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colorful_gears_businessFor more than 100 years, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has acted as a positive force of advocacy for its members. Over the past century, its primary efforts have focused on improving the business climate and governmental policies at the federal level. More recently, however, NAR has significantly stepped up its advocacy efforts on the technology front, too.

Last year, for example, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was forming rules for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), NAR engaged with policy makers to ensure the FAA understood how real estate professionals will be using the technology.

NAR also engaged with policymakers when the Federal Communications Commission developed its net neutrality policy that prevents Internet service providers from selling preferential access to Web content providers. The rule released by the agency closely tracks NAR’s position on how the Internet should be governed in the future.

On the (Smart) Home Front

As consumers increasingly embrace technology on the home front, NAR is playing a lead role in shaping the evolution of smart homes, smart buildings and even smart community spaces. Central to these efforts is a new lab in NAR’s Chicago offices managed by NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology (CRT) department.

NAR’s Smart Homes Initiative is actively engaged in representing the real estate industry and consumer interests related to smart homes—or what the technology industry often calls the Internet of Things (IoT). The lab will provide input on the development of hardware and software real estate applications across an array of cutting-edge technology products, including environmental controls, security systems, connected lighting, and more.

NAR’s team has already met with multiple major home-related technology companies, in addition to universities and government agencies. The team is also testing various smart home devices in its lab. You’ll find updates on their efforts in white papers and posts shared on CRT’s Bits and Bytes blog (https://crt.blogs.realtor.org).

Benefits for Brokerage Firms

While technology can streamline and improve our lives, it also adds complexity to some aspects of owning a home. NAR’s efforts are aimed at helping you and your agents serve as a valuable resource to clients, whether they’re buying or selling a home, including:

Device Development – Information sheets will be provided on the latest products, applications, and tips for building integrated systems.

Data Security – Steps that sellers should take, prior to closing, to ensure any connected devices remaining in the home won’t share old data with the new homeowners.

Industry Standards – NAR is also advocating for the creation of technology standards between manufacturers that will improve interoperability of different devices into a fully integrated home environment.

Technology topics may come more naturally to some of your agents than others, but any agent who takes a forward-thinking role has an opportunity to act as more than a professional who helps people buy and sell homes. An agent’s role can be elevated to someone clients turn to for advice on becoming smart, hands-on managers of their most important asset.

Looking to the Future

Someday, connected homes may prove to be another source for valuable data about homes and communities that could be reflected in property and neighborhood search, listing data, and valuation. As these developments unfold, NAR plans to play a central role, advocating for its members and working to improve the quality of life for all homeowners.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

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