Tag: Technology

Estate Agent Future Technologies: Adapt or Fall

Estate Agent Future Technologies: Adapt or Fall

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In a recent post, we discussed the place of virtual reality in the property sector. This got us thinking about the relationship estate agencies have with new emerging technology. The industry is notoriously slow for adapting to change. Despite this, a few select industry leaders have moved to embrace technology thus causing all others to fall behind. We’re very much in a state of crossroads. If estate agents don’t learn to adapt and utilise new tech, they eventually cease to exist.

Are High Street Agencies At Risk?

The answer’s yes, but they needn’t be. High street estate agents are being less and less commonly used while online variants are coming to the rescue. Why is this? The answer’s simple. It’s all about convenience. Today’s society can’t take time off work to cater for the house hunting process. The majority of online property searches are believed to take place outside of working hours.

Judging by these facts, you’ll be forgiven for thinking high street estate agencies are a thing of the past. This is not necessarily the case. The Guardian reports that industry experts estimate that only around 4% of all homes in the UK are sold online each year. By 2020 they believe this figure to rise to around 50%. So there’s certainly time for high street estate agencies to change their ways.

The Age of Hybrid

You may have heard the term hybrid thrown around a few times when talking about estate agents. What does this actually mean though? The truth is, many have an idea but few have put this into practice.

The concept of a hybrid estate agency is discussed as a middle ground between online and off-line agencies. Basically, you can search and find the ideal home online. You can even go through the motions of buying a house online. Though for an additional charge, you can seek the assistance of a local property manager who’ll walk you through the process and act as a mediator. These local property managers will have a physical presence on the high street so you can still take an old school approach should you wish.

The idea of an online only house sale is terrifying to some, this is why a physical presence is going to be a sought after quality. This physical presence still portrays a particular reputation that puts homebuyers at ease. The Spectator argues: “Perhaps the principal role of an estate agent is not to find us a house so much as to be a scapegoat if the house we buy proves to be terrible”.

Take the Virtual Tour

We don’t believe the average homebuyer will make a purchase based solely on a virtual tour. We do however consider it to be a great place to start. Why browse through pictures online when you can slip your VR headset on and take a stroll from room to room. This is a great tool to avoid wasting time at the very first stage of viewings. This goes back to what we were saying earlier about convenience.

Wearable Tech Potential

So this is an exciting one. What better way to market potential properties than through wearable technology? We’re not far removed from an age where estate agents will use location based marketing alongside innovations like smart glasses. Picture yourself walking down a street in an area where you’ve been previously looking at properties online. Smart glasses will notify you when you’re passing a house on the market which meets your criteria. You can take a look at specs right there and even book a viewing. Sounds space-age but realistically it’s not as far away as you might think.

Today’s Emerging Technologies in High Street Agencies

Back to The Guardian’s discussion around high street estate agents for just a moment. The newspaper exasperatedly state “time and time again we see the same beige interiors, the same sad window displays and mountains of dreary paperwork being pushed back and forth over desks”. Now we’re sure everyone can appreciate this dissatisfying image of estate agencies but it’s just not that simple.

There’s a new wave of estate agencies sweeping the nation which are actually making the process a little less painful than before. We’re talking about plush sofas, backlit digital displays, interactive ads and QR codes that’ll send important details direct to your phone. There are even friendly staff who’ll sit down with you over a cup of coffee sharing different options on their iPad. This is by no means cutting edge but it is a great place to start in integrating new technology into an industry which desperately needs shaping up.

Property Research

There is an area of the property industry that’s moved forward. Not long ago, homebuyers were forced to knock on neighbours’ doors to ask about their prospective areas. They would ask the agent about a location but were never entirely sure until they moved in. Today you can search your postcode and we’ll provide you with all the important information you need to know before moving house. Fill out a Property Detective report to find out about an area’s crime rates, schools, amenities, noise pollution, flight paths and much more.

The Place of Virtual Reality in Property

The Place of Virtual Reality in Property

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Technology is soon to revolutionise the property industry in a way that had not previously been foreseen. As innovations in the field of virtual reality advance, so does the possibility for cross-over industry use. In the not too distant future, you may be viewing a prospective property via the use of a strapped on head mounted display (HMD). This not only makes the viewing process far more convenient, it also holds far more potential benefits.

Take a Virtual Reality Tour

Viewing a prospective property can be a strain. You take time out of your busy schedule to attend a viewing, just to find within a few seconds that the place isn’t for you. Then you have to start the whole process again. In the future, this hassle will be entirely removed by the use of Virtual Reality headsets. When you become interested in a house or flat all you need to do is use a HMD to take a tour of the location. If you want a second opinion, pass the device to your friend, spouse or family. If you don’t like the property, you can instantly exit the viewing.

Some people have been concerned about how effective a virtual tour will be. This isn’t unusual with new and disruptive technologies. The virtual tour won’t look like a computer game nor will it feature low resolution images. Many high quality pictures will be taken of the interior of a property using a 360-degree camera. When viewing the house or flat, you’ll be able to move around using head and eye movements.

Interior Design and Virtual Landscaping

Today, when viewing a property, it can be difficult to imagine exactly what the place will look like with your own personal touch. Garish décor, eccentric ornaments and general poor housekeeping can get in the way of your imagined dream home. It has been predicted that in the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to use VR glasses to redecorate your home before you’ve even bought the property. Imagine this as a grown-up, more sophisticated version of The Sims. Using this software, you’ll be able to completely wipe the slate clean and remodel the appearance of the property. This software is not only useful for the interior, why not turn your hand to some virtual landscaping? Using the tech, you can speak directly to builders, gardeners, architects or designers to assist in your designs. Add a virtual kitchen, see what a conservatory extension would look like, try different water features in the garden. The possibilities for this are endless.

Is This for Everyone?

There are many people who this technology would not be suitable for. For instance, those looking for high end properties would not necessarily be content to simply strap on a headset before signing along the dotted line. People of an older generation may take to the technology slower than others whereas some may still wish to view a property in person. Whatever the future holds for Virtual Reality in property, it presents a very simple solution to those who are constricted by time and distance.

Boosting Sales for New Developments

This technology also has the potential to assist developers of complexes to sell houses or apartments before they’ve even been built. At the current time, buyers have to put faith in pre-designed pictures and occasionally a show-flat which often look unlike the finished piece. Using VR tech, designers can put together a simple yet immersive tour of what each individual room will actually look like. This is sure to boost trust and ultimately boost sales.

What Does Virtual Reality Technology Look Like Now?

This tech is not as far off as you may think. Virtual Reality headsets are already being used for tours albeit in small numbers and at a basic level. The current use of this tech has already increased the number of viewings per person which in turn has enabled the buyer to find the perfect home easier. We have very high hopes for further developments of this in the property sector.

Are you looking to buy, sell or rent a property? Do you want to know more about your local area? Find out everything you need to know including crime rates, schools, amenities, noise pollution, flight paths and much more with a Property Detective Report. Get yours here.