Hi, I’m Rayhan Rafiq-Omar and I’d like to introduce myself as Eye’s Proptech Editor.
I have been blogging about the people and products behind what we call Proptech for over two years.
What is Proptech?
Glad you asked: it’s any piece of software like a website or app, or digital device like a 3D camera or even the smartphone in your pocket, that can be used in the world of property.
It is important to note that Proptech isn’t always helpful or successful. In fact, the Proptech graveyard is littered with many a fanciful idea.
It’s my personal view that many low-fee online agents will be among those fanciful ideas that were backed by too much investor cash and too little understanding of consumer needs.
If an agent tells you they’ll sell your home for less, they really are telling you they’ll sell your home for less.
In my opinion, the ones that will win will use technology to genuinely change people’s lives for the better – such as pricing property more accurately or solving the scourge of chains.
It’s a matter of ‘when’ with technology.
When genuinely useful technology is invented to help property professionals, many of you on the high street will find consumers expect a better customer experience; they’ll want to see, feel and use the same tech that helps you.
As a digital-only publication, it fits well that Property Industry Eye should be the first to present the latest gains and fails in the world of Property Tech.
I have a personal interest in the world of property: my first job was as a Saturday sales assistant at Hamptons in Wimbledon and I’ve grown up with a family-run lettings and management business based in south-west London.
Even from early days, I felt compelled to do more to help people: much of what we did was ‘traditional’.
We had our own stock to let and so did the 45 other agencies in Clapham Junction, which meant a renter’s best chance to find a home was to walk into every single agency, register, and hope for a phone call.
Rightmove, as we all know, is full of inaccuracy and phantom listings that we now know of as the #portaljuggling phenomenon.
I thought there had to be a better way for people to find a home, and for agency owners to serve their client landlords.
Turning to technology I came up with, launched and trialled a ‘lettings auction’ called Wigwamm.
Suffice to say it didn’t work out as I had envisaged. While in theory the process was great for agency owners, landlords and tenants, there is an army of lettings agents who would have to be appeased.
And with the prospect of not being needed in the future, they weren’t pleased.
Wigwamm, too, is in that aforementioned graveyard of fanciful ideas.
So with both a property agency and a Proptech background, I write about the intersection of property and technology with a critical eye.
I’ll be looking to share both technology that enables property professionals to provide a better service – what we are terming AgentTech – and those companies that are looking to disrupt the place of agents in the property transaction.
To those agents who are fans of technology, please share what you have been using and your experiences.
For those who aren’t technologies’ biggest fans, it would be great to hear what technology has been marketed your way and why you didn’t think it would fit with your business.