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UK Letting Agents Slow to Take Up Digital Technology

by Laura Halloway

With the digital age in full swing, it’s surprising to learn that many letting agents are still not embracing the digital technology at their disposal.  When you consider how many consumers now search for goods, services, and indeed property online this seems like commercial suicide.

According to new research, many UK letting agents have admitted they knew that technology would help them to provide a better service, but were resistant to making the necessary changes and learning the necessary skills.

More than 78% of letting agents said they believed that other agents embracing digital technology would be more successful and over 90% said this technology would improve their services.

The survey conducted by Imfuna Let also found that 77% of agents believe it would speed up the letting process and improve general productivity.  However, only 11% of these agents were planning on investing in digital technology in the near future.

Well over half of those surveyed, 67% in fact, admitted they do not use smart phones or tablet computers even though the majority of UK business is now using these modern devices.  What this survey has highlighted is a very real danger that letting agents are falling behind the times and therefore not getting the best from their business.

Jax Kneppers, founder of Imfuna Let, said “We commissioned this research to better understand the views of letting agents to technology.  What is surprising is that whilst there is a noticeable acceptance of the importance of technology there is a real lack of adoption.  For example 77% said they had never considered dedicated inventory software.”

Approximately 43% of those surveyed also said they believed landlords are more likely to put in a claim against their tenants right now.  This highlights the need for better inventory and check in/check out reporting and improvements to how inventories are managed, updated and stored.

Kneppers went on to say, “The inventory process has remained largely the same over the last 20 years but there is  technology available today that can make this process simpler, more efficient and ultimately improve any letting business. For example, with Imfuna Let we have taken the core skills of an inventory clerk and applied them using current technology. The result is an inventory process that is faster, simpler and more cost effective.”

Telephones still prove to be the primary means of communication with many letting agents although the use of text messages and emails is steadily growing.  Email for example has increased from 29% to 75% in the last 5 years alone.

It also found that 84% think tenants do a lot of their own research through the internet when looking for a property to rent, 73% believe tenants are more informed and 64% more likely to know exactly what they want.

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