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What is PropTech?


Jonathan Jackson
InfoChoice investment expert writer

Proptech is changing the way homebuyers, investors and developers make property purchases. New technology in the buying and selling of property is bringing large scale fast change to the property sector. Buyers, sellers, developers and architects are all benefitting.

Medium.com suggests: “PropTech is one small part of a wider digital transformation in property.

“It considers both the technological and mentality change of the real estate industry, and its consumers to our attitudes, movements and transactions involving both buildings and cities.”

Numerous innovations in PropTech are changing the face of the market.

Artificial Intelligence for property developers

For property developers artificial intelligence systems are helping take the legwork out of the immense amount of research a developer must do before construction can start. 

For just one example, Archistar.ai accumulates hundreds of property data sets: property title information, zoning data, building heights and setbacks, construction cost and sales data. The information is used to help developers quickly assess the development potential of a property.

Through AI, developers can find potential sites, produce feasibility reports and generate instant architectural designs using generative design techniques.

This technology essentially reduces the complexity and costs in the approval process for developers and councils.

Artificial Intelligence in real estate

AI is having an impact on a range of industries including healthcare, hospitality, travel, manufacturing and banking.

You’d be familiar with chatbots.

Juniper research forecasts that chatbots will free up medical staff time and save countries’ healthcare systems around $3.7 billion by 2023. And, in banking, operational cost savings from using chatbots will reach $7.3 billion globally by 2023, up from an estimated $209 million in 2019, according to Juniper Research.

The smart industries are using AI to develop programs and products that focus on customers’ needs through increased customisation and personalised services.

Real estate agents will be able to tap into big data to analyse market trends. By leveraging machine learning, this data would also be able to deliver predictions of where trends will lead.

For homebuyers, AI could match their data directly to listings through algorithms that automate tasks making the search for a property much easier.

Virtual Reality in real estate

Virtual reality touring has been with us for some time. Real estate agents can offer a completely immersive experience through virtual and augmented reality technologies.

This has proved a boon for real estate agents, who are able to display houses in a completely new way.

And poses several advantages for potential buyers, who can take a virtual tour of a house without having to inspect it, although a real world inspection is highly recommended.

In the long-term VR will cut down physical showings. Research from Redfin showed that 20% of home buyers made an offer on a home sight unseen. In another survey, 77% of home buyers wanted to see a virtual reality tour before making a trip.

What is the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in real estate?

Virtual reality (VR) immerses the user completely into a digital environment, providing a 360-degree view so you can have a tour of a potential new home without physically visiting.

Augmented Reality (AR) uses an electronic display to project digital images within a real-world environment so you can see possible changes you can make in the property. Augmented reality technology is still nascent but many of these possibilities are already being explored.

Do I need a Virtual Reality tour to sell my home?

Ask your real estate agent about virtual reality tours or property inspections of your home. Vendors and home sellers are increasingly wanting their agents to offer Virtual Reality and Forbes suggests real estate agents should:

• Set up VR stations where buyers can come in, rule out homes on their list and book physical showings.

• Offer to feature VR tours on client listings as a way to cut down on foot traffic in the seller’s house, and save money on cleanings and doggy day care.

• Get a jump-start on finding a buyer for new construction before it’s built using VR as a visualization tool.

Proptech is changing the real estate industry

Goldman Sachs suggests that by 2025, the VR market in real estate alone will generate $2.6 billion in revenue.

For buyers, there is nothing like getting to know your agent, building rapport and encouraging them to bring home the best possible price.

Now agents are being encouraged by sellers, buyers and developers to more broadly adopt PropTech solutions and the industry is responding. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reailty and Artificial Intelligence can save time, money, aggravation and deliver a little fun on the side with a VR headset strapped on.

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