Real Estate Agents in Australia March 2012 27
Technology & Systems Level The level
of Technology Change is Medium
The technological aspects of the industry include office automation, telecommunication products and internet presence. Real estate agents can have their own internet presence, which can provide, among other things, details and pictures of listed properties for potential purchases or lessors. An ABS survey of the industry found that 70.4% of all businesses in the industry had a web presence in 2002-03. IBISWorld estimates that this figure has grown to more than 90% in 2009-10, with 98.5% of franchised real estate agents expected to have a web presence. Some real estate agents conduct auctions online, where participants can bid in real time. In Australia and New Zealand, examples of companies with online listings include www.realestate. com.au, www.realcommercial.com.au and www.propertylook.com.au, and real estate office solutions. Computer software can significantly reduce the cost of providing property management services, which is a labour intensive operation. Investment real estate (IRE) software systems provide sophisticated transaction processing and analysis tools. IRE systems can be broken down into two categories: operational and decision support. Operational systems support day-to-day activities and are transactional in nature (e.g. property maintenance, management and accounting). Decision support systems consolidate operational data with industry benchmarks and market assumptions to enable a strategic analysis of an asset portfolio (e.g. to measure performance, forecast cash flows and support investment decisions).
The provision of pre-encoded bank deposit slips to property tenants for payment of rent can reduce costs in the collection of rent. In December 1995 it was announced that Australia Post and Macquarie Bank had formed a partnership to allow rents to be paid at any post office, using a plastic card (with a bar code) issued by real estate agents. The service, known as DEFT Payment System, was developed and is owned by Macquarie Bank. Payments can be made through Australia Post offices, by telephone or mail. Cosmos Ltd, a public listed company, is market leader in the payments sector and its products include a tenant card for electronic rent payments. New software allows agencies to install a computerised touch pad on shop windows allowing potential customers to scroll through unlimited photos and descriptions of listed properties in or outside office hours. Consumer acceptance of interactive computer technologies (such as the internet) presents a significant risk to conventional marketing approaches adopted by real estate agent firms. Such innovations may ultimately provide vendors with an enhanced ability to sell their own properties privately (without an agent). However, these technologies will also create opportunities for industry players. Innovative enterprises may be able to use such technologies to market properties to potential buyers that have access to computer terminals, expanding the real estate firm’s geographic coverage. Podcasting in the real estate industry is in the early stages of development. Realcast developed podcasts for two of Ray White’s Victorian offices.
Published on Sep 25, 2012