Whether used to surf the web, watch Netflix, send emails, or scroll through Facebook, a huge 89% of U.S. adults have access to the Internet. With the growth of online stores such as Amazon, and car stores such as Carvana, we can do almost everything online. This includes buying a home.
According to Chase, 45 percent of potential buyers begin their purchasing process on their computer, and 13 percent begin it on a smart phone. A small 11 percent still search newspapers for ads, however with newspaper production slowing down, this number is expected to drop. Therefore, it is no surprise that the real estate industry is implementing its own technologies to appeal to more tech-savvy audiences.
The start of the home buying process is where we really see the effect technology has had on the industry. As previously mentioned, fewer buyers are finding their homes the traditional way, in the newspaper, and more are finding them online. Websites such as Zillow and Trulia allow buyers to search far and wide for their dream home. On the other hand, newspaper listings tend to only show properties in the same city or county, making an out of state move challenging. These websites also allow the buyer to filter their search results by various factors such as number of beds and baths, square footage, price, and more. This can be especially helpful when buying on a budget as it will only show you what you can afford. Most real estate sites also allow the buyer to set up an alert for the type of property they are looking for and will send the buyer an email every time a new home that fits their criteria is listed. All of these tools make the search process much easier and less time-consuming with the websites doing most of the work.
So you have found your dream home but it is six states away and you do not have the time to go and see it in person, do you have to say goodbye to that dream? Absolutely not. Thanks to today’s incredible technology, many websites offer 3D tours where you can see a 360 degree view of each room of the property on your computer or smartphone. More recent technology has seen the introduction of Virtual Reality Headsets. These headsets allow the buyer to take a virtual walk through the home from many miles away. While wearing the headset the buyer would physically walk around as if in the home itself, seeing every nook and cranny from every angle. Virtual tours reduce the importance of seeing a home in person before putting down an offer, therefore speeding up the purchasing process.
Unfortunately, the searching doesn’t end once a dream house is found, as a mortgage is usually needed to finance it. With the 2015 Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure created by The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, potential buyers are able to compare loans and get upfront estimations of what the mortgage is going to cost. This not only gives peace of mind but also opens a door to many comparison and calculation websites which make the mortgage shopping process something you can do from your couch. Websites such as Bankrate.com and NerdWallet allow buyers to input the loan offers they have received and calculate which offer is the best fit for their situation. Many banks will also offer affordability calculators on their websites so buyers have an idea of their monthly costs.
Finally, title and settlement companies, Champion Title & Settlements, Inc. included, have introduced eClosings. An eClosing occurs when all settlement documentation is signed and notarized electronically and the settlement takes place over video conference. This limits the time spent printing, scanning, and faxing important documents while also limiting the number of missed signatures and mistakes made. This also allows flexibility in location as buyers and sellers do not need to be in the same city, state, or even country as the closing agent.
To find out more about Champion Title & Settlement, Inc.’s eClosings, visit www.championtitle.com