Technology is changing the way people work in all walks of life and the buy-to-let industry is no exception. The world’s largest testing ground for real estate technology is in the Asia Pacific region, where proptechs have raised billions of pounds in the past five years. By 2020, it is forecast that funding in the region’s proptech sector will be about £3.4 billion a year. Here are some of the technologies which are changing the way that landlords and the real estate industry work.
Location has always been the key to buy-to-let property and now it is getting more advanced. Maps now come with a lot of data attached such as building types, sales value, any natural hazard risks such as flooding, and points of interest. Investors can then make accurate assessments on valuations and revenue in that location.
Drones will be useful in capturing images of properties and locations. These aerial vehicles can also capture 360º views from various angles and building heights. Likewise, augmented and virtual reality can show potential tenants properties from anywhere in the world. They can get a perfect view of a property without having to visit it. That means they are in a good position to know whether to rent or not without tying the landlord up with actual viewings.
Internet of Things
Homes are increasingly being furnished with smart home appliances and devices that people can control from their phones anywhere in the world. The Internet of Things is, basically, another phrase for sensors that can be remotely controlled. For buy-to-let investors, homes with sensors will have a big marketing advantage. As an example, The Edge in Amsterdam is the world’s smartest building, with 28,000 sensors detecting and responding to room temperature, humidity, lighting and ventilation. It also produces 102% of its energy needs.
Cryptocurrencies are hot in proptech right now. Dubai’s land registry has announced its own cryptocurrency, while Singapore has introduced Project Ubin to tokenise its dollar. Property buyers paying in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies can do away with lawyers and other middlemen, while speeding up asset transfers. Cryptocurrencies are not bound by a country’s interest rates or transaction charges, so they are ideal for cross-border transactions.
Big data enables landlords and letting agents to capture a lot of information about tenants and other clients. Technologies, similar to Netflix or Uber, will also be able to connect landlords and tenants based on this data. In the American real estate market, Silicon Valley start-up, Opendoor, has been shaking up the industry based on this principle. A property seeker can go to the Opendoor website, browse through the Opendoor homes and make an offer. The homes come with a warranty and 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Blockchain keeps a binding ledger of real estate transactions which does away with third parties. It creates a new model where the community as a group owns properties and can share the utilisation of these properties together.
InventoryBase uses proptech to enable inventory clerks and property inspectors to complete inspections using a mobile device, without the need for an internet connection. Photos, video and audio notes can all be included in reports which are automatically turned into a full, downloadable PDF property inspection report.