In Part 1 of our real estate tech series, we learned about existing and emerging technology that is influencing the future of our industry.
In exploring some of the changes we are already seeing as a result of these advancements, it is clear real estate as we know it, may be a different industry, requiring different skills, in 10, 20, 50 years from now.
In Part 2 of the series, we tackle technology head on, providing insights into how your agency can prepare for changes that may be just around the corner.
Being ready for change without knowing exactly what that change will bring is a challenge.
Seeing the plethora of new and evolving technology that might affect and influence our industry is daunting.
Getting lost in the transformation of real estate over the next few decades is absolutely a possibility.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Few industries completely change overnight. It was decades, as an example, before the digital revolution of retail took affect and we saw a notable shift in sales from brick and mortar shopfronts to online stores.
As agents who realise change is not just coming, but is already happening all around us, you can prepare yourself and your team for the technology that will influence the property industry over the next decade.
You can also work to stay in front of these changes, to have your finger on the pulse and know what is coming, so you can take full advantage of new ideas, innovation and practices that will propel your service above that of competitors.
Here are our top four ways you can prepare for and take advantage of technology, process and even regulatory change in our industry.
You can read about what is coming FOR FREE
It’s commonly asserted that nothing comes for free in this world… but information about new technology, predictions and product launches is splashed all over the internet for anyone to read.
Even better, property industry technology is often reviewed, written about in articles, talked about in interviews and covered in detail in podcasts — ALL FREE!
The only excuse for having no idea about the technology being introduced to our industry, is not having time, and even that can be managed with a few simple steps.
For an easy way to stay on top of change in our industry, set up an RSS feed in Google News. This way, you will not just be alerted to updates from one publication or website, you will be notified whenever any news article is published relating to the terms you have specified in your search.
Links to the articles will be sent straight to your inbox and you can set aside 10 minutes each morning just to scroll through and get an update via the headlines.
To set up a feed:
- Go to Google and search for a key phrase, for example ‘prop tech’ or ‘property technology’.
- In the search results, select the ‘News’ tab.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select ‘Create Alert’.
- Click ‘Show Options’ to set your email address, sources and what you want to receive and then click ‘Create Alert’.
Now, depending on your settings, whenever a news story is published that includes the terms you have specified, Google will send you an email to let you know.
To keep your inbox clean and clear, set up a new folder (for example, Proptech news) and create a rule that sends your news alerts straight to that folder.
If news feeds aren’t for you, try setting aside 15 minutes each week to drop in on some of the links below, where you will often find property technology updates:
- REB Technology and news pages
- Proptech Asia
- Forbes Innovation and Forbes Real Estate
- Realtor Magazine Technology
- CRE Tech
- Elite Agent
Immerse yourself in PropTech events
Over recent years, following global trends, the PropTech space in Australia has grown notably. In fact, if you visit any of the links above and scan the stories, you will see just how many new platforms, ideas and systems have been built and introduced, and how many more are on the way.
To celebrate, explore and grow the industry, events like Australia’s annual PropTech Summit have been established.
Featuring exhibitions by new platforms that are ready for subscription and use now, and insights into those that are currently being funded, fleshed out and finalised, the Summit is an excellent opportunity to really sink your teeth into how our industry may evolve over the next decade.
With a range of speakers, not only from new and innovative products, but from successful marketing giants and other specialist fields, agents who attend can stay ahead of change and learn from those living and breathing technology every day, so you can implement new and exciting advancements in your office.
- Find out more about the next PopTech Summit in Australia
- Learn about PropTech Summit Asia
- Attend the annual AREC Conference
- Introducing Inman Connect: a conference that explores the property industry as it currently is and what it may be in the future
- Try the Real Tech Conference in Queensland
- Event Brite often lists real estate events and technology events Australia wide
Trial technology with free demos and subscriptions
While the move we have all experienced from using desktop software to subscribing and paying monthly fees for online software may have some downsides, one very positive upside is that often companies offer free weekly or 30-day demos that allow you to ‘try before you buy’.
Demos of this nature are available for everything from marketing software to property data, property management apps and sales platforms.
If your company doesn’t quite have the funds to adopt new platforms right now, take some time to download and try free demos so you know what will work for you and what won’t — what will bring value to your clients and to your agents — and incorporate them into the budget or planning for next year.
One company that is really getting it right — that is really dedicated to staying in front of change and technology — is a mid-sized agency on the central coast of NSW.
The agency recognises its agents don’t have a lot of time, but it also acknowledges there could be products out there that will improve their service, streamline their processes, help generate leads or just give them a unique point of difference.
The director challenges one staff member per month to find a new product or an innovation in real estate and explore it. They might try a new demo, have the software company take them on a product walk-through, or just dive into the product videos and description to understand how it works.
At the team meeting each month, the one staff member briefly presents what they have learned to other agents for a quick industry tech catch up and discussion. What is most interesting about this process is, while the agent exploring the product may not immediately see its value, another agent they are presenting to who works or thinks differently may see it from another angle and find an opportunity or advantage the first agent didn’t initially see.
This agency is operating at the forefront of technology and its agents all feel confident, comfortable and excited about what is coming in the future.
Learn from others
While learning from experts within the industry is a great way to understand the impacts technology may have, exploring other industries and businesses can potentially help you forecast what you may face in the future and opportunities that can be adapted to your business.
Though there are processes and tasks that are specific to real estate, others are common across all businesses. Innovation that has been tried and tested in one industry can, in a lot of cases, be adapted to other industries with a few simple tweaks.
Don’t limit yourself to PropTech, or PropSeminars, but instead look at other seminars, demos, sales and management techniques being employed by other industries. You may find some really interesting perspectives that you can learn from.
Go to a Salesforce Trailblazer event for example, and see what the best in CRM breed has to say, or go to a Microsoft Summit and learn what one of the largest technology and marketing companies in the world is doing. Or go to CEBIT and immerse yourself in some of the latest, cutting-edge technology and practices that are just around the corner.
Consider concepts like ‘the UBER affect’ and how the use of existing technology was able to ‘disrupt’ an established industry. By understanding how the technology used changed the landscape for that industry, and why it was able to do it, we can anticipate what potential impacts emerging technology can have and we can adapt accordingly.
If you read Part 1 of our series, you know that change is not something we can fight, but should be something we embrace and use to improve our service and our business.
Even if you feel you don’t have time, make time to investigate new technology in the industry so you can get in front, rather than be left behind.