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08 March 2022 18909 Views

Ben Ridgway and Jamie Cooke, co-founders of iamproperty Group brought together industry leaders in a recent roundtable to discuss the challenges facing the sector, and how collaboration and technology can be harnessed to modernise the industry.

The roundtable took place ahead of the announcement from Trading Standards and the Government, who last week announced that compulsory information, including council tax bands and tenure information must be included on all listings by the end of May. The development, which is a big milestone, is set to support home movers in making informed buying decisions and help to speed up the process, but collaboration and technology must now support Estate Agents and not add to the growing list of challenges in the sector.

Speakers included Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at Conveyancing Association, Gareth Samples, CEO at The Property Franchise Group, David Beaumont, Managing Director at Compliance Matters and Joe Pepper, CEO at tmgroup.

Jamie Cooke kicked off the session: "Out of the many challenges facing the property sector, I struggle to pick just one. We work with thousands of agents across the UK and it’s clear to see the daily battle of taking on the opportunities of a very buoyant market and balancing that with the ongoing issues in the process.”

Speed of delivery

For Ben Ridgway, the ongoing challenge is a simple but significant one. He explained: “The biggest challenge for me is the industry continuing to fail to deliver what the client wants.

“When you look at the data we are collecting, via our iamproperty movebutler platform, over 40% of clients want to be completed within 90 days – they demand it in fact – and another 40% would quite like it, with only 20% indifferent about it. That’s 80% of the market that wants to be in their new home within 90 days – and the current average completion time frame is 125 days!”

Compliance as a catalyst for change

With constantly evolving regulations, compliance is increasingly becoming a burden for Estate Agents and a problem that isn’t going away.

Managing Director of Compliance Matters, David Beaumont said: “Compliance wasn’t historically an issue for agents, but it has moved further and further up the priority list, it’s now a significant issue and they need to consider how to tackle this.”

Once again, technology emerged as the best way to tackle the problem. Ben explained: “Technology has to be the solution, not just so that we can get to an outcome that everyone in the industry trusts, but to improve the experience for the consumers who have to answer the same questions and provide the same information over and over. It has to simplify and speed up the transaction to get everyone's buy-in, it has to be a commercial decision to keep work moving and it requires a bit of a culture change.”

Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at Conveyancing Association added: “Consumers are used to using digital verification checks now, there are other online identity-checking solutions that allow consumers to verify who they are that work really well and are already trusted in other industries.”

What’s stopping tech adoption in the sector?

Incredible progress was made over the past year, with the rise in adoption of new technologies propelled by new necessity and a shift to a digital approach. 2021 saw a £1.6 billion of investment into the sector – up by 360% in 2020. But now that technology has been proven as the solution, leaders are looking to bring about a quicker adoption rate.

Gareth Samples, CEO at The Property Franchise Group, explained: “There are so many options out there for PropTech solutions, with most trying to solve different parts of the transaction. It’s less about Estate Agents not wanting to adopt technology, but more often them not knowing which problem to solve first or being presented with something compelling enough to solve all their problems at once.”

CEO at tmgroup, Joe Pepper, believes the solution is in simplicity. He argued: “What consumers and agents want is something that’s simple where they can see what’s going on and be kept informed throughout the process.”

Gareth added: “Over the last 2 years I think we’re starting to see better solutions entering the market that join more of the pieces together than ever before, like the iamproperty movebutler platform.”


Moving forward

For Gareth, the uncertainty of the last several years represents a major opportunity for the industry and PropTech solutions. He said: “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last three years. If you look at the landscape and how it has changed, we’re now at a point in the market that offers huge opportunities for Estate Agents to redefine themselves and take back that market share. 2021 was a really good year for the industry, and the next two or three years offer an opportunity to build on that success with technology and service delivery.”

As well as working with other property professionals, reframing the relationship between agents and technology as a well-planned collaboration could be the answer. Joe explains: “Estate Agency has always been a ‘people’ industry by its very nature, to some extent I don’t think that has changed and I don’t think it should. It’s been shown that the value in Estate Agency is in its humanity. The most successful agents are those who can effectively harness technology to offer something exciting to the consumer.”

Ben concluded: “It’s about having the commitment to keep moving forward in the right direction and the mandated material information is going to really push things forward.  Technology should make Estate Agents lives easier and give them back time to spend with their clients, winning instructions, and growing their business. We pioneered movebutler to join as many parts of the process together as possible and upfront material facts is just part of that. We include this functionality for free for agents using iamproperty movebutler as we’re passionate about seeing a real shift change and agents shouldn’t have to buy a different PropTech solution for every part of the transaction.”

Read the full article and more from iamproperty’s deep dive into the challenges and potential of the future of PropTech in its newly launched digital magazine, Tech of a Life, which can be accessed online at https://readymag.com/u2303212762/tech-of-a-life/

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