How property managers should adapt to PropTech

PropTech will affect how we live, work and build. It already is. New software, apps and hardware solutions are overcoming problems and increasing efficiency in the property occupation, development, investment and management sectors.

PropTech will affect everything from construction management, to rent collection processes, to how employees physically interact within office buildings. As a society we have become accustomed to dynamic technologies in the services that we use every day, so clients have rightly come to expect the same level of delivery and innovation from their real estate providers.

The adoption of PropTech to date has been slow and steady. However, it is pretty clear that all sectors of the real estate industry are being threatened by the rise of PropTech. For example, OpenDoor, Trulia or Purplebricks are changing the real estate and rental marketplace; Habiteo is disrupting real estate development; and Oracle or Redsky are changing construction management. Whatever the sector in this profession, there are dozens of startups looking to make processes quicker, more efficient or automatic.

However, over the past few weeks with the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have had to face the reality of conducting business without physical interaction, a situation that is uniquely geared towards PropTech solutions.

Most startups fall into one of two main categories. There are those that offer support for real estate professionals, providing tools to streamline processes, for data collection, time management productivity, or to attract business. For example, AskPorter automates tasks for agents, property managers and landlords like arranging a contractor or chasing rent. Others include Goodlord, Rentify, Propoly or HomeRenter.

However, there are also PropTech startups like Hipla or Homie that are proposing to eliminate and replace real estate professionals, ‘cutting out the middle man’.

As property professionals, how should we respond to these developments?

Primarily, we must realise that change is real and inevitable and will happen with or without real estate professionals. Moreover, in this current climate, these changes may need to happen sooner to ensure a company can continue to conduct its business. We must embrace it and keep working with our clients — current and future. Technological disruption holds great potential to deliver return on investment in the form of client satisfaction, staff retention or simply higher revenues and profits.

Keeping up to date with industry news is important. The more informed you are, the better your ability to anticipate changes in the market and meet the needs of your clients. Remain open-minded and conscious of the changing consumption patterns in the wake of COVID-19.

New PropTech startups have the ability to bring innovation into each step of the process and radically rethink existing systems. They might address one highly specific aspect of the industry such as construction management and coordination between the many actors in the business, or they might take on the entire business model, such as is the case with rental property management.

To ensure that traditional property firms remains competitive, it is essential to continue to innovate and be open to new inventions. Improving your efficiency or client satisfaction for example should be a continuous and evolving process. Invest in new technology and equipment. Experiment with different software, test new tactics and find out what is successful. Client feedback is hugely beneficial. The best way to improve client satisfaction is by serving your clients’ needs.

Key to surviving the disruption of PropTech is identifying your added value. Why do your clients need you? Why do they continue to use your service? What is unique about the service you provide? Once you have the answers, deliver on them consistently so that your clients won’t want to go elsewhere.

Ultimately, as a real estate professional with a portfolio of clients, you are in the best position to know and anticipate their needs. While we must keep up to date with innovation in our sector, technology is only a means to an end. PropTech startups will not succeed if they don’t fulfill clients’ needs. It’s up to you to determine how your clients’ specific needs can best be addressed.

Written by Israel Moskovitz,

“How property managers should adapt to PropTech” first appeared on my Medium profile.