COVID-19 is a big test for Botswana's real estate – Experts

A property firm says there is no reason for valuers to expose themselves to infection by carrying out physical on-site inspections when the job can be done even more comprehensively by specific computer software

COVID-19 is a big test for Botswana's  real estate – Experts

Unprecedented health hazards like COVOD-19 are not a time for a property appraisers or valuers to be physically carrying out inspections on site, a property research company, has warned. According to Vantage Properties, the advent of the coronavirus actually calls for transforming the extremely risky practice and resorting to tried and tested automated valuation models that are offered by platforms like the recently introduced gosmartvalue.

The company says in some African cities like Gaborone and Harare, managing agents have made efforts to acquire software packages for efficient property and facility management. Even so, Vantage Properties says there is much more potential remaining in solving real estate challenges.

The firm says the real estate sector is in the process of transformation to a cloud computing era where properties and facilities are being managed any time and anywhere as a result of the internet of things. Similarly, real estate tasks can best be completed by software and applications that are being propounded around the world.

Historically, the introduction of automated valuation models was done in the developed world in countries like the UK, the US and New Zealand. Being thus advanced, these countries have now adopted use of software packages in their real estate industries. Vantage Properties says automated valuation systems add to the family of real estate management software. The company has noted that the most common software package used in the UK, the US and New Zealand is Qube Global, which is "very comprehensive" and provides solutions for leases, maintenance works and management of building facilities, among other services. While Gaborone property companies also use the same systems, Vantage Properties says automated valuation approach had never been introduced in the country. “While property and facility management software seemed to have taken some time to be adopted, only a fraction of packages and applications seem to be used,” the firm notes.

Indeed, observations and findings have established that ICT is at the infancy stage in property, facility management and valuations in Botswana and Zimbabwe. In a bid to harness the cloud computing future, Vantage Properties says one can argue that all stakeholders in the built environment space learn to embrace locally made solutions which are tailored to address the specific needs of locals since particular localities have special considerations that need adjustment before results can be given.

In the field of property and facilities management, ICT played a pivotal role for reducing human error and increasing efficiency. Vantage Properties says emerging technologies and new computer software offer help in the management of facilities in an effective manner, mostly in an integrated way. Similarly, valuations have entirely depended on the perceived values of the professional registered valuer. According to Vantage Properties, it can actually be argued that it is now high time that ICT solutions like the application are given a leading role in determining automated valuations for Batswana.

“The major question is on the extent to which technology has contributed to the property and facility management realm," the company observes. "Remarkably, there exists a model that determines the suitability of specific forms of ICT in organisations and it produces interaction between technological features and the organisation’s processes. “Conceptually, ICT is the mouthpiece for property and facilities management. As this has been proved, development laws also expect the other remaining aspects of real estate valuation to be solved through the online solutions offered by automated valuation platforms like gosmartvalue.”