The property portal sector is shifting quickly as new technology and innovations change the way real estate is viewed, bought and sold globally.
Georg Chmiel, departing CEO of iProperty Group and former CEO LJ Hooker and CFO of REA, shares with Property Portal Watch his top five trends that everyone in the property portal industry should watch.
1. Big Data
All portals collect data – and the more portals can understand it, the more efficient and profitable they will be.
“We collect demand data (all property searches) and transaction data (all sales data) and listings data, as well as data about agents and their past sales,” Chmiel told PPW.
“Search data can help developers build properties which sell better, because they are built to demand.”
Chmiel says that if you are the number one portal in each market, you automatically have the most search data as well as the most listings and agent data.
Chatbots which support the search process and the interaction of agents and developers with their customers are the new black, says Chmiel.
“Eventually searches on portals everywhere will be supported by bots,” he said.
Chmiel said iProperty Group has a chatbot on Facebook and Telegram for property searches.
“It makes waves,” he said. “It was the first of its kind in South East Asia and it is also self-learning.”
3. Apps built into messenger services such as WeChat
Chmiel says messenger services help property portals because searches will no longer happen on the portal – they will happen in messenger services. But these are not to be confused with bots.
“A bot is a counterpart in a messenger app just like a human,” he said. “A messenger app is just the platform.”
Chmiel says WeChat messenger is an industry standard and is leading the way in hubs such as China.
4. Virtual reality or visualisation
Chmiel says introducing virtual reality technology to your business and offering 360-degree virtual tours of properties is almost a non-negotiable technology these days – and portals that ignore it will lose buyers.
“Virtual reality technology provides a much larger potential buyer base as there’s no need to see the property face-to-face,” he said.
It’s also a very cost-effective way to advertise properties.
“The cost of a good virtual reality experience is around $10,000 to $20,000 for a project, whereas commission on one sale is between $20,000 and $40,000."
5. Modern forms of financing
Chmiel says company leaders who ignore change and stick to traditional methods of financing will get left behind as others embrace new and innovative alternatives.
He counts crowdsourcing fund for properties as an example of modern financing that the industry should adopt.
Chmiel says iProperty Group had successfully partnered with several such firms and is constantly looking for new opportunities.