The coronavirus pandemic has challenged, perhaps, all areas, and the real estate market is no exception. In “peaceful” times, only a geek could imagine a completely contactless purchase of an apartment. Despite the rapid development of technologies around us, it was more customary for all participants in the transaction to carry out all stages – from viewing living space to obtaining a mortgage and keys – offline.
About the expert: Ekaterina Ulyanova, Development Director of the real estate accelerator from Glorax Infotech.
COVID-19 has made its own adjustments: the technological revolution is now rapidly capturing even the most conservative niches. Previously, digital tools in real estate were perceived as a bonus, beautiful packaging, a marketing ploy. Now this is our reality and future. Developers, builders and realtors understand this very well.
Today there is a second wave of popularity of startups from the world of PropTech (property and technologies). This is the name of the technology that changes our understanding of how people build, choose, buy, renovate and rent real estate.
This term was coined in France at the end of the 2019th century. In XNUMX, According to CREtech, about $25 billion has been invested in PropTech startups worldwide.
Trend No. 1. Tools for remote demonstration of objects
Armed with a gadget, the consumer can no longer (and does not want to) come to the construction site and showroom: self-isolation forces both the developer and the potential buyer to change the usual patterns of interaction. They come to the aid of IT tools designed to visually show the house, the layout, the current stage of construction and future infrastructure. Obviously, Zoom is not the most convenient service for such purposes. So far, VR technologies are not saving either: the solutions that are now on the market were mainly designed to surprise those who are already physically at the facility.
Now developers and realtors need to surprise those who are sitting relaxed on the couch. Previously, both large and medium-sized developers had 3D tours in their arsenal, which were used to sell finished apartments. Usually two or three variants of apartments were presented in this way. Now the demand for 3D tours will increase. This means that technologies will be in demand that allow smaller developers to create 3D layouts according to plans without a long wait and overpayments, work with virtual graphics without hiring an army of expensive specialists. Now there is a real boom in zoom-shows, many developers have implemented them in a short time. For example, zoom-shows of objects are held in the residential complex “Legend” (St. Petersburg), at the objects of the development company “Brusnika” and others.
Innovation will not bypass the client side. Various widgets for websites will appear, offering, for example, the possibility of customizing repairs, the possibility within 3D tours to pick up interior design. Many startups with similar solutions are now applying to our accelerator, which indicates a sharp increase in interest in the development of highly specialized services.
Trend No. 2. Constructors to strengthen developers’ websites
Everything that the market has been slowly and lazily moving towards all this time has suddenly become a vital necessity. While still an image component for many, the websites of construction companies are rapidly turning into the main channel for sales and communication with customers. Beautiful renderings of future residential complexes, pdf-layouts, cameras broadcasting how the construction is going on in real time – this is no longer enough. Those who can equip the site with the most convenient personal account with extended and constantly updated functionality will retain their positions in the market. A good example here could be the PIK or INGRAD website with a conveniently working personal account.
The personal account should become not a burden for the user and the company, but a single window of communication, in which it is convenient to view all possible housing options in buildings under construction, book the property you like, sign an agreement, select and arrange a mortgage, monitor the construction progress.
Obviously, in the current realities, companies do not have a budget and, most importantly, time for their own developments. We need a constructor to strengthen the sites of developers following the example of those constructors that already exist to deploy an online store from scratch with any specifics of work; a widget that allows you to connect acquiring and a chat bot, a tool that visually shows the process of processing a transaction, a convenient platform for electronic document management. For example, the Profitbase IT platform offers not only marketing and sales solutions, but also services for online apartment booking and online transaction registration.
Trend No. 3. Services that simplify the interaction of the developer, buyer and banks
The technologies that the real estate industry needs now should not so much demonstrate the object without contact between the seller and the buyer, but bring the deal to the end – and also remotely.
The future of the real estate industry depends on how FinTech and ProperTech startups interact.
Online payment and online mortgages have existed before, but before the pandemic were most often marketing tools. Now the coronavirus is forcing everyone to use these tools. Russian government simplified the story of obtaining an electronic digital signature, which should accelerate the development of this industry.
Statistics show that in 80% of cases the purchase of an apartment in our country is accompanied by a mortgage transaction. Fast, convenient and secure communication with the bank is important here. Those developers who have technological banks as partners will win, and the whole process will be organized in such a way as to minimize the number of visits to the office. Meanwhile, the introduction of a mortgage application on the site with the ability to send it to different banks speeds up the process of buying an apartment.
Trend No. 4. Technologies for construction and property management
Innovations will affect not only the client side of the process. The cost of apartments is formed through internal processes in the company. Many developers will have to optimize the structure of departments, look for ways to reduce the cost of building construction through the use of new technologies. Services will be in demand, allowing to calculate where and how a company can save on resources, automate work. This also applies to software for design and software for analyzing construction sites and services for property management using smart home technologies, artificial intelligence and the Internet of things.
One such solution is offered by the American startup Enertiv. Sensors are installed on the object and combined into a single information system. They monitor the condition of the building, the temperature inside, monitor the occupancy of rental premises, identify malfunctions, help save energy consumption and reduce costs.
Another example is the SMS Assist project, which helps the company keep records of property, pay taxes, generate rental announcements, and monitor the terms of current contracts.
Trend No. 5. “Uber” for repair and housing and communal services
Global market leaders in PropTech startups such as Zillow or Truila have already taken on the role of realtors. Using Big Data technologies, these services accumulate and analyze the entire array of information, giving the user the most interesting options for him. Even now, a future buyer can see the house he likes without a seller: this requires an electronic lock and the Opendoor application.
But as soon as the issue with the contactless purchase of an apartment has been successfully resolved, a new one arises before a person – the issue of arranging a future living space, which one does not want to shelve. Moreover, the apartment has forever turned from a cozy place for dinner and an overnight stay into a place where, in which case, the whole family should work productively and have a good rest.
After the pandemic is over, we will be able to communicate with builders and designers, personally choose the right shade of parquet in the store, and come to the site several times a week to monitor the progress of work. The question is, do we want it. Will we look for unnecessary contacts with strangers?
A consequence of long-term social distancing in the future will be an increased demand for remote selection of a team of workers, the choice of a designer and a project, remote purchase of building materials, online budgeting, and so on. So far, there is no huge demand for such services. And, therefore, the coronavirus gives time to reconsider its approach to organizing such a business.
The trend towards openness and transparency of the management company for the consumer will intensify. Here, applications that simplify the interaction between them on housing and communal services and additional services will be in demand. Video concierges will go to work, and the face of the owner of the apartment will become a pass to the house. Right now, biometrics is only available in premium housing, but projects like ProEye and VisionLab are accelerating the day when these technologies enter the homes of most citizens.
Do not think that the listed technologies will be in demand only during the pandemic. The consumer habits that are being formed now will remain with us even after self-isolation. People will start using remote tools that save time and money. Remember how the startups that developed contactless car refueling technologies that allow you to buy fuel without leaving your car were criticized. Now they are in great demand.
The world must change beyond recognition, and the real estate market along with it. Market leaders will remain those who already use new technologies.
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