DIGITAL TRENDS; THE NEXT CHAPTER IN REAL ESTATE?

Sally Safa
Regional Head of Marketing
Alfardan Properties

As the world moves towards a digital revolution, we can begin to see changes in the real estate industry as well. A reconfiguration of internal and external processes is introducing technology into the many ways, as real estate developers, we interact with our customers. Virtual tours, AI-backed customer engagement, and the use of cloud computing are increasingly entering the real estate sector. But how are we adapting to these new technologies in our local atmospheres?

While most of the real estate industry has yet to embrace the digital transformation, we are beginning to see traces of digital capabilities light up the industry. The new competitive environment is forcing the real estate industry to address its digitalisation process as a matter of urgency. Given the profound changes in the demand for commercial and residential properties, the real estate industry is responding to the digitisation process by using different approaches and at varying speeds.

Top Digital Trends in the Real Estate Market

Virtual Property Viewing

Virtual tours are digital recreations of a physical space, be it an apartment, an office or a retail space. A virtual 3D property viewing enables prospective clients to see property from anywhere, and at any time. Virtual tours give clients a feel of the space, saves time, helps them make informed decisions when buying or renting property and is convenient especially in the event of a pandemic. They also provide a much greater outreach specifically for out-of-town or overseas clients who are looking to come to Qatar for an extended period of time.

Increased Reliance on Online Channels

Majority of individuals and specifically millennials looking to rent or buy property use the internet in their home search. Owing to virtual technology, real estate agents can display a fully furnished room or commercial units even if the space is empty in real life. Such a visualisation allows prospective clients to see what their furniture would look like in their new home and layout options that they could implement for their office space. Adding to this, the increased use of social media gives clients insights into the various amenities and facilities of prospective properties. This allows individuals to make more informed decisions.

AI-Assisted Customer Service

Websites’ high-tech features, such as live chat, offer rapid communication and assist users by answering queries in a friendly and conversational manner, this ensures a comprehensive user experience.

Custom Map Searches

Features such as a custom map search on a real estate website is another way in which digital transformation is enhancing the real estate industry. Interactive maps invite site visitors to start a property search and get a visual understanding of a specific geographic location. This can help in prioritising property as to how close or far it is to other areas of interest such as hospitals, schools, airports, access to public transport and so on.

Embracing Digital Frontiers at Alfardan Properties

Alfardan Properties has embraced the digital journey by offering real estate services in a personalised, transparent, and accessible manner via digital channels. Through quarterly and weekly newsletters, E-publications such as the ‘Collection Magazine’, and the mobile application, Alfardan Properties are able to interact and capture their tenants’ experiences by sharing updates, insights, news, promotions, and other information useful to clients. Their weekly newsletters are intended to increase engagement, and to inform readers on offerings and news. Additionally, digital frontiers have included adopting virtual 3D walkthrough tours of properties on the website. Site visitors are able to select whatever portion and from which angle they will look at a property.

High quality visuals and rich navigation options come as standard with the website. There is also an option of creating measurements within the space. From a digital perspective, by giving the client the freedom to measure the floor plan or any image on the 3D tour, this changes the way the client looks at a space. The website itself is designed to meet the demands of clients. Easily accessible to the user through a web browser or mobile device, customers benefit from numerous features on the website from getting snapshots of each property to accessing instant information such as details for the leasing department.

The digital transformation requires aligning innovation with strategic priorities. In the short term, newcomers in the real estate industry may incur expenditure costs that would discourage them from digitalising. But, in the long term, this cost will be offset with increased property sales revenue.

The Road Ahead

Adopting new technology requires significant investments (tools, processes, and people) in order to take on a visionary role in improving consumer offerings. It is about setting a mindset, rather than about technology. Alfardan Properties delivers top-quality services particularly by implementing advanced technology to enhance property search experience. The developer provides great insight into what aspects are integral to a digital transformation.

This article was published as part of the sixth edition of Property Finder Qatar’s Trends Report.