Based on the current trends in the real estate market, Real Estate Business’ Tim Neary believes that technology in property, or ‘prop tech’, is bound to be a more important player in the property market this 2019. How will this emerging trend affect property investment?
Technology has influenced the property investment landscape through the years as it gives way to several innovations such as digital record-keeping, augmented reality and 24/7 consultancy services.
In fact, some experts go as far as saying that technology has ‘revolutionised’ the property investment experience as it improves transparency and efficiency – from buying and selling to the dynamic between investors and professionals
According to Mr Neary, prop tech is especially evident in the sales and marketing elements of the property market. As a result, both buyers and sellers are empowered to achieve better outcomes.
“Things like augmented reality and virtual reality, people not necessarily needing to be in the property to view the property to understand the property physically. They can get all that information online with virtual tools.”
“That empowers the buyer because it means that they cover more ground and they can get the experience of a property without having to go out there and visit 20 properties in a day.”
Moreover, real estate agents are also given a platform to expand the reach of their services.
“It gives the buyers bigger reach, it gives the sellers bigger reach and it gives the real estate agent bigger reach. Agents are tapping into this more and more and more to extend their ability to spread themselves a little thicker around the catchment areas,” Mr Neary highlighted.
Despite the growing influence of technology across the property investment landscape, Mr Neary believes that human interaction will not be replaced by artificial intelligence any time soon.
At most, technology will augment the processes for professionals so they could provide better services to their clients.
“People still want to see the colour of each other’s eyes,” according to Mr Neary.
Even with the rise of online consultancy services, the professionals in the business of advice will become more relevant moving forward. Technology will only stand to assist them and make the experience more efficient for all parties involved.
In fact, even the younger generation, who are generally more inclined to prefer online transactions, still favours face-to-face discussions when it comes to major investments.
“A lot of the stuff that professionals do, technology is only going to assist and augment their ability to do it. People will always want to eyeball people, particularly when it comes down to major investments.”
“They need someone to help them ensure that they are buying the right asset, so the role of the advisor is going to become more and more prevalent moving forward. You cannot replace years of knowledge, skills, capabilities, sentiment and market knowledge with a machine.”
Leading this new phase in the real estate market are ‘A-grade real estate agents’ who have the experience, knowledge and ability to continue to shaping the business amid significant changes, Mr Neary said.
“These agents will be the champions of the industry and they will continue to drive it as it takes on a new direction. It’s going to change. It’s going to look different to what it did 10 years ago – it already does – and in 10 years’ time, it’s going to be different again. But, I think it was Leslie Hooker who said this, the business of selling houses is a people business, not a property business.”
At the end of the day, the changes in the real estate market are only aimed at making the existing fundamentals better for both professionals and consumers.
Like the previous industrial revolutions, the transition brought forth by technology will change how people work and how services are delivered, while, creating more jobs across different fields to complement the changing landscape.
According to Mr Neary: “Technology sometimes turns into a paranoia, but if you look back at every other industrial revolution, where everyone said, ‘We’re going to lose our jobs,’ only to find that there was only major significant transition into how people work or how things are delivered. As a result, more jobs are created.”
“It’s going to be different jobs moving forward. It’s not losing jobs, it’s changing jobs and changing the way that we do our work, the way that we interact with our jobs. “
Investors are advised to take advantage of the benefits brought by technology in order to fast-track their wealth-creation journeys and ultimately achieve their personal and financial goals.
“Look to leverage the tech available to you right now to help you do better as an investor. Look for those opportunities. Look to empower yourself as an investor, to have greater knowledge and a more holistic knowledge base so you can make more informed property decisions – all by leveraging tech,” he concluded.