Although a growing number of online commercial property portals are springing up, this is not going to make property consultants unemployed. At the same time, letting agents are using more sophisticated IT systems to enhance the service they provide, concluded the latest Tea & Talk discussion, organized by RICS Hungary and tenant representative consultancy Cresa Hungary.
“I think online services will continue to play a larger role, but I do not see a time when advisers will be out of work. So our jobs will remain, but we will have to get used to online services becoming more popular, especially among younger people,” said Valter Kalaus, managing partner at Cresa Hungary.
According to Gergely Koó, senior leasing managing at Immofinanz Hungary, 95% of lettings at their offices are concluded through a letting agent.
“It is mainly small-sized tenants with below 100-150 sqm requirements that exclusively use real estate portals. The difficulties of small transactions are not significantly lower than for a much bigger deal, while the potential agent fee is much lower. Therefore it is not worthwhile for consultancies to deal with small tenants. Also, the majority of building landlords are not able to provide such small units and the necessary administration is the same as for a larger letting. Therefore, from the perspective of landlords, management companies and letting agencies, small tenants are not profitable,” commented Adorján Salamon, CEO of Eston International.
He further argued that consultants and planners are needed to give advice on changes in the working environment. Today the workstation is getting smaller, while the proportion of shared areas is increasing with chat rooms and bigger dining areas. “We advise clients on how to achieve more efficient office space in terms of space planning, space usage and the working environment,” he added.
From the tenant representation perspective, Kalaus said that it is hard to say what percentage of the market is conducted online or with a broker. “An increasing number of tenants feel more comfortable checking, for example, the availability in buildings before consulting with an advisor,” he noted.
“You need to see a building, get a feel for a building, as this could be a major financial commitment for five years that could affect the everyday lives of 25, 30 or 100 people and it is not possible to do this online,” he said.
“It is possible to see a picture of a building and then, when you visit, it looks completely different. The opposite is also possible, as a building can have a bad reputation and when you visit it has been refurbished and is completely different to what is was a couple of years ago,” Kalaus explained.
“Every tenant has a different requirement and every building is different so, for example, when a software company comes to us they could be looking for a lively coworking type environment, and this is completely different to the requirements of a law firm looking for a traditional office type environment. We need to ensure that the building we are offering a client will be in line with their specific requirements and they do not waste their time looking at 20-30 different offices. Our job is to present them with the prescreened top five or ten alternatives,” he added.