6 reasons why letting agents should give technology a chance
RentTech is helping agents go digital - and Propfinity has used this to set themselves apart from the competition, as David Phillips, Director, explains.
RentTech solution providers are growing in numbers, making it easier than ever for letting agents to go down the digital-first route. At Propfinity, we set up the business with no high-street presence.
Our customer base appreciates the service that we can provide, supported by the various technology solutions we've carefully selected to work together. That's why I believe that technology over the traditional approach will win in lettings - and here are six other reasons too.
1. It's cheaper to set up a digital-first business
A lot more businesses have come into effect thanks to technology. It's daunting to have to find premises, then have to refurbish, get furniture, and then get all the necessary equipment.
That can set you back thousands of pounds as a setup cost. My setup cost was nowhere near that.
It's a monthly subscription with some tech companies that can allow me to work and provide my service to my customers.
2. Technology can help you scale, with minimal errors along the way
With the right technology, a business can easily scale. You can use it as an alternative to those extra bodies in the office that you may not be able to afford as a smaller business.
It can also be more reliable for repetitive administrative tasks that can be prone to human error.
This means that a lot more agents may pop up and provide services in their local area - or even nationally - because a simple piece of technology can remove the cost barriers that were there before.
3. Conversations with landlords can be easier
When we meet a landlord, we know that we're going to be able to offer them something different, with our cloud and technology-based approach. It helps us stand out. We're different from the high street option.
The property industry is a little slow to catch up. We're still stuck getting people into branches and signing contracts and photocopying people's passports.
All of that can be verified digitally online. And that's what landlords and tenants have come to expect.
4. Targeted advertising is easier with a digital audience
With a digital-first service, we want to make sure that the landlords and tenants we attract are prepared for that experience.
Marketing through digital channels not only makes sure we reach that relevant audience, but can be extremely targeted too.
That's where most of our landlords come from. For our brand, our marketing strategy to win business is primarily through Google. Then, our secondary channels are Facebook and Instagram.
We do do some traditional forms of marketing - leaflet drops for example - but that's to supplement the online marketing.
5. New solutions are coming thick and fast to boost our service levels
We're always on the lookout for new technology to help support the service we provide. For example, we use tech to generate videos with AI.
We create a "welcome to your property" type video, detailing what our expectations are, what you need to do if you need help, how to pay your rent, what to do if there's an emergency.
Nobody really wants to read all that small print, but a video captures it in a captivating way. We jump on any technology that can simplify the process in that way.
6. Technology can help engender trust
For landlords, trust is the most important thing. Their property is their most expensive asset. Technology is less error prone than humans and is, in my opinion, intrinsically more trustworthy than a human, particularly for administrative tasks. You still need a human to build a relationship, but tech can help in many ways.
Compliance, for example. Goodlord allows us to be compliant. It makes sure we send the EPC, the gas safety, the deposit protection certificates. It makes sure that the prescribed information is signed and sent for the tenant. All of these are vital.
You need to ensure that your client is serviced properly and that you are delivering a service that a landlord can trust. It's really that simple.