Experts laud impact of technology in reshaping estate agency practice
AS a way of doing things faster, better and quicker, technology is making today’s reality of global economy/village possible and its disruptive capacity is such that there is so much the world can do today by just getting the right tech apps (technology applications).
In the business of buying, selling or leasing property known as estate agency, technology is reshaping almost every aspect of it including searching, inspection and transactional activities—buying and selling.
“Gradually but steadily, the disruptive impact and influence of technology is gaining traction in the estate agency practice, property investment and the real estate sector as a whole with significant positive results in terms of making transactions and processes easier and faster.
“Though Nigeria is still playing catch-up, it is doing very well, especially among the millennials,” noted Emeka Eleh, former president, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), who spoke at a one-day conference in Lagos recently.
The annual conference, third in the series, organised by the Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria (AEAN) had as theme, ‘Technology: The Key to Reshaping Estate Agency, Property Development and Investment’ with speakers drawn from professional practice and estate development sectors.
“From ‘To Let’ boards, estate agency has migrated to online marketing with varied online market tools which include Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, instagram,etc. Again, property inspection is now done in very convenient, easy and fast way through visual tours and reality using 3D image technology,” Eleh said, adding, “Property technology (proptech) and Google Map can do virtually everything.”
Technology is used today in property development and investment. It is used in actual building process beginning with designing involving 3D Designs which, Eleh noted, ensures more efficient project management and process.
Technology, according to him, is also being applied in procurement systems, logistics and supply chain management; material testing, contract management and in better planning and execution of estate projects.
“In property investment, technology provides data that makes decision-making faster and easier; it reduces uncertainties in decision making process just as it reduces time and process involved in sourcing investment capital as negotiations and transaction could be done easily online.
“Overall, technology has changed the real estate sector for the better, bringing convenience, lower cost, wider market, micro sales and easier transaction to the table. The implication is that practitioners in the estate agency practice have to up their game to keep up with the changing times in their market”, he said.
Another expert, Chief Kola Akomolade, who was the chairman of the occasion, was of the view that social media platforms like facebook, instagram, telegram, twitter and youtube have increased further the opportunity for practitioners to meet with their clients all over the world if they so desired.
He noted that, in the US, statistics showed that 43 percent of property buyers start the process of looking for property to buy online; 92 percent of buyers use the internet while 91 percent of real estate agents use social media, meaning that Nigerian practitioners have no more time to wait for.
“This has become necessary because, though some people still believe that estate agents are invaluable, their role is shrinking”, noted another participant, Mr. Tunde Layemi, co-founder of Templetons Realty, who spoke on ‘The Role of Technology/Real Estate’ at the conference.