PropTech has been a major buzzword over the last 5 years or so. If you’ve missed it, where have you been? There was a point – pre-COVID – when it felt like every week saw the launch of a new PropTech business. Just using the words PropTech made potential investors sit up and listen. Capital was being raised, people were searching for new routes into the sector and the bandwagon was on a roll.
There was good reason for the excitement. Like we’ve heard many times before, tech can be transformative. It can make our lives easier both in and out of work, and In PropTech, the pace of innovation is remarkable.
Right for the sector
In property rental, PropTech offers the potential to revolutionise how agents work. But it can also fulfil another requirement. The expectations of landlords and tenants are greater than ever before. PropTech can help agents deliver better service, without increasing headcount.
When the PropTech fits, it can, and should be, embraced throughout the organisation, from the business leaders to those working front of house. I believe agents should buy tech if it either:
- a) Delivers business efficiencies
- b) Improves the agent experience
- c) Enhances the consumer experience.
Good PropTech solutions won’t just tick one of those options. The best will tick all three, allowing you to enjoy a winning formula of efficiency, economy and an unbeatable customer experience.
Right for your business
It’s very exciting, but it’s fair to ask whether the UK and the sector are ready for this way of operating. Selling or renting a property will never be purely transactional, achieved with a few clicks of a button – well not for a very long time, and not without a huge culture shift.
From a lettings perspective, you must ask yourself whether you fully understand the renter’s journey from the moment they enquire about a property to the point of moving in? Have you considered the added value and cost of time spent on every single task, from start to finish? Have you looked at how each step can be made more efficient? What about feedback from the landlord, the tenant and your lettings staff member? How was their experience? Where were their pain points?
Adoption is key
PropTech can give you more information, more control of your expenditure, faster processes, better outcomes, a thriving business – but only if the tech stops being a novelty and is adopted by the whole team. Buy-in is crucial but getting it should not be assumed. Far too often, we’ve implemented tech in our business and half the team have embraced it and half have complained about it or don’t use it. Adoption of change is a huge topic, and dependent upon the size of your team, the message must come from the top and be embraced by all key personnel for an effective rollout.
When considering PropTech solutions, too often the mindset says, “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.” A more productive mindset says, “Everything can be improved.” When change is fully embraced – one hundred per cent – then it’s possible to realise the true return on your investment. That’s why you should make decisions based on experience rather than presumptions. Your front of house staff or main tech users are closer to the full lettings journey. Involve them in the decision-making process and find the right solution for your business.