Proptech companies are booming as they find favour with millennials, who conduct much of their business online, and other generations who like the convenience. These companies are merging to create even bigger businesses and they are attracting billions in funding as well as seeing their shares do well. Recently, online estate agent Purplebricks has seen a 19 per cent rise in its share price. These proptech entrepreneurs are transforming the property market, particularly in the way people buy, rent and sell homes.
People working within the property sector will need to watch out for the top proptech pioneers, to see how they can work with them – or risk getting left behind. Many services such as looking at properties, advertising properties for sale or rent and back office functions such as inventories, contracts, check-ins, check-outs, payments and portfolio information can already be done online. Software can enable landlords to accept online bookings, schedule appointments and assign tasks between different employees. Most apps can also be downloaded for you to use offline as well as online. In the future, more activities will be generated and delivered by artificial intelligence, software, apps and robo-agents. The opinion of an expert in the market will always be needed, along with the personal touch, but it does mean that repetitive data collection and analysis could be automated.
Already proptech firms are changing the way traditional companies work and market themselves. For instance, Purple Bricks was founded in 2014 and floated on London’s AIM a year later, with a valuation of around £240 million. It is now believed to be the UK’s fourth-largest estate agent. Being online, it is open 24/7 for bookings and valuations, with fixed fees for property sales. There are also letting experts to help landlords find tenants or manage properties including viewings, rent collection, repairs and maintenance.
Lendinvest is also helping institutional investors and other savers finance short-term mortgages. This means they can buy properties which need refurbishing or modernising, do the work and then either sell them or start letting them. Since this online mortgage platform launched in 2008, it has lent more than £700 million.
Vaboo is another great proptech firm, which allows landlords to reward good tenants with offers and discounts on products they use. You just sign tenants up to Vaboo rewards, your tenants activate it and start saving money. Your tenants will see you in a very positive light, as you are giving them an additional service which benefits them.