The use of proptech has been growing steadily not only globally, but also in South Africa, according to Gil Sperling and Daniel Levy, co-founders and co-CEOs of Flow. Flow is a South-African proptech platform that matches people with property.
Proptech refers to the use of technology and software to assist the real estate market with its needs.
Sperling and Levy expect a few proptech trends will dominate the real estate landscape in 2022.
"Because of the way proptech is going mainstream, it will become a more obvious tool for consumers looking to buy, sell or rent properties. Discovering properties that match your exact needs via social media is going to become commonplace," suggests Sperling.
The point of proper targeting with proptech is that, if you find yourself searching for a property, you won't suddenly be spammed with irrelevant ads for properties that don't match your needs.
Targeting will, therefore, deliver the right properties for you, in the area in which you're searching and connect you with the right agent, right in your news feed.
"For agents, the move to social media marketing allows for better targeting of customers, advertising their hard-won area expertise to the right people, in the right place, at the right time and allowing them to build trusted online brands," says Sperling.
The trust of which estate agent to choose is now going to be won online, where people are spending more of their time and becoming more and more open to performing transactions, according to Levy.
The rise of different ways to find, initiate and conclude deals means more options for consumers, but Sperling and Levy believe that the trusted intermediary who can guide people through what is likely the most expensive transaction of their lives – the agent – will remain central to the success of property transactions.
Chatbots and AI
The shift to the digital world for agents means that the initial point of contact is now also digital, which requires a new way of managing the different volume of digital leads at various stages.
This means that the leads also need different types of "nurturing" by agents.
"Chatbots will help agents start to manage these queries better this year, as their implementation becomes simpler and more cost-effective. A chatbot can start the initial conversation with a lead and gather the basic qualifying information, packaging it for you and making it simpler to manage," explains Levy.
Behind that chatbot is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm which can be taught certain rules around what and how to answer queries, helping the potential buyer understand the requirements and streamlining things for the agent.
"It sounds complicated to implement and manage, but it really isn't - and any time spent setting up the bot will be repaid exponentially in terms of time saved in quickly and efficiently qualifying and managing leads as they come in," says Levy.