Over my 20 odd years in the industry I’ve seen a lot of changes, but have I see something that could truly turn the industry on its head?
I don’t think I’ve seen the Uber or Netflix of real estate yet, but there are some new players in the industry that are helping reach new markets and change some things for the better.
BrickX is one business model I think is quite clever. This online platform allows investors to buy a share (called a ‘brick’) in a property they couldn’t otherwise afford to buy themselves.
It’s a share model, and you can buy a Brick for under $100. Since it launched a couple of years ago its portfolio has grown. It’s got about 14 properties on its website now.
I don’t know that it will change the traditional market, but it will reach a new market of people who may not have been able to afford to buy a property in the traditional way.
So it’s tapping into an untapped market, it’s not challenging us.
Airbnb is another online platform that’s attracted a lot of commentary and obviously it’s been hugely successful since it launched.
If Airbnb could make a move into long stay residential accommodation then potentially they’re a threat to traditional real estate agency rentals.
I’ve said for years in real estate that we should have a central database for tenant credit. Why not display great rental history?
Airbnb does this in a way by allowing tenants and landlords to review each other.
But honestly, I don’t know if landlords and tenants are ready to be exposed. Tenants like to have an intermediary to communicate with the landlord. And let’s face it, if a tenancy doesn’t work out it’s easier for either party to blame the agent!
But even if Airbnb did move into long stay we could offer Airbnb property management as a service. It presents opportunities for us.
The platforms I think stand the most chance of disrupting the real estate industry are Google and Facebook.
They’re aggressively attacking the shopping model because they’re very good at suggesting products you might need and serving these up in your search results, browsing or social feeds.
If they apply this aggressively to the real estate world in the future this means you get greater relevancy in your Google searches and also Facebook gives us a very affordable option to get properties into your social feed.
These platforms I think pose a real threat to current advertising models like realestate.com.au.
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