Earlier this year, Proptech Association Australia held its inaugural Proptech Awards to recognise leaders in the field. Founder and president Kylie Davis says the awards highlighted how fast the industry was growing and how much innovation was involved in solving clearly identified problems.
There’s probably no better time for property investors to embrace technology to maximise investment opportunities, efficiencies, and returns. From online auction platforms to mobile apps for trading property stocks, here are some of the tools you may want in your kit.
Virtual inspection tools
The value-add of a virtual property tour has perhaps never been more obvious than during the prolonged lockdowns of the pandemic crisis.
With buyers unable to attend open home inspections, agents have relied on increasingly sophisticated technology to bring buyers the information and tools they need to make purchasing decisions.
“Most property investors are interested in markets outside their lockdown radius,” says Davis. “The integration of virtual tours into marketing campaigns has allowed buyers to see inside properties even if they can’t physically visit them. We are seeing people buying property sight-unseen because of the quality of virtual tours and photographs.”
Select developers have been operating in this space for some time, creating virtual walk-throughs of properties yet to be built.
“It’s a tool that provides for a more transparent purchase process and makes it a lot easier to buy off-the-plan,” says Davis.
Online negotiation tools
You’re probably aware of the various platforms enabling online auctions, with bidders able to vie for a property from the comfort of their own home, needing little more than an internet connection.
Now Davis says there is a raft of new technologies coming out in the buyer negotiation space.
“Instead of agents needing to ring every person interested in a property, these platforms let everybody see where they rank in terms of their offer,” she says.
“So, if a property is for sale for offers over $600,000, you can make your best offer and can then see immediately if someone has offered more than you, although you may not know what their bid is.”
Before you buy, it’s critical to do thorough research to ensure the property you choose aligns with your investment strategy and goals.
“Most property investors are really keen to do their research on how markets are performing,” says Davis. “We’re seeing a growing number of ‘proptechs’ pulling as much data together as possible to cover all research avenues.”
From “instant” data updates and advanced mapping tools to climate change data and automated valuations, the features within today’s data platforms are constantly being refined.
Property stock tools
Investors looking beyond direct property investment have welcomed the launch of the new CMC Markets Invest mobile app. Developed to make buying and selling shares easy, the Invest app complements CMC’s existing CFD mobile app, which provides access to trading property-related Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
Head of stockbroking product Ryan O’Doherty says CMC Markets’ Invest app offers more than 35,000 different instruments, including a range of property-style stocks, real estate investment funds and property-based ETFs.
“Clients aren’t just limited to the ASX; they can access 16 markets around the world,” says O’Doherty. “And users can take advantage of the stock screener within the platform to fine-tune their search based on industry sectors.”
CMC has spent 18 months refining the user experience on the mobile app.
“We didn’t want it to be basic; we wanted to offer a platform that was simple to use but still offered access to a large selection of powerful trading tools to help investors analyse the markets and make informed decisions,” O’Doherty says. “There’s free live ASX data, Morningstar research reports, one of the best charting packages for the Australian market, advanced indicators and drawing tools.”
Unlike owning a house or apartment, the liquidity of property-related shares means you can buy and sell with ease.
“[Mobile apps] are becoming bigger and bigger in the investment space, especially for the younger traders,” says O’Doherty. “We’re receiving feedback from clients regularly to ensure we continually improve our tech offering.”
Property management tools
Many of the most common headaches of being a landlord have now been addressed thanks to the hard work of proptech platforms in the property management arena.
“These platforms are enabling property managers to manage more properties more easily, with faster response times and more streamlined maintenance services,” says Davis.
Most recently, the development of centralised property management systems has negated the need for property managers to be located within the physical reach of properties under management.
This means investors with a geographically diverse portfolio can engage a single manager for all their properties.
There’s also a self-management platform for landlords who want to go it alone.