Elite AgentReal Estate Tech & Social

Future Tech Horizons – Challenge or Opportunity?

Whether it’s buying or selling a house, investing in property or selling a home at auction, a host of tech-savvy new players are looking to grab a slice of the real estate pie by doing things more cheaply, efficiently and creatively, presenting the industry with both opportunities and challenges. Azal Khan rounds up the some of the players on the next technology horizon who are doing things a little differently.

First a prediction: New technologies will add another dimension to property transactions, but the central role of the agent won’t be replaced, says venture capitalist Peter Esho of what he thinks the next decade of real estate will bring.

Mr Esho is CEO of Sydney-based private investment firm Esho Ventures, which invests into businesses that may be the next generation in proptech.

Esho Ventures is focusing on investing in properties that have strong utility value for consumers in the real estate space. Having launched earlier this year, EV has seen about a dozen proptech start-ups apply for their program in the last six months.

But not all of them make it.

“The ones we are most interested in are the traditionally more boring areas like commercial real estate, property management and construction technology. We are not interested in disrupting real estate sales, like Purplebricks.

“REA Group and Domain have been quite innovative and capture a certain part of the market. Rockend is very strong in the property management space. Then you have a very fragmented market where lots of people are trying to do different things.”

For a product to be successful in the market it must have strong utility value, Mr Esho says. He explains that no matter how innovative a product, tech cannot replace the utility of good real estate agents who provide essential customer service and empathy during the purchase or sale of a home – a deeply emotional process.

The industry needs to be wary of people jumping on the tech bandwagon without understanding the problem first.

“A lot of start-ups are developing the technology first and solving the problem later. People are jumping on the bandwagon without any experience in the property industry. You need to understand the emotion behind buying and selling property and be able to empathise with buyers and sellers.”

Agents will take on more of an advisory role in the future, Mr Esho predicts, steering clients in the right direction while using technology to streamline menial tasks – leaving agents to focus on their strengths and interacting with clients.

“There’s a huge opportunity for agents and their position is going to become stronger. Good agents have a bright future. The role of an agent will change and a lot of process and tasks will be automated.”

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Azal Khan

Azal Khan is the in-house features writer for Elite Agent Magazine.
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