Today’s Tech Makes Home Buying and Selling Easier than Ever
by Mashum Mollah Real Estate 07 July 2020
Home buying is almost never easy. Neither is selling. It can be time-consuming, often frustrating, and tedious. But it’s something that has to be done. Today, however, a number of technological advancements are in play that streamlines the process and makes it easier for buyers and agents to communicate, interact, and seal the deal. In some cases, buyers might even not set foot into their new living space until they own it.
The new model works. This past April, when the COVID-19 quarantine was keeping people (including home buyers and sellers) from interacting with others in person, Realtor.com conducted a survey of 1,300 consumers to learn their thoughts on buying a home without touring it in person. According to respondents, 24 percent of people would be willing to buy a home without seeing it in person and 30 percent would be willing to rent one. Among younger demographics, the numbers were slightly higher.
In fact, many real estate agents already rely on the power of digital video to present living spaces in creative ways to potential buyers. This is really helpful when a buyer lives out of town, but is planning to relocate to another city and wants to get a look at a potential property prior to his, her, or his and her arrival. In some cases, an agent will shoot video inside the house and post it online, replacing the formerly popular tactic of shooting rooms with still cameras using wide-angle lenses.
In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, one videographer even uses a drone that he flies through large properties, providing agents and their customers with a smooth, high definition video that captures the feeling of walking through the house. This tactic is now becoming commonplace and many other agents are adapting.
John Passerini, global vice president of interactive marketing at Sotheby’s International Realty, notes how dramatically things have changed. “You go back 10 or 12 years, people searched for real estate online but there were blurry and uncurated photos, there was no quality control,” he says.
Today’s listings, especially those for luxury properties, include high-quality photography, myriad interior details, and often substantial information about the neighborhood, price, tax history, home expenses, and other important data.
As the word “virtual” has become part of the lexicon and online home buying has become more prevalent, we’ve even gotten to the point where customers can get help selecting the right agent.
Nobul, a Toronto-based company with an office in Florida, offers what Regan McGee, the company’s founder, chairman, and CEO, calls “the world’s only open digital marketplace connecting home buyers and sellers to the right real estate agent for them.”
For homeowners, Nobul’s personalized listings make it easy to buy or sell their homes. They sign up on the site, which enables them to compare and connect with qualified agents with no obligation. The agents, in turn, not only compete for the buyers’ and sellers’ business but also offer them services and incentives, like cashback. All agents with profiles on the site are ranked openly and fairly.
Nobul’s innovative online platform, says McGee, “introduces transparency, choice, accountability, and simplicity to the real estate industry by enabling consumers to choose the agent who presents the combination of services, pricing, reputation, and fit that is best suited to them personally.”
Even the process of applying for home loans has increasingly been moving online. People have become used to online banking, so some are questioning the necessity of meeting with a loan officer when the process can be simplified online.
Joshua Fraser, CEO at Estated, a company that provides a variety of data on its website that’s related to properties, writes that “With fintech companies working hard to facilitate streamlined online lending services, applicants can expect their mortgage loan processing timeline to be much shorter. Applicant-owned uploading of key documents anytime and anywhere, automated underwriting and integrated credit checks are just a few ways online lending is helping to make the application experience more efficient and convenient for home buyers.”
He mentions Roostify and Blends as two digital lending companies that are already doing this.
To buy a home today, especially in a high-demand city like Toronto, you still need to be able to find just the right property and be able to afford it. But thanks to technology, you might find yourself spending significantly less time during the process.