Technology and Brisbane real estate – what’s new and what’s really working
Many industries are being swamped with new technology and real estate is at the forefront of bold new promises of wholesale change, with thousands of apps and tech solutions on offer to home hunters and home owners. Many are offering agents free property listings so they’ll have the stock to attract your eyeballs to their flash new gadget and can monetise it through advertising or up-sales. But how much of this new technology is actually cutting through and gaining widespread traction? Here’s a quick look at what we’re seeing on the ground in Brisbane’s inner-city real estate market.
Virtual reality undoubtedly has the potential to help the consumer in real estate. The viewer can navigate a home at their pace and look at the things that interest them. See some great examples of VR home tours (you’ll have to BYO the VR goggles). Property developers are embracing this for off-plan sales and that’s a perfect use. Some buyers will even commit to a purchase of an established home without physically inspecting themselves but we don’t see that happening in big numbers for some years yet. We’d argue that home hunting is too much of a multi-sensory experience and buyers are slow to trust, wanting to ‘immerse’ themselves.
Where VR technology has huge shorter-term potential is in the rental market, where a tenant’s home choice is not as daunting or permanent. We’re one of the few agencies in inner-Brisbane to do a professional photo shoot and floorplan on our new rental homes (many others still make do with Iphone happy snaps), so getting property managers and their landlords to spend the dollars on high end VR tours might be some way off. We have recently bought a 360 camera and started doing tours on rental homes. They can be a big help to tenants, give them a better sense of space and layout than a plan on its own, but even we’ll admit they’re still in their early days and a bit ‘clunky’. See one of our recent 360 tours in South Brisbane.
For all the money and attention of the marketing world, the tech innovatons that are working really well in real estate are mostly ‘behind the scenes’. Tenants for example are getting far better service from agents since the introduction of online inspection bookings, and we’re using a platform that records every enquiry, offers more flexible viewing times and updates tenants in real time. It also allows us to generate useful stats and feedback reports for landlords each week their property is vacant.
Our agency’s tenants have access to a very simple app to report maintenance issues, snapping pics of the issue and uploading them directly along with their notes. Our property managers can often have the work diagnosed and quoted by tradespeople (who access the same app online) without the need for site visits. Our landlord clients can also see the reports and authorise the work where needed. Now a leaky toilet can be reported, quoted and fixed in a much more efficient way – surely this is technology we can all embrace!
Our agency recently launched Live Chat on our website, and while this isn’t a new innovation in the online world, we’re hoping it’ll prove a useful tool for our clients who, for example, have that one quick question. “When does my lease expire?” “Does that home have a pool?” Our in-office support team handle the chat on their desktop in real time. Yes we still have phones and emails, but Live Chat means our clients can throw a simple query at us for speedy response, without the need for ‘phone tag’ or email exchanges with their property manager or salesperson.
There’s a lot of change to come and we’ll warmly embrace those that will better serve our clients. We think the best innovations are the simple ones, where the experience of working with our agency is improved, not complicated.
Please share your thoughts. Have you seen a new innovation in property that’s impressed you?