Proptech: Estate Agents Have Nothing to Fear from Technology

Selling and lettings agents alike will all know that the property sector has typically been averse to technology. Suffice to say, proptech is battling to support many of the processes that have been in place for many years.

Indeed, if you transported an estate agent from the early 2000s into an estate agency in 2017, they’d probably cope quite well. This is unlike other industries, such as finance, where processes have radically changed.

Proptech: The most common questions

Mention the word ‘proptech’ to most agents and they will roll their eyes and may give one of these common responses:

  • ‘Why should the property industry change?’
  • ‘How much of my marketing should be digital?’
  • ‘These startups come and go. How long will proptech last?’
  • ‘These tech founders have no idea about our market and our service. They simply want to eat our lunch.’
  • ‘We don’t need new technology. Things are fine just how they are.’
  • ‘As a high street estate agent, is technology is going to replace my job?’

We understand why agents are suspicious of technology. The online agents have been eating into the sector, while the memory of Rightmove shifting from a free model to a paid model is still fresh in many agents’ minds.

A new approach

We want to show agents that proptech can be a friend in today’s tough market and, as our founder Babek Ismayil wrote in a piece for the Huffington Post, we believe that the future of technology lies in collaboration, not disruption.

“Collaboration should be the new disruption. We need to think not only about creating something for the consumer, but also about empowering existing businesses and creating more, not fewer, opportunities.

A collaborative company is one that works alongside established companies and, rather than trying to crush or destroy incumbent business models, helps to drive them forward through new innovations.”

Currently, the largest impact by tech entrants into the property sector can be described as disruptors. One has to only look at Purplebricks’ recent press releases to see the divide between disruptors and traditional players. The report, released in April 2017, criticised agents as being the representatives of “Britain’s antiquated method of buying and selling homes”.

Delegating to digital

We believe that agents are the foundation of the UK market and remain a crucial element of the property process. However, some of the daily processes in every estate agent’s day-to-day workstream are simply dated. Our research has shown that agents spend a significant chunk of their day on the phone and organising their calendars. Administrative processes like these are precisely the reason technology exists — to automate the jobs we don’t want to do. By doing this, it allows agents to focus on the jobs we do want to do — generating leads, building relationships, and successfully negotiating deals.

To find out more about the solutions OneDome can offer, check out our Product Overview.