The property investment sector has been slow to embrace technology. Paper and handshakes are embedded in the character of the industry. But in recent years, it has become clear that the benefits technology has brought to sister industries, such as stock market investment, could also be applicable to real estate.

A question that has been asked more than once is whether real estate advisors will be replaced by technology.

Mark Reynolds of global property agent Savills remarked, during the COVID19 lockdown of early 2020*: “Although technology can help us to do our job more efficiently and effectively, we shouldn’t worry about it replacing us. In fact, as we become more efficient, we can take on more capacity.”

“However, our ability to work with – not against – technology is essential. Over the past weeks, digital platforms have played a key role in our business. One positive outcome of the lockdown may be that the property industry’s use of technology has advanced years, in just weeks. The lockdown has helped us achieve something we set out to accomplish many years ago – we have finally become paperless.”

BrickVest shares this view: Leveraging digital services and embracing the paperless world will enable brokers to become more efficient, spending less time pushing paper and more time focusing on the added-value aspects of the role that people can do, and technology can’t.

The commercial nuances required to value complicated and high-value assets require human thought processes, harnessing personal experience and intelligence. As noted by Reynolds, people can provide strategic insights, guidance and reassurance to clients and funders, especially during uncertain times. But there are many ways in which technology providers can support brokers and advisors in achieving their objectives.

By listing commercial properties on the BrickVest marketplace, brokers can offer their clients the benefit of a global network of thousands of project financers, spanning both equity investment and debt. BrickVest will promote the investment opportunities to its network of high, ultra-high net worth and institutional investors, family offices and financial institutions; and facilitate introductions between brokers and interested investors. A fair fee, applicable only upon closing of a deal, will be agreed in advance. Brokers registered with BrickVest will also have access to benchmarking and other market data that may help them work smarter.

Going a step further, brokers may even build their own, in-house digital infrastructure, by using BrickVest’s proprietary software “building blocks” (available to license).

All in all, we believe that real estate advisors will not be replaced – but rather enhanced – by technology and we hope to have a role in facilitating this.

*Irish Times, 28/05/2020