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A look at how technology’s changing the way we buy and sell property

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Buying a home has always been a laborious, protracted process that required hours of wading through countless interchangeable property photos then finding the time required for multiple viewings, but the reality is this is becoming increasingly incongruous in our fast-paced modern world where instant gratification has become the norm.

And the discernible gap between what consumers want and the resources and means available to them to realise their needs quickly is even more glaring when buyers are looking to purchase property in another city or even another country.

Propscan founder JP van der Bergh says: “These buyers are required to invest considerably more time and incur steep travel and accommodation costs if they want to inspect their preselected properties and see more than the limited, selective information captured in a few photographs.

“This has become especially prevalent in South Africa where people now move cities almost as often as they do suburbs.”

However, this has all begun to change with the advent of AR/VR technology. Savvy realtors understand that it not only streamlines the buying process in general, it is also the key to unlocking national and international investment potential within a global real estate market, allowing realtors to reach a much broader buyer base.

“The cutting-edge AR/VR technology not only helps buyers to better envision the properties, it enables them to view homes remotely in far greater detail than ever before through digital three dimensional tours where they are able to control what they see and where they ‘go’ during the tour process,” says Van Der Bergh.


Industry disruption done right


Apps like Propscan, which was created especially for the South African market, include search functionality with adjustable parameters, such as price range and distance radius, to allow for the most desirable search results which allows for an even more efficient pre-selection.

A research report released last year by Goldman Sachs suggests that VR/AR technology in the real estate industry is poised to become a $2.6 billion market as soon as 2025 and after Apple’s June announcement of the imminent launch of its first AR implementation in the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system, iOS 11, this prediction looks set to become a reality.

Goldman Sach’s findings were bolstered by another 2016 report in which The Future Laboratory suggested that by 2025 the way we buy houses will have changed dramatically as by then we will be taking full advantage of Big Bata, new advances such as gloves that simulate touch, and drones, in order to market and buy property.

These highly specific, personalised search engines will utilise social media interactions and web history, to form a ‘psychographic’ profile of the buyer’s lifestyle, in order to present their dream home.

The report also suggests that technology will provide more ways to view properties, including explore exterior parts like roofs that are unreachable with a ladder, or checking noise levels at night by using a drone that can be controlled remotely.

With Apple about to make AR technology available its users before year-end, thereby allowing millions of people to have AR capabilities at their fingertips, it is essential that players the real estate industry begin preparing immediately for the expansion or they will be left way behind.

The inescapable truth is that Apps like Propscan, the rise of social media as a marketing tool and the instant access to online information we now take for granted are clear reflections of how consumer behaviour has changed in recent years.

People have not only become digital junkies who voraciously devour information and want it at their fingertips, but they also systematically filter out everything that isn’t relevant to them. Which means that the current property search engines are soon to be the dinosaurs of the 21st century.

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