With new and exciting PropTech solutions approaching the market, Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, discusses some of their relevance and whether they are being built to serve a genuine need or introduced with a purely financial motive.
PropTech is promising to resolve a multitude of issues which exist in the property sector ranging from supporting agents in their daily working lives, backend accounting software, quirky marketing products and more in-depth legislative support ranging to full CRM systems.
However, perceptions of what is required of the property sector can very often just be based on the developer’s own experiences from a house move or by former industry practitioners who spot an opportunity within the marketplace.
It is fair to say that there have been numerous worthwhile solutions over recent years, however, it is questionable whether some solutions are being built for the right reasons. There are genuine issues that often need resolution, but wouldn’t necessarily be the most lucrative, so the detective work of an agency when looking for a new solution is extremely important to ensure longevity and usefulness.
Very often, day-to-day working environments and the majority of technology in place cross covers the requirements many estate and lettings agents have to function. As such, additional layering of tech can complicate the working environment and add to cost.
Many agents should appreciate the technology they already have in hand and, when considering a new piece of PropTech, should weigh up what this would bring to the business.
The developers of many pieces of PropTech have a short to medium-term strategy to grow the company fairly quickly and look to sell out, which can often be at the expense of the client.
Companies that are being created to deliver a long-term service and constantly work on and refresh products in the background to ensure a seamless operation do exist, but agents need to consider these tips in order to make sure what they’re using is right for the business.
What is the solution you actually need?
By considering the market conditions, the type of advantage this solution will give your business over your competitors and the efficiencies it will give you above other systems, you can then decipher whether this is a need or a want. Having a diarised review of all your PropTech solutions will also help in order to make the right decisions moving forward.
Do your research
Legislation is often a key driver for technology within the sector and the government’s direction creates PropTech solutions. However, agents should always be aware that the legislative requirements continue to sit with them as the professional and the use of a technology provider does not absolve them of their liability.
Lengthy contacts might tie you up
Long-term contracts can leave agencies in a position where they are committed to paying for a product for a longer period of time and very often if that product tends not to be used by the staff, or is not of value to the business, it is very difficult for agencies to relinquish themselves of the burdens of the contact.
Understand the terms of the agreement
It’s important for agencies to clearly understand the terms of the agreement they are embarking on. Skilled salespeople within the sector will move from product to product and utilise their skill set and contacts in order to imbed a new product with an agency so business owners should carefully consider the terms and conditions of the contract and negotiate and analyse an exit route if the product doesn’t suit the businesses needs.
Test, test, test
Don’t be afraid to ask for a free trial and agencies should push the product to its limits in order to configure whether it is right for them as it will be a commitment once taken on.
*Nathan Emerson is the CEO of Propertymark