The Inside Edge
In my last article I commented that commercial property portals were a poor relative of their residential property family. However, I would like to clarify that the reason for this is not necessarily the portals themselves, more the fundamentals of economics – supply and demand.
The principle users of these portals are surveyors, many of whom still make great use of traditional networking and are well connected within their respective market places. There is little need for these professionals to view the interactive capabilities of a property on a website when they will frequently be aware of the property having spoken to the agent in the past or attended a property launch there to know of the offering available. In addition the key information on the deals that are on offer will come from communications with the agent marketing the property as the factors that influence such a deal are many and subject to complex negotiations.
Many commercial property deals are done “off market” and no amount of property portal advertising will change this. However, the important point and lesson is with the next generation. There is a growing feeling that the use of the internet in commercial property is improving as that younger generation, who have been exposed to and grown up with the internet, move up to the higher echelons of property companies. As this demand for new technology develops, it is thought that the complexity of that on offer will be also improve and the pricing which is also seen by some as a barrier, will reduce accordingly.
One such example is the laser scanning of buildings in 3D. Such technology allows a fully interactive, virtual, three dimensional property to be explored by the user at will. The detail and level of accuracy is remarkable. However the costs are currently prohibitive and the memory required makes website hosting a near impossible nightmare.
With the possibility of technology that can truly add value to property marketing its adoption by property professionals will improve and this is also true of the use of social media. It is thought that the two go largely hand in hand.
There is nothing wrong with the traditional methods of property transactions but you are either part of the revolution or against it. Those companies and surveyors who do not engage with the new IT platforms could well find themselves left behind by it. The Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook world is here to stay and intelligent use of these mediums could prove highly lucrative in the future. Commercial property will never be at the cutting edge of technology but it cannot avoid the technological developments and those who embrace the potential will reap the rewards.
Author Biography: Tim Denny is a regular contributor to The Inside Edge. He is currently a Commercial Property Asset Manager for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and has an extensive background in commercial property.
LinkedIn – Tim Denny
Twitter – @tim_denny