Online estate agents have been disrupting the property market for some years. And today, more and more players are entering the arena, with claims that they can offer a better selling process at a cheaper rate than traditional high street agencies.
Despite differing degrees of success, it’s clear that when it comes to property marketing – as with other industries - the future is very much online. But, when it comes to investing in PropTech, in 2018 both online and high street agents are still missing a trick when it comes to maximising the potential of digital.
Where savvy estate agents are investing in 2018
For estate agents looking to sell more homes, at the very least they need a 24/7 website that provides an intuitive User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX); while offering a competitive fee structure to lure the vendor. But more than this, 2018 will see more innovative technologies start to make a real impact on the industry. So, to stay ahead of the game, agents will need to begin adopting and quickly.
Take virtual tours and 360 degree photography for example. With static pictures only showing so much, such tech is quickly becoming a 'must have'. Revolutionising the property market, home buyers no longer have to wait until estate agents are free to take a better look at properties. Instead, they can use VR to experience an immersive, close-up view of a potential new home, without leaving their current one. So sales are not thwarted by geography, conflicting schedules, or the restrictions of the working day. Even better, by providing an experience that can rival a real-life walkthrough, virtual reality lets you zoom in and out on images in an unprecedented level of detail; giving buyers the opportunity to view properties they are interested in without actually being there. As a result, less time is wasted on viewings that were never going to result in a sale. Ultimately, virtual property tours are changing the way buyers are buying, and sellers are selling, while generating new instructions, speeding up sales and delivering ROI.
Of course, with the pace of technological advancements showing no sign of slowing down, VR isn’t the only must have in the modern estate agent’s armoury. And, in 2018 there are a wide range of tools that can be deployed to help sell properties - with such services set to become increasingly sought after by savvy vendors. However, until now agents haven’t been able to offer all these different services to their customers, because doing so would price them out of the market.
Property marketing outsourcing
The good news is that help is at hand, and engaging Houseviz as a full-service outsourcing partner enables estate agencies to keep up with ALL the current and emerging marketing tools and trends – without the need for any significant investment.
PropTech Houseviz was created following years of experience in the property market. The business, which is driven by modern technology, delivers integrated marketing services to estate agents across the UK. In fact, when looking to reduce the cost of instruction and internal admin resource, Houseviz can look after all the marketing, valuations, viewings, 360-degree photography etc. - all from one single point of contact. Operating nationwide, Houseviz has already invested heavily in API Integration to enhance the user experience and bring innovative new services such innovative augmented reality tools to the marketplace.
In 2018, high-street agents need to get savvy by forging relationships with companies such as Houseviz if they want to compete with online agents, while online players need to look at expanding their offering if they're going to keep up in a growing marketplace. So, when it comes to investing in property marketing outsourcing, the question isn’t “can you afford to?”, but “can you afford not to?”
PropTech as an investment opportunity
When it comes to investment opportunities, online property marketing is very much in demand, with high net worth individuals, corporates and newspaper groups all investing heavily in online agents. For example, TV presenter, property developer and businesswoman Sarah Beeny’s online estate agent Tepilo is now controlled by a division of publishing group Northern & Shell, following Beeny’s departure as director.
Investors recognise that technology is a must to survive, and, as the Fintech and InsurTech markets become saturated, PropTech becomes even more compelling with the potential to provide better returns.
But when it comes to investing in PropTech, shrewd investors are already looking beyond the lure of basic online agency models. Sure, online estate agents are grabbing a bigger share of the market, with predictions that this will grow by at least another 25% across 2018, but there are already too many of them. And, in too many cases they are failing to live up to live up to seller expectations.
So, when it comes to the future of online property marketing - and more substantiated ROI - over the next few years and beyond, the PropTechs that succeed will be the ones that offer the best fee and the best range of innovative services to help sell homes.
The emergence of the retail a model
A further point to consider when it comes to investing in PropTech is the emergence of the retail model in this sector; where the price you see is the price you pay.
PropTechs often promote very low headline fees to grab attention and encourage sign-up. But, as with low-cost airlines, the devil is in the detail, and a plethora of hidden extras mean that more often than not, you end up paying far more than you bargained for. However, with large blue chip estate agents like Countrywide already adopting a retail model when it comes to servicing their clients – and potential vendors coming to expect this type of pricing - it’s inevitable that the rest of the industry will have to catch up.
So, the PropTechs that succeed will be the ones that understand how to meet the evolving needs of estate agents and vendors, and adopt a retail model to reduce the cost of instruction.
At Houseviz we have a straightforward and transparent pricing structure, and all the tools estate agents need to win more business and sell more homes. To find out more about us, and our range of existing services go to houseviz.com.