Welcome to my new post. I have been contemplating this step for some time. Some recent events and opportunities have come up and I think the time may be right now, to share my thoughts and ideas. My name is Eric Kepner and this site will encompass ideas and techniques from my professional life as a lifelong contractor and my 20 plus years in the mortgage industry, specializing in renovation financing. It is an interesting mix! These posts will be filled with useful information on the topics covered, but they will also high lighting the businesses in which I work and own.

You can see the About page and my LinkedIn profile for detailed information on my experience. I am also happy to answer any questions regarding the topics noted on this site. Emails may be sent to Insights@RenovationRealm.com.

My first post will be the first in a series I am very interested in and how the technology I have been investigating may change the industries in which I work. Earlier this year I had the privilege to attend the annual leadership conference for Freedom Mortgage, the company I work for in the mortgage industry. As a Renovation Lending specialist, I work within the Correspondent Channel at Freedom promoting renovation and training our lender clients on the FHA 203(k) program and FannieMae HomeStyle program. More on those programs in future posts!!

One of the guest speakers at the conference was Steve Wozniak, or Woz for short. The interview that he gave was incredibly interesting with topics ranging from hearing the behind the scene stories of Apple’s creation to his view on the technology the future holds. One of the items he spoke about was Virtual Reality (VR) and some of his thoughts hit a note with me.

The “Woz” spoke about how VR would become part of our everyday life in the very near future. He identified the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality and how technology would address both. For those, like me prior to April, who didn’t really know the difference, my take on the quick definition is VR is complete immersion into a different world, space, or reality. Augmented reality is technology providing information directly to you about the real world space one is in, IE, special contact lenses or glasses that will provide information on people on the street, reviews of a nearby restaurant, or a sale at a nearby store. A basic version would be using these lenses when using directions and instead of your phone or car telling you to turn left or right, an arrow would appear at the location when you should turn, so you can follow the instruction optically as well as verbally.

My point here is not to discuss the aspects of the technology, but how technology can change the industries where I work. To this point, he discussed how VR could change the real estate industry, including the mortgage industry. He talked about how VR would change the role of Realtors and Real Estate Agents. He stated, and I agree, that VR won’t ultimately remove the Realtor or agent from the transaction. I believe that this technology can help real estate professionals be more productive with time management and increase opportunities to sell homes. I’ll go into the how’s and why’s shortly on this point.

Before I go into some of those details, I want to share another experience I had in late May which brought VR back into my reality! As a partner in my family kitchen remodeling business, I attended a local chapter meeting of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. The speaker that night was a technology company whose technology and program many kitchen design firms employ, including mine. I thought this would be a “here’s what’s new with the program and shortcuts” type of presentation. Boy, was I wrong. Instead the entire presentation focused on, you guessed it, virtual reality.

This presentation also discussed how virtual reality would become a part of our lives. This particular company’s technology offers the ability to create a spherical 360 degree picture of the kitchen designed within the program. The speaker then showed how this picture that is created can then be sent to any cell phone and if you put the phone in special VR goggles, the client would be standing in the kitchen that was designed. This picture puts the user right in the middle of the room and if you turn your head left, you see what is on your left, turn right, same thing, turn around and see what is in the room behind you!

This was my first experience with this type of technology and I was fascinated. Woz had discussed these goggles as well and stated how he had watched the NCAA basketball finals in this manner. He said it allowed him to watch the game from mid-court and he physically had to turn his head left and right to watch the play of the game as the teams moved up and down the court, all while sitting in his living room!

These 2 events which I attended brought new thoughts to my thinking on remodeling, real estate, and the mortgage industry. In my next post, I am going to discuss some of the business practices that have started to come to my mind and some techniques I am now starting to discuss in my mortgage training sessions and services that, not only my remodeling company can offer, but services that can be offered in connection with this technology that will benefit the real estate services industry as well. I see a perfect storm of technology and marrying it with 3 industries to create opportunities.

Thanks for taking the time to read my first post. I hope you find this site interesting, learn some new ideas which can help you succeed and have open discussions about the topics. My goal is to have a forum to discuss ideas and thoughts to better any industry, but the focus of my experience will be on the remodeling, real estate services, and mortgage industries, with a focus on the specific area of renovation lending within the mortgage industry. Stay tuned for the second installment, “How virtual reality can help Realtors and Agents sell more homes!”.