Covering Disruptive Technology Powering Business in The Digital Age

How PropTech is Changing the Way Real Estate is Done
September 30, 2021 News


Written by: Muhammad Zulhusni, Journalist, AOPG

No industry is immune to technological advances, and real estate is one industry that is known to move at a slower pace when adopting new trends. However, that is no longer the case! Property Technology (PropTech) is exploding and transforming how we buy, sell, and interact with our properties.

What is PropTech?

PropTech is the use of Information Technology (IT) to help individuals and businesses manage, buy, research, sell, and lease real estate more efficiently. PropTech firms contribute to this evolution in a variety of ways, including data provision, the development of tools and other technology to capture internally generated data, and the establishment of analytic capabilities to use data to make informed and intelligent decisions.

In an interview with Chow Nam Kit, Co-founder and Director of Didian, he talked about how the global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this disruption, given some of the challenges of executing real estate transactions and operating properties remotely, as well as the impact PropTech will have on real estate in the future.

Didian is a web-based platform that assists developers and the real estate industry. They help agencies and developers provide an easier, faster, and more efficient way to help buyers secure their dream homes by leveraging technology, industry know-how, and a network of thousands of partner agents.

Nam Kit observed that real estate is one of the industries that has been slow to adopt technology. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology in many businesses.

During the first phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO), Nam Kit said that “We tried to come up with a lot of ideas such as 3D walkthroughs. We tried to come up with things like e-booking which allowed agents to do [a] Zoom [meeting with] their customers to get them to book online but all those didn’t really work because people didn’t want to adapt to the new normal.”

People gradually realised, however, that the pandemic was here to stay for the foreseeable future and that they would have to adapt to this new way of doing business.

PropTech Changes Real Estate

According to Nam Kit, PropTech is changing the way real estate is done in a variety of ways. The first aspect is referred to as “the viewings.” Many developers are debating whether spending so much money on a show unit is necessary. As a result, the vast majority of them are putting money into 3D walkthroughs.”

“The other aspect is the simple thing like advertisements. Traditionally, developers in the past used to come up with billboards and advertising [in] newspapers. Now, many developers don’t even allocate budget for those kinds of activities [as] it’s more for [a] branding purpose.”

When it comes to lead generation, however, almost all developers are pursuing a digital strategy that includes elements such as obtaining influencers to talk about their projects, branded content, and other digital marketing components.

The other component is known as ‘the booking.’ In this paperless world, is it really necessary to make a photocopy of the booking forms? As a result, many developers are embracing e-booking, which allows you to make appointments or reservations for a service online.

“So, all these things you can see that the PropTech is changing residential transactions in a very significant way where previously everything has to done by the books, everything has to be done in a very traditional approach,” said Nam Kit.

How can Didian Accelerate the Digitalisation Journey?

The real estate industry, like any other, faced some challenges as a result of COVID-19. Nam Kit emphasised two points, the first of which is related to the sales process. Many developers still like the idea of putting salespeople in sales galleries to entice customers to come in. So, how do you transition from that part to selling virtually?

Nam Kit stated that Didian worked with reputable developers to facilitate this transition by hosting Malaysia’s first online virtual balloting.

“What we did was we got our people to be in the office and call the customers at the comfort of their homes – which means that consumers would be able to watch the screens live and be able to select the units of their liking,” explained Nam Kit.

So, one of the ways PropTech has aided the real estate industry is through the transition from physical to virtual balloting. Nam Kit also stated that this is beneficial to both developers and consumers. Developers can save money because there is no need to build a large event, and customers can buy from the comfort of their own homes.

“Everything gets completed much easier. There’s no risk of having any COVID clusters by getting people to communicate together,” said Nam Kit. “These are some of the life experiences that we have seen happening because of COVID that we have no choice but to actually adapt.”

Despite the challenges, real estate is one of the most profitable industries in the world. The real estate industry, like many others, is transitioning to a “data-driven” world and developing applications for advanced technologies such as AI, automation, IoT, and others. Watch the video below to hear Nam Kit discuss the impact of these technologies on the real estate industry.

Nam Kit also stated that Didian’s ultimate goal is to become a property super app. The goal is to involve all stakeholders in order to create something that makes property transactions very seamless – not just in the primary market but also in the secondary market.

“How can we make everything more seamless? Because right now if you look at how things are done, many things are still done in a very traditional way,” said Nam Kit. “Hopefully we want to also expand our presence to other countries, to Southeast Asian countries.”