Agencies that don’t embrace digital transformation and fail to adopt new technologies will likely struggle to remain competitive in the years to come. That’s the stark warning from Reapit’s Global CEO Mark Armstrong.
As buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants’ expectations around how they engage with real estate agencies rapidly changes, investing in the right proptech has never been so important.
As Console Cloud recently joined the Reapit Group, Mark and the newly appointed Australian and New Zealand CEO Charlie Holland shared where they think the industry is going and how agencies can make the most of the opportunities ahead.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing real estate agencies now?
MA: Several things are influencing the market right now that have all come together in a perfect storm. From demographic changes with generations Y and Z becoming the most populous group of employed people, to a shortage of properties pushing up prices and more regulation around investment properties. Of course, the biggest driver of change has been covid. We’ve all had to learn to work remotely, we’ve had to learn how to buy a house differently. What we look for in a house has changed. While covid will go away – the legacies of this pandemic will remain.
CH: It’s not just the property industry doing it tough right now. All businesses are tired. It’s been a tough couple of years. Everyone has had to constantly adapt, and technology has been a big part of this. For me, the most important thing we can do is to provide stability to support our agencies through these times.
How is technology evolving to adapt to these challenges?
CH: A big question for me is how can we keep adding more value to make our agencies more successful? How can we help our clients get back into a growth mindset rather than just survival? The technology they are using needs to support the business as they are and make them more efficient.
Each Reapit product team has worked hard to create market-leading solutions. Now, the focus is on how we build on that and think holistically about the end-to-end life cycle of our client’s customers. We want technology that fits into an agency, offering a better user and consumer experience of CRM, marketing, trust accounting and property management.
What predictions do you have for the property industry and proptech?
MA: The real estate industry hasn’t yet adopted some of the technology that has been around for years in other sectors. The whole environment is going to change. Retail has been going through this over the past ten years and a lot of them went out of business because they didn’t shift fast enough. We’re going to see more artificial intelligence and augmented reality – where you can virtually look around a property and visualise things on top of it – ask “how does this property fit me?” There is so much technology around in other markets that haven’t hit the real estate market yet.
As this technology becomes more available and buyers and sellers’ expectations change, agents that don’t digitally transform their businesses early will fall behind. It’s like retail, the companies that didn’t embrace technology five years ago simply don’t exist now. The same will happen in property. I don’t believe the real estate market will ever go fully digital – after all buying a house is the biggest investment people will make. It’s an emotional buy, so people want to have the sniff check, they want to walk around the property and really feel it. But by the time most people hit your website they’ve already decided what they want. If you can’t take them on a smooth journey of digital engagement, like from a phone app to website to in-person interactions, you will lose them to the agents who can.
Do you believe technology is the biggest threat or opportunity for agencies? What do you think can be done to help rectify the biggest challenge your agency is currently facing? Share your experiences and thoughts on the industry in Console’s State of the Property Management Industry survey.
What sets the Reapit platform apart from its competitors?
MA: Our mission is to be the number one real estate property technology company in the market. The property market is currently going through unprecedented change and we have a responsibility to present solutions that are best-in-class, to ensure that our customers can adapt, thrive and grow profitably.
The acquisition of Console reaffirms Reapit’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions to the market, extending on Agentbox CRM and Agentpoint Digital Marketing solutions with Property Management software – Console Cloud.
CH: We’ve got the best technology on an individual product basis. The three products were all built on domain expertise, where we see others trying to do it all. You’ll see a CRM system trying to offer property management software without any property management experience, or a marketing platform trying to do it all without trust management experience. We’ll continue to be streets ahead of everyone else because we’ve already been there and done that.
One of the great things about Reapit is that the founders of each product are still in the business. They are still in management, still providing their expertise and delivering for their customers. My role as the Regional CEO is to bring together three leading companies. Combining all that experience together is amazing. It means we can provide a lot more value to our customers.
What can we expect to see from Reapit over the next year?
CH: We want to maintain our market-leading position on our products. So from day one, it’s business as usual in that we’re committed to helping our agents win more business and put their growth on repeat.
We also have some exciting things in the pipeline that will help achieve this. When it comes to building technology there are two parts – the first is thinking about the future and solutions your customers haven’t even thought of yet. But the other side is getting deep and close to your customers and distilling their feedback and using that to drive what you build. That was a cornerstone of how we built Console Cloud and that is something we will roll out across all the Reapit products.
MA: Our goal is to make sure the customers of Reapit win more market share than others. We want them to win more transactions, retain properties and make more money. We’re looking to make sure we can provide the most comprehensive platform and the best user experience. Working together with our customers, our primary output is in product innovation to help them stay ahead of the competition and future-proof them for success.