Peter Schravemade of BoxBrownie.com: “The race to become smarter is certainly interesting to watch”

The race to become smarter is certainly interesting to watch. There is constant innovation in the world of the smart home. Once, a “smart toilet” might have referred to one that had two flush options a #1 and a #2. Now there are toilets on the market that can assess what you, shall we say, […]

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The race to become smarter is certainly interesting to watch. There is constant innovation in the world of the smart home. Once, a “smart toilet” might have referred to one that had two flush options a #1 and a #2. Now there are toilets on the market that can assess what you, shall we say, ‘deposit’ into them and conduct anything from a reading for toxins, to a blood sugar reading, to a nutritional analysis.


As a part of our series about “Homes Of The Future”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Schravemade.

For over nearly two decades, Peter Schravemade has excelled at every occupation there is in property, including sales, leasing, and acquisition for both residential and commercial transactions. Peter’s in depth knowledge, relevance, and fore-sight of marketing and technology trends make him internationally, one of the most sought after speakers in this area.

As the general manager for the BoxBrownie.com phenomenon Peter is at the forefront of the fastest growing property technology marketing platform in the world. Passionate about de-bunking the myths and misconceptions of marketing, Peter is a refreshing voice in an industry overloaded by the overwhelming white noise of new trends and fleeting fads.

Peter is a proud Australian and regularly found representing the nation around the world at property conferences, exhibitions, in webinars, radio interviews, and as a panelist for discussion topics.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

It was my younger brother who introduced me to the building/construction and property sales industries in the early noughties. He was the financial controller (amongst many other things) at a local property developers office. He had been having issues dealing with local agents’ performance in the sale of his new home construction and multi-family developments. He asked me whether I would be interested in conducting open inspections over the course of a weekend. I said “yes” to that, and so began a long love affair with assisting people with their biggest investment purchases.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Prior to BoxBrownie.com I was the operations manager for a company in Australia called the Reign Group. My position as Operations Manager involved acquiring green-field sites, developing/building those sites into products that people would invest it, selling that product to investors or homeowners, facilitating the long term rental of that product to tenants for longer term rentals, and converting the developments in other cases to hotels in order to facilitate the short term letting where relevant to the product. This kind of holistic approach involving every single piece of the property puzzle was the most challenging, yet rewarding position I had filled across the property/construction/sales/letting industry.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

From the beginning my approach to property, building and construction was different. I believe because I had “fallen” into the industry rather than chosen that point as a destination I had not really stopped to think about my early approach to sales building and construction. From the first open home I chose authenticity. I learned that I did not need to falsely inflate aspects of the property to prospective purchasers in order to secure an offer. Additionally objections would not be met with deliberate attempts to dis-own that element of the property. And innocently questions that I just did not have the answer to, I would be honest about, whilst pledging to find that answer. I used to watch practitioners of Nuero-linguistic programming weave their way through the already swirling and confused purchasers mind, in order to parrot off corny one line answers in repetition to genuine searching questions. The whole NLP (or insert other sales technique) practice to me seemed to almost be the antithesis to actually forging a relationship with the client or purchaser and moreover appeared to set you as the agent, builder, developer up for a fall at some stage in the process. For me, the identification of the on-going client relationship began here. Rather than simply making a sale, the steadfast belief that if you fostered the relationship correctly, you could be the effective cause of sale in someone who was a tenant, through to purchaser, through to investor, through to life-long client and friend.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There was a Lebanese entrepreneur in my local area known as Silly Solly because of his discount store franchises operations by the same name. As I was arriving in property Solly had experienced a hugely life changing transition with the sale of those companies after a medical scare. Amongst many things, Solly was a marketing genius. He was never heralded as such, indeed those who knew him would quite often remember his abrasive yet effective advertising methods. Solly was choosing to re-invest his funds largely in property at that time. Unbeknownst to myself, we would work together without official agreement, or financial interest (other than commission on sales) for the following 4 years, building Solly’s future property empire through acquisition and/or sale/leasing of property. Solly always demonstrated how the relationship was always greater than the deal itself. Constantly manoeuvring in and out of deals with friends and foes using the most unpredictable path of always being the most humble in the transaction and where possible “giving people what they wanted”. Solly not only aggressively educated me on the market, and the players within it, but he showed through action the art of negotiation in complex and difficult transactions

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. This is a brutal investigation of human nature, civilization and savagery, or the beast within. I still find within its pages behavioural examples found within modern society.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My late mother always told me that “how you act and react to a given situation or scenario, dictates who you are”. This piece of advice is applicable to nearly every situation you find yourself in through life. In difficult or problematic situations, people tend to have long and strong memories of how you responded under duress. It is especially important to me that through these difficult times the adage “I am how I act” is much more difficult to execute than when things are smooth sailing.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Homebuilding in the US has grown tremendously. We’d love to hear about some of the new trends and techniques that are being used to build the homes of the future.

Here at BoxBrownie.com we have case studies that show, the render (or CGI) is the way of the future. Socially, they are used in cinemas and computer games prolifically. If you’ll think of the render as the bridge between the imagination and reality, you’ll see what I mean. Since the pandemic hit our 3D Renders and our Render Virtual Tours have become the most effective way to market a future development.

Now, architects, builders and planners are beginning to catch on to their value at the conceptual stage. Not only are renders fantastic ways to promote real estate, they are exceptional ways to spot flaws or find new potentials as buildings are being contemplated and designed.

Our renders help architects think aloud, and the second wave of the render boom is arising from this sector. The renders have been growing in popularity particularly in the face of an absence of available stock.

Can you share with us a few of the methods that are being used to make homes more sustainable and more water and energy efficient?

The roof is a great place to look to see the degree of innovation that is taking place.

Synthetic roof underlayment, uses polymer from recycled scrap metal.

Used tires are proving to be a great way to shingle a roof. The material is inexpensive, easy to find, durable, and incalculably better for planet earth than the practice of burning them that still takes place in developing nations.

Even green roofs, which are literally green because they have grass and other plants occupying their entire surface area are becoming a thing.

Rooves, of course, are also where you find solar panels, water tanks, and even mini-turbines — all of which literally are the future of building.

Rooves are also an excellent way to understand how renders are the future of building design as well. Function is vital, but so are aesthetics. At BoxBrownie.com our renders, and especially our 3D Render Tours make it so much easier for an architect to consider both.

Imagine if you were an architect charged with the task of creating a building with a roof that would reduce a company’s carbon footprint. If you were considering between a green roof or one made of used tires, and had to include two water tanks and a solar array in the structure, our 3D Virtual Renders would make your life so much easier, and help you weed out design flaws early in the game.

There is a lot of talk about Smart Homes. Can you tell our readers a bit about what that is, what that looks like, and how that might help people?

Smart homes were once the novelty of the mega-rich. With advancements in technology they are becoming more and more prevalent and more developers are realizing their value as they design their future projects. Some definitions of Smart Homes include the sustainability elements we’ve just talked about, including heat, electricity and water conservation, and repurposing of grey water, for example.

The most far-flung definitions of a smart home’ are beginning to include automated robots that can do anything from clean floors to make and serve coffee all at the touch of a smart phone. In general, though, a smart home is essentially one that can be managed with a smart phone or other “thinking” electronic device — robots not required.

Any device that uses electricity can be added to a smart home network. Lawn sprinklers, alarm systems, surveillance cameras, lights, even in some cases bathtubs can be operated remotely.

The race to become smarter is certainly interesting to watch. There is constant innovation in the world of the smart home. Once, a “smart toilet” might have referred to one that had two flush options a #1 and a #2. Now there are toilets on the market that can assess what you, shall we say, ‘deposit’ into them and conduct anything from a reading for toxins, to a blood sugar reading, to a nutritional analysis.

There is even such a thing as the “smart window” which is not computerized, but is glazed with a substance that regulates the level of light that is allowed in or out depending on things like time of day, or heat.

Aside from Smart Homes, can you talk about other interesting tech innovations that are being incorporated into homes today?

There are many interesting things happening, but from a building and construction perspective, everyone is keeping their eye the advancements in 3D printing technology — not in relation to the printing of plans, but to the printing of materials.

Creating and moving building materials to the job site can have heavy environmental costs, and just heavy costs in general. As structure 3D printing begins moving forward, it becomes easier to cut down on shipping costs or reduce the weight of components, which can only have positive spinoffs for both the industry and the environment.

Can you talk about innovations that are being made to make homes more pet friendly?

Pets used to be the bane of a landlord’s existence and as a result many rentals excluded tenants who had them. This caused an interesting supply and demand situation in the rental market that saw the value of pet-friendly accommodation go through the roof. Even in flooded markets, pet-friendly places are snapped up much faster and for higher rental rates. This has filtered through to the building and renovation industries, because more properties are being built, or re-equipped to deal with our four-legged companions.

How about actual construction materials? Are there new trends in certain materials to address changes in the climate, fires, floods, and hurricanes?

I don’t know if I’d refer to them as “trends” as much as “desperate attempts to prevent loss of life and property”. The wildfires in California and in my home country of Australia, have definitely inspired serious R & D efforts in the construction industry. Floods, hurricanes and earthquakes are all equally worrisome, and the challenge is that the engineering required to address each threat is different and not always complimentary.

Consider the double threat that forest fire and earthquake prone California faces. Wood structures can withstand earthquakes and are easy to repair, but they function catastrophically in fires. In this scenario, steel, though more expensive, is the default material.

Much of the engineering attention is focused on how to make fire-resistant steel more flexible in an earthquake. Lead-Rubber bearings, rocking frames and damping systems are all ways engineers are working to keep buildings from toppling when “the big one” hits. There’s even some Harry Potter lingo going on with a product called the “Cloak of Invisibility” which involves burying special rings beneath the surface of a building. These rings function to absorb and redirect the shockwaves from an earthquake so that they pass around a building and, in theory, miss it completely.

For someone looking to invest in the real estate industry, are there exciting growth opportunities that you think people should look at more carefully?

One thing is certain, real estate is in the middle of a transitional phase that has been accelerated by the pandemic. In times of transition there are always opportunities for those who are paying attention.

The two areas that most intrigue me come from the synergy that has arisen between technology and medical necessity during the pandemic. If the pandemic prevented people from going to work or to stores; technology allowed them to keep working and keep shopping.

A great example of this is our 360o Virtual Tour which in January of 2021 surpassed the in-person visit as the preferred way to shop for a home. This technology basically saved the real estate industry, by allowing buyers to inspect a home during a full lockdown.

This is the most enormous lifestyle shift since the Industrial Revolution took us out of the Dark Ages. We are probably just beginning to see its effects in real estate.

With people able to skip the commute and work (and shop) from home — from anywhere, actually — we could see a spike in value for rural and regional properties.

The flip side of this is that commercial space (escpecially office and retail) is already undergoing a redefinition. There could be some bargains available in this sector.

At BoxBrownie.com our Virtual Renovation services are already seeing an increased demand. among clients who are interested in seeing how an abandoned box store or cinema would transition into a warehouse. We are perfectly set up to facilitate this sort of speculation.

Let’s talk a bit about housing availability and affordable housing. Homelessness has been a problem for a long time in the United States. But it seems that it has gotten a lot worse over the past five years, particularly in the large cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. Can you explain to our readers what brought us to this place? Where did this crisis come from?Is there anything that home builders can do to further help address these problems?

I can’t necessarily speak to what brought us to this place, but I do believe that every global citizen should be concerned about homelessness. It is at crisis-level in many places and seems to be getting worse. Ironically, when the dust falls on the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be positive, new opportunities to find dignified shelter for those who currently have none.

As I mentioned above, Covid has changed the way society functions. This change is most noticeable in the workplace. At first people were forced to work from home, then came to prefer it, then companies realized they might not need the high volumes of office space they were leasing before the pandemic hit. Governments everywhere are among the highest occupants of office space. When the pandemic is resolved, and it seems to be heading that way. There will be an enormous amount of office and other commercial space available, including government buildings.

I would like to see some progressive planning around some of this vacant space. The issue of repurposing buildings for humanitarian concerns is another area where I foresee town planners and other government officials making use of our 3D Rendering or Virtual Renovation technology at BoxBrownie.com. If governments begin repurposing their empty office space to address the homeless issue, our technology is perfect for helping them decide which buildings would best suit this scenario.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

In a society where our lives have never been as public or visible as they are. The commentary, noise, and criticism that comes with living life in today’s society is as deafening and unrelenting as a hurricane. There has never been a greater time for the individual to know what one believes and why one believes it. To truly navigate society and effect change for the better upon it, the world needs true leaders, who possess the strength of convictions and values that are true. Most movements that affected change upon the world began with ten people or less with those traits.

How can our readers follow you online?

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoxBrowniecom

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoxBrownie_com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/boxbrowniecom/

Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/company/boxbrownie/

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