By Kritonas Onisiforou, Head of Property, BidX1 Cyprus
During this difficult and unprecedented time, technology is playing an important role in business continuity. In fact, for many sectors, the Covid-19 crisis seems to be acting as a catalyst for digital transformation. This is certainly the case for the real estate industry, where we are seeing savvy agents using technology to support and connect with their customers.
Many of these new methods and processes, adopted in response to the crisis, are likely to become permanent features because they significantly improve customer experience. These online services tend to address the earlier stages of the buying process, assisting investors with their initial evaluation of a property. What we’re not yet seeing is the use of technology to upgrade and improve the more fundamental steps in the transaction process.
A virtual tour is very helpful to potential purchasers but offering the customer end-to-end online transactions – from legal due diligence to digital contract exchange – has been the key to facilitating property sales despite the challenging circumstances.
Although very few transactions are taking place at the moment, it’s clear that appetite for real estate investment in Cyprus remains, facilitated by transparent and efficient methods of transacting online. We’ve seen evidence of this ourselves; of more than 30 properties available on the BidX1 platform during the lockdown when there was very little activity in our sector, 18 have already been sold, totaling 2.3m EURO.
As the platform allows the customer to complete the full transaction online, including contract exchange, buying and selling property is not affected by any movement limitations.
This is proof that digitalization can strengthen our industry, making it more resilient. At the same time, modernization of our processes makes them more efficient and more transparent, while also creating a mutual feeling of trust between buyers and sellers. The Deputy Ministry of Innovation’s intention to launch e-signatures in Cyprus is a very positive step for the recovery of the local economy. In real estate, any steps toward digitalization help battle bureaucracy and support the development of the sector. It is now clearer than ever that technology and innovation can be beneficial for all professionals involved in property sales, from sellers, buyers, estate agents, lawyers etc.
The pandemic has caused serious problems but has also created opportunities. Having highlighted the inefficiencies in traditional methods, the pandemic has further proved that adopting technology and modernizing our processes are crucial for the future of our industry. A new era is upon us, and we will need to adapt in order to enable the recovery of the property market, which provides a significant percentage of our country’s GDP.
*Kritonas Onisiforou is Head of Property at BidX1 Cyprus, a PropTech company offering end–to–end online property transactions.