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Own it, don’t fear it, says leader on industry’s imminent tech overhaul

By Tim Neary
31 July 2018 | 11 minute read
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One industry leader has said that the more agents get involved and own proptech disruption, the greater the future improvements in the consumer real estate experience are likely to be.

Tim McKibbin, CEO of REINSW, said that the industry should embrace tech as a friend, rather than treat it as a foe.

“The interesting thing that has come out of this is that while technology is being seen as a threat — and I think that it is — it can also be something we employ to improve our services,” the CEO said in an interview with CoreLogic's head of content and product marketing, Kylie Davis, at the Inman Connect 2018 conference in San Francisco, the world’s largest property and tech gathering.

“Disruption is with us now, very solidly, and I think that if we sit still, it is going to be to our detriment — undoubtedly, and it may even be fatal." 

Mr McKibbin told Ms Davis that there was much to be learnt from our overseas cousins.

“There have been strategies that we have employed in NSW and more broadly across Australia and we are looking at seeing whether or not what we are doing is in alignment with the US.

“Because the US — and for that matter, all of the real estate around the world — is facing disruption. So, the one thing I wanted to do while I was over here is to validate, or test, our strategy to ensure that we are going in the right direction.”

Mr McKibbin said that he had seen much that was likely to influence the Australian market.

“The tech that particularly impressed me is enabling the agent to be able to leverage the relationship they have, not only with their client, but also other parties to the transaction, and in doing that it will enable them to deliver a lot more goods and services.

“And it is interesting here that one of the presenters said that they believe going forward that all of these additional services that the agent will be able to provide will generate income for the agent greater than the commission. The commission will still be there, obviously, but more revenue streams will come through.

“So, if we grab the technology, it is most certainly going to be a friend, not a foe.”

Mr McKibbin also told Ms Davis that the one thing that was for certain was that the industry could not sit still.

“We have got to make some decisions here,” he said. 

“From my point of view though, the thing that scares me a little bit is the pace that we are going to have to do this, and there are so many choices out there that we don’t have the luxury of being able to go out and test things because I think it will move too fast.”

Mr McKibbin added that he felt it “quite apt” that the conference is held in San Francisco, the home of Airbnb and Uber.

“It is a great place in the world to be having this discussion. The warnings are there in other industries,” Mr McKibbin said.

Own it, don’t fear it, says leader on industry’s imminent tech overhaul
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