Technology has been improving many industries for years, but the property sector has been slow to catch up with systems and processes that haven’t moved on in decades.
Fortunately, things are finally changing, and the rise in the number of PropTech (Property Technology) businesses springing up is testament to the fact that the industry is now ready to bring innovation to way we buy, sell and engage with properties.
What’s driven this change? Well for starters there’s an abundance of data available in property-related industries. Big data means better forecasting and prediction in trends. That could be anything from identifying which locations are better than others for future development to predictions of future home prices (although no data model accurately predicted 12 months ago at the start of Covid, the hot housing market that we’re currently experiencing).
To avoid grinding to a halt during the Covid lockdowns, the property sector has been forced to embrace technology. Virtual viewings, Virtual Reality tours, Augmented Reality to superimpose your furniture into any home, Drones being used to conduct surveys. These tech tools all ensured that the housing market not only continued moving but actually thrived during the various lockdowns.
PurpleBricks was a revolutionary concept when it launched – imagine being able to sell your home without having to pay a 2% commission to an estate agent, and instead paying a much lower flat fee, while still having the benefit of your home advertised on the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla. It’s no wonder that they’ve grown to be Britain’s biggest estate agent in the past few years.
And it’s not just the way we’ve been viewing properties that have benefited from technology, but the way we finance them too. Companies like Trussle and Habito are revolutionising the mortgage sector, with the entire process taking place online. Gone are the long laborious application forms, and the high arrangement fees too.
For landlords in the Buy to Rent sector, there are platforms such as Plentific which helps them to manage the repairs and maintenance of their rental properties.
Even shopping apps such as Wayfair are using technology by bringing augmented reality enabled shopping into our homes. On their app it is possible to visualise a particular piece of furniture in your room, so there’s no risk of it not fitting in with your space or your colour scheme.
The possibilities for the use of technology within the property sector are endless, and I for one can’t wait to see where it goes next.
Cal Graham is Head of Marketing for Wayhome, the brand new way to buy a home with no mortgage, no interest and no debt.