The simple truth is this – estate agencies who don’t align their business with modern technology will find themselves lagging behind their competitors. With so much financial and emotional investment on the part of buyers, tenants and landlords, professionals in today’s rapidly modernising property industry have the impetus to evolve to meet their clients’ needs…otherwise, they may risk fading into obscurity.
Like many other professions, agents are becoming equipped with more insights thanks to the information age. A Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun. But rather than feel overwhelmed by the volume of data and learning new ways of working, wielding technology (and its many benefits) can ensure customer satisfaction, besides completing transactions and other property processes with precision, speed and efficiency.
This is part of our mission at Inventory Base, and why we’ve developed solutions like InventoryBase Connect – a centralised platform built with the modern estate agent in mind. One that strives to offer faster, smarter ways of working without losing the face-to-face human relationships that the property industry is built on.
Showing how this digital tool can prove itself an invaluable resource in meeting these aims, this article will preview the evolution of estate agencies in the digital age and how InventoryBase Connect’s proptech solution can help revolutionise your day-to-day practice.
Balancing technology, data and personal connections
The need for technology
The buyers and renters of today are becoming increasingly well-versed in the property market and its processes – the internet has helped them educate themselves on what levels of customer service they should expect. With higher expectations comes greater control and influence on the part of these clients, especially as the demand for property intensifies and property stock dwindles.
Agents therefore need to reclaim the necessary time and energy otherwise spent manually inputting information to meet these expectations. Failing to do so will lead clients to look elsewhere for a team of property professionals that are ready to meet their needs.
How technology provides answers
However, offering a customer-focused position can feel difficult to achieve in a sea of regulation changes, increasing paperwork and demands on an agent’s working life. The solution here is, of course, technology. It plays a prime role in helping property professionals deliver a top-notch service.
In digitising paper processes, which can be completed and stored electronically, estate agents can make things much easier, so they can simplify inspections and reporting, and pass on documents to relevant parties at the push of a button. This makes sharing information between everyone in the chain, from conveyancing to buyers and tenants, in just a few clicks.
Speeding up the recording and management of property inspections, maintenance and the likes, proptech also brings transparency and consistency to each. Having a standardised digital form with the same fields to record information is a game changer. It replaces paper forms with ease, giving repeatable processes that protect you and your business.
The human benefits
For estate agents, the information recorded during property visits does not need to be entered into a computerised system once they return to their office. This gives them additional time to update their clients and foster stronger working relationships.
It goes without saying that an estate agency’s name is only as good as its last transaction, with the public wanting to feel valued, advised and understood. Poor experiences can be shared on review sites, leading to scepticism from potential clients. While relying on data is set to increase an agents’ insights, the benefits of this additional knowledge needs to be tempered with a people-centred approach. This is, afterall, what the agency model has been built around. A trusted pillar of the community who knows the local market like the back of their hand.
Having saved hours per working week by removing mundane admin tasks, property professionals’ time is then freed up to hit those important customer relationship building touchpoints.
Data derived from technology is paving the way for streamlined property processes. It can refine an estate agent’s service and identify ways of working better. Yet, there are a number of challenges that arise from having considerable data and insights at their disposal. One example is being ‘blinded’ by statistics, to the detriment of overlooking human behaviour and needs.
Just because the data suggests one outcome, it may have been affected by market anomalies. Here, liaising with clients can confirm whether these assumptions are accurate, adding depth to the data shown.
The evolution of estate agency in the digital age
Factors for change
As millennials and other ‘digital natives’ now make up a significant section of the rental market, there has been a wave of new expectations placed upon estate agents. As Danny Steptoe, the Finance and Operations Director at & Co Group remarks, these tech-savvy buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants have exacting expectations that set them apart from previous generations.
He uses the analogy of streaming movies and same-day postal delivery, noting that people of all ages have become accustomed to instant or near-instant access to the products and services that they require. And they’re not alone. Steptoe believes that other events have prompted key changes across the generations.
For instance, global factors including the Covid-19 pandemic demanded new virtual ways of working and delivering property services for clients. Today, the cost of living crisis is also driving new innovations in terms of buying, selling and letting property. Estate agents can differentiate themselves above other agencies by supporting the public’s ever-growing thirst for convenience in their operating models.
The need to evolve
This watershed moment has been seen before. When online property marketplaces first appeared several years ago, it forced estate agents to adapt or face being overlooked. The irony is that having many websites of information and listing properties ‘online’, has made human advice all the more valued.
Estate agents can therefore evolve in terms of adopting proptech, but never forget that the public needs to hear personalised market knowledge. Those that guide their clients through the process, by outsourcing basic questions to an AI chatbot, will maximise their advisory time with contacts.
Aligning with other professions
Every successful estate agent knows the benefit of working constructively with other industry professionals. From mortgage lenders to conveyancers, who also want to please their clients and build a solid reputation, change and working with new technological tools is no longer optional.
Therefore, there’s a strong argument for using a centralised platform like InventoryBase Connect among modern estate agents and other property pros. Here, key players can save time previous spent reformatting documents, let alone scanning paper documents. Think of it as all sides speaking the same language.
Integrated technologies between these different property services play their part to solve or prevent any issues as they arise. By signing up to a universal system or platform like InventoryBase Connect, the necessary communication and different stages of completion can be managed seamlessly to attract (and retain) clients.
Reducing fall-through rates and other delays, property professionals can put their clients at ease by ensuring their transaction has fewer possible delays than traditional methods.
What is InventoryBase Connect?
A centralised platform for the modern estate agent, InventoryBase Connect is a digital tool worth investing in. It offers a centralised database where estate agents can unite all of their team’s systems in one handy place.
Able to invite suppliers and industry partners to this platform, property professionals can connect their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, pick the relevant data, schedule property-related visits, receive reports and issue invoices. Providing an efficient and effective service, these functions show the potential of this popular proptech solution.
Granting users many advantages over ‘old school’ ways of conducting business, one could argue that there’s a need to move quickly. With 41% of real estate companies prioritising and speeding up tech adoption to streamline their systems, one question remains – Can you afford to stand still whilst others move forward?.
Download the resource today
Having teased the advantages of embracing proptech by moving with the times, ambitious agents can discover many more insights on the topics introduced above in the InventoryBase whitepaper.
In this free resource, you will learn how InventoryBase Connect strengthens a meaningful people-centred approach whilst making your business time efficient and streamlined. Ultimately, this will differentiate you for the right reasons.