You can video chat with someone on the other side of the world. You can wirelessly charge your phone. Tell that to someone from a decade in the past and they would be shocked at how far technology has come. It’s only the beginning. What if, 10 years from now, it’s common to simply buy a home online once you’re ready to be a new homeowner? It’s possible today, but will it become commonplace tomorrow?
Advancing Real Estate Purchasing Technology
One of the main online real estate purchasing consumers are Chinese who are beginning to invest in the U.S. real estate market. Instead of traveling to the country, they use 3D virtual tours, video and online real estate value assessment websites to help them decide where and how to purchase both residentialand commercial property in the U.S. Websites such as the giant Auction.com has received millions in capital investment in recent years, partnering with Chinese website Juwai.com as well.
Are Real Estate Agents Threatened?
Looking ahead to the future, the real estate industry, and agents in particular, may be wondering what this means for their careers. Will their come a time when their knowledge will be viewed as outdated, old-fashioned and unnecessary? Will they lose their job to an automated online service that processes the transactions, leaving no room for them?
Why Online Real Estate Purchasing Still Has Far to Go
While investors from distant countries or even states may find online real estate purchasing helpful for their schedule, why buy a home online that you can visit in person? Millenials are not dense enough to think that buying a home is equivalent to buying a pair of shoes – online is definitely not preferred when it concerns the place you’re going to live and raise a family. While an online 3D tour might help you decide to visit the open house this weekend, it’s doubtful that it would cause you to plunk down a few hundred thousand dollars and sign your name to a 30 year mortgage without ever viewing it in person.
Also, there are a number of legal and financial steps that go into purchasing a home. Real estate agents earn their money. They educate people on the intricacies of the process, something that first-time millenial home buyers need. Not to mention, in most cases, the home seller pays the commission, not the home buyer. If anything, those who already opt to sell their homes without the help of an agent are probably the people who are going to take advantage of online services, but buyers may still prefer having an agent take care of the bargaining for them.
If there’s any generation tech-savvy and modern enough to take the leap and buy their home online, it’s millenials. But until a system arrives which walks them through the process step by step, explaining all details along the way, millenials are not impulsive enough to put their savings into an investment which may be the most important of their lives without viewing the property in person – at least, it hasn’t happened quite yet. The skill and knowledge of a realtor can’t be priced and can’t be ignored for first-time millenial home buyers. But when they purchase their second home? Maybe then they’ll take the next step.