The digital era is no longer upon us; it is in full swing. Every industry has either been, or is about to be, disrupted by a product of digital technology. Hospitality, transportation, education and music are obvious examples. The way business is broadly done in these industries is a far cry to what it was five years ago. Initially, there was (and still is) resistance – anyone who has built an empire using traditional methods will fight tooth and nail to protect that legacy – but eventually there is no choice but to accept and embrace change.
So why does the property industry continue to be so stubborn? Why is it so slow to accept change?
It all comes down to fear and a lack of understanding. There is too much of both, and together they protect outdated ideologies and obstruct change. Change for the good of the consumer; change that makes buying or renting property cheaper and easier for us all.
The property industry needs to let go of tradition and embrace this change. It needs to understand that in the long run tech will not disrupt us for the worse but for the better. The sooner a property firm jumps on the band wagon, the sooner that firm can profit by being an authority in the field. The problem is that too many large companies and real estate big players fail to realise this incentive. It seems they are all waiting for someone to come in and upend the industry and only then will they start to embrace the new digital landscape.
Well, that moment, whether they like it or not, may have finally come.
Proptech is moving in
Brandon Weber, a rising US proptech star, recently entered the UK Property industry after making millions with his cloud-based leasing portfolio management company across the pond. He was interviewed in last month’s issue of Estates Gazette and offered an interesting insight on the subject of the property industry’s apparent reluctance to embrace tech. He claimed that the idea property never innovates is actually false; that the real problem is that no one has developed a good enough technology, until now.
His company, Hightower, aims to increase revenues by reducing the average time that properties are on the market, cutting down on the number of person hours spent on admin and ultimately eliminating future risk. He concedes that his unfamiliar and “highly technical” system may initially arouse suspicion in the UK market but is confident he can communicate the benefits, given the chance. All he is doing is trying to reduce workload and generate better revenues; not replace agents with software, which is the fear plaguing the industry.
But, inevitably, Weber and any other proptech innovators will face skepticism no matter how groundbreaking their ideas are. That is the nature of industrial change. There are drivers and there are resistors; it’s a slow process.
Real estate agents need to take a leaf from Weber’s book, or at least hear what proptech innovators like him have to say. They have to be smart and adapt. They have to be fearless, and they have to invest in change. Otherwise they will fall behind.
It’s that simple.
Tunji Adebayo & Co specialises in sourcing commercial property for ecclesiastical use. If you’re a commercial property owner and looking to fill your empty building then we would love to help. Just send us a message via our contact page to start a conversation!Tags: property, proptech, tech