The era of digital solutions is a welcome consequence of the pandemic | Kerfuffle

The era of digital solutions is a welcome consequence of the pandemic

Last year, the property industry and rental market endured a two-month shutdown during the first wave of Covid-19. Whilst this was mild in comparison to the restrictions suffered by hospitality, travel and retail, during this time the needs of both tenants and landlords shifted, forcing the market to adapt and evolve. Whilst undoubtedly a year of immense challenge, the pandemic has paved the way for a new era of digital solutions in the property sector - such as virtual viewings, move assistants, and refined referencing - resulting in more effective processes that have elevated the sector and pulled it into the 21st century.

The rental market may have had less disturbance than others, but we still faced our fair share of obstacles over the last year. Tenants became cautious, unwilling to move unnecessarily and keeping an eye on their spending, with record numbers of people on furlough and losing work. Few people were making enquiries to agents and landlords were struggling to find occupants. This, on top of the eviction ban and new rules to stay at home, meaning that a typically fluid, transactional industry became static. But through innovation via tech, agents have forged new ways to bounce back.

Once agents were able to return to offices in May 2020, business owners began to think about how they could recoup the losses endured whilst closed. Investing in technology proved instrumental in future-proofing the property sector, with agents digitising products, streamlining services, and introducing new revenue streams into company offerings: such as commission-based service packages. A year later and it’s evident that the appetite for these new services continues to grow.

I founded proptech company Vouch alongside my wife Jaime in 2017 to remove the obstacles faced by property specialists. Demand for our services spiked during the lockdown, in part due to the government-enforced social distancing measures designed to contain coronavirus. We’ve seen a 78% increase in digital reference volumes compared to last year, on top of a 62% increase in customers overall. We’ve been able to grow our team by 120% since the first lockdown, as demand for effective proptech solutions skyrocketed. The pandemic has accelerated the industry’s much-needed digital transformation.

Digital referencing tools and streamlined move assistant platforms have allowed for the previously mundane and time-consuming due diligence to become effort free. Thanks to digital alternatives, gone are the days of tenants spending hours sorting out home services when moving property, being kept on hold by call centres, and rarely getting a decent deal. Landlords and agents no longer need to do the infamous ‘call around’ to referees to double-check their tenants are reliable citizens. And more recently, prospective occupants no longer have to visit their new digs prior to signing a contract, thanks to the logical development of virtual viewings.

It’s clear to see that the pandemic, as difficult as it was and remains to be for all of us, has helped to initiate this much-needed injection of innovation within our industry. But embracing digital doesn’t need to involve an all-or-nothing approach. Taking small steps to incorporate digital services could provide traditional businesses with the boost needed to operate at greater capacity; all without losing their core values, and the features that make their business unique.

The change in rental habits sparked by the Covid emergency may also be here to stay. Hybrid working is likely to continue, meaning there will be a permanent shift in priorities for some renters, with commuter belts and inner cities becoming less desirable when given the choice to work from home. Demand for rental properties in London, for example, was down 34% in October last year, resulting from the impact of working from home policies and reduced international travel. Every aspect of our industry has been impacted by the last 12 months. The key to longevity is remaining flexible and anticipating (where possible) what is to come next.

For everyone involved in the process of moving property, it’s rarely considered enjoyable or stress-free. But through difficult times and unforeseen challenges come clever solutions that improve the way things are done. Property technology has been embraced this year and is making life easier (and more cost-effective) for agents: a welcome consequence of the pandemic for a sector that was ripe for innovation and a fresh approach.


Who are Vouch?
Vouch is a fully automated, intelligent, ARLA Propertymark approved referencing system designed by letting agents for letting agents. Giving you the control and flexibility you need with the major benefits of cost-saving and income generation. A full tenant reference for only £5! On top of this, we offer you a great range of integrated income streams to help replace the income lost by the tenant fee ban! Earn up to £300 per property!

Here’s your exclusive kerfuffle deal:
New Vouch customers who are Kerfuffle members will receive 10 FREE References!

Visit the Vouch page here.


 

 

Posted by

Janaki Kumar

kerfuffle marketing jedi

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