Real Estate Industry Overdue for a Tech Revolution

The rise of Internet and mobile technology has had profound impacts on many different businesses and industries. Recently, the ability of independent developers to create apps and websites has allowed entrepreneurial individuals to revolutionize the way consumers interact with many different markets.

For example, Uber and other “ride sharing” apps have been game changers for the taxi industry, while apps like Airbnb have made similar impacts in the hotel and hospitality industry. One need not look further than the impact Netflix had on video-rental stores like Blockbuster to realize that these forms of technology can have profound impacts on the status quo for many different types of business.

The question now is not so much “if” but “when” the digital age will have a big impact on the way we conduct business in the real estate industry. Some argue that websites like Zillow, which offer property specs and valuations as well as a map-based view of properties on the market, are already making big waves within the industry.

However, it is the implication of such technology rather than its initial impact that hints at the overall direction the profession is headed. Websites like Zillow are making information that was at one time only accessible to industry professionals available to everyone. This does not mean that the need for real estate professionals, who are often experts in their markets with extensive training and experience, will completely disappear; rather, it should serve as a warning sign to those who cling to old ways of conducting business.

With younger generations using the Internet as their primary mode for gathering information, it is the professionals who take advantage of this new form of communication and connect with their clients that will survive and ultimately thrive in the digital age.


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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