It has taken longer than expected for the real estate industry and technology to integrate to the degree it has. But at long last it’s happening and there’s a word to describe this necessary if belated merger: Proptech.
Proptech is the acronym used to describe any technology used within the real estate space. The very best Proptech is not only of benefit to real estate agents and property managers, but also to their clients. That is why the budding relationship between technology and real estate is such an important one.
Here are a few examples:
Big data is big and getting bigger. Its use in real estate has been around for a while now, so the industry hasn’t been as slow to embrace this form of Proptech than others. Big data is being used by real estate companies to unearth information on various aspects of a property such as its history, ownership cost, current value, neighbourhood details, estimated mortgage payments and future valuation forecasts.
Meanwhile, property managers can use big data to gather current and historic information about the buildings they manage. Information on things like electrical systems, HVAC, fire safety, utilities, telecommunications, and more, can be used to formulate a proactive maintenance strategy.
Smart use of big data might even alert a property manager to an equipment failure before it happens. This means they can perform maintenance or source a replacement with minimum disruption to the tenant.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes the data that agencies, agents and property managers collect much more actionable. Here’s a great example. Property search sites ask users to refine their search based on simple preferences like location and size.
The site then uses this basic information to display properties that match a buyer’s preferences. But imagine a future where AI enables these sites to recommend properties based on far more profound things like personality traits, and values?
The artificial intelligence behind the chatbots on these search sites can also give buyers more in-depth answers to their questions. There’s even talk of AI technology being developed to allow a real estate agent to conduct showings via a tablet with a chatbot answering the buyers questions as the viewing proceeds. This lets one agent do more showings in a day.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
It has been estimated that 90 to 95% of potential home buyers start their property search online. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) can make this process more exciting and accessible, and therefore more engaging. And a more engaged prospect is more likely to buy…
Agents can use VR and AR to create virtual reality tours of properties for potential buyers to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes – this includes those who live in other towns and who can't physically inspect a property. This has particular relevance in New Zealand and Australia, where more and more people are selling up their big-city homes and moving to smaller towns. They can start their “sea-change” journey by checking out selected properties virtually.
VR can also add to the perceived value of a property through staging. It is now possible to enhance the online buying experience by allowing agencies to virtually stage a property by digitally adding furniture and accessories to interior photos.
We’re using Proptech too, of course. The VaultRE Customer Relationship Management platform enables agents and property managers to seamlessly manage contacts, franchises, listings, sales, e-marketing, leads, trust accounting, commissions, reporting, analytics and office management.
It might not have been love at first sight but the real estate industry and technology are now enjoying a relationship that has everyone’s approval: real estate companies, agents, property managers and, most importantly, clients.
While Proptech opens up all sorts of exciting opportunities for those working in the industry, it is what it does for their customers that really counts.