The Proptech Revolution: How Today’s Tools Help CRE Professionals (And Clients) Accomplish More
Five years ago , “proptech” was a misunderstood buzzword that no one seemed to know how to define. These days, it is a common phrase in almost every commercial real estate (CRE) professional’s lexicon. But what’s more, proptech is now regarded as an essential tool that is revolutionizing the way industry professionals conduct business and grow relationships with their clients.
Proptech — shorthand for property technology — is real estate-focused technology that helps us apply data to the way we research, manage, buy and sell properties. While we have been using technology in the real estate world for decades, this new wave of property-specific innovation has been the real catalyst. From new AI-powered 3-D property tours to nationwide commercial real estate property search databases and cloud-based property management software to technology-backed investment platforms, proptech tools are becoming integrated into all facets of our business.
Having spent more than 40 years in the industry, including providing some of the aforementioned services, I’ve witnessed this proptech revolution firsthand. While some might say that technology could possibly make the role of real estate broker obsolete, I believe these innovations can help CRE professionals, as well as their clients, accomplish more than ever.
In order to fully reap the rewards that proptech offers, we must understand its influence, but also learn how to strategically integrate it into the work we do. For the commercial real estate sector specifically, technology offers the ability to optimize a transaction at almost any phase, including how CRE professionals market properties, work with clients and develop business strategies.
Bolstering Relationships, Strategy And Marketing
For many years, CRE professionals have been the only resource. Now, new technology enhances the work they do. The rise of proptech means consumers have more data available to them than ever, which impacts how clients and real estate professionals work together. These clients often come to the table as savvy buyers or sellers, equipped with a more solid understanding of the local market as well as what they want in their next space. Some might say knowledgeable clients could challenge a professional’s authority, but in truth, knowledge is power. A clear, shared vision enhances communication and collaboration, removes the guesswork and puts a property transaction that much further ahead.
The surge of readily available data also creates more savvy CRE professionals. Data can inform, inspire and drive business strategies in new ways. For example, a broker can identify the sort of properties that are trending in their local market, or pinpoint how a particular property is resonating with potential buyers. This insight can help draw the line from a potential lead to a successful real estate transaction. New technologies can also help professionals operate more efficiently by reducing workload or automating processes.
With the rapidly expanding selection of proptech platforms available, CRE professionals have more tools than ever to market new properties and connect with potential buyers. And as the user base for these search tools increases, so does the number of clients’ eyes a CRE professional can reach.
Using Proptech To Stay Ahead In The Market
Looking at the many areas of the real estate business, it is easy to see the positive influence that proptech has delivered. While the tools exist, there are many different approaches to utilizing them. Today’s real estate professionals have to find ways to apply these technological innovations to their own business models.
In my experience, this can be one of the most daunting challenges when it comes to incorporating technology. First ask, “What problems do we want to solve?” And then ask, “What are the right tools to get us there?”
Using tech to automate a demanding business process could allow more time for a broker to spend in face-to-face meetings with clients. Optimized functions of the tools used every day, now powered by technology, can help buyers and investors find the right property faster, expediting the transaction process for both the broker and the client. With the right fit, proptech can help everyone stay ahead in the commercial real estate market.