PropTech is the abbreviation for property and technology and has been widely accepted as the synonym for the digitized and automation-focused transformation within the real estate industry.
So, even if it might never be possible practically, the ultimate aim should always be to try to replace all intermediaries with technology or digital solutions and make all software solutions compatible.
If you believe that this sounds a little bit like a utopian vision, just think about firms like HomeAway or Booking.com. A host in one part of the world advertises a property on a digital platform by answering standardized questions. The traveler or guest from a different part of the world searches for a property on the other part of the world by answering a similar questionnaire. An algorithm programmed by the developers of the platform matches the ideal fit. This platform then replaces the host’s broker and the guest’s broker and the solicitors, as the deal follows the firm’s terms and conditions. This strategy is possible because people are willing to use technology and travel globally.
If you now say this is possible for structures that can be standardized and pre-programmed, but is more difficult in a world where every property and real estate transaction is different, I fully agree. Every new situation is different and must be re-thought and tackled in a unique way. Therefore, human intervention is needed, as we can think through a problem to find a solution and optimize that solution.
However, we have reached the time where we are able to envision self-driving cars, and Google already is using artificial intelligence. Self-driving cars need milliseconds to navigate new and unknown situations and can recalculate a solution in every millisecond. Now that we have invented this kind of technology, we should also look for ways to use it in our real estate industry, even though it is making so much money that some think we do not need to experiment.
Let’s face it, and be more honest with ourselves: at the moment, it seems like everything is going well and we do not need to make any changes. Hence, we will not make any changes, as it can be difficult to adapt to a new environment.
But don’t be fooled. If you, as a real estate expert in your field, choose to not make any changes, recognize that someone else surely will make changes by trying to find a better solution to the same problems you face, and you might lose your job or competitive edge in the not-too-distant future.
This book is designed to help you face the current and upcoming challenges in the real estate industry globally, and provide hands-on and applicable solutions in the form of brief information about start-ups that are solving day-to-day problems and issues. The PropTech industry is in its infancy, and we can expect several problems as it grows and matures. In this book, I am questioning our need for all the intermediaries we use today, and posing this question: Can it be done faster and more cheaply? In so doing, I will be focusing on the same three attributes throughout all stages of a property:
By implementing newly available technological solutions that are providing greater transparency, and better, faster, and cheaper solutions, it will be possible for current real estate market players to increase profitability. This will allow them to be ready to fight the upcoming battles with new technology-focused players now entering the real-estate world who want to provide better solutions.
For commercial real estate market players, this book will give a good overview of a number of firms that are solving problems that those market players must deal with every day, but may not have the time to research solutions for.
Residential landlords and tenants will learn how professionals have dealt with daily property issues, and how they might use new solutions from PropTech firms, which cost often a fraction of what commercial real estate market players are paying. Landlords can learn about new ways to manage or improve their properties, and tenants can discover the benefits of applicable technological solutions that they can suggest to their landlords.
PropTech participants find their opportunities by understanding the pain real estate participants encounter by using outdated methods to solve problems. These new digital- and technology-focused firms can find better solutions or customize their digital products and services to the property industry.
As this book covers all stages of the property lifecycle, I recommend you read through the book and then rethink the problems you are facing in, on, and around your property. Always refer back to the section that is most relevant. After you have read this book once, you will remember that there was a way to tackle the problem either faster, cheaper, or more efficiently.