|Property sales in Industry 4.0 era|
Trying to sell a property of some 40 square metres in Vinh Hung, Hanoi, a seller named Hoang often visits Facebook and other online property trading platforms to check out the prices of properties of the same size. His online activities have in fact been collected by software developers and he is considered a target for pop-up ads and email marketing. Hoang has been seeing the ads of properties that he once browsed through or those in similar price and size ranges in the neighbouring areas that are of concern to him.
Most people like Hoang are rather surprised about these new types of marketing and advertising. They do not even know how these ad companies or real estate agencies get their phone numbers. It turns out that this is just a new trend of accessing potential customers among property developers and distributors—the beginning of Industry 4.0 in the property sector.
Given the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), software programmers and Internet providers can collect data from users to form a big data warehouse, scrutinising the trends of Internet usage, online shopping, and products of interest.
In a bid to reach target customers in a rather competitive market, mortgage brokers that are sensitive enough have launched their marketing campaigns on social media platforms, such as Facebook or Zalo, or through professional online advertising channels like Google AdSense. Many mortgage brokers even purchase customer data, which may include not only the customers’ contacts but also their relationships, habits, and demands.
Nguyen Quoc Anh, deputy general director of Dai Viet Group, the operator of online property trading platform batdongsan.com.vn, noted that with the development of technology, the online trading of properties has gained popularity due to its convenience and cost savings.
Property Technology, or PropTech, is the new generation of technology that helps transform the housing market through three main arms, comprising property information, property transaction, and property management. Through PropTech, developers will be able to manage their property trading and transactions completely online, targeting the tech-savvy younger generation.
In the past two years alone, data from batdongsan.com.vn shows that some 52 per cent of homebuyers were in the 25-34 age bracket. This age group grew up with technology, social media, and integrated economies. They are highly adaptable and always willing to share facilities with one another.
As a result, they are very fond of PropTech that helps them check information, compare the prices and products, calculate loans, and find financial solutions that fit them best. What is more, it reduces the risks of buying and selling houses, particularly when making the purchase through an agency. Procedures for housing transactions are also carried out online to save time.
According to Pham Thanh Hung, vice president of CEN Group, the opportunity to tap into the real estate market through disruptive technologies is huge, yet many PropTech startups have ended in failure. A reason for this is that they are often followers and thus cannot make predictions. That being said, if they had started off with a PropTech app back during 2013-2014, right before the housing market begun to warm up, they would have been far more successful.
Yet there have been a number of startups that develop property-related technologies. With large-scale marketing campaigns and customer networks, they have been reasonably successful. However, there were difficulties along the way.
User behaviour is one of them when many Internet or smartphone users are still new or rather unfamiliar with the PropTech apps or the application of disruptive technologies in real estate. Mortgage brokers, at the same time, do not fully understand the apps themselves and so cannot apply the advanced technology in their property sales.
In addition, technology cannot replace the human factor, in this case, the professional mortgage brokers. Should mortgage apps be developed and welcomed by users, real estate agents may no longer find work, as sellers and buyers could contact each other through the apps. But a property buyer still needs a professional service provider to advise him on a purchase and whether the prices are reasonable. Especially, the related legal procedures require professional assistance.
Last but not least, in property dealings, creditability is the most important thing. If an app fails to build trust amongst mortgage brokers, buyers, and sellers, it is destined to fail. This has in fact happened to some e-commerce businesses that forged information and at the end lost customers’ trust.
According to Hung, the application of technology is an indispensable trend in online property trading. While it cannot completely replace human agents, it is a new breeze of change promising to revolutionise the real estate sector to usher in the era of Industry 4.0.
Adopting disruptive technologies is the new real estate trend, and it is a costly game to play as tech changes are unpredictable. The more startups or businesses join the race of advanced technology, the fiercer the competition will be, helping drive it towards professionalism. The ultimate beneficiaries will be homebuyers.