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4 Companies Disrupting Property Management

Property management is feeling the effects of disruption – both technical and generational - with a host of new tech businesses reimagining rental and investment experiences.

The INMAN Connect 2018 conference in San Francisco featured a host of startups that are changing business models, making renting more flexible for tenants, providing transparency around a greater range of investment opportunities and removing a lot of the friction, pain and cost from the traditional processes of property management. 

The demand for this, they claim, is coming from millennials, who have high expectations on standards of living, but value experiences over security, and want flexible leases, great locations and easy ways to book and confirm.  

The drivers are big data pushing into tech enabled platforms that give property managers oversight into every element of the property, collate and respond to information in real time and deconstruct the transaction with security. 

Here’s a quick overview of the top contenders:

1.    Running inspections with a robot

The days of setting up a 15-minute inspection window for every potential tenant interested in a property are over with the robot from Zenplace. Zenplace is a property management disrupter that uses technology to find tenants and manage rentals more quickly and affordably than traditional agency models. Their latest offer, the ZenBot, is located within each of their properties to rent. Interested parties can then make an appointment to inspect any time, a unique code is sent to their phone to unlock the door and the robot greets them and shows them around. At the other end is an agent who identifies features, and answers questions and if the tenant wants to proceed, they can fill in paperwork immediately on the screen. Zenplace claims the efficiency of not having agents on the road to open properties allows them to do 10 times the number of inspections and attract a better quality of tenant. But if you’ve got stairs, you’ll need two robots. 

2.    Introducing corporate housing

Landlords want good tenants and long term leases. Tenants want shorter leases in good properties and great locations that feel like home. Companies want to be able to attract great talent and get them settled into new roles in new locations quickly and easily. To date, furnished apartments have been the only – rather soulless and expensive - option. Enter Zeus Property Management.

Zeus signs master leases with landlords of 2 years or longer. They design, furnish and maintain the property for corporate tenants who can place employees into properties in good neighbourhoods quickly and easily with more flexibility. For landlords, the benefits are proactive maintenance, low fees, guaranteed rent and great quality tenants. Tenants get to live in great properties for times that suit their work assignments and without the hassle of leases that lock them in and corporates can swap staff in and out.

3.    Deconstructing shared living

Shared houses have historically had a dodgy reputation – a group of near strangers living under one roof, and often one lease, with second hand furniture and dubious standards of hygiene and arguments over the bills. But that was before the Millennials took over the world with their expectations of ease, comfort, flexibility and constant access to wifi. Common offers shared housing for the new generation. Private furnished bedrooms within beautiful shared suites one all-inclusive rate covering your rent, cleaning and essentials and flexible leases. And of course, it wouldn’t be a tech play if your co-tenants weren’t screened for compatibility using big data. Common is currently available in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington and Seattle but expanding quickly.

4.    Investing in holiday homes

Many is the family who have told themselves that their ideal holiday home is “really a great investment” at purchase time, only to find the constant overheads, maintenance and sporadic rent turn the dream into a nightmare. 

But Vacasa is a property management concept that specialises in vacation homes – a supported property management version of AirBnB if you will. It screens travellers, manages guests, promotes bookings, and manages property maintenance to a high standard, driven by a technology platform that adjusts rates in real time using data from local events, seasonal patterns and market demand. Vacasa claims landlords earn 34% more rent on average in their first year. 

In addition, Vacasa works with local agents in each area to help their buyers understand the holiday rental potential of a property by providing the data and insights to support the decision. 

So the next time you fall in love with a cottage by the sea, Vacasa can help you understand exactly how many days it’s likely to be rented, peak times, rates and returns you should expect, as well as advice on renovations or improvements that will affect rents so you can remove any guess work from understanding its investment potential.  


Kylie Davis is the Head of Content at CoreLogic. She was a speaker at INMAN Connect 2018 in San Francisco on Robots and Automation. 

 

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7 Lessons From INMAN Connect 2018

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The future of buying and selling real estate will be easier, faster and more affordable, fuelled by data-driven technology that removes the complication and friction of today’s awkward processes. And all this will be guided by a trusted professional who understands and supports each client, working to reduce their stress and maximise the value of their investment.  

These are the key outcomes of the themes that came through from the INMAN Connect 2018 conference in San Francisco, where 5000 real estate agents and technology experts came together to pull apart the ideas and issues driving the industry as it undergoes disruption. 

Automation, AI, voice driven commands, and big data algorithms powering ever more insights were all identified as the technology affecting the change. But the good news is that the tech, which has made life so hard for so long with so much new to learn, is about to get easier – if we approach it the right way. 

Here is a quick summary of the key lessons:

1.    We’re moving from a sales industry to a service industry

From being focused on the product – the house – to being focused on the needs of the people as they embark on a new lifestyle, the challenge for real estate is in moving to a service model, said INMAN CEO, Brad Inman. 

We are no longer guardians of the information – we are guardians of the people and their assets. 
 
The change is going to take courage, conviction and curiosity as agents move towards identifying their true purpose in the transaction – which is to guide and support people as they uproot their lives and help them resettle. 

2.    Do we want agent enabled tech, or tech enabled agents?

The industry is at an inflection point, said Gary Keller, CEO of US franchise group Keller Williams, which will decide if the technology is to serve the agents, or if agents are going to serve the technology. 

He argued that the model to date has leaned towards making technology the rock stars rather than agents, with models such as Purplebricks, OpenDoor and Redfin in the US only using agents because they have to. 

The industry needed to learn from the example of Facebook, Amazon and Google – who developed and owned their own software and technology – and invest back into itself quickly and generously or it risks giving away its own power. 

3.    We’re not one industry

Approximately $7 trillion is spent on real estate globally ever year. In the US alone, real estate is 17% of GDB and commissions are worth $62b annually, which actually represents a plethora of micro-markets where the sales process is being disrupted.

From residential real estate to commercial, to construction of new housing, to property management to short term stays, to retirement planning – the industry is being deconstructed to be rebuilt many times over as the sum of its parts – and each element is being raked over by the geeks to identify new, better and different ways to transact. But the underlying asset is a key asset in everyone’s lives and that market is not going anywhere, even if economic circumstances change in the short term.

There is currently an estimated $200m in venture capital going into proptech with significant increases expected in future years, meaning the change is not going to stop any time soon and in fact, a whole lot of smart money is banking on it.  

4.    The technology is getting smarter and more connected

Technology is no longer being built in silos, but using models that can ‘hand off’ to the next step in the process and automating time consuming and laborious tasks allowing them to be done faster and with more accuracy. Big data overlaid with automation and artificial intelligence is both driving new insights, and identifying ways to gather even more data. Good service is being determined by pre-empting individual customer needs – which can be done by analysing the data. 

For agents, this means systems that more accurately identify customers who will list or buy through them being connected to CRMs which are seamlessly connected to marketing, document management processes and accounting systems. These changes will make our offices more efficient and cheaper to run, reducing data entry, double handling and a myriad of ‘busy’ tasks that suck up so much of our time and are not client facing. 

5.    The technology experience is getting simpler

Voice activation is the next major technological step change that will revolutionise all aspects of our lives, not just real estate. From the current state where every task must be accomplished by peering and tapping into a screen, voice activation is the next new operating system allowing users to simply speak their request.  

No more UX, no more needing to learn the technology, searching for files or hunting for information – ask and it will be given. Voice activation will be the driving force that reduces technology complexity in our lives and genuinely makes life easier. 

While most of us type at about 40 words a minute, we can speak at about 150, meaning voice recognition will allow us to be three to four times faster in our daily business. Bring it on!

6.    Transparency will drive pricing

If I can get lists of properties and prices read out to me from my device, if it’s as simple as speaking to book an inspection time, or place an offer, won’t this drive down agent commissions?

Yes, probably. But it will also drive down costs for agents, allowing current business models to function on lower commissions, while also removing the friction and difficulty that has prevented agents from offering other services – such as repairs and utility connections, insurance, finance and removals. 

Vija Williams from The Vija Group said; “When clients are given a menu of services, we get higher commissions.”

Transparency speaks to the “power of the people” age that we are living in. In opening the books to consumers, they do not need to use every service, but they like having a choice. And understanding the range of options helps them see the value in the few they select. 

Transparency will therefore not be about leading with a cost, but about delivering experiences. 

7.    The thing holding us back is not technology, but psychology

Real estate technology commentator Mike DelPrete summed it up when he identified that behaviour trumps technology. Unlike Uber, or AirBnB where the transactions being disrupted are low value and high frequency, there is a greater psychological barrier taking place in real estate which creates serious loss aversion.

“Our industry is about transactions that are ultra low frequency and ultra high value,” DelPrete said. “We’re no longer waiting for tech to replace agents. People are always going to want the insurance of having someone to hold their hand.” 

For agents, the challenge is about overcoming their own psychological aversions to understand how the new tech advances creates a bold new world allowing them to deliver a higher level of service and give consumers greater choice. 



Kylie Davis is the Head of Content at CoreLogic Australia. 

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7 Ways To Use A Suburb Video To Win More Listings

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A short, sharp video that sums up property market activity in your suburb is a great way to share your knowledge about the local area in a format that is highly valuable but easy to understand.

It positions you as a market expert who is approachable and helpful – all essential traits that research shows are sought after by today’s real estate consumers. 

You can get a lot of mileage out of every suburb video if you think about where you’ll place each video and how often you’ll post. 

Here’s seven ways to get the most out of any suburb video you create:

1.    Share on Facebook

Target your suburb video at local audiences within the suburb, or select a radius around your shopfront to get as many people in your local area as possible to see the statistics. 

Advanced users who have uploaded their own databases to Facebook, can create and target lookalike audiences so your video is reaching prospects who have similar characteristics to your past clients.

2.    Post on your website

Make your website more than just about properties for sale. Including a suburb statistic video provides useful information for your audience, and helps them understand how the prices on the properties they’re looking at in your listings compares to median prices, and provides some great background information that can be important context for their property search.

3.    Tweet it!

Tweet out your suburb video and use hashtags to link it to other posts from your community or tag local identities and encourage them to share the local love. Who knows? You could go viral – in a good way!

4.    Feature in an email

Boost the effectiveness of your email above the standard of an open rate of less than 20% and a conversion rate that is around 2%. Video both captures attention and imparts information more quickly and will make your email stand out in an inbox. Major tech case studies show video improves open and click through rates by up to 500%.

5.    Build out your YouTube channel 

Once you’ve created your video, upload it to YouTube to create a library/channel of all the suburbs in your territory. If you use HomePrezzo and select the ‘auto update’ option, the data within your video will automatically update on a regular basis. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. Why shouldn’t yours be one of them?

6.    Share on LinkedIn

Business contacts need houses too and LinkedIn is the best medium for establishing your corporate credibility. And let’s face it, something as useful as a suburb video providing an update on the property market makes a nice change from all the self-congratulatory and self-promotional content that currently abounds. #bethechange 

7.    Send an SMS link

You know the drill. You’ve just met someone socially, they’ve learned you’re a real estate agent and asked you about the market. Send a quick link to a video via SMS and blow their minds. Let’s face it – everyone watches video on their mobile phones these days.

Need help creating suburb videos? Check out CoreLogic’s new HomePrezzo video solution. 

Cover more than one suburb? If you’re a real estate agent that has a territory of three or four suburbs, rinse and repeat the outline above for each and you have an entire month of content planning all sorted!

Got your own way to use a suburb video that’s not covered here? We’d love to hear it. Email or comment in the links below.
 

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Could A Robot Write Your Property Market Report?

Could A Robot Write Your Property Market Report? CoreLogic Releases Automated Content With Journobot
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Robots that write and design property market reports, social media feeds, video and articles on the industry are now a reality with the launch of Journobot from CoreLogic.

Over the past two years, CoreLogic has been trialling bots which can now produce fully designed reports for hundreds of different customised areas in less than an hour. Simple narratives – such as social media posts or even longer form market performance articles – can be created in minutes for thousands of suburbs. 

“The bots have revolutionised our ability to create personalised and localised content at extraordinary scale,” said Kylie Davis, CoreLogic’s Head of Content.

“There are around 5000 suburbs across Australia that have viable property data to support a story about how their market has performed each month. It would take an army of journalists weeks to produce content for each one, but the bot is now successfully running these out in under an hour.”

For one major banking client, Journobot turns out 160 plus fully finished four page reports based on broker territories in a morning, including personalisations such as broker photos and details for each individual office and broker.

For another real estate client, Journobot produces a 4 page monthly report for up to 80 offices in around 10 minutes. Journobot is now also producing the highly popular CoreLogic Report Store reports - Top Performing Suburbs and Top Rental Performers each quarter - with more CoreLogic reports being ‘botted’ each month.

“Watching fully designed reports, each with their own stories about the local market and personalisation being produced in under a morning is amazing,” said Ms Davis, a former journalist.

“It opens up a world of new possibilities for content marketing and supports agents and finance experts who want to embrace the idea of helping both sellers and buyers by providing valuable information about how their market is performing.”

The technology was developed between CoreLogic and Nathan Krisanski, CEO of Brisbane-based start-up, HomePrezzo, which automates data-driven video creation for real estate agents. 

The combination of Journobot and HomePrezzo has created even greater opportunities by delivering a platform for real estate agents and brokers to edit and manage their own content on demand.

“Within the templates, we have the ability to create fixed sections which the bot populates, and dynamic sections which can be edited by an individual,” said Ms Davis.

“It gives marketers the best of both worlds – they can lock in important elements like branding and have the bot do the bulk of the heavy lifting around content and design - while allowing their offices to customise if they wish. 

“And it does it all at scale which means that content can be produced more quickly, more frequently and more accurately which means our clients can share valuable information more often and support their positioning as a market expert.”

Ms Davis, who was formerly network editor of real estate at News Corp before joining CoreLogic, said she was sanguine about the bots doing the work of journalists.

“None of the journalists or designers that I ever worked with got into media because they wanted to write 5000 data-driven property stories in a month,” she said. 

“As the first part of the trial, I personally did the work of the bot to see how long it would take a human to do. I got to my tenth report and threw in the towel because it was so mind numbing – and proved the human method was just too expensive and slow. This is not replacing the work of a journalist because it’s not viable work for journalists.”

With thousands of pieces of content now under its belt, Journobot is now stretching to new content each month, powered by the collaboration between Davis and Krisanski, who has extensive experience in data visualisation and technology. 
 
“With every new project, we take on another capability,” Ms Davis said. “With HomePrezzo, we’ve just built animated infographics that look fabulous on social media, and we are working on a property market news feed that agents and brokers will be able to use in their own marketing platforms. 

“We’re even working on videos that mix CoreLogic property data with audience segmentation to deliver property content that is targeted at specific audiences such as first home buyers, investors or upgraders. The possibilities are endless.”

The Journobot process requires close collaboration with the client, ensuring complete marketing and legal sign off before the content is released at an individual office level. Set up time takes between six to eight weeks.

For more information see Journobot or HomePrezzo on the CoreLogic website.

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