Three years ago the word “PropTech” was hardly existed, yet today it has become one of the newest digital buzzwords and one of the fastest growing industry areas involving technology. The property, real estate/estate agent and rental markets are highly lucrative ones, and technology companies are starting to realise this and develop apps and products designed to shake up the industry.
PropTech is often seen as extremely promising or highly threatening, and whether it is seen as such depends on where you are sat in the property market. Estate agents and realtors are getting twitchy due to the success of PropTech online platforms such as PurpleBricks.com in the UK, which is an online-only estate agent that uses “local advisors” to assist with the letting and buying process, and thus saves money but not having a physical presence on the High Street. It also charges flat rates for its services, which is very appealing when you have a set budget to buy or rent a house.
What is PropTech?
Put simply, PropTech refers to the widespread digital transformation that is taking place today in the property and rental industries. Those involved in it are developing apps and online cloud-based platforms to respond to this digital transformation and to the recent shift in consumers needing to access everything they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And that includes realtors/estate agents
There is a new breed of technology company that has tapped into this market and understands that in order to access their target markets. They need to cater for the appetite for smartphone and tablet use and develop apps and websites to allow consumers who are looking to buy, sell or rent a property to access what they need 24/7.
Here are three PropTech solutions to keep an eye out for in 2018 and who have the potential to disrupt the property industry like never before:
Settled was founded by brother and sister Paul and Gemma Young in 2015. Gemma was an ex- Google employee and after she left they joined forces to develop a platform that enables homeowners eliminate the middleman completely when selling a property in a similar way to what Airbnb does, but for selling houses.
Since 2015 Settled has saved customers more than £6 million in realtor/estate agency fees by facilitating over home listings worth over £500 million. For a flat fee, property owners can engage Settled to visit their property, create a floor plan, take photos and share adverts across all major UK portals. With 95% of all property searches in the UK already taking place online, Settled is definitely a PropTech platform to watch that has the power to disrupt the property industry.
Although Imfuna is a USA company in origin, it is making its way into the UK and South Africa with its suite of apps. They specialise in streamlining workflows to increase productivity for the property and construction markets with their mobile-to-web tools for residential and commercial surveyors, landlords and building construction.
Their apps are available on both iPhone and Android, and are also available as web downloads. These apps have completely transformed the inspection approach by providing faster, simpler and a more cost-effective process than the old-fashioned paper-based, multi-device field capture approach to reporting. Customers can thus save time, money and benefit from having universal access to their data.
Nested has been in existence for just over 2 years, and it already makes a very bold promise – they will sell your home in 90 days or give you the money back to make your next house purchase interest-free – guaranteed.
This piece of technology uses algorithms which provides sellers with a property valuation in seconds. What’s more, it guarantees a minimum price from day one. Nested will review this quick valuation and organise an inspection before confirming an offer. They also take care of placing relevant adverts and even any viewings of your house. It is one to watch in 2018 for sure!
While these are just three examples of the types of PropTech that are disrupting the industry and contributing to a shift towards digital transformation in the property and rental industries, many others are coming to the forefront. In the next few years PropTech will have the ability to completely shake up the traditional High-Street estate agent, and realtors/estate agents will need to be responsive to this and move with the times. It is important to also not ignore the younger generations, as these will be the house buyers and renters of the future, so the more that PropTech companies can cater to their needs, the more successful they will likely become.