Technical Innovations in the Property Industry

Technology and property companies show how virtual reality, 3D cameras and other innovations are changing the way they operate.


The days of walking into a high street letting agent, taking hours to see a home, and searching a spreadsheet for a possible mortgage lender may be dwindling. The property industry is innovating and embracing new technologies to increase its offering to clients.


From artificial intelligence (AI) to virtual reality, here are a few of the ways that technology is shaking up the marketplace.

Virtual viewings


Technology works best when it generates genuinely useful outcomes for businesses and their clients.


The appropriate solutions are the ones that solve existing industry issues and oversights. Adopting it may not make or break a company, but more property companies are growing digital strategies with their web agency.


Inaccurate or insufficient photos of properties has motivated some businesses to use virtual reality (VR) to change viewings.


Matterport, an immersive media technology firm, has made a camera that simplifies the creation of digital 3D models and generates VR experiences, floor plans and ultra high definition photography.


It has altered the way in which properties are promoted, improving the speed and quality of the buying and selling process.


Potential buyers can see properties in true-to-life definition through VR or internet excursions — virtually walking through 50 properties at the time it would take to see one, it saves clients and the buyer advocacy time and money spent on travelling to unsuitable properties, while speeding up the screening process and leading to faster sales.


On conventional opening evenings, realtors used to hope to sell approximately at least 10 percent of the flats on display, but with the inclusion of VR headsets, there has been a sales increase of 15 percent. VR headsets enable viewers to step inside the flat and feel how it will look and feel. It gives them a better understanding of what is on offer. More and more real estate companies are seeing the importance of investment in using VR to assist prospective customers visualise finished apartments at a development stage.

Speeding up earnings


After recognising that mortgages are quite slow, paper-based and prone to human error, A digital mortgage broking company called Habito started using a robo-advice to allow people to acquire a mortgage online anytime and from any device.


The robo-advice technology scans the whole market for the best products for a client’s specific needs, in half the time of a traditional mortgage broker and produces it into the form of a customised report built from code in  their web design. Done right, AI, machine learning and algorithms can [help] customers at a fraction of the traditional price.


Tech has made difficult jobs easier, like surveying busy care homes, where disruption to residents must be minimal.


In a similar vein, the real process of buying property has had something of a technological improvement, with applications firm, Properr, creating TrackMyMove, which empowers estate agents, conveyancers and house buyers to track the development of a property’s purchase in a single place via a reporting dashboard.


According to Properr’s chief executive, Owen Derbyshire, it speeds up the time needed to complete a sale, reduces fall-through prices and enhances communication between parties.


Despite these benefits, it’s been hard to convince people to begin using it. The company’s’ primary challenge revolves around teaching people working in the industry, and promoting the advantages. It is natural for incumbents to be risk-averse and sceptical of change, but this as an opportunity, not a threat. Another avenue that has been used to help educate realtors is educating their trust network, from their business coach to their business partners.

Lasers over newspapers


Property technology (or “proptech”) has come as far as to utilize sci-fi style lasers to the business’s advantage. GeoSLAM Ltd takes the newspaper and hassle out of managing floor plans and spatial data collection with its handheld 3D laser scanning apparatus.


With it, users can quickly and accurately scan an area or building to create programs. It uses invisible laser light to accumulate up to 43,000 points of information per second when walking through a place.


This information can then be used to create 2D floor plans, internal area calculations, quantity calculations and 3D models, and empowers estate agents, surveyors and construction managers to correctly and easily obtain up-to-date spatial information of the possessions at [any time] and accurately value the residential or commercial real estate for sale.


Being faster than conventional approaches and less obtrusive to execute, it’s made difficult jobs easier, like surveying busy care homes, where the danger and disturbance to residents must be nominal.


Lee Fletcher