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PropTech Trends & Strategies For Landlords


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A recent roundtable discussion hosted by Allen Matkins explored
trends in real property technology (PropTech) and strategies for
landlords to strategically leverage such technologies.

The panel explored how the pandemic served as a catalyst for
PropTech, the short and projected long term effects of PropTech on
the real estate industry, and how landlords and other stakeholders
can invest in PropTech.

Guests included Zander Geronimos, Head of Partnerships &
Business Development at MetaProp, a leading PropTech venture
capital firm; Dave Garland, Managing Director at Second Century
Ventures, the venture capital arm of the National Association of
Realtors; and Eric Moxham, Chief Revenue Officer at IoT (Internet
of Things) PropTech company Bractlet.

PROPTECH IS HERE TO STAY

The panelists agreed that 2020 served as a significant turning
point in the development of PropTech: over the course of the past
year, landlords saw a dramatic and sudden uptick in demand for
virtual and contactless tours, electronic signing of documents, and
remote payments.

The panelists also noted that as a result of the success and
efficiency of interactions via the virtual world in 2020,
stakeholders have come to realize that PropTech is more than a
band-aid solution — in fact, it was noted that
brick-and-mortar leasing and sales offices may disappear altogether
— replaced by “virtual” storefronts accessible via
the internet.

PROPTECH CAN ENHANCE THE TENANT EXPERIENCE

The panelists touched on the notion that there is a common
misconception that technology masks personal interactions in
business. In real estate, the opposite has proven true: landlords
have strategically deployed PropTech to deliver personalized and
bespoke experiences to their tenants – for example, tenant
interaction software (which is customarily white-labeled with the
landlord’s brand and available via the iOS and Google
application stores) places payment options, maintenance requests,
and avenues for feedback at the fingertips of tenants. The
communication and transparency enabled by PropTech, coupled with
smart building technologies that allow tenants to lock their door,
adjust their thermostat, and turn off lights remotely via their
mobile phones, contribute to a modern luxury experience that
today’s tenants have grown accustomed to and will expect long
after the pandemic is no longer front and center.

PropTech enables savvy landlords to offer such a full-service
white glove experience without the significant upfront capital and
labor investment required to implement traditional enterprise
platforms – payment systems, virtual tours, and smart
building platforms are often offered in the form of Software as a
Service (SaaS) accessible via the cloud, which allows landlords to
adopt PropTech rapidly. Because the process to implement SaaS
solutions is generally capital light, labor efficient, and highly
scalable, PropTech deployments are flexible and can be scaled up
very quickly to keep up with a landlord’s growing business and
portfolio.

CONCLUSION: PROPTECH IS KEY TO MAINTAINING A COMPETITIVE
ADVANTAGE IN 2021 AND BEYOND

PropTech, which was already on an upward trajectory, experienced
exponential growth in 2020 – according to data from
Pitchbook, more than $37.7 billion was invested in PropTech in 2020
(up from $14.92 billion in 2019).

Based on insight from the panelists, utilizing PropTech to do
business in the real estate industry amounts to less of a sea
change than a “retrofit” of the real estate industry
– which has historically been heavily rooted in face-to-face
interactions – adapting it to the technology augmented world
we live and do business in today. While only time will tell the
effect of the events of 2020 on the real estate industry over the
long term, one thing is immediately certain: identifying,
implementing, and leveraging strategic PropTech is key to the
success of landlords in 2021 and beyond.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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