Innovation and digitization are popular concepts that have also made their way into the real estate world. Luke Liplijn, the founder of data technology company Matrixian Group, which provides services to real estate professionals, sees an increasing demand for data solutions. Not only from the professionals themselves, who are often looking for customer loyalty and model-based valuations, but also from politicians who are increasingly focusing on sustainable building. What are the developments in the market? What is the role of data technology? And how do real estate professionals respond strategically? We will discuss this with our founder Luke Liplijn. 

Tight housing market

“First of all, there is a housing shortage in the Netherlands. And that causes problems, “says Luke. “Due to the tight housing market, real estate agents have fewer houses in their portfolio.” He says real estate professionals should therefore increase their focus on customer relations. In other words, ensure that customers come back at a later point in time. “The real estate professional must ensure that a client returns repeatedly throughout his housing career. For example, when buying or selling a home, when disagreeing with a calculated WOZ value or when a client needs an appraisal report to get a green loan. ‘’ Many real estate agents and appraisers are focusing on this, according to Luke. Not only in their communication to customers, but also in the form of optimization of (CRM) systems. Data technology supports this. “I notice that the Lead Tool, for example, is becoming increasingly important to our customers.” The Lead Tool can be described as a smart tool. Because real estate professionals offer home seekers a free house value indication on their website, they are not only relevant to their target group, but they also immediately know where the interests of (potential) customers lie. ‘Our house value reports are also doing well, real estate agents and appraisers can send them to clients once a year, for example, to maintain relationships.’ The house value reports consist of a valuation of individual homes, location data, constructional data, the energy label, a cadastral map and reference homes (including purchase prices).

Increasing regulations

Another trend that Luke notices is increasing (inter)national regulations. “Increased regulation means that real estate professionals are spending more time on research. For example, a valuation report must meet ever increasing criteria and a lot of information is required for the successful purchase and sale of homes.” These are all time-consuming processes. “I have therefore been asked to develop new applications that enable real estate professionals to receive all the necessary information at the touch of a button.  For example, ownership information, mortgage information, WOZ values, cadastral maps, BAG data, neighborhood information and more. This makes the valuation process a lot more efficient and provides the professional with time to focus on individual customer wishes. “

Valuation models

The valuation market is also undergoing (digital) developments, including the strong increase in model-based valuation. When determining the value of a house, Machine Learning (ML) is used, which is based on a large number of purchase prices and construction characteristics of comparable homes. “The misconception sometimes arises that ML will take over the work of the appraiser. I don’t see it that way. Model-based valuations are there to help appraisers. They can use technology to support them in their daily work. This increases efficiency, allowing professionals to focus on what is really important: providing personal advice. Something technology will never be able to do. “

Sustainable building and living

Luke sees that the real estate sector is becoming more sustainable. The reason for this is that there is a lot to be gained in the field of climate protection in the residential sector and the construction sector. Sustainable building and living is therefore an objective which is high on the social and political agenda. “Real estate professionals can respond strategically to this,” says Luke. “They can focus on the increasing desire of homeowners to make homes more sustainable. Banks are also responding to this change. For example, there are already ‘green’ mortgages and ‘green’ loans. This leads to new types of questions from customers, which the real estate professional can help with. For example, the professional can indicate why it is profitable to make a home more sustainable. “Luke now mainly gets this question from municipalities. For example, he developed the Sustainable Roofs Opportunity Map, a data-driven interactive map that shows municipalities per roof which sustainable implementation is the most feasible, profitable and advantageous. The map thus contributes to political environmental objectives; it is a solution to heat problems, water storage/ drainage problems and pollution in cities.

Balance between man and machine 

“It is not advisable to switch completely to ML and technology. At the same time, we see that the right combination of people and technology leads to valuable efficiency gains, giving real estate professionals time for personal contact with the customer. Compared to technology, the real estate professional still has a better understanding of what a customer really wants. 

For example by providing expert advice on how a home can be made more sustainable and how that increases the value of a home, the professional provides additional quality and added value. ”According to Luke, paying attention to customers is becoming increasingly important and this is possible because data technology relieves real estate professionals from certain activities. “For example, if information on reference homes can be obtained from an online environment by a touch of a button, that is a huge time saver. This time saving can be used to boost the quality of customer service.

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