The closure of online only letting agency Upad is a sign that technology alone is not enough to guarantee a successful business according to a leading property management firm.
Apropos by D.J. Alexander think that innovative, unique technology is necessary, but must be backed up by experience, a strong customer base, sound financial backing, and face to face service delivery.
The firm - which in the New Year launches its bespoke property platform delivered by on the ground UK business partners - believes that it is the combination of people and technology that provides the best service for tenants and landlords.
David Alexander, joint managing director of apropos by D.J. Alexander, commented: “The closure of any business is unfortunate, particularly for the individuals directly involved, but it is also concerning. Online services are, undoubtedly, the way forward for the property market allowing greater access, openness and transparency for tenants and landlords. But this must be delivered by experienced individuals who can provide a face for the service.”
“Technology alone cannot provide the full package. You need to know there is someone there who responds to the individual, who understands the local market, and who has the experience and knowledge to ensure that great service is delivered combined with the latest technology.”
David continued: “Equally, it is essential that businesses entering this market have the solvency, a substantial existing customer base, and sound financial backing to give confidence and assurance to tenants and landlords who can be assured that you are here to stay and will not suddenly disappear one day.”
“It is crucial that online providers charge an appropriate fee. It is extremely difficult to sustain a business if the fees are set too low simply to attract business. We do not want a race to the bottom on fees; owners and landlords need to understand that setting a fee, that is fair and sustainable benefits, everyone in the long run.”
David concluded: “The UK property market has never been so complex, so rapidly changing, and so financially problematic which has resulted in many challenges to achieve success at the moment. Property is about people: for tenants you are providing a home; for landlords an income; and for investors a return. But at the centre of it all are people and all the technology in the world cannot replace the human element.”