What tools can property software for letting agents provide for a sustainable future both on and offline.

If you remember the ‘dot com boom’ then you are probably too old.

The property industry is way behind most when it comes to technology. This is due to the age of the people involved. I’m going to overly-generalise here but those in charge (CEOs of agencies, associations and governing bodies) tend to be 50 or over and the customers have been mostly part of the ‘baby boomer’ generation but that is changing.

First time buyers and sellers are now the ‘millennials’, the generation who have grown up with the internet, computers and everything digital. The work-force are changing too, those who graduated when the property bubble burst are now working their way up the career ladder and it won’t take long until they become business owners or gain powers of influence. This is where the internet can really disrupt the industry like Amazon and the like have done in the past but don’t get carried away just yet.

The online agents have been hit by scepticism from both property professionals and the media (again, an older generation) but if they bring convenience to the consumers who ‘get’ it then it will become very relevant but the key to the industry not being overtaken by the internet is for the online agents to compliment high street vendors, not kill off the traditionalists like easyProperty tried to do recently.

Recent reports suggest that September saw a rise in sales in actual shops (not the online versions) for the first time in three years and physical books are outselling eBooks again, proving that just because you can get things cheaper or easier on the internet it isn’t always the first choice for many.

The property industry needs to catch up with the rest but that will only happen once those in charge embrace what the internet has to offer. When a consumer begins their property search they start with their smart phone, tablet or computer at home, commuting or when they have a spare five minutes. This is still a recent development but it has becomes the norm so quickly. It is much easier to weigh up options sifting through listings on an app instead of browsing the each branch. This doesn't kill of the high-street though as completion has to happen and a service needs to be provided. If you can offer value-for-money in-branch then the online agent and their cheap fees won’t win.

People buy from people.

Children are being taught from a very early age to read, write and use technology (yes, technology) they won’t even need to understand what it is like even today where you can buy your coffee using your iPhone simply by tapping the Apple Pay app. This is just the beginning of smart buying. Things are progressing quickly, by the time they are teenagers the world will be very different. Self-service check-outs can be frustrating for many, especially when you have been used to being served by people all of your life but if you don’t know any different then it will just seem natural. When was the last time you paid with a cheque? Maybe bitcoin didn’t worked but in the coming years physical cash will be faded out, followed by cards. Digital currency will be the only option, ApplePay on your iPhone (or iWatch) will no longer be a fad.

Maybe you don’t ‘get’ it, find it confusing or just ‘too much’ but it is going to happen whether you like it or not. That scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise is targeted by brands whilst in a shopping centre will become a reality, the ‘Internet of Things’ will use data from your daily life to send personalised and relevant offers. They are already doing this on the internet! Just walking down the street, without being prompted your smart technology will be alerted with messaged tailored to your habbits and behaviour. This is the future, it sounds scary but it is actually useful for both consumers and businesses.

If you had data for people in your catchment area before they even begin their property search you can target them with personalised ads, relevant to them. When somebody gets married, divorced or has children you will be able to subtly send messages with listings that suit their circumstances before they even have a chance to go to a competitor.

Today this sounds invasive, within a decade this will be normal.

PropTech is still in its infancy compared to the traditional aspects in the industry but if you embrace it now then you can start benefitting and the future will seem less daunting. See how our property software for Letting Agents can help you with an online demonstration. 

This article was inspired by Adam Day's article for The Huffington Post.

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