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By Nathan Emerson

Interim CEO, Propertymark


TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

PropTech Today - how agents can choose the right PropTech solutions

In the first of our revamped PropTech Today series - which will see six industry experts discussing a range of issues concerning the impact of tech on agents and the property world, every other week - Propertymark's interim CEO Nathan Emerson offers up some top tips on how to choose the right kind of PropTech. 

In an industry that is continuously adapting and evolving, the natural rise of PropTech has been explosive and meteoric. New solutions to various problems are formulated on a weekly basis and the number of crossovers in PropTech is becoming more prevalent.

Choosing the correct fit for an agency is getting harder and navigating the minefield of opportunity is an increasingly difficult task for many of us.

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The majority of PropTech solutions aim to solve problems and improve processes, however, business owners should have a clear understanding of what the proposed solutions will offer them. Here, I provide some tips to help.

Understand your business and ensure buy-in from staff

Rather than taking a product and making it fit around a business, agents must understand their own processes and how the benefits will manifest in order to ensure it works seamlessly. Just as important is a thorough understanding of staff desire and engagement to embrace the new technology.

One of the biggest issues our industry faces is the regular intake of new PropTech which is signed up to by agencies but is poorly implemented and executed. This means staff don’t engage or use the solution properly, with perfectly good products being cancelled within months of release.

Compare and contrast

It goes without saying that you should compare the new PropTech solution with your existing suppliers and make the most of marketplace trials to do your research. Crucially in this, bear in mind that your new solution should not be based on the requirements needed today but should be based on requirements needed going forward.

Agents should look to have a two-to-three-year shelf life to ensure that the investment is recovered but also to be upgrading regularly in line with new advances.

Analyse the impact

Complete a simple impact assessment which looks at both the positive and negative benefits to the company, staffing and potential outcomes. Some of the areas you should be considering include:

  • Understand not only how you will implement the technology, but also the sustainable benefit to the company.

  • Get a clear picture of the cost to benefit ratio in terms of monetary gain, time and efficiency.

  • Understand the Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) that it aims to deliver to your business in order for you to stand above and beyond your competitors.

  • Consider the potential pressures to staff.

Scope out the company

Make sure you investigate the solution and the company driving it. By following a robust due diligence process, you should get a clear understanding of the company’s sustainability and understand their future direction. This includes key post-implementation processes such as onboarding and continued customer support.

Serious consideration should be given to the contractual terms of any agreement. One of the biggest areas of financial loss is often due to a business not seeking legal advice when wanting to implement a product.

Legal advice can highlight the potential ramifications of entering a service level agreement and it is well worth investing in understanding the legal commitments when signing any commercial contract.

Give enough time to make sure it’s done right

Prior to and following an investment decision, adequate time and provision must be made to ensure smooth integration. Understand exactly what the solution provider can offer to ensure the best preparations for both a smooth launch and post-implementation period.

Clearly, end-to-end testing and user adoption are key to this. Not only will this help staff understand new and additional features but will help them become more efficient at using tools to their maximum capability.

Agents will also need to consider how long additional training and support is on offer for, and whether there are any additional costs.

Geovation Accelerator Program and REACH UK

As the property industry continues to evolve, new technological solutions will enable us to become more efficient and adapt to the increased levels of legislation and communicate in a way which fits the consumers' narrative.

Propertymark is acutely aware that many of the solutions which are developed do not fit the requirements of the industry and as such we work collaboratively with numerous PropTech start-ups helping them to adapt their products in a way which will lead to more meaningful solutions.

We continue to support and promote the modernisation of the industry through a number of channels including HM Land Registry’s Geovation Accelerator Programme and REACH UK.

Pre-lockdown, some of the participants in our Propertymark Inspire development programme attended sessions with new PropTech start-ups through the Geovation Programme which helped shape and develop products into the marketplace. More engagement sessions are planned as there is clear synergy and mutual benefits.

Ultimately for agents to achieve greater satisfaction in their PropTech solutions, for greater efficiencies and better results for our clients, we need to put the legwork in at the start and that applies across the board, whether that’s individually within our own agencies or as a sector, baking the involvement of practicing agents into product development.

If you would be prepared to let me know how you’ve approached it and the lessons you’ve learned through onboarding new solutions, or alternatively if you’re interested in getting involved with shaping new evolving PropTech, please feel free to email me at nathan@propertymark.co.uk.

*Nathan Emerson is interim CEO of Propertymark, a director at industry charity Agents Giving and a property industry consultant. He previously had a nearly 26-year association with Pygott & Crone, where he ended up as a Partner. 

  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Some wise words here Nathan, and we of course are involved with REACH and its excellent accelerator programme, as well as partners across the globe and with government and HMLR initiatives.

    In the past year alone we have helped with the growth of over 80 Proptechs and advised over 30 real estate concerns, having met with over 340 proptech founders in the past four and a half years.

    All of this gives us a very deep panoramic view of the yotal ecosystem and the only certainty in the world map of Proptech, with London only second to New York in the proliferation of Proptech start-ups is nothing is certain.

    At present around the world the real estate sector is pouring investment into: - Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Internet of Things (IOT), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and the Shared economy.

    Though we do not just focus on the residential agency vertical - we are also daily involved with all the moving parts, the following is not an exhaustive list but gives a hint of the A-Z ground we cover with a variety of proptech enterprises:-

    A to C - 3D Modelling, 3D Printing, Accelerators, Agent Matching, Agent Services, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Asset Management, Auction, Augmented Reality, Augmented Valuation, Big Data, BIM, Biometric Security, Bitcoin, Broker Free Listing Search, Build, Cad, Chatbot, Coliving, Commercial Real Estate, Compliance, Construction, Construction Management, Contech, Conveyancing, Co-Working, CRM, Crowdfunding, Cryptocurrency, Customer Experience (UX), Cyber Maturity.

    D to O - Data Protection, Data Valuation, Design, Development, Digital Twin, Drones, ESG, Facility Management, Fintech, Funding, Geolocation, Geospatial, Home Services, Indoor Mapping, Infrastructure & Sensors, Investment & Finance, Investment Management, Investment Platforms, IoT, Lead Generation, Legal Tech, Leasing Management Software, Lending – Mortgages, Lending Peer to Peer, Lending Tech, Lettings, Listing & Search Services, Location Based Services, Logistics, Long Term Rentals/Sale Search, Management & Maintenance, Marketing, Marketplaces, Money Transfer/Remittance, Mortgage Tech, Modular, Online Agent Brokerage, Online Agent Lettings, Online Agent Sales, Online Agents, Open Banking.

    P to V - Payment Operations, Payments/Billing Tech, Platforms, Portals, Portfolio Management, Property & Infrastructure, Property Management Solutions, Property Marketing platform, Property/Building Management, Real Estate Investment, Real Estate Marketing Solutions, Real Estate Tools, SaaS, Sales & Marketing, Shared Economy, Shared Services, Short Term Rentals, Smart Building, Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, Smart Cities & Mobility, Smart City Sustainability, Smart Homes, Smart Real Estate, Smart Services, Software Providers, Space as a Service, Start-ups, The Shared Economy, Valuation Tools, Venture Capital, Virtual Reality and Virtual Viewing.

    So I think that anyone who feels that there is not a seismic shift taking place in real estate, maybe needs to take some time out and explore whatt is going on, I am more than happy to help them with that journey. Increasingly here at Proptech-PR we are helping analogue agents de-risk their businesses and get on that digital transformation highway. And that is why we are setting up Proptech-X a publication for both property professionals and proptechs so that all stakeholders can work together and understand each other in the post pandemic world of real estate.


  • Kristjan Byfield

    Think of a proptech (or any partner service) as a member of staff. They should be fully embedded within the business, everyone made aware of their role and how this impacts everyone's else's duties and processes.
    Some of the best approaches I've seen is to appoint a 'product champion' within the business- it's their role to know the product inside out, educate and train team members and get them engaged in the product and the value it delivers.

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