DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES have been shaping how consumers are purchasing items as digital transformation has been accelerating in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In what is currently considered the ‘now normal,’ contactless transactions serve as a fitting solution for attending to customers while preventing the spread of the virus.
While digital technologies are shaping retail, banking, and food and beverage, these are not the only sectors whose processes have shifted. Digital technologies are also shaping property buying, as shown by the latest initiatives of one of the country’s trusted real estate developers.
Having started its digital journey before the pandemic struck, AboitizLand, the real estate arm of the Aboitiz group of companies, quickly responded to the effects of the pandemic by elevating its online presence.
David L. Rafael, president, and chief executive officer of AboitizLand, shared in an e-mail that the developer overhauled its entire sales process and organization towards a purely online sales backbone two weeks after the enhanced community quarantine was first implemented last year.
“We also actively pursued the digital upskilling of our sales partners by investing in training programs and tools that allowed them to continue selling and earning a living during the pandemic,” Mr. Rafael continued. AboitizLand rolled out its Contactless Homebuying Service, enabling property seekers to continue their homebuying journey within the safe confines of their homes.
Whereas before the pandemic, the traditional homebuying process used to involve physically visiting properties, personally meeting with sales brokers, and complying with a lot of physical documentation, AboitizLand’s initiative has successfully transformed these steps into an online process — covering the selection from a portfolio of units right up to the turnover of the preferred property.
AboitizLand has recently made this possible through its proprietary platform, the AboitizLand Vecino app, to further enhance and simplify homebuying of AboitizLand developments in the ‘now normal.’
The upgraded AboitizLand Vecino app is designed to eliminate the need for physical documents, reduce turnaround time during the reservation and booking process, allow the customer access to up-to-date information on the status of their payments, and house constructions, and greatly improve the home loan application process.
Prospect buyers can browse AboitizLand’s portfolio of developments on several platforms online. They can then set an appointment with the firm’s property specialists for project presentations, virtual tours, and computations — all conveniently conducted online.
Once buyers are ready to reserve a unit from any of AboitizLand’s developments, they will be able to pay the reservation fee through the proprietary app using credit cards or debit cards. Buyers will also be able to submit document requirements through the AboitizLand Vecino app.
The app also takes buyers, now recognized as vecinos or ‘neighbors’ in Spanish, through the succeeding steps of the homebuying process.
Through the app, vecinos can view the construction progress of a property through a timeline that highlights the completed stages (e.g., foundation, painting, etc.).
Vecinos can also track monthly payments with statements of account and receipts, and will be able to make monthly payments through debit or credit cards. They will also be able to apply for bank loans with AboitizLand’s partner banks through the app. Whenever they need to view important documents, vecinos will be able to access files such as account statements.
Since the turnover of a unit is a critical process in real estate, the AboitizLand Vecino app enables this process online. Once they are notified that their unit is ready for acceptance and turnover, vecinos themselves will be able to schedule the acceptance and turnover dates for their property in a few steps.
In addition, for any concerns regarding their accounts, vecinos can raise change requests pertaining to their account, as well as submit any feedback they may have through the app.
“With the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, property seekers need not risk infection or postpone buying a property — especially now that homes are considered as sanctuaries,” Mr. Rafael explained. “AboitizLand’s end-to-end contactless homebuying service makes the entire purchase journey possible, all in the safety of one’s home.”
Outside of the AboitizLand Vecino app, Mr. Rafael continued, AboitizLand will employ systems and processes that will pave the way for improved customer service through the use of data science and artificial intelligence (DSAI).
Apart from investing in various digital tools to automate critical areas in their operations, including construction management, the company will also rationalize routine processes potentially through Robotic Process Automation.
Also, AboitizLand is partnering with sister company Union Bank of the Philippines on predictive data models that will boost efficiencies across all areas of operations.
Driven by the developer’s steadfast commitment to its promise of creating better ways to live, AboitizLand’s digitization efforts aim to improve the developer’s delivery of service as well as enhance the experience of homebuyers — helping Filipino families achieve such an important milestone as owning their own home easier and safer.