Technology is one of the drivers of change in real estate

Experts look at the new tools as allies in the industry and believe they may be the key to rapid changes in the way they work and promote this market. But they do not fail to underline that nothing replaces a face-to-face visit.

How can technology help the housing market to recover?

Luís Lima, President of APEMIP

Technology has always been an ally of the real estate sector and the importance of using technological means has been accentuated in the context of a pandemic crisis, particularly during the State of Emergency, due to the fact that professionals are prevented from making visits to properties, leading them to resort to alternatives such as virtual tours.

But if there is one thing we learn from this situation, it is that the real estate business is intrinsically linked to people, highlighting the role that the mediator takes in the realization of this business, which is also often the realization of a life's dream. It is a job that is done with emotion, security and confidence.

At a time when there is so much talk about the trend towards business disintermediation, I believe it became clear that real estate is a business of people in which the knowledge, intuition and empathy of mediators gain particular relevance, and are not, and cannot be replaced by machines.

In this light, it is certain that technology cannot and should not be a threat to the role of real estate mediation, but rather a complement to its work so that it can improve in the qualitative panorama the response it gives to its clients.

Paulino Brilhante Santos, Lawyer and Partner at Valadas Coriel & Associados

Technology has entered the real estate market in Portugal too slowly. Real estate developers and intermediaries have practically limited themselves to publishing traditional brochures and paper ads on their websites in the Digital Era on the eve of the 5G that will revolutionize the entire virtual universe and the imminence of new advances in artificial intelligence (AI). The information given on these sites is sparse and static, not allowing anyone to consult any form of interaction. In the face of Covid-19 and other pandemics that experts admit may follow, the use of technology can and should serve to recover the real estate market and other economic activities, but only on condition that it is adapted to a true Digital Age ceasing to be based on early internet models. Current technology and developments in the short and medium term already allow the promotion and sale of real estate, replacing visits to them and "open days" with virtual visits on sites with virtual reality. In addition, whoever promotes properties that can be adapted to the client's taste will be able to give potential clients tools to idealize their dream home, office, store or warehouse. With an interactive website operated in a network with interior architects, it will also be possible to offer solutions for better use of spaces and decoration. The same can be done with law firms that can interactively answer legal questions about the purchase or rental of real estate, regimes such as that of non-habitual tax residents in Portugal, tax incentives, “gold” visas and residence visas. and obtaining Portuguese nationality. With the help of accounting offices, customized simulations and estimates of taxes payable can be made. All of this will only be possible with a radically different philosophy about the use of new technologies for virtual reality and artificial intelligence and on the condition that real estate developers and intermediaries enter the Digital Era definitively. A similar effort is required of the other professionals involved in the real estate sector. The full realization of technological potential could make the internet (including mobile via smartphones) become a real alternative sales channel for the real estate sector.

Daniela Costa, Prime Yield Research & Consultancy Director (Gloval)

This pandemic demanded and continues to demand from us a capacity for adaptation, where every day it is necessary to find solutions in order to continue to provide our services and satisfy our customers. There is also no doubt that it came to speed up many projects that were in the drawer. Technology was the tool, which although it has always existed, but now with greater strength, allowed us even at a distance to be all close and connected, we managed to be connected with the world through virtual meetings, webinars and in our activity of evaluating properties also led us, through videoconferences, to visit properties during the state of emergency in Portugal, since the guidance to CMVM's real estate appraisers opened up the possibility of resorting to inspections carried out by third parties, supported by technological alternatives for the It is made.

In short, the pandemic thus accelerated the processes of digital transformation in the real estate sector. In our sector, in particular, technology during this period helped the market not to stop and is the main weapon for doing business remotely. And even with the lack of definition, it is a tool that must continue to be used for the same reasons of boosting activity and even for the greater efficiency of processes. And even at the marketing level, it is also a powerful weapon that can help the recovery of the real estate market. For our part, at Prime Yield we have always invested in technological innovation and remain committed to a greater digitalization of processes. As part of this commitment, we established a partnership with the Casa Sapo Real Estate Portal, developed Research Database platforms with surveying and georeferencing of real estate developments in the various segments and launched the first independent AVM for real estate appraisals, which allows us to quickly and rigorously evaluate properties single or full portfolios. The use of technological resources should always be an objective to be pursued and the pandemic only showed this.

Martha Gens, Lawyer at Antas da Cunha ECIJA

It is undeniable to affirm the existence of an economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the real estate market, in its most diverse aspects: buying and selling real estate, renting or even in tourism or local accommodation. Over the past few years, real estate activity, embodied in the activities described above, has proved to be an essential pillar of economic activity in our country, a catalyst for the good functioning and good health of our markets. In 2020, all pillars and structures of this activity were brutally tested and affected, similarly to what happened with the overwhelming majority of other economic areas, and, at this moment, we are facing a test that does not admit failures. How to promote this sustainability? First of all, it should be remembered that we are dealing with an activity that, in a transversal way and from a legal perspective, has always been guided by formalism and guaranteeing the legal security of transactions, unlike other areas that, today, are not so dependent on certain formalities imposed by law. It is urgent to understand and, above all, to question the role of new technologies, how to use them, and perhaps the most important - What are the challenges to combine legal security with the technological challenge that is imposed in this market - that much still lives from the personal component and presence physics, which are now severely conditioned. It is undeniable that the promotion of business at a distance and using digital contractual tools will have to be one of the ways to explore.

But not only. All related activities (obtaining documentation, instructing administrative processes, contractual guarantees, predictions for non-compliance with contracts, or even the connection with other areas tangent to the real estate sector, such as the banking and financial sector) must all be adapted, so that all paths now explored are worthy of a complete and multidisciplinary approach.

In a practical way, it will be a future need, to make it possible to grant deeds from a distance, using digital signatures, use (also digital) of mandate instruments (Powers of Attorney and related notary acts as terms of authentication), promote the use of so-called “Smart contracts”, etc.

To this end, a legislative impulse in Digital Law is crucial for adapting formalisms, by redirecting the powers of Notaries and Record Keepers, processing administrative processes and procedures, or the tax system itself, without forgetting real estate mediation activities, that they should be able to promote, in a safe way, visits to the properties in a virtual way.

In view of this need for introspection and relaunching the market, it seems to us that the digital and multidisciplinary approach has to be the key for this sector to break free from the shackles of paper and pen. The challenge is launched.

Hugo Santos Ferreira, Executive Vice President of APPII

In difficulties we have to find opportunities and in times of setbacks we have to know how to find alternatives and seek solutions. It is precisely what the business fabric and the national real estate investment sector have been doing in recent months, for example implementing the 'home office' and teleworking, as well as direct online sales, which have increased exponentially. Every change in mentality which was late in arriving and whose procedures could take years to implement, are being carried out within months. It is notorious and companies are to be congratulated. However, the people responsible for the digital transformation process that is underway were not actually the CIO Chief Innovation Officers of our companies, but Covid-19 was the one responsible. The future will certainly not be the same with this Pandemic. The world has changed, it is changing and tomorrow will certainly be very different for all companies on a global scale. A new reality of work and distance selling will become a reality through digital means, which will gain a preponderance that will force us to significantly change our life and work habits. For us, in the real estate promotion and investment segment, it is taking us especially to a new way of selling the projects we have built and rethinking all spaces, including residential and office spaces. Basically, what is happening is the true digital transformation, only at a breakneck speed and never before thought. On the other hand, and in the interest of the confidence of those who bet on the sector and who believe in it, the truth is that the report that comes to us from property developers and investors is that, despite all the contingencies and slowdowns, the majority have succeeded, with a lot of perseverance, determination and above all use of all possible technologies, keep the activity going, there is still demand from international investors, closing direct sales online and managing to keep construction projects as far as possible. Now, all this effort to maintain an unparalleled maintenance of almost a whole sector of the national economy, in a time of pandemic, was largely due to the advancement and effective use of technologies that we all already had, but in some cases we still insisted on not using.

Vera Roquette Geraldes, Cushman & Wakefield Office Department

Por não podermos viajar de avião com a mesma liberdade como há uns meses, muitos fundos de gestão de ativos, proprietários, possíveis compradores, vendedores e arrendatários não poderão visitar os imóveis que lhes pertencem ou que lhes interessam ver. Existem formas de contornar esta situação em determinadas fases de um processo.

Many companies, during the quarantine, chose the option of making video visits using Whatsapp, Facetime, Teams or Zoom. It was a more immediate and faster way to get around the displacement problem, obey imposed rules and reduce the risk of contagion. At an early stage of a purchase or lease process it may be sufficient. The next step is virtual visits. Nowadays it is simpler and technology has evolved a lot in this direction. Taking panoramic photographs we were able to bring them together and make virtual visits a possibility. Cushman & Wakefield has recently invested in this area, having already several properties available to "visit" virtually.

Augmented reality is also very interesting, much more immersive but, on the other hand, more complex. When we use it we feel that we are really inside the space. Giving to personalize, adapting some characteristics to the specific requirements of each person who uses it, this is a resource that will greatly help a potential buyer or tenant.

It is important that the solutions are interactive, dynamic, intuitive, easy to use on the various devices and that, as they are used, give us the information we need quickly, almost immediately.

We would like to emphasize that nothing replaces a face-to-face visit to a property, as everything influences our decision, which is often not just rational, but also emotional: the people who greet us at the door, the waiting time for the elevators, the smells , light, among others. However, at this stage, this kind of technological solutions can help to make more informed decisions.

Francisco Horta e Costa, Managing Director of CBRE

When we look at the current world, slowly recovering from the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic, we learned some lessons and took to the future some processes and innovations that we quickly saw implemented and that already impact the sector. Technology has undoubtedly been a strategic driver of this change and has allowed us to keep our business in permanent operation, even in the State of Emergency period.

The possibility of making virtual visits and using digital tools allowed our customers, even international ones, to visit the properties, or to take advantage of the regular “flash calls” that we created, when the physical presence and meetings made it impossible for us to inform them and advise them on their business. For the future, we take these and other ways to put technology at the service of the greatest needs of the real estate market. Recent studies developed by CBRE predict that by 2030, buildings will be the target of a true technological and even ideological revolution, having a direct impact on the way they are used and negotiated. Innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous cars, the latest generation of mobile phones that we have in our hands, the speed of information, the growth of electronic commerce, the workforce of Generation Z, fully familiar with digital , will have an enormous influence in the reorganization of our culture and our business ten years from now. The link between online and offline will be continuous at all levels, in the sector, MAV with AI and PropTech will continue to revolutionize the ways of negotiating, to generate more efficiency in processes and to reduce costs. If this was a path that was already being planned, now, it will certainly be accelerated, quickly becoming the daily reality for all of us.

Nuno Garcia, General Manager of GesConsult

As has been seen in other sectors, in real estate, technological innovation and digital transformation must be assumed as engines of rapid and profound change, fundamental pieces for the recovery of the crisis imposed by the pandemic.

The way projects are designed and built (with the support of collaborative platforms such as the Building Information Model - BIM, which allow an innovative interoperational approach), the way they are researched and sold (the sector never stopped, driven by solutions that kept the teams functional), are now critical factors in assessing the long-term viability of investments in the sector.

In the specific case of offices, for example, technology is making feasible the consolidation of flexible models, short-term leases and a variety of space offers as a service that had already gained traction before and that now present themselves as tailored responses. times. Additional innovations such as those offered by biometric technology and access without contact will be an integral part of the new health and safety policies in buildings, thus driving changes in this market.

In the residential context, replacing face-to-face visits with virtual visits has allowed business to continue, and this model is likely to remain beyond the pandemic. Smart home technologies, notably security technologies, have also been in high demand as people remain remote.

The narrative that real estate is the largest industry on the planet and one of the last to adopt technology no longer makes sense. The transformative power of technology is and will continue to lead players in the sector (not only property developers and builders but also municipalities, within the scope of the dematerialization of processes brought by Digital Urbanism) to reflect on how to reposition the business in the future and much of what will be the real estate of tomorrow will be determined by the potential of technology applied to all its aspects.

Pedro Lancastre, Managing Director of JLL Portugal

The pandemic anticipated several trends and, in the case of our sector, it would highlight the massification of telework - which was already a reality for many companies but which became widespread in this new context and brought with it a new way of thinking about workspaces - and adaptation from many business models to an increasingly digitalized reality - for example, in terms of interaction and relationships with teams, partners and customers. The real estate sector, like many others, had to reinvent itself to overcome this situation and I think the result is frankly positive.

At JLL it has been thanks to collaborative communication platforms that we have managed to continue to work actively in a team and in permanent contact with our customers, even if physically separated. It is virtual visits, 3D renders, humanized plants, videos and 360º images that have allowed us to continue presenting properties at a distance and closing sales, minimizing physical contact. It is with big data and artificial intelligence that we are able to streamline procedures, personalize the service, improve technical and financial analysis and increasingly democratize access to data.

It is true that technology has allowed us to create opportunities in a volatile and crisis context, but it will be what will differentiate us in the future. The pandemic only accelerated a digital transformation that had already knocked on our door and whose solutions will be increasingly decisive to distinguish the service we present. Not just now, but in the long run. In a world of increasing globalization, with customers from all over the world, this could be a solution to be used more often in some moments of the negotiation, as it will save time for our customers and investors, in addition to optimizing the work of our teams and ensure the safety of everyone. However, very important: although technological tools function as an essential complement to the real estate activity, they will never replace the role of real estate consultants, as our activity will always remain very human.

Filomena Conceição, Marketing Director at Ceetrus Portugal

Whether in a moment of recovery or transformation, technology presents itself as a key element for the real estate market, in which commercial real estate with shopping centers are no exception. Here, the fusion of technology with the provision of services is essential, which facilitates interaction with the customer and ensures a better response to their needs, in addition to working as an enabler for better urban mobility, or greater connectivity between different physical points. As a shopping center manager, Ceetrus, has already registered a change in the "customer journey", from the moment the customer identifies his need until the moment he goes to a physical space - there is a more research and preparation process careful, for a real assessment of the need for outward versus online option. In this sense, the technological component is essential as a means of facilitating research, contact and interaction with the client, through the website or social networks. The increasing digitization of services becomes even more important for an appropriate shopping experience, such as the exclusive partnership we are launching with Zomato in Alegro Montijo or the Drive & Smile service, which allows an online shopping experience with delivery physical product in one of our shopping centers. The investment in technology in commercial real estate also responds to the new standards of the activity, which currently translates for example in the ability to measure, in real time, the number of customers in the spaces, or in the automation of the queue management process in stores , among others. Never has technology, especially in terms of digitalization, been so present in the real estate development strategy.

Ariel Quintana, Country Manager for Portugal, Brazil and Chile at Habitissimo

In an era marked by the increasing acceleration of the pace of business, more than 70% of customers looking for homes do so online and more than half of visits to properties today have a website as a starting point. Now, more than at any previous moment, it is the revolution made possible by technology that defines which trends shape the sector and which players are capable of returning aligned responses.

At the center of technological innovation applied to Real Estate are digital service platforms, as they provide centralized experiences that integrate all facets of a real estate transaction, as well as a work or remodeling, in the case of Construction. In fact, it was solutions like these that helped to keep the sector 'afloat' during the peak months of the pandemic and that offered many professionals and smaller companies alternative forms of business continuity.

In addition to making processes more agile and shortening distances between all agents involved, technology is also providing the Real Estate sector with capabilities supported by the Cloud, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, formerly associated only with more analytical sectors, for ensure more informed decision making and a more predictive understanding of the market.

Basically, the companies that will contribute to the moment of recovery and have a say in defining the future of Real Estate are the ones that are already contributing to the digitization of the sector. Knowing how to combine the needs of physical reality with the potential of the digital world will be the key to the consolidation of the industry and those who compose it.

Rita Seixas, responsável pelo departamento de Marketing da Predibisa

Quando falamos do uso da tecnologia percebemos a sua transversalidade a vários setores e atividades, pelo que o imobiliário não é exceção.

O uso da tecnologia é uma mais-valia para qualquer mediadora imobiliária, desde logo porque permite uma maior rapidez na resposta aos clientes, assim como prestar um serviço ainda mais profissional e eficiente.

Num cenário como este que atravessamos, a área do imobiliário teve de adaptar-se e inovar nas novas forma de trabalhar, por forma a responder com alternativas eficazes à pandemia. Com a limitação dos contactos presenciais, o máximo uso de ferramentas tecnológicas veio ajudar a ultrapassar este condicionamento na mobilidade e às dificuldades sentidas pelos profissionais durante esta fase. Por exemplo, as visitas virtuais e os vídeos em direto, que permitem responder na hora a questões colocadas pelo cliente, são meios de promoção de imóveis, que auxiliem os profissionais do setor a formalizarem os negócios com os seus clientes.

Outra mais-valia da tecnologia é o facto de esta também nos permitir enviar no imediato informação para clientes estrangeiros. Como é sabido, o crescimento do mercado imobiliário nacional nos últimos anos tem sido bastante potenciado por estes investidores estrangeiros, daí a importância da estratégia digital nas empresas e a implementação de ferramentas tecnológicas que ajudem a suportar toda a atividade imobiliária.

A digitalização é um elemento no qual a Predibisa tem apostado ao longo dos anos. Agora, mais do que nunca, o nosso trabalho está intrinsecamente ligado ao digital e ao uso da tecnologia para criar oportunidades, mas, inclusive, assegurar uma maior proteção sanitária entre nós e os nossos clientes. É nosso foco dispor das melhores soluções que contribuam para colocar sempre em primeiro lugar a segurança e proteção de todos. Acreditamos até que a tecnologia pode até ajudar a recuperar o mercado imobiliário, na medida em que já está a trazer uma maior compatibilidade horária comparativamente a visitas ou reuniões presenciais.

Vivemos tempos de incerteza e o setor imobiliário enfrenta novos desafios. Para ultrapassá-los com sucesso é fundamental sermos capazes de nos adaptarmos e de nos reinventarmos. O reforço da aposta no digital é por isso primordial.

Manuel Alvarez, Presidente da REMAX Portugal

Esta nova realidade que vivemos vai ter o efeito de acelerar muitas mudanças que já estavam em curso no mercado há algum tempo, os efeitos na promoção dos imóveis e a comunicação com os clientes vão manter-se no futuro, mas também há impacto na forma como um consultor usa a tecnologia para conhecer o mercado e procurar soluções para os seus clientes compradores.

A tecnologia já faz parte do dia-a-dia de um consultor da RE/MAX há muitos anos, uma vez que a marca sempre investiu fortemente em soluções tecnológicas à medida para a sua rede. Esta aposta estratégica permite que já existam muitas soluções implementadas há bastante tempo e que estão a demonstrar o seu valor.

É muito interessante o exemplo das visitas virtuais e vídeo visitas, que na RE/MAX já eram uma ferramenta diária, mas hoje são fundamentais, pois permitem uma triagem das visitas que um cliente comprador quer realmente fazer e assim reduzir as visitas presenciais desnecessárias. No website da RE/MAX já tínhamos a possibilidade de promover os imóveis com estes conteúdos e por isso, neste momento, já temos mais de 13 mil imóveis com visitas multimédia.

Também a comunicação utilizando Whatsapp já estava disponível para todos os clientes que pretendem contactar um consultor e daí às visitas por videochamada foi uma evolução natural. Estas novas formas de contacto e a utilização das redes sociais estão a ganhar cada vez mais importância pois são uma extensão do nosso dia-a-dia.

Há também várias iniciativas de digitalização de processos utilizando assinatura digital e essa próxima vaga de regulamentação destas tecnologias vai também ser importante na simplificação de processos.

O acelerar destas mudanças vai ter um efeito muito positivo no mercado pois a tecnologia vai permitir tornar o mercado mais transparente e profissional. O impacto negativo pode ser sentido nos agentes que não estejam preparados com as ferramentas e a formação para se adaptarem a esta nova realidade.

Na RE/MAX temos agentes com tecnologia.

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