Mark Reynolds, managing director in Savills Ireland, writes about how Covid 19 enabled their business to transform by finally becoming paperless and introducing a digital platform for their sales process. Clearly not wasting the crisis, while acknowledging that what could have taken years because of internal opposition, took weeks. He rightly acknowledges there is no going back to the way it was. He correctly states that technology is not to be feared but embraced. Perhaps they had assistance from their global network, perhaps not, but they have done it. It is newsworthy to get a slot in the Irish Times because of the novelty.
If it’s not a wake up call for the property industry I do not know what is. When one of the market leaders, who may not enjoy the agility of smaller players in the market digitally transforms, then you know the clock is ticking. Nobody wants to be the next Kodak or Xtravision. The silver lining of the pandemic is that it has forced all of us business owners to reimagine our business where human interaction is severely constrained. That inevitably brings technology onto the table. Technology assists but does not replace the human experience. It may well cull administrators roles.
Having the courage to overcome fears and finding the capital to invest are certainly two challenges for the industry. The next challenge is finding the technology company that can build an end to end solution for both sales and property management at an affordable price.
Imagine a portal where purchasers not only view the profile of the property but can walk through it, opening doors, cupboards, switching on lights, looking under beds through AR tools, being able to pay and receive booking deposits and prospective purchasers details, providing maps, photos, prospectives, where closed and open bids and auctions can take place, where automated reminders can be sent to interested parties, where confirmation of Sale Agreed or Sold statuses are automatically updated. Think of the automated reporting which can be visually enriched to show month on month, quarter on quarter analysis of sales performance and comparing like for like properties.
Consider the immediate benefits of a property management platform where tenants can register repair and maintenance or any issues through an app, where those issues get automatically notified to the property manager and the relevant services team and tracked, where financials in respect of each unit are recorded, where automatic reminders are sent to tenants who are late or who have not paid rent, where automated notices under letting agreements and leases are produced, where leases are ‘smart’ interacting with other office tools so key events such as tenant rights, break options or rent review dates are not missed, where leases are searchable and all located in one central repository.
These are just some of the features that can become a reality in a matter of weeks for agents. It is limitless what can be achieved. This is the final call for the digitisation ditherers in the property market. News like this from Savills delivers a knot in the stomach of rivals.
LexTech, a technology company, delivers end to end solutions to enable property agents to digitally transform. For further information, contact Karl Manweiler: email@example.com
The property industry as a sector has been slow to embrace technology, with many firms only dipping their toe in the water, but reluctant to dive in. Perhaps it’s the perceived threat from digital platforms – which enable buyers, sellers and solicitors to complete transactions online in a fraction of the time it would normally take – that has us questioning our relevance. But the reality is that although these – and other types of technology – help us to do our job more efficiently and effectively, we shouldn’t worry about them replacing us. In fact, some online platforms have tried – and failed – to emulate people in a digital setting, eventually reverting to the promotion of their service as a support to the real-life property adviser.