How to choose and use the right proptech solutions

Fabrizio Rafael

My personal philosophy as a proptech pioneer is that property technology should augment and enhance the human touch of the real estate agent, not replace it. 

That said, only technology can improve our industry’s end-to-end efficiency and transparency, with everyone connected in real-time, to free up agents for more valuable tasks like providing human reassurance to buyers who have questions. 

As an agent, you need a lot more than names in a database to mine for leads. You need warm leads to qualified buyers, plus a marketing strategy with full digital collateral and a brand presence (i.e. a white label solution). Then you can spend your time where it matters: closing the sale. 

If you haven’t changed the way you do business since before the pandemic — such as prospecting, nurturing warm leads, showcasing projects, selling and closing the transaction — at best, you are standing still.

Yet in our fragmented residential real estate industry with its many sole traders, family businesses and franchisees, purchasing technology is a big decision that you may not feel qualified for. You may have had a bad experience, for example, buying a CRM that was not fit for purpose. And I’m sure you feel the sting every month when you are billed for that SaaS solution, irrespective of how much value your team gets back!

Many proptech solutions are not used anywhere near their full capacity, for a few reasons.

First, your team is probably task-oriented, so they will dip in and dip out of an app, solely to get a specific task done.

Second, you may not have the best apps in your tech stack. Some of your tech tools are likely to be past their expiry date. Any vendor who wants you to use the same app, the same way, forever, does not have your best interests in mind — they have theirs. 

Third, you may not have optimised your team’s success by accessing the right training and resources, although this is a shared problem between you and your tech vendor. The best tech vendors have a clear, human-centred customer success strategy and invest in it. 

So how can you choose and use the right proptech solution? 

Look for a proptech vendor with a genuine breadth of solution because that underwrites your future options and success at scale. It’s the closest you will get to a “set-and-forget” tech strategy. 

There are quite a lot of “walled garden” proptech solutions that have a narrow focus and, at some point, they max out. As your business grows, you will have to add yet another solution, which creates complexity.

The most common feedback we hear at Teamlink from real estate agents is that they are almost driven crazy by the constant switching between different software solutions! This is why the best proptech is simple, transparent and works anywhere, anytime and on any device. And the future will belong to the super-apps.  

Choose proptech solutions that have been built by property professionals and demonstrate respect for traditional real estate industry knowledge and methods. Look for proptech vendors with respected advisory boards and collaborative user groups they consult for trusted advice, honest opinions and customer feedback.

I’m a proptech entrepreneur with a traditional real estate background, so on the one hand, I can see that proptech is heralding a revolution in our industry. But on the other hand, I know that innovation can only go at the pace of the humans who use it. And ignoring the feedback — and fears — of end users will ultimately incur a penalty as the solution fails to stay relevant.  

Always start small with a new proptech vendor as well as a new upgrade from an incumbent vendor. Test in a safe space, learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and give constructive feedback in a consultative fashion. You should both expect that there may be bugs in the initial stages. 

The best proptech vendors will have a range of pricing models and support facilities to give you the right combination of confidence and flexibility. 

Walton Chu is the founder and chief executive of Teamlink.

How to choose and use the right proptech solutions

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Last Updated: 26 August 2022

Published: 26 August 2022

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