Giving a voice to the demand side in the Property market (And getting agents to work harder…)
“Where is the Dec19 SX5E 3500/4000 one by two call spread now”?
Does this sentence sound alien? On the trading floors of the City of London it is an everyday occurrence when a customer such as a pension fund or a hedge fund sends a request to banks to get the latest quote on a specific financial product.
Customers of financial institutions do not merely check prices on a website, they want the latest and most up to date quotes. They are not pulling data, they want suppliers to push updates to them.
They are sending ‘requests for quotes’
In the financial markets there are several tools which make sending those quote requests fast and efficient. Those tools usually incorporate messaging so that the customer can give instant feedback about the quote and proceed with the transaction, or ask for updates after market conditions have changed. The important aspect here is that there is a direct line of communication between the customer and the provider during the whole process.
How about the real estate market? The pace here is somewhat slower and as of now it is quite clear that the market is based on the offer side. This means that properties are advertised for sale or for rent on properties websites such as Zoopla, Zillow and so on based on specific geographic locations. The properties are also advertised on the agent’s corporate website and via social media.
Until now there hasn’t been a systematic and efficient way for the customers to express their needs. The demand side of the real estate market has been relatively mute. There are no tools available to make the real estate market function the same way as the financial markets. The financial market is one of the most efficient to enable to connect buyers and sellers of financial products and similar mechanisms may benefit the Real Estate market as well.
Nevertheless new proptech firms are bringing solutions to this issue. In the USA, UpNest allows customer to send “requests for listings” so that when someone wants to list a property for rent or for sale agents will reply and the customer can choose which agent they will go with based on the replies and the pitch of the agents. UpNest then gets a commission for every transaction done through the site.
In London, Kitere.com is a new firm which allows customer to send “property requests” and get suggestions sent by agents, just as if they had contacted them in person. There is a nice social aspect to the search since the results are presented by a human rather than by a database query response.
Those two sites will surely keep agents busy replying to customer requests, but surely it is great to have direct access to the demand side of the market.
If the social media aspect of those sites picks up, Real estate search will become quite a different experience than what it is today. Proptech is bound to bring even more innovation in the future to the real estate market, by introducing technologies such as artificial intelligence, i-beacons and drones and new initiatives are already under way in this direction.