Portals Providing Technology to Address Social Distancing Issues

Simon Baker

March 29, 2020

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The Coronavirus is changing the way we all work, and it is no different for portals’ customers – the agents and developers.  In many parts of the world, agents are in lockdown or are having to practice strict social distancing protocols. This is impacting their businesses by making it hard for buyers and renters to visit properties.  

In the first weeks of March, Zillow saw a 191 percent increase in the creation of 3D home tours and Redfin has seen a 494 percent increase in the requests for agent-led video home tours.

To help agents, many portals around the world are rushing to market products that overcome the challenges presented by social distancing. These include products for remote showing for homes, improved virtual tours, the use of Virtual Reality, online consultations, and the improvement of the underlying contract process so that minimal human interaction is required.

Lifull Homes – Japan (www.homes.co.jp)

Lifull Homes has launched a new app in response to social distancing in Japan.  The app focuses on the rental segment and connects agents handling rental properties with renters looking for properties. The app lets agents set up online consultations, do property tours and even complete any required documentation.

New Lifull App

Hemnet – Sweden (www.hemnet.se)

Hemnet in Sweden has launched “Hemnet Live” in partnership with video experts, Bambuser.  This allows agents to perform live home showings over the internet without anyone around. They can interact with potential buyers using the chat functionality.  The service is being provided free of charge during the initial launch period.

The objective is to ensure that agents continue with business as usual while practising social distancing.  In a survey of visitors, over 50 percent said they would consider a streamed online home viewing provided the quality is high enough. In the first few days, Hemnet scheduled over 150 online home viewings with agents rating the product 6 out of 7 for the service it provides.

Hemnet is also working on other projects that will simplify real estate transactions without physical interaction.

Hemnet Live

realestate.com.au – Australia (www.realestate.com.au

realestate.com.au has launched a Digital Inspection feature that is free to agents. The agent films themselves walking through the property highlighting the various aspects of the house and then this is uploaded to the “Inspections” section of the buy or rent listings making it easy for buyers and tenants to see a property remotely.

Realestate.com.au Digital Inspection Feature

Domain.com.au – Australia (www.domain.com.au)

Domain is launching a new digital inspection and auction tools through Real Time Agent, a business it acquired in November 2019.

The range of tools will allow agents to remotely show listings and to conduct private viewings of properties.  They will also launch a new product that allows agents to register bidders and conduct live stream auctions remotely. 

Rently – USA (www.rently.com)

Rently is a US based software company that develops self-showing solutions for rentals.  Their keyless entry solution allows potential tenants to tour houses by themselves using a one-time code.

Demand for their keyless entry solutions has tripled since the beginning of March as social distancing protocols come into place throughout the US. 

See it on YouTube here

Zenplace – USA (www.zenplace.com)

Zenplace is a tech company that provides rental management solutions to the US market. Some of the products and services it provides include virtual tours and robot-based tours. The robot has a screen where the real estate agent can speak to the potential tenant and lead them around the house.

Since March 11, they have seen a 293 percent increase in interest for smart automated lockboxes and self-serve showings and a 278 percent increase in demand for videos, online and 3D tours.

Zenplace Demo

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Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.