If your real estate agent flipped through a printed copy of the Multiple Listing Service the last time you bought or sold a house, then you might be surprised at how things have changed. Namely, advances in technology have completely upended the market.
Consider this: Most potential buyers have already done a virtual walk-through of a property before ever setting foot in the house. Today's listings are online and often include photos, videos and 3-D walk-throughs. And it's easy to browse online via such sites as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and Redfin.
Here are other ways that tech has influenced the real estate market:
Offers are made faster. Today's offers are sent and negotiated via email and don't even require a paper-to-pen signature. E-sign and other software means you can communicate and make changes to contracts in minutes.
Apply for a mortgage online. Gone are the days of making an appointment to fill out reams of paperwork. Today, the entire process can be done online. Granted, you can't plead your case to a loan officer in person, but on the flip side, you don't have to brush your hair.
Do your research online. Your real estate agent will probably still visit town hall to check records, but a lot of your research can be done online. More and more public records become digitized each year, making it easier and faster to research a property from the comfort of home.
Tech inside of the homes themselves. Homes that have easy access to strong broadband connections are almost always more attractive than those without. More homes are outfitted with smart technology as well, meaning everything from security cameras to garage doors and refrigerators are high tech and can be controlled from mobile devices.
Many factors are up for discussion in any real estate transaction—from price to repairs to possession date. While technology has simplified the real estate search, it also has strengthened the need to retain the services of a real estate agent. He or she will look at the transaction from your perspective, help you negotiate a purchase agreement that meets your needs and allow you to do due diligence before you’re bound to the purchase.