Real estate in search of digitalization

Real estate in search of digitalization

Andrea Breuvart Unlatch
15 September 2020
Real Estate digitalization

Since the rise and popularisation of new technologies, all economic sectors, whether in B to B, B to C, in the supply of goods or services, have modernised and rethought their processes by integrating digital technology.  Every individual, whether in a personal or professional capacity, uses new technologies on a daily basis. Whether for work or for leisure. 

This digitization of our societies can be seen in every part of the economy and in our daily lives. However, a few examples have been particularly telling. The arrival of Uber, first on the market for the transport of private individuals (then in the food delivery service) has totally changed the taxi market and the relationship to individual travel by private individuals. In the tourism sector, the creation of Airbnb redesigned the very idea of using accommodation. Thanks to the American platform, the occupants of a house become its marketers and managers. 

These start-ups, which have now become unicorns (valued at more than a billion dollars), have considerably changed the uses of their respective sectors, thanks to the use of digital technology. Currently, the vast majority of innovations are made via digital means, which no longer needs to prove itself: productivity, ergonomics, simplicity, mutualization, backup, centralization, collaboration ... the digital way has many advantages. 

After the transport, hospitality, and tourism sectors, it is real estate that is going through its revolution thanks to digital technology.

The real estate sector, whether residential or industrial, is one of the largest sectors worldwide. Due to its specificity - its base being concrete - the real estate sector has been slow to start its digitization. In terms of uses, processes and the role of the various players, the digitization of real estate has taken longer than in some sectors. But today it is in the process of overturning the sector. 

As in most sectors, the digitization of real estate has been driven by the arrival of new players.

Indeed, several start-ups have imagined, developed and marketed Proptech solutions for users in the real estate sector; whether for buyers, real estate professionals or even occupants of housing. 

Many of these start-ups, developing digital solutions for real estate services, have come together under the banner of The French Proptech association, which today has more than 150 members. 

These numerous innovations in the real estate sector cover the entire life cycle of a building: the construction phase, the marketing phase, but also the use and maintenance of the building. For users, these solutions are geared towards buyers and real estate professionals. 

real estate digitalization unlatch

Regarding the construction phase, new technologies have made it possible to optimize the time and cost of building construction and to reduce defects through the adoption of BIM. BIM is a working method based on the use of a digital mock-up of a building in order to optimize its construction. Start-ups have created technological solutions, allowing the digital model of a building to be superimposed directly on site via virtual reality or mixed augmented reality. 

It is now also possible to personalize your own home before the start of construction. Indeed, start-ups offer you to model your home, based on the plans of a residence, in order to adapt your future home to your needs.

The search for accommodation can be long and tedious. On average, before finding a property, a French person will visit between 5 and 7 homes. These visits are time-consuming, especially when the future buyer wishes to buy in a city other than the one where he lives. Once again, virtual reality is proving to be a relevant technology in the real estate sector. It is possible to visit a property remotely thanks to this technology, with developers offering virtual tours of their properties available for sale directly in their showroom or sales bubble. Thus, future buyers do not have to travel to each site to visit different properties. This time saved is profitable for the client, but also for the real estate professional. 

In the marketing phase of a property, it is now possible to book your property and sign your sales agreement directly online, thanks to the Unlatch digital sales solution. The Unlatch solution allows you to manage the entire administrative part of the purchase of your home from your computer or smartphone. Thus, the purchase process is shorter and simpler, for the buyer, but also for the property developer and the broker

Once the home has been built and marketed, the occupants can still benefit from technological innovations in the real estate sector, in particular through co-living and space-sharing solutions offered by start-ups.

Today's urban planning creates new neighbourhood dynamics. In large cities and especially in the city centre, buildings are no longer dedicated solely to residential or tertiary sector, but are intended to make both co-exist. Thus, in the same building, it is increasingly common to find housing, offices, shops, but also car parks. Technological solutions are designed to help all these players to pool and optimise the spaces in the same place, through the sharing of a car park, common spaces, and concierge services that all these different players have access to. 

Real estate, like other fields, has become digitized in recent years. Developing and proposing digital solutions to reduce the penalties in this sector and/or rethinking its uses is now a priority for all players in the real estate industry. As for the users, they expect to be at the centre of these solutions. 

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