What Is PropTech And Why It Matters In Business

PropTech stands for property technology, is a relatively recent movement in the real estate industry. The movement is an innovative approach that uses technology to optimize how consumers and real estate professionals interact with property. PropTech, therefore, leverages digitalization to help property managers, owners, builders, and landlords to manage their assets.

Understanding PropTech

Real estate is one of the largest and most lucrative asset classes in the United States and indeed in many other countries. In fact, it accounts for over 13% of the global GDP.

However, real estate processes are riddled with inefficiencies resulting from a lack of flexibility and automation. Payment and leasing arrangements are tedious and housing markets are often constrained by supply which increases unaffordability.

PropTech seeks to address these issues by allowing property managers, owners, builders, and landlords to manage their assets digitally. This is achieved by various means, including big data, blockchain, construction technology, and drone technology to name a few. 

Regardless of the method, digital transformation is enabling real estate businesses to rapidly embrace innovation and increase efficiency in the process.

Real-world applications of PropTech 

  • Artificial intelligence – developers are now beginning to use AI to identify areas deemed the most profitable to invest in. AI is also being used in building design, where it plays an important role in optimizing spatial layouts.
  • Robotics – several robots have been manufactured specifically for use in the construction industry. Australian company FBR recently released a robot that laid the bricks for a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in under 3 days. The robot could lay 1000 bricks an hour, compared to 400 bricks an hour by a human bricklayer.
  • Virtual and augmented reality – builders are now able to quickly and immersively provide walkthrough experiences for potential clients. This saves time and money in constructing demonstration homes and makes open inspections more efficient.
  • Streamlined office employee solutions – technology now enables office building workers to manage a broad array of functions within a single app. This includes access in the form of a mobile key card, food ordering, and visitor registration.
  • Streamlined property manager/tenant interactions. Through central data portals, property managers can increase the efficiency of building maintenance and alert tenants to service outages. Tenants can use the same portal to make rental payments and submit work orders in a collaborative and transparent manner.

Examples of successful PropTech companies


Opendoor enables homeowners to sell their homes from the comfort of their sofa. The company purchases the property from the homeowner online at a price set by a data-driven algorithm. 

Then, it sends a team of renovators to upgrade the property and puts it back on the market. Interestingly, the company also uses connected locks and cameras to enable self-guided visits by prospective buyers.


Brickblock is a smart contract platform that allows buyers to purchase real-world assets with cryptocurrencies. The organization has tokenized real estate assets through blockchain technology to subvert barriers to entry often imposed by banks and other lending institutions.

Ultimately, this process saves time, reduces costs, and takes much of the hassle and stress out of buying real estate.

Key takeaways:

  • PropTech describes technology that streamlines processes in the real estate industry, which has historically been slow to innovate and is inefficient.
  • PropTech helps property managers, landlords, office employees, and tenants interact with commercial and residential property in a cohesive and transparent manner.
  • PropTech encompasses a suite of different technologies, including AI, robotics, virtual reality, blockchain, and big data.

Read Also: WeWork Business Model, Blockchain Business Models

Related Case Studies

Opendoor Business Model

Opendoor is a digital real estate platform for buyers and sellers. As a real estate company, Opendoor also purchases homes to sell them at a profit. Opendoor makes money via seller fees when homes are sold through the platform, profits from homes bought by sellers and resold on the platform, and home loans in the form of interest income.

Zillow Business Model

Zillow is an online real estate marketplace, matching buyers and sellers and renters and landlords through a massive platform with personalized search and discovery experiences and simple UI for both buying/renting and selling/listing. The company makes money by charging a fee on the sales and additional services like premium agents and mortgage services for buyers.

How Does Redfin Make Money

Redfin is a real estate platform with a hybrid approach (automation with the human in the loop) to enable buyers’ and sellers’ deal flow. Redfin charges sellers a listing fee in the range of 1.0-1.5%. With RedfinNow, the company also purchases homes and resells them on its platform for profits. Redfin also makes money from its financing solutions and via its concierge services.

OYO Business Model

OYO’s business model is a mixture of platform and brand, where the company started primarily as an aggregator of homes across India, and it quickly moved to other verticals, from leisure to co-working and corporate travel. In a sort of octopus business strategy of expansion to cover the whole spectrum of short-term real estate.

WeWork Business Model

WeWork runs a membership model that gets monetized via a set of packages that include ancillary value-added products and services to enable companies to scale or shrink their workspace on-demand. WeWork defined its revenue model as space-as-a-service and claimed to be more scalable than traditional commercial real estate.

How Does Compass Make Money

Compass is a licensed American real-estate broker incorporating online real estate technology as a marketing medium. The company makes money via sales commissions (collected whenever a sale is facilitated or tenants are found for a rental property) and bridge loans (a service allowing the seller to purchase a home before the revenue from the sale of their previous home is available).

How Does Offerpad Make Money

Offerpad is a tech-enabled real estate platform enabling users to buy and sell homes. The company makes money via service fees. Indeed, whenever a home is sold through the Offerpad platform, the company collects a service fee. And it also makes money via sales profits As a seller and buyer of homes, Offerpad is in a position to make a profit on homes they sell to members of the general public.

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