Is technology going to replace the estate agent?

With a new prime minister coming in at number ten the future of the UK is currently still in the balance. Time will tell if we have another general election and what the new government’s policies will entail. But change is happening and eventually this will feed into the economy and have an effect on our bank balances.

As one of the largest investments most people will ever make the property market will probably see the effect of these changes first. The amount of money coming from investors and the general public effect on this sector. But it’s also a sector that hasn’t really changed much in the last 20 odd years. But with technology having a massive effect on everything else in our lives why not the real estate sector.

Not unless we invent robots


This includes knowledge picked up along the way from articles, various friends, colleagues and family members.

  1.  It’s changing but not quickly enough


Technology has changed some of the emphasis of the industry. Once it was based on and around an awful lot of paperwork and a large proportion of the estate agents work involved making sure the processes and procedures were carried out correctly. Now the agents are concentrating more on being negotiators, price setters and general information portals for the industry.

  2.  But what a market place


But as I mentioned above this market is huge not just in terms of what is spent in the sector but also on what people/companies are investing in the technology for the future of the sector. In the US, real estate is the largest asset class and eclipses things such as fixed income, equity and health care. Real estate lending is the highest in the lending category and investment in property based start-ups and technology far outstrips any other category.

  3.  Rise of the machines


So it’s a great market place that’s growing and there’s a lot of money being thrown about in it. But what is the technology that is leading this charge. These include start-ups such as:

Hubble which matches landlords and tenants of flexible office space in London.

Landinsight helps developers to find land in the UK, identify its current owner, carry out a valuation and compare to other nearby plots.

Fixflo is a platform on which tenants can report problems and landlords can arrange repairs.

Vieweet is an augmented reality platform app.

Splittable is an app to make shared living simple.

Movebubble is a collaborative site for property owners, agents and renters.

  4.  The humans strike back


But sometimes the course of change can’t come as quickly as this humble writer would wish. So as most people still buy their homes through a broker or real estate agent this aspect doesn’t look to change in the coming future. As it is usually a person’s largest single investment in their lifetime most people have no wish yet to put this at the mercy of the latest bit of technology. Agents say more investment needs to come into the sector to get nearer to the numbers that the sector can generate (we are talking trillions by the way).

  5.  The future


As there is no doubt that as the property and real estate sector continues to grow and the investment in new start-ups grows, with new and exciting technologies coming out of the wood work on a regular basis. It’s not going to affect the way we buy property in terms of there is still a firm role for technology to work alongside the agents to help them to help us to purchase property and everything else that goes with it. But in these times of uncertainty around the world the investment is still happening and the technology is improving year on year so who knows how we’ll be purchasing property one day.

I hope this has been informative, interesting and you liked reading it.

That’s all folks this week but I’ll be back again next week. Please subscribe to my Virtual Demon blog and I look forward to your comments and feedback.