Big housebuilders must learn to think like digital pioneers if they are to succeed in the modern marketplace.
The construction industry was shocked by the recent collapse of Carillion but there are plenty of opportunities for companies across the property sector willing to adopt proptech to make their business ultra-efficient.
Zoopla and Rightmove paved the way for online house-hunting in the early 2000s followed by platforms for owners to market and sell their home without even setting foot inside an estate agency.
Miller Homes IT director Graeme Stirling told BusinessCloud that its customers are reaping the benefits of tech, which it uses to enhance its traditional services.
“We’ve found tools like virtual tours and CGI flythroughs are really helpful for time-pressed families and young professionals who want to make the best use of their house-hunting time,” he said.
“Hundreds of buyers have now used our ‘kitchen visualiser’, which helps them choose the worktops, cupboards and layouts for their new home.
“For many, it simply adds to the excitement of moving to a new home, allowing them to put their stamp on it from the start.”
Edinburgh-headquartered Miller Homes launched its website back in 1998 and it is now the first point of contact for the majority of its customers.
Stirling says embracing the latest developments is key to staying relevant in the marketplace.
“In 2017, we were the first national housebuilder to unveil an online reservations service, enabling buyers to select their home and pay their reservation fee via the website,” he explained. “Since launching this autumn, we have already taken 50 online reservations and we’re expecting this figure to grow significantly in 2018.
“Customers also value our text and email alert service, which tells them when a suitable property is released for sale and lets them book a showhome viewing.
“Estate agents are already adopting VR technology, allowing people to view the property while visiting it, while digital bank Revolut recently joined forces with mortgage broker Trussle to help people find the best deal.
“And new apps and tools are launching all the time: the Built-ID app has been dubbed the Shazam for buildings and allows users to search any property to find out who built and designed it.
“There will be plenty more proptech developments as people become more confident searching for, and selling, their most valuable asset online. It’s essential for housebuilders to harness the power of proptech with renewed vigour to cement their longevity.”
People can also download the Miller Homes QR app, which features ‘how to’ videos on operating the appliances in the showhome, and visualisations of property interiors from the brochure.