Technological advances in recent years have been phenomenal, and ‘proptech’ certainly hasn’t been left behind. Investors, buyers and even tenants are using it more than ever.
If you’ve searched for a property to buy or rent, chances are, you’ve used a portal such as Zoopla or Rightmove to help you find what you’re looking for. This is a prime example of proptech – property technology – which has changed the property industry.
According to new research released by Capterra, around 75% of people in a survey of more than 1,000 used such a portal as their primary search channel. Since the onset of Covid, the use of such technology and online engines has soared even further in popularity.
Virtual tours for buyers and investors
A relatively new addition to house hunting is virtual tours. While Covid made this particularly prevalent – with 47% of prospective buyers using such an offering in the past three years – it is a hugely useful proptech tool in other respects.
Property investors, for example, who may be considering a range of purchase options, are more likely than ever to use virtual tours rather than physically visiting sites. When buying off-plan, many developers offer CGIs and video imagery to demonstrate how a property will look when finished.
Overseas investors in particular find such options vital in helping them to select a property without physically seeing it. Similarly, tenants find it useful to see a property virtually rather than viewing it in person.
In Capterra’s research, almost a fifth (19%) of respondents had bought or rented a property based on a virtual viewing, proving how proptech has transformed the process.
Pandemic influencing choices
A further two fifths (42%) of people in Capterra’s report said that they were seeking to change locations when they searched for new property. For many, being close to a workplace was no longer a concern, so opting for a new area with lifestyle in mind was the priority.
However, only 6% of people said they had reassessed their home situation specifically for pandemic-related reasons. This could imply that, while house buying and selling activity has been heightened, there are other factors affecting people’s choices.
Sukanya Awasthi, content analyst at Capterra UK, says: “The UK property market has seen a surge in house purchases in the last three years, which pandemic-related circumstances may have brought on.
However, we see a shift in purchase behaviours as consumers adapt to post-pandemic lifestyle changes. 39% of respondents said they bought a new house after realising they needed more room because they were spending more time there.
“We also found that house hunters are now embracing technology such as virtual tours for reasons of convenience. 68% of respondents said one of the main benefits of virtual tours is that it allows them to view a house at any time.
“As proptech innovations evolve, we can expect them to continue to play an important role in the home buying and renting processes.”
Popular proptech offerings right now
Property portals, it seems, are used by the majority, but there are plenty of other offerings out there. Hundreds of startups in the proptech sector are gaining traction, as technology becomes ever more key to our daily lives.
A number of companies offer online ways of selling properties. These include the likes of Settled, Emoov and Nested. They all offer various services, from valuation to listings to virtual viewings.
Trussle is also gaining in popularity as the first online mortgage broker. It aims to be more efficient and less costly than its physical competitors.
For the buy-to-let market, there are plenty of renting platforms that property investors, landlords and tenants can use. From managing the lettings side, to full property management and tools like rent processing, there’s a proptech offering for every need.
Some big names in this space include Rentify, MoveBubble, Lavanda, HomeRenter and Homie.
Smart home technology also falls under the proptech bracket, and this has become commonplace in thousands of homes across the country. From smart heating systems and lighting, to security and door cameras, they can save effort as well as money for those who live there.