Tech-Savvy House Hunters are Changing the Real Estate Industry
Relocating to a new house or city is often a long, frustrating process. You must research — in depth — the home and surrounding environment, master the fine art of negotiation, and orchestrate the actual move with as little collateral damage as possible.
Thankfully, technology has kept pace with the moving industry, and now it’s easier than ever to search, schedule, finance, and plan each step of the process through the Internet and mobile devices. According to a recent survey in California, more than 50 percent of buyers begin their home search from their smartphone or tablet.
The digital journey to home ownership begins with a vast array of helpful apps for all your mobile devices. Interactive maps allow you to explore a promising neighborhood or plot a new route to work.
Find the nearest home improvement warehouse, grocery store, and schools before you even set foot in the new town. Government and police websites enable you to view city crime statistics or local environmental concerns as well as the area’s history and special landmarks.
Technology has changed the way we find our homes, too. More and more real estate sites offer full virtual tours of prospective homes. In order to save time and money, you can tour the house and grounds with a Flipcam and upload the video for the rest of the family.
According to one recent home buyer, “Most people nowadays don’t find their home through an open house; they find it online.”
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As soon as you’ve chosen your new digs, it’s time to deal. Use an online mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments and insurance.
City government web pages will often link to property and tax information, which allows you to compare neighborhood home values. E-mail and texting will keep you in close contact with your agent every step of the way.
Many real estate websites are all-inclusive, too: You can search for a new home, check out the area, and finance and insure the property through a single company, if you like. Realtors use various tablet applications to replace paper forms and streamline the whole process, which saves valuable time when you’re negotiating competitive offers.
Smartphone and tablet apps abound for every aspect of the relocation process. Organize your contracts and inventory lists in online spreadsheets or document storage applications.
Keep a list of donations made through downsizing, and track all of your moving-related expenses and receipts for tax purposes. Online videos demonstrate everything from staging your house for showing to the proper way to pack your belongings for the move.
Internet sites also suggest scores of moving company options. Most of them offer real-time customer reviews to help you make the wisest choice.
As a 2013 joint studyconducted by Google and the National Association of Realtors showed that mobile technology greatly affects consumers’ home purchases offline. Nearly 90 percent of prospective buyers used online services at some point in their research.
With hundreds of inexpensive real estate apps, tools, reviews, and other information readily available online, tech-savvy house hunting and moving has never been easier.