Peter Schravemade, Strategic Relationship Manager at Box Brownie
Tom Dorawa, Managing Director of Virtual Tours Creator
Nathan Krisanski, CEO & Founder of HomePrezzo
Kylie Davis: (00:11)
Hello everybody, my name is Kylie Davis and I’m the founder and director of the Proptech Association. And it’s great to see so many of you starting to join us here today on our fifth Proptech panel. I’d especially like to thank our founding sponsors Stone & Chalk who have made this event possible. And for those of you who don’t know Stone & Chalk, it was founded as a not-for-profit in Sydney in 2015 to help fintech startups commercialise and grow. And from 40 startups back in 2015, it now has around 200 startups in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, covering all areas of emerging technology, including proptech. And currently there are 20 proptechs that call Stone & Chalk home. And I’d also like to thank our new foundations partners at the Proptech Association, the Real Estate Institute of WA and Macquarie.
Kylie Davis: (01:05)
So now, as we move out of lockdown and consider reopening our borders, is it time to ask, what does business as usual look like now in real estate? Is it just about going back to the old ways of listing, selling and marketing properties, because hey, they were good enough, and are we going to experience a bungee spring back to tradition, or are there things that we can take from that extraordinarily intense period of our lives into the new world that will make buying and selling and renting easier for our clients as well as for us? In this panel, we introduce you to three innovative proptechs who have showed us just how real estate agents could keep transacting during lockdowns.
Kylie Davis: (01:51)
Now, first we have Peter Schravemade and the team at BoxBrownie who helped agents continue to produce quality photos for listings and marketing even if they were shot by a cross-eyed tenant on a five-year-old iPhone. Nathan Krisanski from HomePrezzo helped agents solve the problem. Well, if we can’t promote properties, how do we even market ourselves with informative videos and report content based on market data. And Tom Dorowa from Virtual Tours Creator showed agents how easy and affordable it is to create virtual walkthroughs for potential buyers and tenants, even if you can’t physically visit the property. So welcome fellows. It’s great to have you all on the panel.
Peter Schravemade: (02:29)
Good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Kylie Davis: (02:34)
So welcome. So Pete, let’s kick off with you, seeing that you were the first one to say hello. And look, we all know each other and everybody is from Queensland, except me shooting from Sydney.
Peter Schravemade: (02:47)
We can’t help you there, sorry.
Kylie Davis: (02:50)
This could be a little bit right [crosstalk 00:02:52].
Peter Schravemade: (02:51)
It’s only a plane right away Kylie. Only a plane right away.
Kylie Davis: (02:58)
I think I might need to drive. So tell us a little bit about BoxBrownie and the problem that you solved and how that worked during COVID.
Peter Schravemade: (03:05)
Yeah, so I mean, we edit imagery if you’re not familiar with our services. It’s the largest portion of what we do, is we will edit images, and a lot of it is professional photo editing. So sort of aside from agents, we will have people submit images to us to be edited. During COVID, the largest issue that we were solving is marketing issues for agency, couldn’t get either professional photographers to site, they couldn’t get to site themselves in a lot of instance, our Melburnians, Victorians will relate to that. And we would then assist them in creating some kind of system or solution to that problem.
Peter Schravemade: (03:46)
For example, if you couldn’t get to a property, a large portion of what we’ve been doing is editing tenants photos [inaudible 00:03:52] photos where they’re taking them themselves. Even to the extent that we’re redrawing floor plans that they create and we are assisting them with virtual tours. So during COVID that’d be the biggest portion, probably with virtual staging in their physical stages in the US, Canada and UK, in Europe weren’t allowed. So that was another issue we solved.
Kylie Davis: (04:18)
Sorry. So just one back, so what were you allowed to do?
Peter Schravemade: (04:23)
Physical staging was-
Kylie Davis: (04:24)
Oh, yes, physical staging [crosstalk 00:04:25].
Peter Schravemade: (04:25)
It was not allowed, so everyone who was doing physical really moved to virtual staging in some way, shape or form.
Kylie Davis: (04:33)
Okay. How bad can the photos be that you guys can still fix?
Peter Schravemade: (04:40)
Yeah. They can be pretty bad. The average age it doesn’t take a good picture. And then you sort of then go to the owners actually. Sorry, I know we’ve got a bunch of agents on the call, but if I had to vote, some of the owners would actually take a lot more time and attention to detail with their photography than some of the agents that we deal with. So they can be bad. There are just things that happen, like a common issue we get submitted is low resolution or overexposed windows where you can’t see outside the window, something’s going on there. Yellowy images is really big, where you’ve got yellow lights, unlike the white one that’s way kind of, or rocking white lights today. When you’ve got yellowy lights, it changes the colour of the walls. So we added a lot of those things. But there are some things we can’t fix, like out of focus, half a house, we can’t recreate what we don’t know.
Kylie Davis: (05:37)
And I think they’re trying hard enough there.
Peter Schravemade: (05:41)
Thanks Kylie. I love the confidence you have now, but… When a photo is out of focus, we can give it our best shot, but quite often there’s just some things that we can’t do.
Kylie Davis: (05:54)
So why is it so important even during lockdown? Why was it so important to get that photography right in real estate?
Peter Schravemade: (06:01)
Oh, it’s kind of the crux. It’s the apex actually, if you are becoming an agent, if you are a brand new agent and the first thing that you want to do is go out there and list a house, well, unfortunately in this day and age, it’s very hard to market a house without a photograph. All of our forums are geared for that, and it really doesn’t matter what you’re in, whether in property management, commercial luxury, residential sales. It’s really hard to market a property without a photograph, and it kind of comes at the start of the process, long before all of the other elements of describing the property to the purchaser are. So before you do a floor plan, before you write copy, before you’ve got video or virtual tours, the first thing that they are going to click on is that image, and you’ve really got to get that right to ensure that the knock on effect and the click-through rate goes through to the remaining elements that you have.
Kylie Davis: (06:52)
So did you take any measurements or do you know whether the photos that you guys were producing during COVID because professional photographers couldn’t get there, were they being clicked more or less, or the same as what you were seeing before we went into COVID?
Peter Schravemade: (07:08)
Yeah, it’s really hard to tell. Obviously a lot of our… I suppose realestate.com.au would have those stats here in Australia, but a lot of our heartland in America is fragmented analysis. There are defined stats though, on better quality imagery, not just our own stats REIA group has, they have statistics that tell us that 76% of purchases want to see good photos. In the US, National Association of Realtors, they have a killer stat that says that 84% of buyers, no matter which age group want to see professional imagery as an output.
Peter Schravemade: (07:49)
That’s the most requested thing by purchases over there, the stats from the Guild of Surveyors in the UK, that reflect that as well. So it’s commonly held or commonly known fact that good imagery, not only do purchasers want to see it, but it’ll sell you a house faster and for more money. So it’s a bit of a no brainer these days. And Australia tends to get that right, if I could just put a comment out. Especially amongst residential sales in metropolitan areas, the quality of imagery that we have here in Australia is fairly high, with relation to the rest of the world.
Kylie Davis: (08:23)
Yeah. Do you guys have a declutter filter or do you get asked to declutter a lot?
Peter Schravemade: (08:28)
We do. In particular, during COVID, owners are taking photos, they have no experience preparing the property, we’ve been doing a lot of decluttering on virtual tours, because the owners have been shooting the virtual tours themselves, there’s no property preparation. We’re kind of trying to assist the people shooting it, we’ll send out a pre-photography checklist, which generally gets the house in order. But there’s been a tonne of decluttering going on, just because the agents can’t get there and they are unable to do anything about it themselves. It has been in demand.
Kylie Davis: (09:02)
So what kind of uses did you see that surprised you? Did anyone sort of do stuff that you were like, “Wow, that’s incredible. I wish we thought of that”?
Peter Schravemade: (09:12)
Yeah. Well, we had an agent actually show us that we could use a third party app to create a 3D scan of any space and upload that to our virtual tour portal, and that became hugely important. Because areas like California, New York, Melbourne, more recently, people just couldn’t get to the property, so the owners’ ability to scan and give then the client an immersive tour was really, really super cool. The other one that sort of came as a result of COVID was the bracketing app that we located for iPhones, where we were able to take several images of the same scene at different light resolution and merge them together for a professional quality image. It was such a cool outcome for people who really wanted a professional output, but were unable to get to the properties.
Kylie Davis: (10:07)
Very cool. And so with us all starting now around the country to come out of lockdown, finally go Victoria.
Peter Schravemade: (10:14)
Kylie Davis: (10:16)
Yeah, welcome back. It’s great to have you. Do you think that photo adjustment is going to go back to what it was, or is it going to continue this way? Do you think we’re going to see more homeowners taking their own shots still?
Peter Schravemade: (10:34)
Look, in areas where they were using it as a means to an end, probably not. As far as our usage rate, I don’t think that will go backwards. Probably more, what happened during COVID as far as we were concerned is that agents really had to… They found if they weren’t doing it already, that they had to describe the property as best as they possibly could, because the tenant or the purchaser couldn’t get there. So that description process, whatever that looks like, whether that’s a virtual tour, whether that’s a floor plan, whether that’s copy, whether that’s the photograph or any of the other services that we offer, like whatever that is, agents really figured that the qualification process was better in the actual description. So a lot of people began using us that knowing we did the services, but that had no need to do it in the past.
Peter Schravemade: (11:26)
I can’t see them going backwards from that, because the results of that have just been unbelievable. Now, they know they could sell by doing less legwork rather than show a purchase of 15 to 20 properties. How about we qualify them for four or five good ones and let’s save us the legwork on the 10 or 15 extra. It just seems crazy that we were operating under a system where people would openly cheer on social media and go, “I’ve shown someone 30 properties.” Well, if you’ve done that, you’re doing it wrong. You haven’t qualified them in the first place, and a lot of that is your property description, which is a large portion of what we do. The one thing that we always encourage people before COVID, during COVID and we will afterwards, is describe the property as best you can, because that will qualify any purchaser or a tenant for that property.
Kylie Davis: (12:18)
Yeah. And it saved an awful lot of time for sort of tenants and the purchasers as well.
Peter Schravemade: (12:23)
Kylie Davis: (12:24)
It’s not like everyone wants to jump into their car on Saturdays and race around to 17 open for inspections to go and see stuff, only to go home, it doesn’t look like the photos.
Peter Schravemade: (12:34)
Yeah. And I don’t know that’s going to change Kylie. I think the world has moved and I really feel, like personally I feel that I’d rather qualify myself for a property before I actually get there, and a large portion of that will be things like descriptions, floor plans. I will be way more calculated about property purchases than I have been in the past. I don’t actually have the time to go out and inspect a lot of those properties, and I would imagine that the world has moved and people are the same.
Kylie Davis: (13:05)
Fantastic. Thanks so much.
Peter Schravemade: (13:06)
Kylie Davis: (13:07)
Nathan Krisanski from HomePrezzo, just give us a quick summary of what HomePrezzo does.
Nathan Krisanski: (13:14)
Sure. Thank Kylie, and good morning everybody, or good afternoon if you’re in the states that have daylight setting. So HomePrezzo is a content marketing platform. So we help agents with creating video and report content that uses local market data. So they don’t need to spend too much time creating all that content, they can do it in just a few clicks.
Kylie Davis: (13:35)
Fantastic. So during COVID you found that you were creating content for agents who had no properties to sell, what kind of marketing were they doing then?
Nathan Krisanski: (13:45)
Yeah, absolutely. So as you said, when listings started to drop out, agents were struggling with what they were going to send to their database and send to their contacts, because they didn’t have the listings. So we did see an uptick in people using our market reports because even though as you say, the listings were coming off, there were still stats around market values going up and people were still transacting and a lot of the data was still positive and still showing a good picture of what local markets were up to. And even through transparency, even if markets weren’t performing as well, showing that you were not afraid of that data and being transparent and open around what market was doing. Clients were really receiving that well and were looking for information, so the agents that were taking advantage of platforms like us and using that content, not only did they have something to send and stay relevant, and they actually improved their profile in that sense that they were being seen as that local expert.
Kylie Davis: (14:42)
Fantastic. So why is data such a powerful way to connect with buyers and sellers?
Nathan Krisanski: (14:48)
Well, look, that is the new oil in marketing. I love that line, but it’s so true these days, and then you see it across not just real estate but any industry. Any industry that is doing marketing at the moment, it’s all about data, and when I say data, we are not just talking about consumer data or anything like that, any scary privacy things and things like that. We’re just talking about being able to present data and use data in a way that you can tell a story and educate people and inform them about things in their market that they may not be aware of, and that’s a really important part of it, is that you do need to tell a story. And so that’s where I guess our platform has really excelled and grown, and that by using video we can really take that storytelling of data to the next level.
Kylie Davis: (15:32)
So it’s really about looking at sort of what medium prices are doing and whether they’ve gone up or down, and how the market has been performing, rents, all that sort of stuff. It’s that top line market data, isn’t it?
Nathan Krisanski: (15:45)
That’s right. And so by using the data of who’s clicking on that information as well, you’re actually able to not only segment your list, but look at your list from, in terms of who’s opening your emails, but also who’s clicking on those links and engaging with that content. And really, that’s showing you an intent of, they are looking to make a move or act on something regarding their property in the near term. So there’s lots of journeys using that space.
Kylie Davis: (16:11)
Yeah. Because it’s not just a story that you’re telling, that you are sort of sharing some useful information and people go, “Oh yeah, cool.” What you want as an agent is to understand the intention behind the person that has read that, and that kind of content starts to signal, doesn’t it?
Nathan Krisanski: (16:28)
Absolutely. Yep, [crosstalk 00:16:29].
Kylie Davis: (16:29)
So what were some of the best uses of content through your platform that you saw during COVID?
Nathan Krisanski: (16:35)
So for guys that were still able to do, up here in Queensland particularly, where we weren’t in lockdown for quite as long, we did see a lot of people still printing out their market reports and handing them out. So having that option to still have a printed copy and deliver really nice quality marketing materials in hand, but then on the flip side of that, where you weren’t able to meet in person, using those market reports in email and social campaigns to really reach out to that top of funnel clients and looking to stay engaged. And then right down through to say, First National, a large customer of ours, where we integrated with social estate, their social marketing platform, and we were delivering 800 plus videos every single month, that feed directly into the social media channels of over 150 First National offices around the country. And those were being automatically posted to their Facebook audiences. So from an agent’s point of view, not having to do any work, but having that local market content being published around to their audiences automatically. So that was a really great example of [crosstalk 00:17:44].
Kylie Davis: (17:44)
800 is a lot.
Nathan Krisanski: (17:45)
It’s a lot of content.
Kylie Davis: (17:46)
How long did it take you to produce them?
Nathan Krisanski: (17:49)
It takes us a few hours every month just to first, run it all out, but the beauty of the HomePrezzo platform is a lot of it it’s automated now, and we do connect directly to the data from CoreLogic. So we can refresh those relatively easily and get them updated and sent over to the platforms. So it’s a really key part of what the HomePrezzo solution does. And it’s a really important part of what happened to us in June, which was when we were acquired by ActivePipe. So one of the things that HomePrezzo did really well was creating content, but we weren’t as good at helping agents with how they send it out. So we started off with the idea of being Switzerland and anyone can share content, wherever they like, however they like, and a lot of ways that created problems for agents, because all of a sudden they had a great library of content, but they didn’t know what to do with it.
Nathan Krisanski: (18:39)
And so our answer to them would be whatever you want, and that would kind of just send them in a spin of, “Well, I don’t know what I want to do with it, so help me.” And so that the acquisition of ActivePipe has really helped us with that answer, and now we can say, well, your email campaigns and the way that you engage with your ActivePipe system already has now gotten a lot better because you’ve got real con… Sorry, HomePrezzo content to flow into that as well. And I like that process a lot easier.
Kylie Davis: (19:09)
Fantastic. And just to be clear, ActivePipe purchased HomePrezzo, HomePrezzo didn’t purchase ActivePipe, right?
Nathan Krisanski: (19:13)
Yes, very true. I’m not [inaudible 00:19:18] boss anymore. That’s for sure.
Kylie Davis: (19:23)
So with the acquisition by ActivePipe, now HomePrezzo’s content is able to be sent out through emails and that’s allowing that click-through and being able to see that engagement?
Nathan Krisanski: (19:34)
Absolutely. Just what we were talking about in terms of being able to pick up the intent of your database. So not only now you’re sending out content and looking at click through rates, you’re also understanding that if you’re clicking through on HomePrezzo content there is a higher intent, in terms of what they’re looking at.
Kylie Davis: (19:49)
And I guess when you start to add a lot of those clicks up, someone who’s just clicked on one thing and done not very much for not very long, compared to someone who’s clicked on five things, that’s where you start to see your lead generation and lead profiling start to build up.
Nathan Krisanski: (20:08)
Kylie Davis: (20:08)
Yep. Yep. So how do you see it going post-COVID?
Nathan Krisanski: (20:14)
I think people talk about the new normal. I don’t like that term. I think what will happen is that people have found that there are new ways and technologies that can help them do their job better, and they won’t need to go back. And so I think a lot of the virtual tours and the digital content in marketing will continue and will continue to be relevant and important for clients as they’ve now accepted that they can do these sort things from their home and not have to spend their entire Saturday driving around from house to house and spending hours in the car. So look, from my point of view, I think things will continue the way they are, despite everything coming out of lockdowns and things like that.
Kylie Davis: (21:05)
Because we have really made some efficiency improvements or improvements in the way that we’re connecting and sharing information with our end clients, our buyers and sellers.
Nathan Krisanski: (21:17)
Yeah, that’s right.
Kylie Davis: (21:17)
So not a bungee ping.
Nathan Krisanski: (21:19)
No, I don’t think so. I think clients have just become so accustomed to that way of communication now that it’ll actually feel really awkward for them to have to go back to the way we used to do things in the industry.
Kylie Davis: (21:33)
Fantastic. So thanks so much. So Tom Dorowa from Virtual Tours Creator, your turn now. Virtual tours-
Tomasz Dorowa: (21:41)
Kylie Davis: (21:44)
Look Tom, virtual tours are not a new thing, are they? How long have they been around for and why did it take COVID for us to get used to them?
Tomasz Dorowa: (21:51)
Well, absolutely yes. COVID probably was a big eye opener for any industry. But the virtual tours are nothing new, they’ve been here since the ’90s or even before.
Kylie Davis: (22:05)
Oh my God, [crosstalk 00:22:07].
Tomasz Dorowa: (22:07)
We actually have customers that tell us the stories how they used to make virtual tours back in ’99. The only problem was that the internet speed wasn’t good enough, so nobody could really see them. They were funky or they didn’t work at all, but the technology was there.
Kylie Davis: (22:27)
I can just imagine the soundtrack to that. It would have been like a squiggly, like when your modem used to work.
Tomasz Dorowa: (22:34)
Kylie Davis: (22:35)
The dial in modem. So help me understand how is a virtual tour different to a video tour?
Tomasz Dorowa: (22:42)
Maybe I’ll just start the whole answer with saying that the biggest companies in the world always put pressure on the customer experience and what the customers want. And this is the same discussion between video and virtual tours. Virtual tours put the buyer or the tenant or whoever is watching them in the first seat, in their own perspective. They decide where they go, how they do it, when they do it. Video is always going to be from the perspective of the real estate agent or the photographer. So they present to the final customers, what they want them to see. And I think this is what the industry has to understand, that yes the videos are great, especially if they are… I mean, not the videos, video tours, when they are done properly, but they don’t show the size of the property or the layout of the property.
Tomasz Dorowa: (23:51)
They always are going to have the agents in the background talking about the property and maybe not necessarily everyone wants to hear the agent and the agent is going to go through the house in a certain way. Some people maybe don’t want to wait for half of the video for two minutes or however it goes, to get to the kitchen, when they can just open a virtual tour and click and have a look at the kitchen and then go back to a living room, whatever they want to do. So I think the main difference is the power is in the hands of the viewers and that’s what’s so important nowadays. I mean, we’ve all been talking about this prior to COVID, but nobody really listened. Now, when it all happened, it turned out that many agents are not digitally ready for anything, and this is where it all started changing for all of us. Same, in the virtual tours, you get a better understanding of the layout of the property, or even distances between things in the house.
Kylie Davis: (25:00)
So when I’ve got a video tour, basically I’m seeing the house through the eyes of the agent and it’s giving me a sort of glorious glossy view of the house and sort of spinning me the story as to why I’d like to live there. But when it comes to a virtual tour, it’s letting me go into the house and explore all the nooks and crannies, or the sections of it and to see how different rooms connect up and more detailed self-driven kind of tour of it, right?
Tomasz Dorowa: (25:34)
Yes, absolutely. I think it’s worth emphasising that the video tours are great if somebody does them properly and only a percentage of our customers, and it’s same what Peter said, only a small percentage of agents can really shoot the photo when they want to do it certainly professionally. I talked to our customers, they don’t want to be behind the camera. It’s a big effort to walk through the house and talk to create a good video. To create it properly, it is going take them time. Whereas with virtual tours, you just walk the camera in the middle of the room, you press the button on your phone, nobody has to see you, it’s easier, it’s faster in the end, and also I would say more affordable.
Kylie Davis: (26:25)
You send the pictures to Peter, he wipes out all the clutter on the bench, he cleans the fridge, the fridge magnets, and cleans up the floor for you.
Tomasz Dorowa: (26:34)
I haven’t seen the decluttering ones from our customers, but definitely we send our customers to Peter and they exchange the sky. When Melbourne is very gloomy, they make it shine.
Kylie Davis: (26:46)
They make the sunshine, hooray.
Tomasz Dorowa: (26:47)
Kylie Davis: (26:54)
How much adoption did you guys see during COVID? How much did you spot?
Tomasz Dorowa: (26:58)
This was incredible, we quadrupled the amount of agencies that we work with. We are so proud that we could have helped so many businesses during that time, and I don’t have to make up any stories. We’ve had agencies signing up, not… Obviously that everyone that was using Virtual Tours Creator prior to COVID, they were ready. And it’s not only saves, because people are talking about saves. We’ve got almost 150 companies that do just property management, and that was a huge part of the increasing use of virtual tours during COVID, because they had all the empty properties as virtual tours or photographed, ready to go. We had agents [inaudible 00:27:47] in Stonnington, during lockdown, they rented 41 properties sight unseen just because they had them as virtual tours. And COVID, or not, last year in the same area so it happens they only rented 40. They even better during COVID using virtual tours than they did last year.
Kylie Davis: (28:14)
Tomasz Dorowa: (28:15)
So the take-up, oh I got some amazing numbers, because we probably also would like to know how many people were viewing the virtual tours. We’ve got our numbers. You all have seen the numbers from REA, and that’s also the question between video and virtual tours, 497% more engagement, only things with virtual tours. It’s a no brainer, and it’s not my numbers. And I’m so happy that it all comes out. But in the last year, I’m talking about period from January to June 2020, and let’s compare it to 2019, in the whole country we had 220,000 in 2019, 220,000 people viewing virtual tours. This year, it’s more than one and a half million.
Kylie Davis: (29:13)
Tomasz Dorowa: (29:13)
So everyone wanted to see that, but it’s only they could have done it because the agencies allowed them to do it. And I agree strongly with you guys and Peter, and I’ve been always saying that I wouldn’t really like COVID or not to go to the open houses. Driving around, why don’t you just have a look at what’s available on your mobile phone, in the comfort of your own house and choose the houses that you’re going to see. But we have to put the consumer first and this is what I guess COVID told everyone, there was no other way but only showing the properties by using proper photography, virtual tours or some content that you can deliver.
Tomasz Dorowa: (30:04)
And also in property management, in the reporting part of it, a huge spike of use. We’ve got agencies with 4,000 properties on the rent roll and they pump out 220 tours a month. They’re loving it as a part of the entry condition reports, saving property managers at least one hour on taking random photos of just about everything. Well, you can have a virtual tour and then you can complete it with a few proper photos of the actual damage [inaudible 00:30:38].
Kylie Davis: (30:40)
So Tom, how does having a virtual tour change the experience of buying or even renting right now?
Tomasz Dorowa: (30:48)
Well, as we said at the beginning, it puts you or the tenant or the buyer in the driver’s seat and you just click through the house in the comfort of your own home. You are not rushed by anyone. You don’t go to an open house and you have 15 minutes to run through the house. And if the open houses are at the same time, you don’t have to send your wife to one place, yourself to the other, and then you can’t even compare [crosstalk 00:31:15]-
Kylie Davis: (31:14)
Then have an argument.
Tomasz Dorowa: (31:17)
And open the houses are fine because they’re still going to go. But then if you have a virtual tour, you can send it to the people that came to the open house and then they can compare it with their family and friends, because nobody makes the buying or renting decisions by themselves. And in rentals, it’s just mindblowing. And it’s not just the people in Melbourne, it’s also people like professionals in Rockingham, Active Agents, Tara Bradbury, they are absolutely winning listings just because they use virtual tours. That’s another thing. How different are you from anyone else when you do the regular photo video, whatever, it’s all the same.
Tomasz Dorowa: (32:00)
Virtual tours are still a novelty, even though there’s a lot of talk about them, not many people use them. And I’m surprised that agencies don’t follow the competition and they don’t see what they’re doing. It’s like, they just don’t. And during COVID, we had the likes of Natgroup, Edgar Natolo the closest to us from the Gold Coast, he’s been winning property listings just because he was offering virtual tours, because the other agents couldn’t rent the property for a month or two, and the house owners would call them and say, “Edgar can you do something?” Says yeah. He would have a virtual tour, professional set of photos, and off you go. And if you are in property management, you would know that winning nine property managements a week, that’s what he was doing, is a huge success. And he will tell you that this was thanks, not only to virtual tours, but also his brilliant marketing packages. But one of those things are virtual tours. You can present the property in a proper way.
Kylie Davis: (33:08)
So one of the benefits of virtual tours though too, is that it provides you with a data stream, a little bit similar to what we were talking about with Nathan, that you can start to see what people are clicking on. How does that impact on how agents can or should be marketing their properties?
Tomasz Dorowa: (33:26)
Well, look, this is another new game, marketing. We do provide virtual tours, we don’t provide the marketing thing. But what we see from our customers, some of them that are really skilled, like Adam Freitas, at BDM, [inaudible 00:33:49] in Sydney, who was the winner of excellence award this year, which is really unusual in the industry, is using virtual tours and professionally edited photos for his marketing packages. And that just wins him new listings just by having that in offer.
Tomasz Dorowa: (34:09)
But another thing is obviously advertising that on your Facebook ads. We can post the virtual tours linked to Facebook, and it’s going to stand out more than a photo video, because it’s just more interesting and engaging. And some clever agents, like professionals from Rockingham, they use the virtual tour to win new listings by just advertising themselves and saying that for example, sign up, this month we offer a free virtual tour, click here to see more, and then they have a landing page cleverly designed where there’s a virtual tour and will find the whole marketing package, that’s something new. So it’s not really that difficult, but you just have to put some thought into it.
Kylie Davis: (34:57)
Fantastic. Thanks so much Tom. So look, let’s open it up to some general questions. It’s been fantastic to hear everyone’s point of view about their technology and how it’s been adopted. But you all saw unprecedented adoption during COVID, do you think the industry is going to keep using your platforms after things return to normal? Or do we think that this is going to become the new normal like Nathan said? Who wants to [crosstalk 00:35:33].
Tomasz Dorowa: (35:33)
Oh, I hope Peter is going to start because [crosstalk 00:35:34].
Kylie Davis: (35:33)
I thought you guys are going to be really chatty, come on.
Peter Schravemade: (35:37)
I think in all three of the products you’ll find continuance. I think it comes back to what Nathan was saying before, I don’t think people will begin to use the product to find out how fantastic it is and then go, “Oh, COVID is over, we’ll stop doing it now.” It doesn’t work like that. Once you’re onto a good oil and you genuinely maintain that and you’ll continue that. I mean within market conditions, so if you find a better provider, that might be something that you look at, but once you’ve established that you found a way to do it… And don’t forget too that’s what a lot of people have been doing during COVID, whether you were in a sort of one month lockdown or a six month lockdown as Melbourne got, a lot of people were actually using that time to better their businesses.
Peter Schravemade: (36:24)
What things can we implement? And a lot of the agents I have been dealing with, were treating it as though it was a let’s go, we’re getting ready to race. Here are all the things that we have to do before that. Now we’re out of lockdown as the Melbunites will be at the moment, there are a lot of agents down there that are ready and willing to go. So I wish them all the very best as they kick back into their businesses. But I think whilst the period sucked and was terrible, totally, people were getting ready, and I don’t think they will stop using the services that are out there.
Nathan Krisanski: (37:05)
I think he made a good point. Sorry Kylie.
Kylie Davis: (37:06)
No you go.
Nathan Krisanski: (37:07)
Peter made a good point there where talking about taking the time to build your business. There were a lot of retail businesses and even restaurants who were taking the chance of lockdowns to go do renovations and do those things to your business that you wouldn’t normally do because you’re too busy servicing your customers and doing what you normally do. So I think we did see a lot of real estate agents taking that exact opportunity, where if you weren’t getting the appraisals and you weren’t getting your listings and didn’t have all the busy work that you would normally have, you were taking that time to find new ways to better your business and be prepared for what would happen when you do come out of lockdown.
Nathan Krisanski: (37:44)
And we’ve got to remember that at the end of the day, we’re in a service industry and we’re there to help our clients on their journey. And so all of this stuff has got to be client-led as well. So as much as we found benefit in our businesses, to having virtual technologies and things like that, at the end of the day the clients are going to be the ones that drive whether or not the industry stays on that path and continues to use that technology or whether they want to go back. And I think we’ll find that they won’t. They’ve gotten really accustomed to this, and you’ve just got to look at fashion sites that are selling business on top kind of fashion items now. People are getting used to the idea-
Kylie Davis: (38:23)
It’s the mullet.
Nathan Krisanski: (38:23)
You can work from home. Yeah, exactly right, the fashion mullet. We’re just going to see that change across the board, across all industries. And so it’s going to be client-led and that’ll continue.
Kylie Davis: (38:38)
I’m going to confess I’m wearing my [inaudible 00:38:39] boots right now. So look, we’re getting some great questions coming through from our viewers. One question, Jen Harrison has asked, can you see a user case beyond residential property, a commercial or even retail property? Is anybody doing stuff in other real estate spaces? Pete you must-
Peter Schravemade: (39:02)
Tomasz Dorowa: (39:04)
Kylie Davis: (39:04)
Awesome. Tell us about it.
Peter Schravemade: (39:05)
I’d be saying probably Tommy as well. But we have a whole website devoted to that. So if you get a boxbrownie.com and up the top is commercial real estate, it’ll show you all the use case scenarios. But commercial agents struggle with marketing just the same as residential agents do, just the same as property managers do. They have a few more specific demands, that as a previous commercial agent myself we’ve kind of designed around that, things like our virtual renovation that will take a vacant space and digitally show you what a retail coffee shop, or a retail… Sorry, a retail outlet or a coffee shop looks like or something like that. It’s pretty cool. And then we have our 360 virtual tour renders, where we can actually create the space that doesn’t exist in the exact commercial scenario that you have, and you can walk through and in real time. So there are all of those and I’ll throw over to Tom, because I’m pretty sure he’ll be doing something in that space as well.
Tomasz Dorowa: (40:03)
Yes. Thank you Peter. Absolutely, commercial is just as easy as residential to do the virtual tours. It’s nothing unusual for us. I just mentioned in the answers that we already have customers, you can see examples in the gallery. Also, if I can come back to the question about the technology, whether it’s going to stay or not. I think that absolutely it will stay, there’s no going back. But as Peter and Nathan said before, people didn’t have the time to implement this new technology, because they were busy with improving their CRMs and training their staff, and COVID helped them to stop. I mean, they had to stop and they had to think. And before, the virtual tours were pretty expensive, so it was also a [inaudible 00:40:59] getting somebody to do it.
Tomasz Dorowa: (41:02)
Now, everything has changed, the prices of the cameras are much lower, anyone can do it, the implementation is easy. And us, our customers say there’s no going back when they started. We can see the growth from month to month on the number of virtual tours that they are creating. But I’m not saying it’s all perfect because there is a slight drop in some businesses, just because they have the old mindset and when they don’t have to, they will try not to do it. But it’s always like that. But we found some absolute innovators in the industry over the past few months.
Nathan Krisanski: (41:50)
You’re on mute there Kylie.
Tomasz Dorowa: (41:51)
Is she there?
Nathan Krisanski: (41:53)
Kylie Davis: (41:56)
Sorry, I’m still here. I had a schnauzer related incident going on in the background, so I thought I better just go and mute myself.
Tomasz Dorowa: (42:01)
As you predicted.
Kylie Davis: (42:02)
As I predicted. I have a cranky old lady who sits in the corner every day with me at work. What we’re seeing through the data is the separation of those agents who are the real innovators, and they’re starting to separate from average agent performance, and those officers that have used this time to really double down on their technology are getting better and bigger and streamlining their processes and starting to take a lot more market share from the bulk of the agents that are kind of sitting in the middle and below. We’ve had another question, Tara Bradbury, great to see you Tara. Welcome to the Proptech panel.
Peter Schravemade: (42:39)
Kylie Davis: (42:39)
One is regarding floor plans and getting measurements, especially Pete, because I know you get them on the back of… Drawn on beer coasters or serviettes sometimes. Do you have any app recommendations to get those measurements more accurate faster?
Peter Schravemade: (42:57)
Actually Tara, I’d hold five on this and [inaudible 00:43:00] long time no see. I think it’s been almost two days since I last saw you, but it’s good to have you on the webinar just the same. Look, I would hold five, the iPhone 12 is allegedly coming out with what they’re calling a LiDAR Scanner on it, and I believe… And that’s the same device, just so you’re aware, that Teslas are fit with in order to self-drive. So it’s a scanner that goes out and scan spaces. And word on the street is that we’ll be able to map spaces.
Peter Schravemade: (43:32)
Now, I think from memory, Tara has an iPhone X, but any of the iPhones and the Samsungs actually have a measure tool on them that creates measurements and they are fairly accurate. They’re not the best, but they’ve got very, very fast. The iPhone 11 does that. Alternately, you can buy a laser measure app, we have that at our blog. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say there were 360 providers out there that actually provide you with the space. You just need to ascertain as to whether you want to spend the money on doing the tour. They generally cost more. But yeah, there are all of those options available.
Tomasz Dorowa: (44:09)
I can throw in 5 cents to that. This is something that we offer already. We can create a floor plan for you out of your virtual tour without the need of measuring. So you just have to pay 29 bucks and you’re going to get a perfect floor plan made out of your virtual tours. So you don’t have to worry about measuring at all. [crosstalk 00:44:31].
Peter Schravemade: (44:32)
Tom, does that have the measurements on it?
Tomasz Dorowa: (44:35)
No, not with the exact measurements, but I don’t know if many agencies really need those measurements. But what we created from the feedback from our customers, is from the test groups and they’re absolutely loving it. Yes, yes.
Peter Schravemade: (44:53)
I would agree with that. Most agencies don’t need the measurements. I think Tara’s question was about how do I get measurements for it, like how to actually know the space. But yes, a hundred percent.
Tomasz Dorowa: (45:01)
Oh, okay. Sorry.
Kylie Davis: (45:05)
Cool. And so look, one last question to sort of start to wrap this up, if there’s not anything else coming through the thing. The two big things that seem to be changing, that COVID really highlighted was the role of content and data in marketing going forward. Does anyone have any last comments around that data play?
Peter Schravemade: (45:27)
Well, I’m curious to hear what Nathan has to say about that.
Kylie Davis: (45:29)
He has the key to that.
Peter Schravemade: (45:32)
I have a few comments, but I’d like Nathan to go first in this particular instance. [inaudible 00:45:37].
Nathan Krisanski: (45:40)
Thanks for the extra time to think there Peter. That was perfect. I just needed more extra five seconds now. I’m kidding of course. I think I mentioned it earlier on, the data being the new oil, it’s driving all of this marketing. We’ve got to remember that without going into a big spiel about why content marketing works, the old way of marketing was shouting from the rooftops about how great you were, and it didn’t land with everybody. And so the way content marketing, which has that on its head, is that you need to communicate one-to-one and you need to relate to your client and talk directly to them about things that they care about and that they’re interested in. And the only way that you can do that is to create really local content or personalised content for your individual clients, either one-to-one or in small groups that you could segment through your CRM and things like that.
Nathan Krisanski: (46:24)
And so that’s a great idea in concept, but the biggest part about that is just how do you scale it if you’ve got a thousand people in your database or even 200 people on your database, creating 200 bits of content, or even 15 pieces of individual content every single month, that’s a lot of work, that’s hard to do. And so data really drives the way that we can do that at scale and do that effectively, because you can create really hyper local great content that feels really personal and feels like you have spent that time to create it for them, but you can do it in a way that’s scalable and is in line with your voice as a marketer as well, and in your voice as an agent in an industry. So really it is the driving force behind what content marketing will become.
Peter Schravemade: (47:13)
I have a question along those lines, if I may, I know I’m…
Kylie Davis: (47:17)
Peter Schravemade: (47:17)
I think totally the agents in my experience in talking with agents, I have no statistics on this. But having spoken to agents, the guys who were doing content marketing and utilising data in their marketing hit the ground running when COVID happened, although they are reporting to me that there were dramatic changes in the way that they would go about that, what they would do in the content that they would put out there. Would you agree with that?
Nathan Krisanski: (47:47)
Absolutely. As a system we are templated, I’m sure people would understand that, we are creating content at scale, you’ve got to build in a templated way. And so we did have to iterate really quickly on a lot of our templates to provide more COVID related or to adjust our messaging around this, so that it wasn’t completely tone deaf to what was going on in the industry. Like the content you were producing in January, wasn’t the same you were doing in March. It had to be adjusted and changed. But at the end of the day, the data was still the same pieces of data. It was still the same information that you were presenting. It was just the… And I touched on it earlier, the story that you were telling with it. So the way that you actually present that information and talk about that information had to change.
Peter Schravemade: (48:34)
Sorry to keep asking questions, but in the key areas that we did a lot of work in, I’m going to say California, Florida, New York, Melbourne, would be some of the biggest areas, and right now in the UK is the other area that we’re dealing with, where they’re in lockdowns. A lot of the guys are saying to me that the data they were receiving it went out the window, it was very, very difficult to ascertain where the market direction had gone, dependent on that access to property sales. So here in Australia, although again, drastically reflected, we have auction rates, which help. And that’s an immediate way of knowing where the market’s at. Do you deal in microdata? Do you deal with smaller trends, do you look at that? Is that part of what you’re looking at?
Nathan Krisanski: (49:26)
Yeah. So we’re not a data analytics company, we’re not trying to compete with CoreLogic or anything like that. So a lot of what we do as a company is taking the information that those other companies are producing and then using that. But we do work directly with customers and with their own data outside of psychological price finder and so taking auction results or taking buyer trends as an example, more recently producing some content for Dow Jones, taking their own information around buyer trends that they had been collecting manually and using that in our content. And adding that scale, I guess, to that. But yes, you’re absolutely right, people were… There’s an old saying in stats, well stats lies and dem lies kind of thing.
Nathan Krisanski: (50:15)
Like you can always make data tell the story that you want it to. And so there’s sort of ways that that agents were working around that. But at the end of the day we all think about data as being medians and things like that, larger areas, but a single sale is a data point. That’s data that you can talk about. And so data doesn’t have to be modelled, aggregated data sets from millions of sources. It can be just an individual sale. It can even be a result, that can be data that you can talk about.
Peter Schravemade: (50:47)
So in line with that, here in Brisbane, I was watching with great interest while I’m on the sunshine coast, but I was watching great interest with the Brisbane agents who were experiencing uptick in sales, because they were open. But all up the coast, I know Tara Bradbury is on the call and she experienced this in property management, the vacancy rates almost all went to zero, the property sales just went bananas. And there were a couple of really, really good agents who were on the front cusp of that, who just made hay while the sunshine, so to speak. I get what you’re saying. I was just curious as to how that played out. Sorry to hijack the conversation Kylie, but it looks it’s time to-
Kylie Davis: (51:28)
No, no go for it. No, no, it’s great. Well look, ladies and gentlemen, we could discuss this all day. I’m the only lady. But we could discuss this all day, but we are going to have to wrap it up there. Look, thank you so much to our panellists, Peter Schravemade from BoxBrownie, Nathan Krisanski from HomePrezzo and Tom Dorowa from Virtual Tours Creator for your time and insights today. It’s been great fellas.
Peter Schravemade: (51:50)
Kylie Davis: (51:50)
I’d also like to thank the Proptech Association Committee, Simon Hayes, Jennifer Harrison, Marie-Anne Lampotang, AJ Chand, and Kylie Dillon for their help with this event. And a very big thank you to Stone&Chalk for getting behind it and for their support of Australian Proptech. So thank you everyone for your time. Thank you again to our panellists. Join us next month on Tuesday, November 24, for our Proptech panel on lead generation. So this panel was a bit of a men all, but next month, I’m very excited, I have an old girl panel on lead gen. So this is Kylie Davis signing off. Thanks so much everybody.