Software To Match Properties With Customers
How property companies benefit from a property matching database to more easily match suitable properties with applicants and the advantages of a bespoke solution.
More than ever IT is helping property companies deliver a more efficient service to their customers. The old manual ways of sifting through paper records to match properties to applicants has in many cases given way to database-driven systems to bring the whole property matching sequence into the digital age.
A property agent’s job is to match commercial or residential properties for sale or rental on their books with applicants. Various criteria apply for an applicant’s ideal property such as location, type, specifications along with price, and the property company’s role is to match the applicant’s needs with available properties.
If this can be done quickly and easily, and the applicant notified as to what properties would fulfil their requirements as soon as possible, then everyone benefits. The advent of database systems able to match properties with applicants is helping property companies provide a more efficient and faster service.
What Does A Property Database Deliver?
A property database needs to perform various functions:
- When a new property is added to the database it is matched with applicants already on the database looking for properties to that specification
- Conversely, when a new applicant is added to the database their needs are matched to properties that could meet them
- Automated matching should be possible to check at all times that applicants are being matched to suitable properties
- The database user (the property company) should be able to perform a manual search by property or applicant
By recording contact details of the applicant, they are informed efficiently and quickly as and when suitable properties become available. For applicants being matched with multiple properties, details of all of them can be sent in one go.
Where a database can be of particular value is when information about the applicant changes such as their status (no longer looking for example), or when a property’s status alters such as a change of rental costs, or when it will shortly require re-letting due to a tenancy drawing to a close.
Price matching applicants to properties is obviously important and can be handled by the database, as can variations on this. For example, perhaps a 10% margin above the applicant’s budget can be built in as these properties may still be of interest to the applicant who might be prepared to pay a little more.
It’s possible to use ‘off the peg’ spreadsheet type solutions, but this can have major limitations and doesn’t take into account a property company’s specific requirements. This can be of particular concern to larger companies with multiple offices possibly in other countries not just the UK.
The Bespoke Option
Having a property database built to suit the property company’s specific needs is becoming more prevalent as they realise that, in the long run, it’s far more efficient and cost-effective than compromising with a ‘one size fits all’ arrangement.
For example, leading property company Knight Frank turned to a specialist and experienced Essex based IT company to replace their ‘off the peg’ arrangement with a custom built property database solution. A system suitable for a company with over 150 offices worldwide was designed, and time was taken including running prototypes to carefully ensure the system met the diverse needs of a large property company and the range of different users working there.
The system provided for Knight Frank was introduced back in 2004 and, with ongoing enhancements and support from the IT experts who developed it, continues to serve the company now.
This makes taking the bespoke option a convincing argument in that, once the initial time and cost of setting up a suitable system has been covered, a well-designed system will last many years. This compares to an ‘off the peg’ arrangement which may need changing on a regular basis as a company’s needs alter, and may not fully fulfil their needs in any case.
As more property agents realise the value of using custom designed property databases, so companies such as the business software specialists who helped Knight Frank are receiving more enquiries from those keen to investigate their own bespoke solution.