Technology won’t solve your problems, you will, with the support of a tech solution

Tech edition of The Home Stretch podcast features guest Ian Preston, Director at Greenhouse OS and Founder of Preston Baker.

On the first Friday of each month, The Home Stretch podcast has begun launching special tech episodes with well-known and respected guests from the industry. Hosted by Ben Sellers, Co-Founder of Starberry and Brand Director at, the first guest to appear on the new series is Ian Preston, Director at Greenhouse OS and Founder of Preston Baker. On the episode they discuss the transformative technology landscape in the estate agency world, starting with the increasing popularity of the self-employed model.

Commenting on the more recent evolutions of Preston Baker, Preston remarks, “estate agency is a high fixed cost business with a relatively low margin, operating in a world of high volatility. So, in other words, the market can go forwards and it can go backwards on a six-pence. And so how do estate agency owners create value both for the people who work for them, for their consumers, and also protect themselves? I’ve been really attracted by the self-employed model and this associate model, so, using technology, we transformed the business by running a pilot in November 2022, where we gave seven of our employees the opportunity to become self-employed, and then, gradually, as 2023 developed we’ve now rolled that out across the whole business.”

The pair go on to discuss the involvement of prop tech in estate agency, with Preston commenting, “technology without a plan is useless. So don’t think that tech is going to solve your problems. It’s not. You’re going to solve your problems, but you need to decide how you want your business to run, understand what your requirements are and then create a tech solution to support that. We have been limited by prop tech. I am actually not a big fan of it, and I know that’s a really awful thing to say on this podcast!” Somewhat in agreeance with Preston’s comment, Sellers responds that it is the “association with prop tech which isn’t right, there is this feeling that it sorts everything out for you, which it doesn’t.” 

Sellers then asks Preston about the motivation behind his latest prop tech combatting venture, Greenhouse OS, to which Preston replies, “so many forward-thinking agents have got parallel systems which run alongside their CRMs. When they approach their CRM provider with a business initiative they would like integrated into the system, the answer is often no, as it is not a part of the provider’s roadmap.  So, the agent then goes back and starts building things which run alongside their CRM, not integrated into it. And as AI is now implemented, this is a massive problem because there has to be a single source of truth. AI plus data is the thing that is going to change the world, and if you don’t have your data where your AI is, the AI can’t work because it doesn’t have all the data. And so why did we set up Greenhouse OS? Because we believe that agents need to be free to pursue their own business ideas. So, it’s about freedom and the way that Greenhouse works is it’s part of the Salesforce world. It’s called a managed package, which basically means we maintain and update the Greenhouse application, but each agency gets their own environment that they can customise independent of other Greenhouse agencies. What we’ve done is built all of the estate agency and letting agency functionality, so that the day you set off, it works as a market leading CRM, with the option of customising it in whichever way you want.”

To hear this conversation in full and find out more about Greenhouse OS, visit The Home Stretch podcast.