A new home is the most valuable asset most people will purchase in their lifetime. It is therefore understandable that they will want to revisit it and demonstrate it to friends and family, on multiple occasions. 360˚ walkthroughs and virtual reality tours allow buyers to visit their new home or the show home, even when it is not possible or practical to visit the site. This serves a practical purpose, by helping buyers make plans for furnishing their home, as well as an emotional purpose, by allowing them to indulge in and share their excitement with loved ones.
Due to the rapid evolution of PropTech, it is important that systems can be configured to work in unison, helping each device to maximise its potential. Home automation systems are a great example of this. While a new property may be wired to control the heating system using a wall-mounted touchscreen or a smartphone, it may also be prewired for the future integration of lighting and audio visual devices, allowing these systems to be controlled using the same touchscreen or app. This means that as PropTechcontinues to explore the possibilities of interconnectivity, homeowners are able to tailor their system to their increasing demand and expectation.
The benefit of this interconnectivity can also be seen in other examples of PropTech. For example, an iPad or tablet presented to the homeowner at handover can be preconfigured to control various systems. Likewise, it may feature a direct link to the online portal, providing quick and easy access to the DNA of their home. By providing homeowners with these tools, developers are helping them engage with the property on a level that they are unlikely to have experienced before – one that streamlines their lifestyle and maximises their enjoyment of their new purchase.
Throughout the reservation process, homebuyers are fed a vast amount of information. Individually populated online portals provide buyers with an easily accessible resource that can be used to answer many of the questions that may arise at each stage of the process.
This benefit is heightened at the completion stage and after moving in, when the new homeowner will require more detailed information about their new home and the developer’s aftersales procedures. The focused nature of PropTechallows homeowners to view information specific to theirhome, rather than having to filter through reams of information for neighbouring plots, tapping into the consumeristic demand for concise and easy to access material. This may be as specific as needing to check what colour paint has been used on the walls, so an additional coat can be applied, or as essential as how to control the central heating system.
The scope of information available at completion on online portals helps homeowners become self-sufficient in the management of their home, as they can easily log in to their portal and seek out the answers to their questions, without having to pick up a phone or send an email and wait for a reply.
The conciseness and amalgamation of information is a major upside of online portals. A study in 2016noted that adults typically misplace four items per month, while a separate studysuggests adults spend ten minutes every day looking for lost possessions. These statistics alone emphasise the benefit of a digital document library to homeowners, saving them the time and stress of searching through paperwork for certificates or user manuals.
Similarly, the ability to access information, even when away from the home, gives homeowners the kind of sought after flexibility that helps inform consumeristic decisions. The popularity of smartphones is largely due to the ease with which users can access information online, using 4G technology, on a palm sized device and in almost any location. In The Global Mobile Report,Comscorecompared the online minute share between mobile phones and desktops, across various industries. Mobile phones boasted the lion share in the following notable categories:
Significantly, the portal category is split 59/41% in favour of desktops. The close proximity of these figures suggests that homebuyers and homeowners will benefit significantly from portals being accessible on both mobile devices and desktop computers.
Ultimately, the accessibility of information on portals and tablets serves the content itself. The level of bespoke information available is a major benefit to the homeowner, who can view details and images of the fixtures, fittings and finishes in their home, providing a vital resource in the event that damaged tiles need to be replaced, for example. Similarly, direct links to the appliance manufacturers help homeowners remember to register their products, to ensure they are covered by the warranty. It is the often overlooked details such as these that can make settling into and maintaining a new build property much easier, while the digital presentation allows for immediate updates in the event of information changing.
After moving into a new home, buyers may feel overwhelmed with questions. Should the boiler make that noise? What is that white stuff on the brick walls? How do I register the oven? Not only can these questions be answered in homeowner manuals, contact numbers for aftercare issues and appliance manufacturers can be incorporated into online portals, providing smartphone users with a direct line to the answers they are seeking.
As well as providing buyers with the tools to easily contact aftercare teams, utility suppliers and manufacturers, PropTechalso allows for regular updates from the developer, courtesy of targeted emails, thereby keeping buyers notified of their new home’s progress, and owners afoot of any news or events on their development.