PropTech: What does it mean for UK estate agents?

‘PropTech’ is a term you’ve probably heard floated on the property grapevine a fair bit lately, but you wouldn’t be alone if you really don’t know what it entails.

These days, technology is central to any business, no matter its size or sector. It helps companies streamline their processes, manage workflow, resource allocation, profitability and much more.

The term PropTech simply refers to tech innovations specifically with the property sector in mind and the expression is here to highlight its importance to those in the industry.

As a long established Estate Agency business, you might be tempted to brush off technical solutions to tasks you’ve undertaken manually for years. But an outlook like this only sets you up to get left behind as new start-ups adopt the technology from the get go.

Ok. So how can PropTech help me as an Estate Agent?

Digital transformation can be a daunting undertaking but that’s not to say that your transformation has to be undertaken in one hit. As an Estate Agent, adopting one or two digital innovations can pay huge dividends in both the productivity of your people and profitability of your business.

Marketing made easy

Adding automation to your marketing strategy is a great first step into the world of digital innovation. Automation helps you follow up on leads by starting or continuing conversations with customers who engage with your email or website content or even on signing up to your mailing list. Even automatically sending an annual email on the anniversary of their property purchase to keep you front of mind, should they be thinking of moving again…

Automation identifies specific links clicked and the customer journey, enabling you to tailor your content to their interests, for example, showing them properties of a similar style or in a similar location to those that they have previously clicked on.

As a business, automation helps you increase engagement in your content, increase website traffic, increase revenue and build and improve relationships. And, far from being impersonal, mass produced communications, it is possible to personalise them so that your customer really feels it is all for them.

Criteria crunching software

Every customer has different criteria to tick off their list when searching for and buying a new home. For many this includes a distance from a place of work or relatives. New tech such as that from TravelTime Technologies takes this one step further buy ranking and sorting points of interest by travel time not distance, which we all know can vary drastically depending on the exact location. Beats flitting between estate agent website and Google maps or test-driving different routes prior to purchase any day!

Sales solutions

There are numerous ways technology can assist in the property sales process – automation as we discussed earlier, is a great place to start. But in addition there are a growing number of apps and software solutions that are proven to make the viewing, sales and legal processes, easier more cost-effective and more time-efficient.

Virtual tours can be a great way for customers to explore properties at their own free will, but team a virtual tour with OpenHouse Live and you have all the benefits of an in-person viewing, without ever having to leave your office. Think of all those wasted journeys and time spent negotiating suitable viewing times with seller and potential buyer saved!

Platforms such as Offr enable interested parties to arrange viewings and make offers through buttons next to each property on your website. Solicitors are also able to upload and review contracts and all the legal documents, while sellers get a personalised dashboard, keeping them informed, every step of the sales process. Offr themselves state that they can cut the traditional typical length of time to sell a property in half – from six months, down to just three. So investment in software solutions such as these can clearly reap huge rewards.

With a tech-led approach to valuations, sellers can get a more realistic price for their property through data profiling and electronic analysis rather than agents making an educated guess. This leads to speedier sales and happier sellers who are much more likely to return in future.

The official stuff

Let’s face it, the time consuming part of any property sale is the official stuff. The affordability checks, the identity checks, the surveys, the reports, the proof of funds… the chasing, the checking and the often more chasing. With software solutions like Coadjute developed to handle all of this stuff and connect all parties of the transaction together, you’re free to do the part of your job that you’re best at. Dealing with people. On-boarding new sellers, sweet-talking buyers and ultimately, selling more properties.

Exciting times ahead

With more and more tech being developed every day to streamline the property sector, there’s a lot to look forward to in terms of the returns that this can bring.

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