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How is Technology Changing the Way We Buy Real Estate?

Home, Real Estate, Realtors, home sales, home buying

It’s an exciting time for the real estate market in Cupertino, with data indicating an increase of 24% in median home sales in the past year and most segments of the market seeing an overall upward trend. As is the case in the rest of the world, the digital age has had a major impact on local buying trends. As noted in a report on real estate technology published by the National Association of Realtors Research Department, in the 1980s, around 22% of buyers used newspaper ads to buy a home. By 2016, 44% of buyers were looking for properties online first. Online shopping is convenient even with small purchases, but when it comes to a home, it is crucial in this day and age of the Internet of Things.

Realtors are Still Key to the Homebuying Process

Real estate search sites allow buyers to search by area, price, and other features that considerably save time and effort. This doesn’t mean that real estate agents don’t continue to play an important role in home sales, however. As noted in Time.com’s Money, “A crack negotiator who knows the market can save you time, money and heartache by helping you make the right offer—playing hardball when necessary—and staying on top of the process.” The key is to use technology as well as the expertise of a realtor to find a home that suits your needs and your budget perfectly.

Accessing a Wide Variety of Properties Worldwide

You may live in Cupertino but wish to own a second home or purchase a retirement home in a country like Italy or Spain. Technology can help you access more properties than a local realtor working solo, through the networks individual realtors build with international realtor associations. Knowing the networks and their components can also help you search within the appropriate market. For instance, if you are after a high-end home, you would select a network such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s, which specialize in luxury homes in the United States and the world over.

Getting a Feel of a Potential Home

Google Maps will give you a great idea of the street your potential home is located on; of the homes that surround it and its proximity to main roads, railway stations, etc. However, the ‘sense of really being there’ is equally important when it comes to the interiors. These days, home searches allow you take a virtual tour, which can help you glean the look and feel of a home; how different rooms connect up, and whether or not the size of rooms is what you are after.

Augmented Reality for Interiors

IKEA is just one company offering an augmented reality app, which allows you to see how specific furniture would look inside your home. Drop furniture into your room and move it around until you find a distribution you like. The app automatically scales products with an almost 100% accuracy. You can see the texture of the fabric, as well as the effect that light and shadow have on your furnishings. 

Technology can save you time and money by ensuring you get a good preview of interesting homes before you set out to visit them. It can also help you glean information about the area you are considering, and issues such as sizing of rooms and views. Online apps and software can also help you with design, so you can ‘fit’ furniture in a home you are thinking of buying, to obtain a better idea of what actually living there would be like. While it isn’t likely that people will soon be buying homes 100% online, technology is certainly giving buyers considerably more power than in the 1980s, when the choice of homes seen was curated exclusively by realtors.

Author: Sally Phillips
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