Searching for a new home can be a daunting endeavor- especially for first-time homebuyers. Each step of the way can at times seem complex, confusing, and endless. Luckily, the advent of new technologies is altering the home search process from beginning to end.
While the final result of a home search journey is grounded in the physical atmosphere of a new home, technology can play a role in making the entire search more seamless, integrated, and comfortable.
Let’s take a look at four ways technology is changing the way we buy homes.
1. Better, Broader Search Results
In the past, the home search process may have begun with leafing through the pages of a real estate catalog or the classifieds ads in a local newspaper. If you wanted to relocate to a new city, it was necessary to go there in person in order to find the perfect place to land. You had to find a real estate broker in the area, and cross your fingers that they would be willing and able to assist you in your search.
The internet has radically shifted that part of the process. Now there are hundreds of home search websites and platforms you can use to begin your search. You can search for homes with specific features and amenities, or in a variety of locations. Online searches can allow you to hone your search before you even begin looking at specific properties.
Narrowing your focus to a particular price range, geographic location, size, and kind of home, among other search parameters, can save you time and confusion. Starting the actual property reviews stage of the process with a clearer range of options to look at will cut down on the overwhelm that often besets homebuyers at the first stage of their search.
2. Remote Viewing Opportunities
Technology opens up a window onto other locations from the comfort of your own living room, which greatly simplifies the home search process. All you need is a high-speed internet connection, which usually comes with a bunch of cable options. Especially now, during a global pandemic, the ability to remotely view potential homes can allow home sellers to limit the number of in-person interactions they are inviting.
Advanced technology means that you can get a strong first impression of the homes you are viewing, with 360-degree cameras and even virtual reality immersive technology. By viewing homes from afar, you can sift through more options more quickly and easily, eliminating choices that don’t suit your needs. Then, when you are ready to proceed to the next stage, you will be more prepared to choose from among the homes that do appeal to you.
Because remote viewing opportunities are often public and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can share links with your friends and family to receive feedback. You can view homes at your convenience, instead of taking time out of a busy schedule to attend limited open houses. You can take another look at the property’s features from your phone or laptop while you are out and about- easily refreshing your memory of what you liked about each individual property.
3. Work With An Agent From Afar
Since real estate information is more widely available and easily accessible, today’s homebuyers are more knowledgeable than even ten or fifteen years ago. So that means real estate agents have had to adjust their roles and provide even higher quality services.
Whereas before agents would spend hours gathering information, communicating with clients and property owners, and waiting for responses, agents are now free to help negotiate deals more smoothly and focus on the client’s needs. While the role of the agent used to be the information gatherer, now real estate agents are able to adapt to each situation with greater ease, from setting and negotiating prices, to providing community resources and connections.
Technology makes it easy for clients to keep in touch with their agents, even from afar. With apps and online platforms that include shared files, photos, notes, and resources, clients are able to rely on their real estate agents to be the on-the-ground eyes and ears branch of the research team, as clients work with them to find the perfect property based on their own previous knowledge. Plus, homebuyers can perform their own background check on a potential agent, reading online ratings and reviews to ensure that there is a foundation of trust in the working relationship.
4. Easy Home Loan Applications
Home loan applications were once one of the most frustrating components of a home search. Submitting documents and waiting through processing times could take weeks. Now, homebuyers can access their data, submit an application, and find out the results in a matter of hours- even from their phones.
Mobile and online apps offer fast access to credit score analyses and allow homebuyers to compare different home loan policies, including possible loan amounts and interest rates.
Mobile apps in particular allow customers to take greater control over their home loan application on their own time. They can log in at any time of day or night to track the progress of the loan process, review loan terms, check on interest rates, acknowledge loan terms and conditions, and chart the course of their transfer documents with maximal ease, access, and knowledge.
Greater Ease, Transparency, and Efficiency
How technology has changed the way we buy homes, in short, is that it has created greater access points to information. With simply the internet and straightforward, user-friendly mobile apps, we can search for homes that suit our needs anywhere in the world. And we can ensure that the people helping us acquire our prospective new homes are trustworthy and top tier.
The technology eliminates the hours- and sometimes weeks- of frustrating, convoluted bureaucracy and paperwork that once defined the home search process. Now, with technology providing more ways to search and review new home options, the process of buying a home can be streamlined, convenient, and even fun.