“Automation is cost cutting by tightening the corners and not cutting them”. This wise remark by business visionary Haresh Sippy rings true in industries across the world. Whether it’s telecoms, banking, or insurance (or any other sector you care to mention), automation is saving time and money, and generally making life a little sweeter for everyone.
Automation is also beginning to play an increasing role in the property sector. We’ve got Open Banking, electronic Tenant Referencing, and now the age of the digital move is upon us. Indeed, some people believe that all home moves will be digital home moves in the not too distant future. But are they right?
The shape of things to come
Although the concept of the digital home move is still in its infancy, there are already a number of companies making baby steps in this direction. The aptly named Digital Move, for example, has already digitised the conveyancing process.
Digital Move’s centralised platform enables “everyone involved in the conveyancing process to communicate and collaborate”. This is a godsend when it comes to hurdling tricky leasehold arrangements or obscure covenants that date back to the Ark of the Covenant.
Digital Move also allows home movers to verify their identity and sign documents online via their desktop, tablet or smartphone. This saves either waiting for the post to arrive or popping across town to see their legal representatives in person.
Another company in the digital home move space is Tili. They claim to inform movers’ utility companies that they’re moving, and will signpost movers on how to notify the council too. Tenant Shop does a similar thing for new tenants.
Pros for home movers
The beauty of these companies is that they automate entire processes and save home movers loads of time. This is certainly better than spending hours on the blower.
The transfer of all-important information is also expedited by digital move platforms. Movers simply give their consent at the beginning of the process, and their information will be shared with relevant third parties automatically. This gets the ball rolling in double-quick time. Plus they can kiss filling-in-multiple-forms goodbye.
Automated digital home moves also make everything easy to understand. There’s no need for endless phone calls or email frenzies. Communication is all done through the respective platforms. What’s more, there’s zero chance of forgetting something important.
Pros for professionals
Anything that’s good for home movers is good for their agent too. Happier customers means more good reviews and more word-of-mouth referrals. Furthermore, offering customers a digital move could give agents a competitive advantage over their rivals. It will certainly pique potential customers’ interest.
Agents will also enjoy the digital home move’s efficient communication and time-saving processes. Nobody likes chasing paperwork or liaising with third parties. The ability to log into an intuitive online dashboard that tracks milestones and provides real-time progress updates also has its benefits – especially as you can do this 24/7 from any location.
The other thing worth mentioning – and let’s not beat about the bush here – is that automating processes means that moves are finalised faster. The result? You get paid quicker. And speeding up processes means more time to do what you do best: finding buyers and tenants their perfect home.
What we’re doing
Because we’re salivating over the potential of automation, we’ve been quietly developing our own digital home move, too. In fact, our Home Setup customers can already book a time to speak to a dedicated Move Specialist via our online portal.
In time, our digital journey will enable customers to manage their entire move online. They’ll be able to select which services they want and then choose from a smorgasbord of recommended providers. We’ll even tell them how much money they’ll save. Cha-ching.
We’re also developing an easy-to-use account area where movers will be able to see timings (i.e. what’s happening and when), plus a summary of all the providers they’ve chosen. This will keep home movers and agents informed and in control throughout.
The human touch
The best thing about our digital home move, however, is that it won’t ignore the value of good old fashioned personal service. Whilst we understand the advantages of automation, and we’re confident our digital move journey will turn heads, we also appreciate the limits of technology.
Although automation is a superb enabler, there are some things that machines simply can’t do. If there was a hiccup in the conveyancing process, for example, a bot could never explain and reassure like a human can. That’s why we’ll always give customers and agents the option to speak to a Move Specialist when needed.
This, in our opinion, is the future of home moving – a future where everyone benefits from the faster processes, smoother transactions, and unprecedented convenience that digital moves provide, but also receive expert advice and support from a real person too.
Us property professionals shouldn’t forget that moving into a new home is an emotional and highly personal experience. In the words of American humourist Evan Esar, “this may be the age of automation, but love is still being made by hand”.