No business can escape the digital transformation taking place across the globe, and the real estate sector is no exception. Real Estate companies are using modern technology to improve customer experiences, boost sales and increase operational efficiencies. Many organisations have been slow to keep up with adopting new tools and technologies to transform their business, however the pandemic has made everyone realise the importance of digital transformation is. We have seen companies quickly trying to pivot to get their businesses online and accessible to their clients. The lockdown also left potential homeowners to spend more time on digital platforms to search for a home.
Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix are just a few examples of how the pace of innovation has created a new competitive landscape. The benefits to digital transformation become clear when you look at the companies whose business models have been “disrupted” by technological advances. Our taxis, advertising companies and hotels had no idea that they would lose business to anyone other than their direct competitors.
Real estate is the largest asset class in the world – yet it is one of the last to adopt technology. Microsoft Excel has remained the most commonly used tool for data management, 30 years after its introduction! There has really been no incentive to leverage technology as traditional ways of doing things have done the job. We are witnessing a transformative phase in the property industry globally. The term PropTech which is a blend of the words property and technology is popularly used to describe this change. PropTech is to property what fintech is to the finance industry. If you are already using listing sites to search for a home, CRMs etc they are PropTech. However, there is a huge opportunity in this sector to address the current pain points with solutions to digitize workflows and provide better transparency for all stakeholders. Some of these opportunities include as follows:
- Demand for faster, more efficient and cost-effective construction has resulted in increased usage of innovative construction technologies e.g. 3D printing. This will dramatically reduce the time and cost attached to building construction.
- Blockchain technology can radically enhance financing and operations in real estate through tokenisation, smart contracts, and storage of land titles.
- REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) are fractional real estate ownership mechanisms and an important tool for democratizing access to real estate investments.
- IoT and artificial intelligence will drive informed analytics, real-time monitoring, and predictive maintenance. This will lead to more smart buildings designed to deliver a personalised user experience.
- Drones and AR/VR technology are changing the buying experience, enabling companies to create high-quality viewing experiences for buyers.
- Co-working spaces are popular with start-ups and SMEs. They provide individuals and corporate users looking to share ownership, operations, equipment ideas and knowledge.
- Co-living is being driven by the young and millennial population and rising rental prices.Covid-19 has proved that working from home can be just a productive as working from the office, some businesses have also reported increased productivity. As a result of this we may see more live, work, play hubs;
Gary Keller is the Co-Founder of Keller Williams (KW) which is America’s largest real estate firm, he declared that it is, ‘no longer a real estate company…we are a technology company No. 1’. Maybe it is about time many real estate companies jump on the band wagon and adopt this mindset. We are entering into a golden age for real estate and technology and here are some ways in which Mixta Africa is taking an innovative approach to business:
- Mixta has realized the importance for us to innovate and evolve to stay relevant and to stay ahead in business. We have developed a strategy for adoption of technology and innovation in our service delivery. This strategy defines specific priority initiatives.
- A digitised application platform that allows customers to easily submit their application form and KYC for client onboarding. This has provided immediate access to clients’ information upon submission. There is no need to wait for an Agent to submit documents and KYC via email which has also led to improved turnaround times and processing of transactions.
- A platform used to automate the processing of sales agents’ commission. Typically, this is a manual intensive process that can take a few days to complete. The new commission platform will enable us to run the process at a click of a button in a matter of minutes.
- The synchronization of our internal IT systems to eliminate working in silos and a lack of connectedness. This includes the integration of our CRM with our accounting system.
If you don’t have a strategy, you will not be successful in implementing new changes by adding PropTech to your current business. If you are interested in implementing the technology process, you can start by assessing where you are now and where you want to be. If you want to make digital transformation a reality for your organization (and avoid disruption), you need to start by transforming your workforce.
Author: Ola Awodipe – Head of Operations, Mixta Nigeria