It’s no secret that 2020 shook up almost every industry worldwide during a global pandemic that will be remembered in history for years to come. Within the property industry, although on the surface thinks seem to have been ticking over, there have actually been many struggles and changes to be considered.
For one, many free lancers and self-employed estate agents have taken themselves out of the industry, either collaborating with bigger agencies or moving to a new job role altogether. The uncertainty around stable income, the lack of resources and perhaps having to make a sudden and stark shift to more digital measures for working day to day are just some of the reasons that many estate agencies have suffered during this time.
With the UK economy heading for a double-dip recession that will be seemingly much worse than previously expected, due to the impact of the new coronavirus variant but also Brexit, many estate agencies are already bracing themselves for what we assume will be another difficult year. In preparation of this, what we have seen, is a shift towards the use of free open source software for managing business and Property Hive has been one of those. With many new customers using us as their main CRM for property software as well as existing customers making the switch from their other providers, this could be a route that many agents are looking to go down in 2021 to keep them ahead of the game, give them more control and ultimately save money with the looming recession.
The term open source, refers to something that people are able to share and modify because it’s publicly accessible.
Software that is open source, means that essentially anyone can inspect, modify or develop further the original source code. This ‘source code’ is often the part of software that many users never see. It’s a set of instructions that give instructions on the program or application so that it works for the end user.
In terms of Property Hive, we’re very proud and vocal about the fact that we are an open source software. Unlike many commercial companies such as Jupix or reapit, our code is available publicly and can be used and modified by anyone, anywhere and at anytime worldwide. Waiting for your feature requests to be submitted and approved to commercial companies is no longer an option in a rapidly evolving industry where many agents are opting to have more control over their companies so they can stay ahead of the game. Using open source software such as Property Hive, means you don’t have to wait for a company to approve your idea or consider your request. You can commission any competent developer to take our code and adapt it to your needs.
Imagine having a CRM built to your specifications? Having a system in place that isn’t one size fits all, but is adaptable, easily modified and can grow with your own needs and requirements as an estate agent. Whether you’re just starting out and don’t want to pay for a plethora of bells and whistles whilst you’re finding your feed, or you have multiple branches and need options that just aren’t covered by commercial software providers. Using open source software such as Property Hive, gives you the control to build your estate agency website and CRM to your own specification, with the ability to expand this as you grow.
Many people prefer open source software because it’s considered to be more secure. Because the code can be viewed and modified by anyone, someone else can correct errors or fix, update and upgrade the software without asking for permission from the original authors. You’re therefore not confined to the timescales of a commercial company who may not be able to update these in a timely manner, or may not even be aware of it happening.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if your current commercial property software provider folded? Overnight they just shut down? Probably the most significant thing about using open source software, is that once you have those core files, even if the original author ceases to operate, you can still use the code and have it managed and developed by someone else. It means that if you are relying on a system that is critical to your business, it won’t just disappear completely.
Open source software creates a rich community of users and developers. It may sound cheesy, but it’s entirely true. It brings people together from all over the world and from all walks of life, so instead of building your product based on the skillset of a few individuals, you have a wealth of knowledge from experts all over the world. This isn’t just a community of people that use the software, but extends to everyone who has ever contributed, used or tested it as well.
Property Hive, like many other open source software is completely free to use. What’s the catch and how does the company sustain itself to continue development? Well in addition to our core Property Hive plugin, we offer a multitude of free and premium add ons so you can pick and choose what is required.
With a one time purchase for each premium add on, you aren’t tied into any subscriptions of hefty monthly fees. The money you spend on our add ons, goes back into paying for development time to maintain and update these with new features. We also have an optional yearly license key for those that require additional support and want access to updates. But ultimately, because our software is open source, we don’t need a big team of developers to manage websites, because this can be done by anybody. Which means all of our resources go back into improving Property Hive and creating new features.
Innovation & Creativity
We’ve already talked about the kind of communities that are created with open source software. But with the property industry changing so rapidly and moving into a virtual age, in order to keep ahead of the game, it’s important to come up with creative and innovative strategies that put your estate agency on the map and really push the boundaries of what can be done.
With open source software, you can do just that. For example, if you had an incredible idea for a feature that no other property software provider is offering, you can build it using Property Hive. We provide the foundation and the framework for you to elevate your business, from developing your own features and add ons, all the way through to creating interactive, engaging and inspiring websites.
If you’re looking for an alternative to costly monthly payment based estate agency software and want to join the Property Hive community, we have a range of options available. We have a data migration service and can perform migrations from all leading estate agency CRM providers, including Vebra Alto, Jupix, Reapit and many more. You can read more about our data migration service here. Alternatively, if you want to do this yourself, we have data migration add ons that you can use to facilitate this.