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How technology is transforming the property buying process

February 14, 2020
Narelle Casey, Head of Brand Operations, Independent

Technology is transforming every aspect of buying and selling property. And yet to many of us, unless you work in the industry as I do, this transformation is completely invisible.

The average Australian home owner buys and sells property just once a decade. When you order a takeaway every Friday night, it’s easy to see how UberEats has changed the game. The annual family holiday has been transformed by the rise of AirBnB. But unless you’re buying or selling property regularly, you might not realise how much the real estate landscape has changed.

Look closer, though, and you’ll soon see just how many exciting changes there really are. As Head of Brand Operations for Independent, I’m at the customer experience coalface. I support real estate agents with the right technology and materials to meet changing client expectations.

The important thing to understand is that real estate transformation is about the client. It might be less visible than AfterPay or HelloFresh, but it has the same goal: to offer people more options and improve customer experience.

As a buyer, it’s easier than ever before to get in touch with your agent, find your next property and sign a contract of sale. Every time you need to interact with your real estate agent, property technology (or proptech) is there to transform the landscape and smooth your way.

You might be surprised at how many interactions that really is. From the moment that you start thinking about selling your home, to the moment when you complete settlement, you interact with your real estate agency 180 times. That covers everything from researching agents to listing the property, receiving offers, signing contracts and completing the post-settlement paperwork.

As a buyer, it’s crucial that you find an agent who communicates well. But what if you have burning questions in the middle of the night?

We know that when people are thinking about buying a home, they do their browsing in the evenings after work or on weekends. All Independent agents use AI technology so that your questions can be answered simply and easily by virtual agents at any time of the night or day. That way, our real agents can free up their time to do the skilled work they do best, like developing a tailored marketing strategy for your property or negotiating the best sale price.

Once you’ve narrowed down the must-see list, you want to make the house hunting experience as efficient as possible. With real estate, time is of the essence. You want to hit as many opens as you can as quickly as you can to avoid the right home getting snapped up before you see it.

To that end, agents are automating their process. No more writing down your name and address every time you walk through a new door. Helped along by technology, agents will remember you and what you’re looking for plus send you the paperwork ahead of time so you can hit the ground running.

And once you’ve seen a dozen properties, how do you remember which was which? Snaploader has you covered. This new piece of proptech offers interactive 3D visualisation for real estate.

Snaploader is particularly useful for off plan units. These can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to forget details like, did it have a balcony? How many parking spaces were there? Since it’s still being built, you can’t go and inspect it to refresh your memory, so it’s great to be able to ‘virtually’ tour the unit instead.

And this is just the beginning. Unissu data indicates that there has been over $450 million invested in Australian proptech companies since 2011. The Uber of real estate isn’t here yet, but it may be closer than we think.

The great thing about technology is that it allows for more human contact, not less. The best agents have always known that the client is the centre of their universe. This means different things to different clients. It is the ability to guide, to have valuable conversations, to really understand the outcomes a client is wanting to achieve. With technology at our side, we can spend more time listening to and developing relationships with our clients.