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By James Dearsley

Co-Founder, Unissu


PropTech Today: how to cope with technological change

A slight change to the normal column this week. I was very fortunate to be given the virtual floor at the recent RESI conference to talk about technological change on behalf of the Gold Sponsors, Yardi.

Despite technology not being part of the general agenda (which seems incredibly strange to me given all the disruption in the sector which, one way or the other is coming from technology or mentality shifts because of it), as ‘Gold Sponsors’, Yardi got to set a topic or two and chose technological change as a foundation stone.

I wanted to share the recording with you all as it centres on changes we are seeing in the residential real estate sector - not from an investment perspective but from an industry one. Something I have been going about in recent columns. See this as me bringing those written pieces to life.


I am clear to stress that industry trends are not always to some people's liking, but it is still important to consider what our consumers are testing to give us indicators of what the future may look like.

I hope you enjoy the discussion, particularly the end when Justin, regional director at Yardi, and I actually start talking about how to deal with change.

You can view the full recording below my summary of the conversation.

Justin asked me how others can learn more about the PropTech world and how companies can cope with the technological changes (at about 15 minutes into the video). I talked about:

1. Panic reactions to ‘buying’ technology

2. The mistake of companies not doing anything and a fear of failure

A particularly pertinent point of the discussion comes at around 18 minutes and talks about the transition from traditional to a more forward-thinking company.

Part of this starts with creating a digital or technological board. A group of people that have the agenda to discuss the transition and should not be made up of C-Suite personnel but a mixture of people from around the company.

Finally, at 20.45, Justin asks me for three tips of what I would do now as a residential real estate company and how to get the most from PropTech. I listed the following points:

1. Talk to your customers - don’t ask them what they want from an estate agent, but ask them what they do to buy or rent a property.

2. Don’t be afraid to ‘screw it up’ - something so obvious but something no one is really prepared to do.

3. Speak to the technology suppliers - unless you do, you will never learn. Some suppliers will be wrong for you, but just speaking to them will help you both. You will help them understand more about your market and they will help you understand theirs.

Therefore, I hope that you find the presentation about PropTech in the RESI recording interesting and I hope you enjoy the discussions between Justin and I afterwards - much more interesting than just presentation slides!

Any questions about it all, please post some questions below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

*James Dearsley is a leading PropTech influencer and commentator, and is co-founder of PropTech platform Unissu. You can follow James on Twitter here.


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