Real Estate Catches up With Technology Through Better Digital Design and New Marketing Platforms

If you’ve ever trawled through real estate listings and wondered why they are so behind when it comes to web design, you’re not alone.

Two Canadian startups are looking to revolutionize the space with new technology that brings buying and selling homes into the 21st century.

Rebecca Rose is the CEO of one of them, Toronto-based Studeo, a member of Ryerson’s incubator hub, the Digital Media Zone. The company provides realtors with access to stunning real estate listings in both digital and print formats, all from the click of a mouse. Its software is a drag-and-drop platform that allows users to produce high quality digital interactive, or print, books.

“Studeo brings storytelling and emotion to real estate,” says Rose.

She contends the industry fell behind in the principles of good marketing and can’t seem to find its way back.

“As an industry, real estate is extremely competitive and also very fragmented. Primarily realtors are sales people trained in negotiation and real estate transactions. The education required to become a licensed realtor covers a lot of ground, but marketing is not an area they get professional training in. Culturally as an industry, a lot of emphasis is put on relationships and the value of marketing is hugely debated,” Rose says.

“Another large contributing factor is the fairly low barrier to entry to become a realtor. Good marketing doesn’t come cheap – talented creative directors, designers and production staff as well as good quality materials all cost money,” she added.

Rose believes that once buyers discover what can be done, they will demand this snazzy new kind of home-shopping experience.

Vancouver-based Spark CRM, part of pan-Canadian accelerator platform Highline’s portfolio of startups, also believes real estate is an archaic industry, and is aiming to advance real estate software through intuitive design and forward-thinking technology.

Its founders are from the real estate industry, and believe the market is only just beginning to see what technology can do for it.

Spark CRM’s customers are real estate developers, from those trying to sell 15 town-homes or a highrise tower consisting of 400 units, and marketing firms, to help sell, market and manage their real estate projects.

“Realtors that don’t provide [up-to-date experiences] will be out-competed and before you know it, this will be the new standard,” Rose says.