The sale and rental of property is one of the oldest exchanges in the world. It’s unlikely that the motivation to buy and sell homes – both for personal reasons and for business – will ever go away. But how the industry functions has been misaligned with modern consumer habits for a long time.
Property, and all modes of business that come into it, is becoming more democratized. Huge global shifts in the way we live and work are unignorable for the sector. And it must adapt.
What exactly is PropTech?
PropTech – as you might have guessed – merges the words property and technology, just like fintech merges finance and technology. So far, it’s a loose term, referring to any technology that assists in the planning, construction, buying, selling, and renting of property.
Why is PropTech disruptive?
The Australian property sector is worth AUD $8 trillion. It’s a lumbering giant, beset by government regulation, planning hurdles, and legal processes. From major-scale commercial developments to singular flats, the purchasing process is slow and bureaucratic.
Information lies at the heart of the red-tape tangle. PropTech seeks to streamline the transfer of this information, whether it’s between builders and buyers, agents and solicitors, or landlords and renters.
It replaces the postage and paperwork with apps and digital contracts, and caters to the modern need for instant resolution.
What’s driving PropTech?
Starting with the unignorable: COVID-19 has smashed through ‘business as usual’ for the real estate sector, playing havoc with physical viewings and contract signings.
HelloSign and DocuSign are matches made in heaven for consumer-end real estate. Virtual tours are not a new concept, but they’ve become invaluable in the almost-post-COVID world. Virtual footage can offer much more than static images, especially in giving potential buyers, renters, or investors a feel for size, space, and layout.
Even Google Maps has played a role, with street imaging of most of the civilized world now available to the public. That means no more getting away with location bluffing or creatively angled shots. The more detail technology provides, the harder it is for dishonest agents and developers to obfuscate the truth.
In this sense too, the property sector is becoming more open, honest, and democratized.
Younger generations entering the property market value efficiency as much as they value being left alone. This might sound like a contradiction, but they consider texts and emails both quicker and more polite than phone calls. They’re used to instant resolution, having banked, invested, shopped, dated, ordered food and transport, and managed their health and wellbeing through smartphones and apps for most of their lives.
As more millennials enter the market, the property sector must adapt to a new modus operandi – not the other way around.
Agents and developers now have methods of selling incomplete sites like never before. AR can give buyers and investors a glimpse into the look and feel of a build before ground has even been broken. 3D animated imagery can be projected onto real-life video and photo to show scale, finish, and furnishing.
This new technology will be invaluable for garnering local support, legal permissions, and investment long after the pandemic has subsided. Modern appetites are for all the information, right now. No waiting months or years for builds to complete. AR provides a glimpse into the future in a way that could accelerate investment and purchasing processes across the board.
In a slow but monolithic revolution, the Internet of Things is changing everything for rental management. The ability to control security, lighting, and utilities from a mobile device has big implications for landlords and AirBnB hosts.
‘Smart homes’ and ‘smart offices’ are set to become highly efficient, both with regards to the environment and to its users. Highly responsive sensor lights, heat control, and airflow management will reduce costs. Automatic locks, facial recognition, and touchless access will safeguard against both security and hygiene concerns.
Igloohome provides pioneering ‘home-sharing’ technology, where owners can let agents, guests, and renters in via an app. Its entrance to the market is especially timely, catering to those seizing upon new remote work opportunities and renting out their homes from afar.
There are a few things that technology can’t replicate. The feeling of walking into a house or a building for the first time and getting the feeling it’s the right one. The trust that occurs in meeting an agent or business partner in person and shaking their hand.
But the explosion of technology in real estate will no doubt lead to faster build times, shorter sales cycles, reduced costs, and broader investing audiences. Agents, developers, and investors who embrace the change will see a bright future.
UFinancial believes in Australian innovation. To discover opportunities regarding home loans, refinancing, and property investment, visit our website.