Thanks to the proliferation of some pretty amazing real estate technology, the property industry now has a new concept to embrace called “PropTech.” The term relates to the digital transformation of real estate, and it also includes companies that offer technologically advanced products for the real estate market.
PropTech for Commercial and Residential Real Estate
Both the commercial and residential real estate markets are using PropTech in a number of innovative ways. On the commercial side, landlords and property managers can use property management platforms to track rent payments and maintenance, while investors can see up to date data on a property’s operating income. On the residential market, drones are being used to get terrific footage of homes that are for sale as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. Thanks to this type of PropTech, prospective homebuyers can virtually see what different homes look like, all without leaving the comfort of their own home. Both divisions of PropTech offer a number of interesting and exciting products, so it’s hard to say if one subdivision is more competitive than the other. Over time, it is safe to say that the PropTech landscape will only expand, with more people in both the residential and the commercial ends of real estate using this type of technology.
Are There Any Trends that are Especially Exciting in PropTech?
Why yes there are! These include what are referred to as “collaborative consumption” in the automotive, co-working spaces and staffing fields — all thanks to major pioneers including companies like Uber, TaskRabbit and AirBnB. Another popular and real world use of PropTech includes smart home solutions that consolidate a number of products, resulting in better energy consumption and sustainability. And if you have ever watched a 3D printer create a soap dish in 20 minutes or less, wrap your head around this idea for a moment: Engineers are now using 3D printers to create entire buildings. All of these trends involve taking the concept of PropTech and using it in the most incredible and imaginative ways possible.
Wait ... What Exactly is Collaborative Consumption?
To really get to know PropTech, you also have to acquaint yourself with some related terms like the aforementioned “collaborative consumption.” In a very small nutshell, this refers to the shared use of a good or service by a larger group of people. Probably one of the most well known examples of collaborative consumption is Uber, which is taking the concept of taxi rides and elevating them to an industry involving geolocation and a super easy payment structure.
My Kids are Smart, My Dog is Smart and Now … My House is Smart Too
Another example of PropTech involves Smart Houses, which are typically filled with devices that are connected to the internet and capable of making our days a lot easier. If you are on your way to work and are suddenly wondering, “Did I close the garage door?” an app like the one from Chamberlain means you don’t have to double back to check in person; you can use this smart app to check the status of your garage door, and close it remotely if need be. Another really popular example of Smart Home technology is the family of Amazon Echo products that check the weather, order us pizza, play music and connect to our smart home devices.
Can PropTech Help Realtors Visualize Different Properties From Afar?
Yes, it sure can, and this “visualization vertical” will only get more popular over time. Those in the real estate market can now access data that will help them to better “see” all aspects of a property. For example, realtors can view property data and not only see actual photos of the home’s interior and exterior but also view the recorded document statuses. Realtors that are trying to get a handle on homeowner association data for a neighborhood, including HOA names and fee information, can refine their search to find lists of neighborhood amenities and features that are paid for with HOA dues.
Back to 3D Printed Buildings. How Cool is This Idea?
The idea of using a machine to create an actual home or other building is so incredible, it is worth discussing some more. The South by Southwest Conference & Festivals featured a 3D-printed house built by construction tech startup ICON and the non-profit New Story. ICON’s Vulcan printer is capable of printing a 650-square-foot home in 12 to 24 hours using a mixture of concrete to create the walls layer by layer. Over time, ICON says, they hope to reduce this building time to a mere 6 hours. As 3D homes become more prevalent, keep an eye out for property reports, document images and map information on these PropTech created abodes.
Where Will PropTech Take Us? Time Will Tell
The property industry has moved way beyond simple brick and mortar buildings. Thanks to PropTech, we can view homes that are for sale with the use of drone technology, program our Amazon Echo to start our coffee maker in the morning, print out concrete walls and visualize parts of property from miles away. As for what is next, only time will tell, but it will most definitely be exciting, and DataTree is looking forward to being part of it.