Buying one’s first home used to be a scary and confusing process. It was like you were grappling in the dark – tasked with completing the biggest transaction of your life with few resources, conflicting information and protracted methods of communication.
Thankfully, technology has helped streamline the process. The emergence of proptech (short for property technology) has elevated nearly all industry sectors, but the main benefactors of these technological advancements are probably first-time buyers.
The process has never been simpler, clearer or more convenient. This post explains what real estate tech means for new real estate market entrants by detailing a few relevant advancements.
Finding an Agent Is Simple and Transparent
In bygone days, finding a real estate agent was frustrating. You had only a few avenues: your friends’ recommendations, the Yellow Pages, and the aggressive marketing tactics of the agents themselves. Essentially, you had to entrust your life’s savings to someone without ever vetting them.
Now there’s Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace that makes it easy for consumers to find the right agent. The platform asks you to input criteria (sales history, location, language, verified review ratings, etc.) and delivers you, relevant agents. Then, agents compete for your business. It’s a streamlined way to ensure that your biggest investment is in the right hands.
According to CEO Regan McGee, the company “deliver(s) consumer choice, agent accountability and overall real estate transparency.”
Proptech Elevates the Home Searching Process
Once you’ve secured the right agent, you can continue to leverage proptech in the home searching process. Working off the old MLS systems, and getting all the information you needed to properly weigh your options was challenging. Again, technology has swooped in to elevate the consumer. Statista estimates that 99% of buyers aged 23 to 41 used digital tools to find their homes.
Using digital search tools, a first-time buyer can select properties according to diverse specifications: nearby schools, transit score, walkability, etc. You can also find detailed information on the property itself, including the price history (an invaluable tidbit when it comes time to make a suitable offer). You can find sites dedicated to home searching (a popular example is Zillow) or use an end-to-end real estate platform like the aforementioned Nobul.
Sight-Unseen Buying Isn’t the Risk It Used to Be
First-time buyers don’t always have the free time or money to evaluate every prospective property in person – especially if they plan to buy in a different location.
And that’s okay; remote buying isn’t nearly risky as it once was, thanks to real estate tech advancements. Augmented reality and virtual reality, in particular, are helping facilitate sight-unseen sales by allowing first-time buyers to inspect spaces from their computer or mobile app. And data-rich search platforms (mentioned above) allow you to thoroughly research properties before you invest.
Budgeting and Mortgage Calculation Is Quick and Painless
Lastly, first-time homebuyers can access simple online budgeting and mortgage calculation tools to ensure they don’t overextend. By and large, expenditure calculation used to be a guessing game. You could reasonably work out the math for a monthly mortgage cost, but it was tricky to factor in all the associated costs of homebuying (inspection, notary public, land transfer tax, etc.). Most major banks offer these tools – and homeowners are encouraged to use them.
As this post illustrates, proptech’s meteoric rise is a net positive for first-time buyers. There have never been more resources available to the young investor than there are now.
Image by prostooleh on Freepik