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Tech Regulation Could Shape the Future of Real Estate — RISMedia

At the fourth annual iOi (Innovation. Opportunity. Investment.) Summit on September 28 – 29, 2022, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) gathered with proptech leaders and forward-thinking real estate professionals in Los Angeles, California to explore the latest cutting edge technologies. iOi is where real estate investors and innovators are shaping the future of the industry – incorporating big data, blockchain, AI and other emerging technologies into the world’s largest asset class.

On the second day of the conference, NAR hosted a panel on government regulation of technology and impact on real estate. The panel was moderated by NAR’s Director of Government Advocacy Ryan Rusbuldt, along with panelists Sam Love and Joel Richard of the bipartisan government relations firm Invariant. The panelists underlined that real estate experts should keep a careful eye on what happens in Congress because the impact of legislation is not limited to tech giants like Facebook and Google.

Over the past few years, Congress has focused on regulating so-called “big tech,” a loose term typically applied only to the largest technology companies. Big tech legislation typically applies to companies with multi-million-dollar market caps — meaning the vast majority of real estate companies fell outside the scope of that legislation. However, as policymakers have begun to emphasize a comprehensive approach to the entire market, major privacy, security, and algorithmic liability legislation has been applied to firms that are not considered “traditional” technology companies.

Rusbuldt underlined that technology is central to every stage of the real estate transaction, and innovation in the space is critical to the growth of the real estate sector. For example, before 2020, more than half of all states required wet-ink signatures to notarize paper documents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all 50 states passed temporary legislation to allow the use of remote online notarization (RON) technology, which helped ensure the reliability, efficiency, and validity of notarial public records for all parties when real estate pawned, bought and sold.

Likewise, high-speed Internet has become critical to the way REALTORS® do business. High-speed broadband is now a selling point for neighborhoods and a competitive advantage for commercial office spaces. During this time of remote work and social distancing, Congress has put broadband in the spotlight as a public utility and committed billions of dollars in funding to help expand rural access, update infrastructure and lower internet rates to low-income people to provide households. These changes allow REALTORS® to connect with clients, list and advertise homes, and manage the day-to-day operations of their firms.

The panelists at iOi emphasized that all real estate professionals have a stake in future technology legislation, particularly bills dealing with data privacy, cryptocurrency, AI and other emerging areas of the industry. Buying a home is arguably the most important investment a person can make in their lifetime, and creating a more convenient, safe and fair process is invaluable to the American public. Because policymakers do not always consider the impact of regulation on sectors outside of traditional technology, it is critical that REALTORS® and real estate professionals make their voices heard.

For more information, visit https://www.nar.realtor/.

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