The technologies shaking up the property sector
A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) study concluded that people need better information about legal services to help them shop around more effectively. In response, tech provides a quick and easy way to communicate with and support consumers. But what technologies have the power to improve the customer experience, and how can conveyancers and other property professionals emerge as a digital front-runner?
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR property tours are adding a whole new dimension to estate agency marketing. Offering 3D virtual walkthroughs like you find on Google Street View, prospective buyers can explore properties online in an unprecedented level of detail; without actually being there. Compellingly for estate agents, this can save valuable time by reducing the number of casual property viewings.
Taking this immersive home buying experience one step further, IKEA has already launched an AR app that allows people to place furniture in the virtual world into a real living room. And, it is only a matter of time before home buyers expect the same level of engagement when buying a home – with apps that let them see how their furniture would look in a prospective home.
Today’s customers expect a higher level of service than ever before and, they are not afraid to share their experiences of dealing with a business online. Today, over half of UK adults read online reviews, and this figure is set to rise. So, while the technology might not be new, there is no doubt that external review platforms will become increasingly important to the property sector. Especially when you consider that the vast majority of millennials won’t buy anything without seeking trusted validation online.
By leveraging big data, estate agents can collect more information about local housing markets and provide an enhanced service to their clients. For example, agents will be able to see what people in a particular area want from a home and then use this information to inform their marketing strategies.
With access to big data, conveyancers will be better able to advise clients about what similar homes in the area are selling for. Conveyancers can also use big data to establish what type of clients are profitable and use this data to decide who to market to and whether to take on new business.
Blockchain has the potential to significantly speed up the home buying and selling process. In fact, the very first blockchain transaction in the UK was completed in just one week. There is no doubt that a faster conveyancing process will result in fewer property sales falling through – good news for estate agents, conveyancers and consumers. But, perhaps even more importantly, blockchain is impossible to corrupt, and experts are predicting that it could mean an end to property fraud.
The 3D printing of homes is being touted as one possible answer to the UK’s housing crisis. Consumers could go to a website, choose a home, print it out and then slot it together like a piece of flat-pack furniture. While it might sound far fetched, the technology already exists, and developments in 3D printing technology mean that printers can even work with materials such as concrete and steel.
As far back as 2015, a firm in China built ten houses in just 24 hours using a 3D printer, and, only last month engineering firm Arup and architecture studio CLS Architetti created the most “beautiful 3D-printed house yet” at Milan Design Week.
Of course, significant mind change and investment would be needed to see 3D printing replace traditional building methods, but an increasing number of projects using a combination of digital and conventional construction methods are taking place across the UK.
What technologies do you think will revolutionise the property sector over the next few years? Let us know.