Just as in everyday life, technology has become important in the lettings industry. The shift to online means renters now expect letting agents to provide a fast and tech-friendly service, with many preferring to carry out large parts of the tenancy process from their smart device.
Thanks to the changing nature of the private rented sector (PRS), which calls for increased efficiency and regulation, PropTech has risen to prominence to modernise the lettings market.
With this in mind, we explore how PropTech has helped to shape the lettings market and the ways in which technology can further revolutionise the PRS in 2021 and beyond.
How has PropTech influenced the lettings market so far?
With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating digital needs and the growing number of tech-savvy landlords and tenants, technology has finally begun to embed itself in the industry in the face of PropTech.
More than just a buzzword, PropTech products have evolved to solve problems faced by agents, landlords and tenants, with many saving time or making processes more seamless.
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are on hand at the click of a button, making the process quicker and more efficient for all parties involved in the lettings process.
For renters, priorities have changed, the market has become competitive, and everyone is eager to secure a good deal with an agent they’re satisfied with.
Agents, meanwhile, have had to adapt and stand out against competitors to keep tenants engaged and improve their business, whether it’s back-office processes, uploading listings online, managing client databases, marketing or outsourcing.
Creating seamless processes for agents
The ability to automate tasks has showcased the best of PropTech as of late. Rather than having multiple systems to automate processes, they can be controlled under one roof instead – similar to a one-stop-shop.
Information gathered this way can give agents more visibility of their business flows and control over back-end functions, helping to close transparency gaps.
Cloud-based AI systems, for instance, can adapt how agents work – depending on how much of the lettings process they want to automate – and allow them to be in the middle of the entire rental process.
This provides agents with a holistic solution to their day-to-day management and processes – helping to reduce manual tasks, streamline workflow, improve compliance and reduce costs.
What’s more, in the current climate, it is more worthwhile to give professionals the tools to enhance what they’re already good at. An agent who understands a customer’s preferences in great detail can work with technology to make the process fast, accurate and seamless.
Ramping up business productivity
Through PropTech, agents can eliminate the back-to-back emails and phone calls, as well as the pre-qualifying needed to find suitable tenants. But aside from matching an applicant to a property, technology is now being used to improve standards in property management.
Online portals can give landlords instant access to reports, accounts, and surveys, as well as maintenance and future plans for their properties – helping them to keep on top of their investments without a lot of paperwork.
In addition, AI software can issue rent and tenancy review reminders, putting the landlord in control and saving agents hundreds of admin hours.
The process is also made easier for block management teams, who can automate maintenance and admin by running metre readings and managing door access codes at the push of a button.
It’s believed that smart building technology could eventually make the maintenance process even more efficient with ‘touchless’ access and automated monitoring for thermostats, appliances, lights and leaks.
What does the future hold for tech-savvy agents?
With the PropTech trend set to continue, letting agents should capitalise on the balance of human touch and automated process.
While this is the first stride to great efficiency and a new way of operating, it is also the start of how technology can change the industry for the better.
The use of AI not only automates processes but can provide insights into how staff are performing, testing processes against each other to improve operations across a business.
In 2021 and beyond, our static, once outdated industry and the traditional role of a letting agent can be vastly improved to become more fluid and adaptable – all with the help of technology.
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