As technology transforms the property industry, an amalgamation of real estate and other home services is coming – creating an entirely new marketplace where competitors can come at you from unexpected quarters.
Australia’s property tech industry is booming due to changing customer needs and expectations. These integrated tools provide the ability to seamlessly manage rental applications and move-in, right through to ongoing property management, lease renewals and move-out.
As a single point of contact, these proptech tools are already revolutionising the industry, but they have the potential to do so much more.
The rise of new technology continues to see separate industries collide and consolidate, and property is no exception. Along with property management, proptech also provides the perfect platform for managing a range of home-related services, from utilities and insurance to maintenance requests.
Australia’s largest service providers, such as traditional communications and utility companies, are already wading into each other’s territory. The common goal is to “own the customer”, but they all fail to recognise that the common denominator is property.
Of course, disruption goes both ways. Competitive threats in the property industry are no longer limited to traditional rivals. Property and real estate sit at the intersection of a very wide set of services, including finance, utilities, transport, home services, health and insurance.
The way all these services are provided is being transformed by new technology and unified platforms that redefine customer experiences. Due to the importance of the property market to customer buying decisions, many other service providers are looking closely at how they can participate more at the core of the industry, as opposed to being on the periphery.
Technological advancements are also expanding the scope of traditional utility services to more tightly mesh with property, such as supporting solar and battery systems integrated with electric vehicle installations and enhanced home monitoring.
The universal objective is to provide frictionless service delivery, and we are already seeing the first significant attempts at redefining various aspects of the market from many proptech businesses.
As this movement gathers pace, we are also seeing major banks exploring options alongside start-ups actively announcing their intent to “disrupt” the property industry. Others are working with larger partners and collaborating with existing industry players.
The basic requirements of finding quality tenants, receiving rent payments and delivering maintenance will always remain, but supporting these services alone will not be enough as customer expectations rise.
Those industry players that can embrace this change, and deliver a more holistic service in a seamless way, will pull ahead. This will make the economics of running smaller traditional property management difficult, or possibly unsustainable, unless they move with the times.
It is difficult to predict disruptive change but, as new models start to settle and gain traction, the way we do business will transform quickly. Customer behaviour and expectations will change dramatically. Those businesses that can embrace and drive the change will have an enormous opportunity to enjoy growth and deliver benefits to their customers, employees and stakeholders.
We do not know whether the current batch of “disruptors” will put serious pressure on incumbents. However, there is little argument that – with the rapid evolution of technology adoption, customer expectation and available capital – now is not the time for a “do-nothing” strategy.
At Sorted Services, we are passionate about leading the inevitable services convergence as enablers. We are focused on working with our partners and the wider industry to provide technology and services that help the industry compete with and outpace large incoming competitors. The expertise, passion and care for customers within the industry should not be underestimated, and we believe that by working together, we can move faster, at scale and drive positive change.
Andrew Duncan is the founder and CEO of Sorted Services.