving parts together from inspections to appraisals to mortgage stipulations all while the communication and documents funnel through different channels.
The client – the end user – is completely confused and ultimately stressed out. The process is so intimidating for some homeowners that I have heard them say “I am not even sure what I am signing at this point, but I just want it done so we can move in.” Imagine that process happening in other industries.
What if the pilot of an airline was so confused about the process that they simply said, “I don’t really care about the details at this point, I just hope the plane can fly”?
Or for those who are coffee fans – what if you walked into your local Starbucks or coffee shop and said, “I can’t even figure out how to pronounce what’s on the menu board. Just pick one, pour it in a cup; I just need to get to work.”
While we cannot compare the housing process to an airline pilot or a cup of coffee, what we can compare is the end user experience. If the experience is stressful and overwhelming for the end user, it needs to be simplified and systemized.
HW: How do you think technology improves the housing economy and homeownership experience?
JL: Technology improves the housing economy and homeownership experience by providing “convenience” with smart devices. Convenience through smart technology and smart devices empowers the homeowner with on demand information and comfort.
From Digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, to having thermostats and garage doors controlled by an iPhone, to the technology that allows smart locks to open with a remote device or with a user’s thumbprint, smart tech adds a level of convenience we have never had before.
The ability to get answers immediately, by shouting at an inanimate object on the counter, monitor their home from an app or the ability to check on children or pets from a mobile device allows a user to design an experience with in-home technology that provides safety, security and ultimate convenience to a homeowner.