Now is the ideal time for agents to consider their PropTech needs, as lockdown restrictions ease significantly and firms draw up long-term post-Covid strategies.
That’s the view of software firm Rex, which says the pandemic will be seen to have changed the agency landscape forever.
"Many of the trends that have come to light over the last year or so - such as increased flexibility and automation - are here to stay. Agencies which return to their pre-pandemic processes could be left behind as the market evolves” according to Anton Babkov, chief executive of Rex Software.
There are also important decisions to be made around staff well-being, remote working and how to prioritise the split between physical and digital presence, he adds. The needs of the modern consumer will also be paramount, such as the requirement to offer a flexible, all-hours service which is potentially lower contact but more responsive.
"The big question for agents is how do they manage the new demands and trends of the property market while prioritising valuable human interactions and relationship building – two things which are fundamental to success in this industry" says Babkov.
He says today’s unusually high levels of activity across the rental and sales sector won't last forever.
"Now is the time for agents to make sure they have the prospecting and marketing systems in place to maintain their pipelines. Meanwhile, a slick, tech-led service can also help agents to stand out from the competition when there are fewer instructions available.”
However, the right choice of PropTech solutions is critical, he insists.
According to Babkov, a mismatch of products can slow down the customer journey and put consumers off, while at the same time leading to thousands of pounds and hours of time being wasted on tools which aren't used to their full potential.
"Integration and flexibility are key factors when it comes to PropTech. We've seen how quickly things can change over the last year, so agency businesses need to make sure they are agile and able to implement the latest tech innovations as the market evolves," he says.
"There is no harm in looking at what other leading agents in your patch are doing and following suit. Most importantly when it comes to technology, businesses need to implement a five-year plan and budget for growth accordingly."