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The digital transformation of property transactions is underway

No-one will be surprised to learn that the internet radically changed our way of life. The diffusion of culture and entertainment is nothing like what it was fifteen years ago. Now, the way to consume, to work and build a life plan is constantly evolving. The digitization continues to progress and transform the real estate market, and this phenomenon is increased thanks to the arrival of new connected technologies.

Property ads are almost entirely digital

Newspapers displaying ads of all kinds still exist, however they are most often the hardware complement of a digital communication strategy. According to Google, nearly 100 percent of the advertisements for properties to sell or rent are first shown on the Internet, whether they come from individuals or estate agencies. So while the death of classifieds in newspapers is not happening yet, their role is now considerably reduced. Nevertheless, beyond the nature of broadcast media, advertising is more impacted. 

Online advertising is indeed the main source of revenue for most digital platforms. Unlike newspapers, urban billboards or even television ads, online advertising is targeted. By collecting and analyzing the browsing data, websites offers an advertisement in line with profile and interests of specific customers, which is, therefore, more likely to interest companies. This trend is confirmed in all areas and makes advertising more lucrative in the property market.

- Immobilier et digital

The revolution: visiting an apartment from your own home

Once the two parties make contact (buyer and seller, or tenant and owner), the traditional visit to the setting is usually a prerequisite. However, alternatives are developing at high speed. Thanks to the boom of new properties sales, agencies are now using graphics companies that implement a 3D modelling of future housing. The visit before the purchase is done on the computer, via software. In the same way, technological innovations are disrupting our habits when it comes to visiting a real estate property. 

The development of 360° visits makes it possible to visit an apartment by moving around the virtual space with a mouse, or to observe it from the outside thanks to softwares like Google Street View. Today, as social networks can broadcast live video to a wide audience, some owners or estate agents organise group tours by filming themselves with their smartphones. Finally, while already very common in the United States, augmented reality headphones are starting to take hold in Europe, and allow even more immersive virtual tours. 

These new modes of virtual visits are all the more useful for purchasers living abroad who wish to acquire an international property. It is now easier to visit an apartment or house on the other side of the world, without having to step foot outside of your own front door.

Is there a risk of disintermediation in the property sector?

All these technological advances are deeply changing the rules of the property transactions market, and provoke some fear of     a disintermediation’s phenomenon. This has happened in recent years in the markets of transport (with Uber) and hotels (with Airbnb); the internet tends to encourage a direct connection between the seller and the buyer, to the detriment of the intermediary companies.

However, there is still a strong connection between sellers, buyers and real estate agencies, especially in the luxury real estate sector. After searching online, most buyers or tenants looking for housing ask an agency to identify their needs and requirements. This allows them to use the services of a real estate expert who will meet all their criteria and find the ideal property while dealing with administrative constraints, also saving time.

On the other hand, sellers also prefer to approach prestige real estate experts to make the most fair estimate as possible of their property. Moreover, they are also relieved of many of the mandatory steps needed to sell a property (property estimate, communication strategy, contact management, visits, etc…)

Sellers can also benefit from the visibility and prestigious image of luxury real estate agencies. This image gives the property a capacity to reach potential buyers in search of upmarket homes and professionalism.

Finally, by adapting to this new digital way of working, estate agencies can maintain their role as an intermediary and even enhance their image and influence, thanks to their smart use of the new digital tools.

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