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UK property letting agents slow to use digital technology, survey suggests

Some 78% of letting agents said that believe that those who embrace new technology are more likely to be successful and 90% said that technology could improve their service, according to a survey from Imfuna Let.

It also found that 77% believe it would speed up the entire letting process and 75% thought it would generally improve productivity but only 11% were planning on investing in new technology in the next 12 months.

Well over half, 67%, admitted that they do not use devices such as smart phones or tablet computers despite the overwhelming take up of such technology by UK business in general. The survey has highlighted a danger that letting agents face falling behind in the technology stakes and ultimately holding back the development of their business, according to Jax Kneppers founder of Imfuna Let.

‘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 a dedicated inventory software,’ Kneppers explained.

Some 43% of those surveyed said that they believed landlords are more likely to claim against tenants at the moment throwing the spotlight on the all important inventory and check in/check out reporting process. Improving the efficiency and accuracy of the inventory process is critical but many of those in the study have yet to be convinced about the value of the current inventory software on the market. Only 28% felt that software could improve the standardisation of reporting and 36% believed that they offered secure storage.

‘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,’ added Kneppers.

The survey found that telephones are the key means of communication between letting agents and their clients and tenants. However, the use of email and text messages has increased steadily over the last five years. Email has increased from 29% to 75% and texts from 9% to 22%.

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