PropTech & Estate Agents

If you’re an estate agent you’re probably hearing more and more about PropTech.  Although the term has been bandied around for a few years now, its only with the Covid-19 Crisis that many “on the ground” estate agents have begun to look at what’s been happening for quite a while now.  PropTech, sometimes referred to as CreTech is technology designed for the property industry is a catch all term that covers everything from smart building sensors to virtual tours and, yes, you guessed it, bidding engines.

It may seem all quite daunting at first glance, but the basic principle of PropTech is to improve efficiency of the property sector by use of technology.  A good corollary is FinTech.  A term used for companies like Stripe and Revolut who have revolutionised the banking sector in recent years.

To give you an indication of the pace of growth in the PropTech sector, $12.9 billion was invested into the area in the first six months of 2019, surpassing the $12.7 billion invested for all of 2017.

The property sector is up there with the legal sector as the last bastions of old fashioned business processes.  As high value, low volume industries the resistance to change has been most pronounced, with portals being the last great revolution in the way the property industry does business.

But that has all changed.  Social distancing, “new normal” and Covid-19 lockdowns have shown professionals that technology does improve the way businesses perform.  The fear of being replaced by a machine is slowly giving way to realisation that its “man PLUS machine”, not “man versus machine”.

Solutions like Beagel are tools to get things done faster and more accurately.  Email chains, manual follow-up, he said/she said discussions, multiple point of contacts; they all go away.  They are replaced with sales that close faster, for higher prices. 

It can all seem quite confusing when you do start looking around.  So when deciding on what technology to implement, ask the company, how does this make me more money.  If it doesn’t cut costs or yield higher prices, its not right.  The objective, after all, is to make businesses more profitable.

Finally remember that the marketplace is the ultimate determinant.  The Guardian recently said that 30% of UK estate agents face going out of business.  It’s a cut throat, low margin industry with largely non-repeating clientele.  When it comes to adoption do you want to be the farmer who buys the tractor, or sticks with the horse plough.