The world of estate agency is changing dramatically.
The digital generation has already arrived but COVID was the killer catalyst.
94% of investors believe this to be the case according to the 2021 Future Proptech Survey.
It’s consumers demand instantaneous results; like everything else in their lives. As a generation that is constantly accused of lacking patience, it’s hard to see traditional estate agency processes surviving.
So what am I talking about specifically?
Well we are witnessing virtual viewings, electronic signatures and digital referencing become the norm.
Even Zoopla reported that “98% of prospective vendors now want virtual valuations”.
All the traditional processes are being streamlined.
So, it is this consumer behavioural shift that traditional agency needs to listen to, or they will miss out.
However, the estate agents themselves, I believe are still vital; they have the nous, the ear-to-the-ground information and the intuition that PropTech cannot replicate (yet).
So in my opinion, the key is to wed the existing human expertise with tech efficiencies.
Mobile apps are a great method to facilitate this.
Already evidenced in giants such as Uber, that require human drivers and passengers of course, and Air BnB, human guests and hosts.
But the process in reaching the ‘transaction’ is fully digitised.
So, no surprise then that Raconteurs recent report states that “The experience of buying and selling (or letting) a home in the UK is primed for digital transformation which will not only improve the process but also result in a happier society as a whole”.
It is almost as if there is a guilt and simultaneously a shock, within the sector, that there hasn’t been an Uber or an AirBnB-like disruptor for buying and selling real estate. Yet.
So what have we witnessed at The ZEUS App to support this?
A landlord from Barnet uploaded their property to our app during lockdown, seeking virtual valuations from agents.
He received 5 within 48 hours. He instructed one of those agents by e-signing their terms.
The agent prepared a virtual tour. An international student and her parents ‘walked’ the tour online from Asia.
They made an offer via email, e-signed an AST, then flew to London and moved in. All. During. Lockdown.
No one in the chain met anyone, at any point, phenomenal. It was all triggered by a virtual valuation request using our app. Genuine value for everyone in the chain during unprecedented times.
Furthermore, the virtual valuation was within 5% of the eventual deal price. The most accurate in the industry. Again, supporting my theory that wedding human expertise with tech is certainly the perfect combination.
So what is next?
59% of investors expect to make further investment into the PropTech sector in 2021, according to Raconteur. Further proof of the behavioural shift that is taking place within our industry.
Metaprop reported that 76% of investors expect to see more acquisitions (consolidation) over the next 12 months. Again, further evidence to suggest the company valuations are predicted to grow within the industry.
So, we could argue that having the skills necessary to manage and utilise new technology will be one of the key factors that determines success.
Thomas Herr, EMEA head of digital innovation at CBRE thinks so:
“It is not technology that will disrupt the property industry, but the ability of companies to adopt it and to educate their employees about it.”
Now if I told you that the mid-year 2020 the PropTech confidence index was at an all-time low, would you believe me? Possibly.
I think global confidence was low.
However, by the turn of the year and into Q1 2021, it stood at 9 out of 10. An all-time high for the confidence index.
What are we doing about all of this?
Well, our start-up The ZEUS App is a virtual valuation tool for sales and lettings.
Helping streamline the valuation process and enhance the selling and letting journey.
It offers a completely original and unique experience for estate agents and property owners.
It ended up being the perfect start-up for the most imperfect year. Virtual tools becoming fashionable and essential.
Our database now boasts c.1,000 properties, over 125 agencies, 96% average valuation accuracy and a 4.7 out of 5 app store rating.
You can download it here.
Critically, we are combining human nous with tech, which I feel is the key to creating a successful digital legacy for our industry.