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How Proptech is transforming the Real Estate Industry

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Jennifer Harrison, IdeaSpies Proptech Editor, explains how innovative proptech solutions are now powering everything from day-to-day tenant and landlord dealings through to complex commercial property operations.


What is proptech? It’s a question I often get asked. And more often than not, people actually already know what it is … they just don’t know that it’s called proptech!


In fact, proptech (or “property technology”) has been with us from the early days of portals like realestate.com.au and Domain. It’s been on an upwards trajectory ever since and now (thanks in part to technological advancements like 5G, big data and AI) we have more sophisticated and specialised proptechs than we could ever have imagined.


Look behind the scenes of almost any activity or transaction in the property industry these days and it’s likely there’s a proptech solution in place removing friction, saving time, reducing costs and generally making life easier.


In an industry plagued historically by a high degree of fragmentation - and the attendant inefficiencies - proptech is also the glue that binds diverse parties and allows them to build on each other's strengths.


Everyone from homeowners, tenants and real estate agents to architects, developers, financiers and lawyers are benefitting from the collaboration and connectivity that proptech affords them.


Here are just some of the ways that proptech is transforming the real estate industry.  (In many cases I’ve featured these proptechs on the IdeaSpies platform.)

Property portals

Would-be home buyers and tenants are no longer confined to the basic real estate listing sites and can now explore a wide range of specialist portals that provide information and assistance when buying or renting a property.


There are portals for off-market properties (like Patch), portals that help you to understand the value of location (like Urbern) and portals that match people with housemates (like The Room Xchange). Many have sophisticated functionality with matching algorithms and big data feeds.

Landlord and tenant apps

A larger proportion of Australians are now renting over the long term in preference to buying a house. On the back of this trend, proptech solutions have been developed to simplify relationships between landlords, tenants, and agents.


As a renter, for example, you can now schedule a repair request via an app which will triage the task using AI and allocate it to the next available tradesperson.  There are also apps that allow past and present tenants to leave an online review of a property.  


Landlords can leverage proptech solutions to self-manage (like Instarent), or that help with accounts and tax management, as well as finding the latest hotspots to invest in (like PropHero). 


Digitisation also allows real estate agents working in property management to conduct tenant screening more easily and avoid unnecessary paperwork and wasted time.

Visualisations

Many exciting developments in proptech are taking place in the areas of 3D and virtual reality. Driven in part by the pandemic and restrictions on in-person property inspections, visualisation solutions are scaling new heights. 


Virtual 3D walkthroughs of a property (created with the latest 360 degree, fish-eye lens technology) provide a huge jump on standard video. They allow you to look up and down, choose your course and backtrack as many times as necessary. Virtual tours can be taken from anywhere, anytime and on demand.


These applications are a valuable tool for off-the-plan properties where photo-realistic renderings – along with the ability to access virtual-reality walkthroughs – can be offered to prospective purchasers well before the first sod is turned on the development.

Digital logbooks and asset registers

Your car has a logbook, why not your house? As an infinitely more valuable asset, it makes perfect sense to capture and store manuals, warranties, repairs and maintenance information centrally and digitally.


Gone are the days of stashing everything in a messy kitchen drawer or, in the case of commercial properties, on huge spreadsheets or manual asset registers. 


Clever proptech solutions now exist (like inndox and AI Assets) to provide both homeowners and managers of commercial properties with the convenience of digital capture and filing systems which give them the ability to negotiate a property transfer or manage asset life cycles with ease.

Proptech, legaltech and fintech fusion

Increasingly, we are seeing proptechs cross over with fintech and legaltech solutions. 


For people borrowing to buy property there are property fintechs helping you get better deals on loans. 


Or doing clever things with credit risk that enable you to tap into your home equity (like Downsizer) to fund the deposit on your new home or investment property.  You can borrow a year’s rent up front to fund improvements. You can also get a market price guarantee (Brickfloor) when you are selling so you can buy your next home with confidence.


And there are proptechs that make the whole conveyancing process much more transparent and help everyone in that process communicate in real time (like Realtime Conveyancer). 

Proptech Awards

Many who work in the industry are in small businesses, micro businesses or sole traders. No matter how small the business, however, proptech is becoming an increasingly important tool for property professionals to stay relevant and competitive. 


This is where the Proptech Association Australia and the Proptech Awards come in. The association, and its annual awards which are supported by IdeaSpies as sponsor of the “Proptech to Watch” award, exist to help demystify technology, demonstrate its benefits and help people take the first step towards adoption. 


Because the benefits really are huge!


As well as being the Proptech Editor and a regular contributor to IdeaSpies, Jennifer Harrison is Vice President of the Proptech Association Australia and a PR professional for the proptech, fintech and legaltech industries.



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