One perspective is that digital disruption in the property market has already occurred and it is now business as usual. Another perspective is that attempts at disrupting the real estate market have all had one thing in common, namely failure.
The first perspective is that the real estate market was one of the first to embrace the digital era when paper classifieds shifted to online. This was so long ago that it feels like referring to the shift from horse drawn carriages to motor cars. It was a major historical shift but all the current participants in the market such as buyers, sellers, real estate agents and conveyancing professionals essentially retained the same roles from ‘paper days’.
The failure of any meaningful disruption, particularly digital disruption, since the big shift online is stark. The aspiring disruptors have mostly come and gone but some have stayed with a tiny market share. One of the major categories of attempted disruption is the ‘sell your own home’ model which bypasses real estate agents. Despite the internet making anything possible, the big bang in this category never happened.
A shift in the dynamics of how properties are brought onto the market and sold could provide the biggest opportunity for conveyancers. If properties were always on the market, regardless of being represented by an agent or not, and always available for negotiation, the role of the legal professional could grow in breadth and importance.
If every property in Australia was potentially ‘in play’ it should give a huge boost to the demand for legal advice. It might also make it less expensive to list a property and thus increase the volume of sales: the makings of a conveyancing paradise.
The startup that has emerged to change the dynamics of the real estate market is a company called Soho. The key person behind this new platform is Jonathan Lui, co-founder of Airtasker. The platform is not seeking to cut out real estate agents or anyone for that matter. In the interview below, Jonathan Lui explains the goals of the platform:
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