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A day is coming when home shoppers can use their cell phones to access homes for sale, tour them, then call in an offer on the spot, ZipRealty’s chief told a group of real estate writers recently.

“Technology is going to drive change” in the real estate industry, Pat Lashinsky, president and CEO of the Emeryville-based brokerage, said at a recent conference of the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Austin, Texas.

Lashinsky gave this example:

•A home shopper sees a home for sale that catches his or her interest while driving around. He or she then uses a cell phone to contact the agent and arrange to view the home.
•The agent then performs a check to prequalify the buyer, then sends a “key” to the buyer’s cell phone that will allow him or her to open the door and tour the home.
•An electronic tracking system monitors the buyer’s movement through the home for security purposes. If the buyer is interested, he or she then uses the cell phone to make an offer right then and there.
•“All this will take less than an hour,” Lashinsky said. “It’ll take a little bit of time (until it’s available), but I think it’s going to happen soon.”

Lashinsky said this will be just one example of technological innovation coming to real estate. While the real estate industry has been slow to embrace change, he said, customers are going to demand advances.

“Consumers are going to push that change,” he said. “And those (agents) that don’t make it, are going to fall by the wayside.”

Curious. What are your thoughts?

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