Anne Brightman was born and raised in Texas, United States. After many years in Brazil, she moved to Portugal two years ago and is now an estate agent at Keller Williams Portugal. In this article, Anne shares her perspective on the challenges of the Portuguese real estate market, the need for Proptech and how to stay ahead as an agent.
The first contact with the Portuguese luxury property market
I have always appreciated, identified and sought out things of quality. It could be anything from olive oil to a house, to a man, but my mother taught me from a young age that it was better to have fewer things and love them all.
This predisposition for all things ‘fine’ and the fact I enjoy working with people is what attracted me to luxury real estate. I moved to Portugal almost two years ago and, as a foreigner, I’m familiar with the challenges expats face in coming to this country.
The catalyst for my return to real estate after a two year sabbatical was the terrible experience I had with the purchase of my own home in Estoril. We came to Portugal on vacation and left for the U.S. a few days later with the keys to our new home, imagining we would be returning in just a few weeks. Never did we imagine the problems that would delay our move by a year.
Coming from a country that has licensed real estate agents and a checks and balance system that protects the buyer from fraudulence, we could never have known that when our real estate agent waved goodbye, we would not hear from her again. We quickly got caught up in a nightmare that took more than two years to resolve.
It’s impossible to navigate the system without an agent
One of the things in Portugal that makes the buyer so vulnerable is that it’s extremely difficult for an un-savvy buyer to search online for a property, making it impossible to navigate the system without an agent.
In Portugal, it is common for one property to be listed with multiple agencies and for multiple prices with different measurements and photos, meaning that the buyer doesn’t realise she is looking at the same property over and over again.
Coming from the U.S., the three biggest challenges I see in the Portuguese property market are:
- the absence of a multi-listing service,
- the fact that agents need no education or licensing to operate in the market
- and the lack of access to sold prices.
This causes confusion in the market when unfounded values influence asking prices.
CASAFARI brings order to the Portuguese property market
I’m a big promoter of CASAFARI, because their technology helps bring order to the chaotic universe of Portuguese real estate and is the closest thing that Portugal has to a multi-listing service.
CASAFARI utilises sophisticated Artificial Intelligence to detect properties from numerous sources and consolidates that information into one listing that summarises all the data. The site evaluates the property’s position in the market in comparison to other properties and sends daily updates on market listings.
I truly believe CASAFARI is an essential Proptech tool for agents that want to succeed and distinguish themselves in the Portuguese market.
Global technology is forcing the traditional real estate giants to reflect on every aspect of the industry and no more so than in the booming market of Portugal where, traditionally, ‘whatever’ was the ruling attitude of most agents.
The introduction of property technology does not always bode well for big real estate companies. In existing markets startups are beginning to eliminate and replace professionals. Companies such as Purplebricks, TenX, OpenDoor and many others are taking on the real estate industry spurred by the new digital landscape and new consumption patterns.
It’s a trend that allows consumers to be at the forefront of their search and facilitates autonomous deals between sellers and buyers. This is good news for the consumers, because to stay ahead of the game real estate professionals must offer a lot more to their clients like superior service, better support and training for agents, innovative options and greater market exposure.
Real estate is a ‘people business’ – technology is only a means to an end
However at the end of the day, real estate is very much a ‘people business’ and what my clients at Keller Williams Portugal remember is not how wonderful the technology was that I utilised to bring them the deal, but the service I offered and my dedication to them on a personal level. Technology is only a means to an end.
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