Not all solutions integrate with one another, and many are based on individual platforms and logins and provide duplicated services to other solutions.
Within the expanding digital environment there are still elements that are carried out on a manual basis by many estate and letting agencies. This is proving to cause issues through sales progression and chain situations and makes cross-platform utilisation of PropTech for marketing and development a harder feat to overcome.
With the enhanced scrutiny over AML procedures and future disclosure of material information coming to the fore, seamless, coordinated, and transparent platforms will become an industry requirement to provide not only the efficiencies in working practice, but also the financial cost-effectiveness to enable agents to continue trading in a positive way.
At this moment in time, we have both manual and computerised functions, a lack of transparency, non-unified standards and competing interest from solicitors and estate agents over various parts of the home buying and selling process. This in part is a contributory factor to the speed of transactions in addition to the natural barriers which present themselves.
This fragmented marketplace causes inefficiencies, including increased costs for agencies, consumers and solicitors and an environment whereby responsibility can be hard to attribute.
It is this lack of joined-up thinking that can in fact cause greater degrees of frustration and division in the market.
It’s inevitable that other businesses involved in property transactions such as solicitors will migrate to upgraded PropTech solutions, but the only answer in resolving these inefficiencies is that it will take time.
Looking to the future
It is a natural progression as open banking client identification sharing modules and greater transparency through the conveyancing process is required, that property sector CRMs and operating systems will need closer integration with conveyancing and solicitor CRMs in order to facilitate potentially faster transaction times and coordinated responses to outstanding issues.
The difficulty which presents itself is understanding the levels of transparency, the security that surrounds this and a robust legal framework to protect both individual and financial details.
Furthermore, for those legal and indeed estate agency practices that have not started to integrate technology and updated their systems to more relevant products, this will cause further backlogs and delays as they become excluded from these seamless processes.
Equally, as a result of agents continuing to integrate solutions, a number of suppliers will become squeezed out of the market as certain products become more dominant through usability and industry sector choice. Ultimately, we will get to a stage where PropTech rests on a core number of suppliers or an open framework exists which others can plug into once industry benchmark standards are introduced.
We are currently at the beginning of the journey, and for the foreseeable, there will be imbalances and deficiencies in the service and possibly further delays as industry processes evolve to facilitate the requirements of speedier transactions, lower fall through rates and the ability to remove financial crime from the system.
In an ideal world
Setting aside the competitive barriers between both estate agents, solicitors, and portals, and removing the issues of financial costs and burdens; in an ideal world a solution would exist whereby all parties could be involved through an integrated system sharing the relevant data in a coordinated and structured way with consistency of information and delivery to all parties.
This would involve considerable close working relationships with competing entities, a greater degree of trust and transparency between industry sectors and to a degree, involve Government pressure and intervention within the process if a radical overhaul of the home buying and selling process was to be initiated rather than the piecemeal approach which is being taken at present.
*Nathan Emerson is the CEO of Propertymark