Technology has changed the business world, from using social media to connect with customers, to holding video conferences. The property market has not been immune to these changes, but in this industry, technology is paving the way for further innovation.
The first change came in 2007, when properties were first listed for sale online. It was a huge leap forward that has revolutionised the search process. But in 2018, technology is going to change the property market again. Here is how.
Although the majority of property searches are now conducted online, looking at photos and floor plans alone is not enough. This means potential buyers are faced with a problem: trying to schedule viewings around their busy work schedules and estate agent opening hours. But technology has come to the rescue in the form of virtual viewings.
Using high resolution cameras, a property can be filmed and photographed in high definition, allowing viewers to move virtually from room to room. This allows people to view properties from any location and could help to speed up the selling process.
In addition to virtual viewings, estate agents may soon utilise virtual reality. Using VR as part of a virtual viewing would create a new, immerse experience. Viewers would be able to walk through a property, providing a fuller, more realistic tour. This could remove the need for conducting initial viewings and help properties to sell faster. It could also be beneficial for properties sold at auction house, preventing blind buying.
Use of Apps
Most people now use apps for everything from social media and games to banking and shopping. Many estate agents have now started to create their own apps, making it easier and more convenient to search for a property. These apps store searches and information, allow users to save properties, and can provide notifications and updates.
3D printed houses
While flat-pack or prefab houses have been used for decades – many self-builders prefer this method – technology has taken it one step further.
In 2014, a Chinese firm Chinese firm printed and completed 10 3D printed houses in less than 24 hours. Astonishingly, each property cost less than $5,000. If used more widely, this technology could hold the key to the housing shortage, providing affordable and quick-to-build homes.
Telecommuting and flexible working have been embraced across a range of industries, providing employees with a better work-life balance and saving businesses money. The same is true for the property market, where more online-only estate agents are appearing.
This type of estate agent allows employees to work from home, conduct viewings at times that are more convenient for potential buyers, and create their own working hours. Using technology in this way and not operating from a company office also means lower fees, making them appealing to sellers.
Buying a house can be a long and complicated process but technology is helping to change this. For example, buyers can apply for a mortgage online, upload supporting documents and get a decision. They can also read legal documents and provide e-signatures. This allows the process to move much quicker.
Social media has changed from a way to communicate with friends to a realm for business. As well as adverts and company social media pages, people have now started to sell their homes on Facebook.
In 2017, the first sellers took to Facebook, providing a virtual viewing via the websites live stream option, answering questions and taking offers via messenger. Using social media in this way has the potential to sell in a matter of minutes or hours, boosting the property market.
To surmise, technology has already changed the way we search for and buy property, but with the uptake of virtual viewings and the prospect of 3D printing, the industry could see more innovation. As such, this is an exciting time to be part of the property market.